Do you like statistics? Do you have a hankering for data? Do you sometimes find yourself compiling lists of information for no clear reason but the sheer pleasure of it?
No? Just me then.
Now that I’ve unlocked all the characters in the new Smash Bros., I got curious about how they broke down. Prepare yourselves for pie chart goodness.
A few notes on method before we start…
- Smash Bros. for Wii U (aka Smash Bros. 4) has 49 characters, not 48 as I thought yesterday.
- I’m not counting Mewtwo, who is download-only and not part of the game proper IMO.
- I’m counting the Mii Fighter as one character, not three.
- I’m not counting any of the alternate “costumes.” These are usually just color/costume changes, sometimes gender swaps, sometimes entirely separate characters. But getting into all that would’ve been too complicated. Sorry, Koopa Kids.
- Here’s the full character list.
Ok, let’s get started…
1. Breakdown by Universe
This one was mostly straightforward, though I did have to think about a few of them. For instance: is Donkey Kong part of Mario’s universe, or does he have his own? The first-ever Mario appearance was in Donkey Kong, after all, and he’s in all the Mario Kart games. But it didn’t seem fair to think of the Donkey Kong Country series as Mario games, or Diddy as a Mario character. So he gets his own universe.
Anyway – Mario, Zelda, and Pokemon dominate. No surprise there. It is surprising that a series as obscure (to me) as Fire Emblem gets four, but apparently it’s big in Japan.
2. Breakdown by Gender
Overwhelmingly male (67%), just 18% female, no surprise there either. For what it’s worth, though, this is a big improvement on past games. The original SSB had only one female character out of 12 (8%), and Melee had two and a half out of 25, or 10%. (Ice Climbers were responsible for the “half.”)
Figuring out gender was trickier. Most were easy, but what gender is R.O.B. the robot? I picked male because of the name, but it’s iffy. Meanwhile Meta Knight has a non-gendered name and no obvious gender characteristics at all, but his page on the Kirby Wiki assures me he’s male as well.
The 7 “Others” consist of: five Pokemon (gender could be either), the Duck Hunt dog (gender unknown…I think), and the Mii Fighter (gender customizable).
3. Breakdown by Species
This is another one where I had to do some research. Mario and Link are obviously human, while Bowser and Kirby obviously aren’t. But what about Mega Man? Where do I put Mr. Game & Watch? And exactly what the hell is Captain Olimar?
As I eventually decided, the five “Human-Like” are Mega Man (humanoid robot), Pit and Dark Pit (angels), Palutena (goddess), and Olimar (tiny humanoid alien).
You could argue that Game & Watch is just a depiction of a human using primitive technology, but his appearance in Smash is so strange (and two-dimensional) that I wasn’t quite sold. I did go ahead and call Wii Fit Trainer human, however, in spite of her white skin and weird eyes, because I felt her eccentricities were a matter of artistic style rather than species.
4. Breakdown by Skin Color
And finally, of the 29 humanoid characters, 27 (93%) are light-skinned, while just one (4%) is dark-skinned. (“Other” is the Mii Fighter, whose skin color is customizable.)
It’s also worth pointing out that the only dark-skinned member of the group, Ganondorf, is also one of the very few villains. Interesting, no?
Well, this concludes today’s Video Game Stats Hour with your host, me, Brian Buckley. Feel free to worry about my sanity now.