My kids were very excited to teach me how to play Super Smash Bros., but managed to remain sensitive to my lack of dexterity and skill when it comes to playing video games. They decided that they would go easy on me, and that my son Ben would be the one to teach me, because, as my daughter Megan put it, “I can’t play easy enough for you, Mom.”

Fair enough.

Super Smash Bros. is the video game equivalent of today’s Marvel movies. The goal is to get all of your favorite characters from across different series together and have them beat each other up. If you’ve ever said, “I wonder who would win in a fight—The Hulk or Captain America,” then you have the Marvel movies. If, on the other hand, you’ve said, “I wonder who would win in a fight, Link or Donkey Kong,” then Super Smash Bros. is the answer to your prayers.

I have never wondered either of those things, so I didn’t have a horse in this race, so to speak. That gave me great flexibility when it came to deciding on a battle strategy. Well, that and the fact that I didn’t know who 95 percent of these characters were. So I decided to pick the softest, cutest, weakest looking characters for my brawls with Ben. A cute thing trying to kill you is terrifying; that’s why they make so many horror movies where the demons are children.

super smash bros kirbyBATTLE 1: KIRBY VS. SAMUS

For the first battle, I chose a little pink ball with eyes, feet, and arms (but no legs or hands) named Kirby. Ben chose Samus, who appears to be a saucy version of a Power Ranger. I mashed those buttons with everything I had but still got knocked off what seemed like an unreasonably small platform over and over again. Ben won. I gracefully conceded.


King Dedede is some kind of royal rooster, so he had to be my next pick. How do you say no to a chicken in a robe? You don’t. Ben picked the unimaginatively named Fox, and we were off. It was animal versus animal, each trying to knock the other into a raging river to die a watery death. My button-mashing fingers were all warmed up by now, and Dedede put up a good fight before falling again to my 7-year-old’s superior gaming skills. During this beat-down, I also learned about a new and confusing aspect of the game. When I used my enormous mallet to hit and destroy a soccer ball that had suddenly appeared onscreen. I said, “Ben! I hit the soccer ball! What did I get?” Ben said, “You got a soccer ball.” Oh.

super smash bros peachBATTLE 3: PRINCESS PEACH VS. META KNIGHT

Oh, I was ready to do some damage as Princess Peach. Ben picked a “knight,” who was actually a silver ball with bat ears and bat wings. Peach and I were not afraid; we twirled our parasol and kicked and punched and started winning. Then Meta Knight set Princess Peach on fire which, I’ll admit, distracted me for a moment. We went back and forth and ended up with a tie, which put us in a sudden death battle that I somehow managed to win. I’m telling you, button mashing is the way to go. Ben would try to teach me how to jump and what to press for different moves, and I would listen politely then go back to pressing and pulling everything on the controller in every combination I could think of. It ain’t pretty, but it’s effective.

There’s a lot of variety in Super Smash Bros. Between all the different characters and all the different settings, there’s a lot you can do. It’s a great game and fun to play with your kids. The adults need to be careful not to get too into it, though. At one point I yelled, “Ha! Take that motherf—…I mean, what? Nothing.”

I couldn’t help it. Princess Peach had made a really great move.

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Meredith Bland is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Brain, Mother; Narratively; Blogher; Time; and Parentmap among others. She also writes at her humor blog, Pile of Babies.