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Smash Bros. Brawl Tutorial Videos

I made this series of ten short tutorial videos for Super Smash Bros. Brawl. They appear on the official Nintendo Channel accessible through your Wii, on Nintendo's website, and below from YouTube. Nintendo asked me to explain the game to new players in a way that shows them there is more going on than they might think. Remember, these videos are for new players, not for tournament champions and they're intended to help the Smash scene grow.

Smash Bros. sells well in the US and in Japan, but struggles more in Europe. It sells more in both the US and Japan, while the perception in Eurpose is that it's "that kids game with the Mario Kart characters." A strange and ironic statement considering that the "Mario Kart characters" aren't even originally from Mario Kart, but that game sells well in Europe so it's a point of reference for many. Maybe my videos and the reputation of my name will help increase the scene in Europe. (Note to anrgy commenters: this information is from Nintendo, not from me. The idea that my name as an expert on competitive games might help in this situation is from Nintendo, not from me, and that's why they contacted me.)

Special thanks to David "Scamp" Cantrell and Cedric "Ceirnian" Qualls for gameplay advice, Rich "FMJaguar" DeLauder for editing and secretly keeping working, and Mike "Bocci" Boccieri for his technical wizardry with video capture.

As more of the videos become available on youtube, I'll post them all below. If you're interested in these videos, you might try that new "share article" link below, for digg or one of those new-fangled link-swapping sites.


Part 1: The Two Games

Part 2: Attack Types

Part 3: Evasion and Throws

Part 4: Movement

Part 5: KOs

Part 6: The Edge

Part 7: Controlling Space

Part 8: Super Armor and Auto-Cancels

Part 9: Items

Part 10: Tournament Finals Match

References (8)

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Reader Comments (174)

wow vulcan, way to act like a complete ass when i just finished telling about how nice the community is. whatever, i'm done here.

November 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBigfoot

I saw that some people thought that Europe had banned MetaKnight. I'll just point out that it's NOT the case and avoid flaming you for how retarded it is to think so when all that happened was that italy had a survey about it.

November 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMikeHaggarKJ

I will go ahead and say it:

Those videos were a huge waste of time on your part Sirlin.

1) Brawl is an inherently bad competitive game. The game is broken (with Snake and Meta-Knight being god-tier) when played without items, and a silly, random game when played with them. It also an extremely "turtle" game where rushdown is not even viable. Not to mention features that seem to be there for no other purpose but to detract from competitive play.

Examples: Moves become weaker with each hit, making space-controlling moves pointless. Random tripping that happens more to the winner.

Hypothetical situation:

Evo tournament finals, final game of the match, Snake and DDD have one stock each. Snake lays down some explosives in order to start a zoning mixup, knowing that DDD is smart enough to avoid the mines and is prepared for that. DDD attempts to get around mines so that he and Snake can engage in a deadly mixup game but DDD trips onto a mine and dies. Snake wins thanks to dumb luck.

Do you see the problem?

It is like they designed the game as if they didn't want players to get better at it. It for casual play only, like the Mario Kart of fighting games. THERE IS NO POINT IN TRYING TO ATTRACT NEW PLAYERS TO THE GAME WHEN ALL THEY WILL FIND IS A MESS OF A COMPETITIVE SCENE.

2) Your videos only help people who do not already play video games and probably don't visit this sight because of that. All of the information in the videos can be learned by reading the instructions manual briefly or playing the game for a few minutes. All points convered in the videos are so basic and unthinking to gamers of all genres that it is only helpful to people who do not already play video games. THERE IS WAS POINT IN MAKING THESE VIDEOS ABOUT PLAYING A BRAWL WHEN THE INFORMATION IS ONLY HELPFUL TO MEN AND WOMEN WHO DO NOT PLAY VIDEO GAMES AND THUS ARE NOT INTERESTED IN PLAYING BRAWL.

3) You say that you made these videos because you wanted to make more people interested in Brawl and thus help its scene grow. Brawl is already an incredibly popular video game, probably more popular than any other fighting game could hope to be. It is played widely as a casual game. THERE WAS NO POINT IN MAKING THOSE VIDEOS BECAUSE BRAWL IS ALREADY A VERY POPULAR GAME.

All that said, I have a point that does not relate to the making of the videos: Brawl is an awful game, especially compared to Melee. When going from Melee to Brawl, it's obviously that they are basically the same thing, except that the game was slowed down, they took out all technical stuff that made the game interesting such as L-Cancels and Projectile-Cancels, nuetered most of the good characters, and made it into a very campy game without the interesting rushdowns and mixups from Melee.

Also, I think you wrong about Brawl's blockstun. I do not think there is ANY blockstun in Brawl, if there is, it's about three or four frames at the most for all moves.

November 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNick

Nick: The instructions manual does NOT tell me about DI or Move Decay, or the fact that backwards rolls have start-up invincibility while forward ones do not, and I don't think that people can learn these things by "playing the game for a few minutes." How can something be "basic and unthinking" when it's hidden, like Move Decay?

As for point #3, many people here have already stated that Brawl is not as popular in Europe as it is in the other two regions. Nintendo's quote, not Sirlin's.

Melee L-Cancels are not a strategically or even techically "interesting" technique at all. The strategy is: Whenever you CAN L-Cancel = You DO IT! No questions asked.


November 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAvatar Z

Nick: your example is wrong. You have invincibility on the first few frames when you trip, so the mine would explode, and d3 would not die.

November 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBob

If I went into the super turbo boards and said "Akuma shouldn't be banned, you're just not controlling space well enough. Now I'm going to host a large tournament with this rule, and pretend to listen to your group while catering to my group" I, and the people from my community, would probably not be very welcome back on the super turbo boards.

If you did that you would likely be mocked, and then everyone would pick Akuma and it would be Akuma vs. Akuma mirror matches all through your tournament. Then people would say "Well, that was both predictable and silly".

I do not think they would get all pissy about how they were being "disrespected" or whatever, and if they did i would not be very impressed then either.

(I see comment moderation has been turned on. Poor Sirlin... XP)

November 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWinter

eh, that depends on what part of the trip you run into the mine with, really.

November 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterVulcan

Nick, in his infinite wisdom, said:

"Your videos only help people who do not already play video games and probably don't visit this sight because of that. All of the information in the videos can be learned by reading the instructions manual briefly or playing the game for a few minutes. All points convered in the videos are so basic and unthinking to gamers of all genres that it is only helpful to people who do not already play video games. THERE IS WAS POINT IN MAKING THESE VIDEOS ABOUT PLAYING A BRAWL WHEN THE INFORMATION IS ONLY HELPFUL TO MEN AND WOMEN WHO DO NOT PLAY VIDEO GAMES AND THUS ARE NOT INTERESTED IN PLAYING BRAWL."

I respectfully disagree with your assessment. It is like lambasting a film website for devoting time to appreciating an arthouse film because the only people who wouldn't have heard of the film are people who wouldn't be visiting the site in the first place; people who would visit such a site, you seem to be saying, would already know about it.

That second part of the argument is factually suspect, as has been pointed out by other comments. As an avid gamer, I found the videos so far to be chock-full with useful information. It makes me wish I had a Wii or GameCube so I could play the game. Regardless of whether or not I will get to play it, some of the ideas highlighted in these videos also help me to think more deeply about the fighting genre and competitive games in general.

As for the first part-- let's take it on face value, let's say that you're right and that all gamers automatically have, by dint of their gamerness, an encyclopedic appreciation of Super Smash Brothers Brawl. That the only people who wouldn't know this already are those who aren't gamers.

Accepting that dubious premise as a postulate, you're still asking us to believe that there is no crossover-- that people who aren't gamers will always be non-gamers. That they'll never get curious or stumble upon this game or these videos with a google search. That a gamer friend or family member will never introduce them to gaming and to these videos. That a vast swath of the populace is completely without intellectual curiosity and possessed of a disinclination to surf the 'net.

It's a very dim view of humanity, and if that's the way you feel, I feel supremely sorry for you.

November 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTom Russell

How are the videos a waste of Sirlin's time if Nintendo paid him to create them? I don't imagine he's just doing charity work for a multi-billion dollar corporation like Nintendo.

November 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterforty

Like forty said, Sirlin is probably getting paid. So with that in mind.....

A) And Nintendo cares why? At least in the eyes of the Nintendo's marketing people, Brawl hasn't reached it's full potential in Europe because people think it's just a shallow kids game. They aren't aiming to get people interested in the competitive scene, they just want people to see "hey, there's some actual depth here!" so they'll buy the game.

B) That's something for Nintendo's marketing team, and Sirlin even describes some ways it's being spread around by them.

C) Going back to A, Nintendo thinks they can still milk more out of Europe.

Your whole post seemed to run off the idea "Sirlin made these video's because he wants to see the competitive scene for Brawl grow and foster" when it's probably more like "Nintendo wants more money, Sirlin wants more money, Sirlin is totally willing to create tutorial videos, somethings fans do for free all the time, for a paycheck.

Now if for some weird reason Sirlin is doing this for free, then this whole post is moot.

November 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRikka

awesome vids man

Ignore all the Smash Snobs, this video has great info to bring in new players.

Now, i have a request. PLEASE talk to Nintendo about balancing out Brawl. The game is horribly broken.

Metaknight and Snake are broken characters. DDD has retarded chaingrabs and infinites. Pikachu and Zero Suit Samus can near infinite Fox. Game and watch Turtle and smashes are too powerful.


Ill be picking up HD remix today!

November 25, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterzer0cooL

quote from winter

If you did that you would likely be mocked, and then everyone would pick Akuma and it would be Akuma vs. Akuma mirror matches all through your tournament. Then people would say "Well, that was both predictable and silly".

I do not think they would get all pissy about how they were being "disrespected" or whatever, and if they did i would not be very impressed then either.

end quote

That was the general consensus on smashboards. We all knew some 12-14 year old kid would win because he just used items. It kinda showed in the videos too, ken would have him at decent damage on the ropes, and then an item would appear and suddenly cpu could do something useful.

also, nick, you don't know what you're talking about, without items, snake and mk are just the top tiers. snake has 3 hard counter matchups in falco, dedede, and wario, and is often considered barely above high tier. mk has multiple neutral matchups in dk, olimar, falco, and even mid tiers like bowser and zamus, as well as a disadvantaged matchup agaisnt snake.

how does this make them god tier characters?

as for rushdown, the best character in the game, metaknight, as well as several high tiers like dk, game and watch, and marth are all rushdown characters, how is rushdown not viable? approaching is hard, sure, snake, falco, rob, and olimar all have great turtle games, but rushdown is more than viable. The only ones who think you can't play offensively are the ones who quit in april, and most of those people assumed the metagame came inside the brawl case.

also, for tripping, you have invincibility frames on the fall, minimal chances to trip, and an easy way of avoiding it, by either walking, pivot walking, or jumping.

and space controlling moves are the most important thing in the game, diminishing returns does not make controlling space any less important

finally, sirlins videos are also on the official nintendo site, not just here. nice job fact checking

Edited by Sirlin: my videos are also on the Ninendo Channel, accessible through the Wii itself (in addition to being on my site and Nintendo's site).

November 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBigfoot

" "

Edited by Sirlin: I removed all the insults and left the good content of the post above.

November 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSieg

Shit, comments are being policed by an editor set pass through scheme. Nothing is sacred now, not even your legitamecy of reputation. And the above comment will not get posted.

This is why we can't have nice things.

Edited by Sirlin: You're free to post all those great personal attacks on my forums. Classy.

November 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSieg

None of the post was an insult at all. I just genuinly wanted a money match; I've been in the Smash scene for 9 years and want to show you how helpful your vids were, apparentally.

An insult is direct, to the point, but more so its a contortion of the truth; You can call an idiot an idiot,tement. It nominates itself as being part continuity if the person is obviously being an idiot. and it wouldn't be as much of an insult as much as it is a statement, as it doesn't contort itself far from being a validated sta

I didn't call you that though. I typically, after much pacing up and down my room and assessment, decide if I want to challenge a player at 3S, Smash, at a money match - If they seem arrogant. I assess many ways of dealing with it, as it isn't the moneymatch itself I'm after; I most generally like to test their mettle and competitive spirit.

I want to see if you're actually any good, very genuinly might I add! And, unfortunately, the options tear themselves apart by the very nature of what makes a player knowledgable or not - if they can win - and I'm left with only one choice.

Match. Lagless. Venue. All out.

You should seriously know this very much yourself. If you can pull your head out of your ass - What you said you did wasn't what you did, a great deal of the post wasn't insulting - then being a creator of your deadpan philosophy, you should know that any knowledge that doesn't gain you solid, proven leeway in a match is useless, right?

"Don't do skilled moves. Do what works." - Therefore, your "knowledge" of Smash in concurrency with my own, in terms of your ability to achieve victory, should be in line with your philosophy - Meaning how far you could actually beat me.

I have my doubts, lack of interest in you, and many other things to back reasons I have for deadpan statements; But my neurological curiousity itself is genuine! And it tells me you cannot judge a book by its cover.

In line with that I want to open the book, thoroughly examine its contents, and as I believe is my signature tactic as I've did it in SSBX the second I got it before alot of others - Triple Up air into Whorenado it where I see an error or an opening.

I don't want the book torn from me, or ripped away because I'm deemed unworthy of seeing if its any good or not. That would be analogous with what your moderation does.

I can only see how fast you are when you run.

I still think I'm smarter than you, but I'm not going to let words - a thing of subjectivity - decide that. I want to see how good you can outsmart me. I, like you, examine the world with my cup empty; my thoughts are nary grafted to any allegence!

As a result, I implore you to shriek in cowardice, edit contents of this message and run from me with your tail up, as all it will prove to me - someone confident in their own ability and thoroughly understanding of what you can change with judgement and what is out of your hands in life - you were indeed worse than me after all.

Edited by Sirlin: what are you even talking about? Why do you think a money match has anything to do with how useful these Smash videos are for new players who don't know anything about the game?

November 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSieg

I've honestly been noticing my Smash game improving alot lately. :o
Thanks again for the next update! :D

November 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCalderon0311

I don't know, I guess I just disagree with Sirlin on fundamental levels about games. I'll randomly spout "You're Sirlinizing the subject!" to coworkers when I see or hear them speak like a Sirlin article.

I suppose you'd find my Devil May Cry 4: Nero Tutorial equally disenchanting and off-key.

November 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKenneth Nagle

That was the general consensus on smashboards. We all knew some 12-14 year old kid would win because he just used items.

I... i'm not sure what to say.

First, in an "Akuma is legal" tournament some 12-14 year old kid wouldn't win. An Akuma player would almost certainly win, but the best player would still win anyway. Just... using Akuma. Is it your assertion that, if items were allowed, the worst player instead of the best would win? Isn't that ridiculous? I mean, i realize this whole thread is all hyperbole all the time... but...

I've seen some footage of tournaments run with items on. It certainly doesn't look like the worst player wins there. It looks like the best player wins. Sure, it gets a little swingy... but so what? Or is it your assertion that the winner will be determined completely at random, purely by the RNG giving one player or the other an item which then wins the match?

Or what? That a "real player" would refuse to use items, even if they were turned on, just on principle? Is that why some 12-14 year old kid would win--because said kid didn't have enough "honor" to not use items?

Let me set that aside for a moment, though...

Maybe on smashboards that is the consensus, but this is not smashboards and i don't really see that consensus here. People are getting pissy about this and they're not really putting forth any good arguments--if someone doesn't agree with you then calling them a bad player won't get them to, even if that's an accurate description. I mean, have you read this website? If you had you really ought to know better than to come in here and just expect everyone to agree with your own consensus. If you haven't read more of Sirlin's writings than just this then you're kind of carpet-bombing his articles, which is kind of a dick move.

November 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWinter

Sieg, he's not making the videos to say he's good, it's just to get the rookies going in the right direction

also, sorry if this double posts, when my comp restores pages it resubmits posts I've made, edit this out if it doesn't double post

November 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBigfoot

Nice videos. They've reminded me about certain mechanics and nuances that i've forgotten about. and mentioned a few I didn't know of. I think these are more useful than your SSF2T guides. I'll definitely link my friends to this page once you complete the series.

November 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterUnessential
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