How to Throw a Perfect ‘Smash Bros. Ultimate’ Party in 3 Steps

Take this advice from someone who has thrown ‘Smash’ parties for nearly two decades

smash bros ultimate party mobile
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has more than 70 characters (so far) / Nintendo

Smash Bros. is one of my favorite video game franchises because of the immense amount of joy I get from playing it with friends. With the recent release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which includes a wild 74 characters (so far), there's more reason than ever to get a crew together for hours of glad frustration, exhausted triumph and lots yelling "OHHHHHHHHHHH!"

I've been hosting and going to Smash Bros. parties with multiple groups of friends since the original Super Smash Bros. debuted in 1999. However, the finer details of a Smash Bros. party can be a little tricky to navigate for someone who hasn't spent almost 20 years enjoying them.

You'd better believe I threw a successful one during the first weekend after its Dec. 7 release, so I thought I would give a little primer on the main things to know about throwing your own Smash Bros. party. Here are my tips to get people together and make sure everyone, from newbies to pros, has a worthwhile time.

1. Set the Scene With Expectations, Food and Themes

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ONE37pm gaming contributor Peter Clark and friends / Peter Clark

First, make sure guests know full well that this will be about Smash and only Smash. There probably won't be any music beyond the game's 700 tracks, any long conversations will happen far away from the (ideally large) TV and Smash will be the only game played.

You're obviously going to need plenty of party food. As with every memorable get together, people will need sustenance. We ordered pizza, but don't let that stop you from setting a more creative theme. When Super Smash Bros. Brawl came out, we threw a fantastic Brunch & Brawl. When I got my wisdom teeth taken out during the Super Smash Bros. for Wii U era, I hosted a Soft Food Saturday. For the holiday season, a cookie switch/swap could be fun. And for those of you 21 and older, I would heartily suggest beer or wine. Hard liquor may make things get too sloppy, too quickly. Whereas beer and wine can help things ramp up nicely and slowly to a point where drinkers get worse at the same rate and people not drinking gradually find they're winning more games against the intoxicated players.

Other than that, make sure that there is enough seating at prime viewing angles and relative room for the number of people you invited. And shower beforehand.

2. Make 'Smash' Welcoming to Every Guest

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ONE37pm gaming contributor Peter Clark and friends / Peter Clark

One of the best things about Smash Bros. is it can be so welcoming to people who don't have a great familiarity with video games. Of course, high-level play is a different story, but most Smash parties should be as inclusive as possible—for fun’s sake.

Those who know about Smash will be down in a heartbeat. But if invitees are unfamiliar, communicate to them that Smash is a visual feast and a social bonding experience. Summarize the game by saying it's a happy mosh pit of all of Nintendo's greatest hits, with plenty of other nonsense thrown in. Tell them they don't need to know or care about video games to enjoy watching characters suddenly turn into drawings of seashells or destroyed by the fallen tree of an Animal Crossing villager.

A good way of initiating people into the tangled, explosive mess of Smash is making the controls as approachable as possible. To play Smash on any casual level, you really only have to worry about the left analog stick and two other buttons: "A" and "B."

Make sure new players know how to get back on the stage if they fall off and can try out a few different characters so they understand how varied the play styles can be. It’s also a good idea to have a slower experimental match. It lets people get comfortable, and it gives you a chance to try out some characters you may not know too well. If all else fails, I’ve been around many people who only mash buttons and still have a blast.

3. Customize Your ‘Smash’ on the Fly

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ONE37pm gaming contributor Peter Clark and friends / Peter Clark

As with any good party, you can try to tailor everyone’s experience, but also be open to whatever the room wants at any given time. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has an enormous amount of content, tons of characters, stages, songs, modes, challenges, side activities and more. That gives any party an incredible amount of variety, and it’s always a joy to see what surprises come out of it. So try not to steer the ship too strongly.

You can plan on having team tournaments or playing through the World of Light mode, but if the room wants to spend hours creating Mii fighters and battling in eight-player mode, let it happen. I’ve attended parties where we only played the classic Home Run Contest mode, where we turned the timer to an hour and had a very extended game; we also turned the damage up and gave everyone hammers. Every experience was fantastic.

This weekend, we decided that as soon as we unlocked a character, we would all pick it and play a game with everyone as that character. Totally unplanned, totally great fun and totally taking advantage of the ludicrous customization options. It’s also very easy to lose your character among six rolling Sonic balls.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate also has a number of play options you should explore. We played with all four different control schemes: Dual joycons, one joycon, pro controller and GameCube controller. Explore the many options with the group and find the right settings and game styles that will work with your party.

At the end of the day, I love Smash so much because it gives me a chance to have fun with people I care about. That should be the end goal of any Smash party. You can take these tips, or ignore them, just make sure everyone leaves with good memories of a great game. Now, who wants to come over and play Smash next weekend?

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