Piranha Plant Uproots Character Design Traditions

Just recently, a new fighter was introduced in the hit Nintendo game, Super Smash Bros via downloadable content. Although Smash Bros is known for including some wacky characters, including the digital personal trainer from Wii Fit and an homage to the old arcade game Duck Hunt. However, perhaps the most peculiar choice of character to include was Piranha Plant, a minion from the classic Mario games. The character arose controversy among fans for its design, most notable, the fact that the plant does not have legs.

The design aspects of all characters become a topic of discussion when one of the most vital aspects of a fighting game character’s utility, their mobility, is no longer considered essential; Piranha Plant is no better or worse than the characters who are known for their ability to quickly navigate the stage. The act of subversion, of redefining the possibilities and limitations of a fighter, extends well beyond the functionality of the character. What are the implications of a generic minion joining the battle alongside the most iconic video game characters in history? Although the character has become the butt of jokes among many fans of the game, Piranha Plant serves as a pipeline into questioning the choices made by game designers when translating beloved characters into a new format.

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