Difference between Smash and Trad Fighters

How do you answer people who ask what Smash does that other FG don’t also do? Or how Smash does certain things better? Or what the difference between Smash and other FGs is (aside form obvious stuff like movement and environment)?

If I had to describe overall differences, I’d say that smash bros versus other fighting games is based a lot more on unclear spacing mixups. Other fighting games tend to have much more clear situations with regards to the timing and spacing of actions because jump arcs are fixed, you always block in specific directions, and you tend not to really be moving as attacks go on. Smash bros information tends to be fuzzier because there are so many different ways to modulate speed and position. Describing the neutral game in street fighter can come down to some simple clear cut rock paper scissors games, but doing the same for smash is a lot trickier in my experience. In teaching people street fighter I find it comes a lot more naturally to describe the right way to play versus smash bros where I found I was at a loss for how to describe the right way to play the neutral game. Not to mention that it varies a lot between characters. Dash dancing creates crazy footsie-like scenarios at high speeds.

More specific things would include the use of sweet spots, moves don’t just have one type of hitbox everywhere that deals a consistent amount of damage and pushback, they have weaker and stronger hitboxes based on both timing and positioning, and people frequently use the weak hitboxes on purpose to knock back less to keep the combo alive.

There’s a level of control during combos with DI that not only allows people to escape, but makes it a mixup situation, because they can’t move closer or further, just tilt the angle. This is why DI wouldn’t work in a traditional fighter, people stay locked to the ground, you could only have DI left or right really, not angular DI, it wouldn’t make much sense to have angular DI, and when you can only DI in two directions it soon becomes clear that either the combo dies or it doesn’t die, there isn’t long enough hitstun or flexible enough movement to make it work otherwise.

The ledge guard/recovery game as an okizeme equivalent. Lots of options there that don’t make sense in a traditional fighter.

Ability to change velocity in the air and inherit velocity from the ground. KoF and Guilty Gear sort of do the last one. Marvel 2 and 3 do the first one on super jumps.

Comboing into grabs and chaingrabs, as well as letting you hold people to pummel them and choose the direction they’re thrown in.

A crazy shield tilt system that degrades over time, requiring you to cover the parts of your body that will be attacked. Also it can vary in density for more pushback/coverage.

SDI and shield SDI

Wavedashing, the idea that you can invest startup frames now to move in a neutral state later.

Sniping people after they double jump to cut off escape options

Functional team matches.

Lots of stuff.

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