Nintendo has recently graced us with a new entry in the Super Smash Bros series, and the addictive mix of fast-paced gameplay and an utterly ridiculous premise has spirited away more of my time than I care to admit. A funny thing about Smash Bros is that the character you pick can reveal a fair bit about your personality (e.g. picking Meta Knight in Brawl probably means you’re a sociopath.). The parallels between picking characters and picking concentrations at Brown are actually quite striking. Here are just a few of the cast members followed by the department into which I see they best fit.
Fox: Computer Science
The getting’s good now, but it may have been even better in the early ’00s. If you persevere with Fox, you will do well because of how damn good he is (pro tip: the Reflector is insane), but this is neither surprising nor impressive. You picked a good character, so of course you’re going to do well. You will often express wonder at the idea that anyone would choose to play a character other than Fox. Eventually, you’ll find yourself in frequent discussion with other Fox players, debating the minutiae of his techniques and all the best ways to apply them. “No items. Fox only. Final Destination.” will become your credo. The rest of the world will not understand, and will think you’re boring. They’re right.
You will actively defend your character/concentration choice against the common opinion that it’s disadvantageous. Back in the first Smash, Kirby was much stronger, and you will try futilely to replicate that power in the modern era. Kirby’s absorption power mirrors your encounters with literature: you take it in, and spend a short period viewing the world through the eyes of the author you read, taking on the identities of their characters. We’ve all done this, and found ourselves thinking about how clever we are after reading a detective story. This period is mercifully cut short when someone finally smacks you upside the head. You then go looking for your next literary/B-move fix.
Ganondorf and Captain Falcon: Math and Applied Math
These two characters have incredibly similar move sets, though Ganondorf has become less of a clone in each game since he appeared in Melee. The thing is, Captain Falcon is essentially a better version of Ganondorf,. His moves still hit very hard, and he’s faster by a large margin. Furthermore, you get the flying knee and the Falcon Punch, two of the most satisfying moves you can land in all of Smash Bros. Captain Falcon is more or less the man, even if he is a weirdo. Why are you picking Ganondorf? I think you just want to make things difficult for yourself. Just remember when solving equations: Show me ya moves. Solutions don’t just pop out of thin air.
Charizard: Visual Art
Your concentration and character choice are both things you loved as a child. You think they’re super cool. Luckily for you, you’re correct. Good art and fire-breathing dragons never go out of style. Maybe people will tell you you can’t pay the bills with a Visual Art degree, but those same pessimists would likely say that Charizard’s wings can’t possibly support his weight. He flies high, and so can you. Probably.
If you study econ and end up working in finance, you might catch some flack from Brown at large. The Wall Street fan base here is rather small. Bowser is the character for you. The both of you are made out to be villains, but at this point it’s a stretch to call your formulaic mischief evil. You can do a lot of productive things with your capabilities, like raise a family, become proficient in go-karting, or usurp the leadership of the Mushroom Kingdom. Okay, that last one might be Bowser-specific. Bowser’s ability to shrug off small attacks mirrors your own security in the idea that you will actually be employed and paying off your loans. Words are no match for gainful employment opportunities. You should probably lay off the kidnapping, though.
You focus on the ability to create concrete things and accomplish something with your life. Samus’ no-nonsense running and gunning appeals to the practical side of you. Her ability to fight at long or short range, and the wallop her Power Suit provides at any distance, make Samus a Swiss Army knife that allows you to solve many types of problems. As an engineer, you never need to feel that your skill set is useless in the real world. On the other hand, your tendency to spend all your time working is analogous to Samus’ silent, masked visage. Very few people know who you are under all that heavy armor/scheduling. Get some fresh air and live a little, would ya?
No one is an Astronomy concentrator. That’s not an exaggeration, the number is actually zero. Similarly, no one plays as Mario. There’s no reason to dislike him exactly, but nothing about him screams “Pick me!” either.
Zelda: International Relations
The regent of Hyrule rules her kingdom with a fair and steady hand, and her political skill is an inspiration for you, a person who wants to improve relations between the world’s countries and avoid violence. Zelda’s Triforce of Wisdom reminds you of the patience and care that international politics require, and her key role in defeating Ganondorf proves that she’s just as capable on the battlefield as she is in the royal court. Negotiations are all well and good, but if words fail you can just use magic to light people on fire.
Mr. Game and Watch: Modern Culture and Media
You’re up to something. We’re just not sure what. Like Game and Watch’s randomly numbered side-B hammer move, your capabilities could blow us away or fall entirely flat. The mystery fascinates us, but we’ll probably never understand your concentration.
Image by Jason Hu ’15.