Minecraft Steve Makes His Way Into Super Smash Bros.

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Photo credit: Andrew Chin - Getty Images
Photo credit: Andrew Chin - Getty Images

From Popular Mechanics

In a surprise twist, Nintendo has announced that Steve and other characters from Minecraft will join Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Director Masahiro Sakurai shared the news in a web announcement on Thursday morning.

Okay, so who’s “Minecraft Steve,” and why is his inclusion both surprising and not surprising? Minecraft is a massively popular video game whose almost limitless sandbox potential has caused an entire cottage industry to spring up around commenting on the game, making YouTube walkthroughs and other videos, and even building dream architecture and computers within the pixelated world. All of this combined means the game, which was released as a trial version in 2009 and a full public release in 2011, passed 200 million copies sold earlier this year. Over 125 million people play Minecraft each month.

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Steve is one of the default skins for the game, meaning who you play as him when you first start up a new world. From there, players can change their skins to almost anything, but Minecraft Steve is an emblem for the game, like what Mario is for Nintendo. One other Smash inclusion, Alex, is another player skin. The other two, enderman and zombie, are enemies from Minecraft.

Technically speaking, these characters are blocky by nature in order to fit into the intentionally macro-pixelated art style of Minecraft. Think of Lego bricks if they were virtual. That means, Sakurai said in the announcement, that Nintendo will have to “rework all our existing stages so that blocks can be placed in them.”

It might be surprising that Nintendo would just include the player skins from Minecraft—Steve ”is literally just a dude,” Paste writer Holly Green tweeted—but the inclusion of Minecraft in general makes a lot of sense.

Smash is populated with the biggest stars of Nintendo’s world, and Minecraft has had a Switch version since 2018. In fact, many in the industry credit the Switch’s success partly to Nintendo’s decision to finally embrace third party and independent games, which are released in the Nintendo eShop at a brisk pace even during the pandemic.

It will be interesting to see how Nintendo introduces Minecraft’s, uh, idiosyncratic art style into Smash. Other characters in the game began as blocky pixel art in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but they naturally evolved in Smash as their characters were upgraded for their own titles. Nintendo even called this out in Paper Mario, where Mario discovers a box in a haunted mansion that turns him back into original NES pixel art along with MIDI music.

Will Kirby turn into a block if he eats Minecraft Steve? I guess we’ll soon find out.

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