Smash Bros. is done with downloadable content

“Super Smash Bros.” makes me yell at my best friend. And laugh at him, high five him, cheer with him and sulk with him. It brings eight people together in my family room, all engaged in the action taking place on-screen. As a video game franchise, Nintendo’s “Super Smash Bros.” offers arguably the best gameplay to experience with friends and family. The game has become a worldwide phenomenon.

“Super Smash Bros. for Wii U” originally launched as the fourth installment in the series in September of 2014, but the fighting game continued receiving support until the last set of downloadable content (DLC) was released on February 3 this year. For a game to receive new content two years down the line is no small occurrence ― it is a clear indication of a rare and dedicated fanbase only a few companies like Nintendo can sustain.

For a representation of the scope of this fanbase, look no further than its frequent tournaments and professional Smash idols who play the competitive fighting game for a living. In fact, the largest “Super Smash Bros.” tournament to date was held locally in San Jose last month.

This tournament, called GENESIS 3, brought nearly 4,000 competitors to the San Jose Convention Center to compete in three of four Smash iterations: the original “Super Smash Bros.” for the Nintendo 64, the competitive favorite “Super Smash Bros. Melee” for the Gamecube and the latest release, “Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.”

Unlike previous games, however, the tournaments for Smash Wii U have been different each time. As Smash Wii U received new patches and DLC, the game benefited from a return to the spotlight. These updates provided something new, a reason to go back to the game. They proved that the game would continue to grow and evolve, and the community was challenged to evolve alongside it and adapt to every change.

While exciting, the updates made it impossible to permanently place characters in a tier list, which orders fighting characters from best to worst. The end of Smash Wii U’s DLC is bittersweet; fans have now experienced everything the game has to offer, but can finally form strategies that won’t become obsolete due to a future update.

From high stakes tournaments to sparring with friends, it’s clear that Nintendo has created the perfect combination of fun and competition. Smash’s gameplay is easy to jump into but hard to master. Initial glances might see a simple fighting game, yet seasoned veterans of the franchise can point out many small dynamics that bring an immense level of psychological depth to the gameplay.

Unlike many other fighting games in which successful combos are contingent on a single player’s ability to time precise inputs, Smash introduces mechanics that allow players to influence the direction of their knockback and potentially escape a string of hits. Thus, successful Smash gameplay requires players to predict or react to the inputs of their opponents and place careful thought into covering the opponent’s options. These mechanics are what keep the Smash experience fresh ― players are constantly adapting to one another and dealing with unique situations.

The end of Smash Wii U’s DLC is an important point in Smash’s history. The series now spans four games that, for all time, will remain the exact way they are today. Smash Wii U can finally be judged as a finished product, and has earned its place alongside Melee at every tournament. Moreover, the game has earned its place on every Nintendo fan’s shelf.