Most people will tell you that Super Smash Bros has never been about the story. If anything, it's about arguing over items, character tiers and the reviled "tripping" mechanic. But you have to have a reason for R.O.B. the Robot to get his shit kicked in by Ganondorf, so that's where the Master Hand comes in.
Initially, Master Hand seems like a weird nonsensical boss. It's just a big hand floating in the middle of space. You might be able to say it's Mario's disembodied glove if it that wasn't our plumber duking it out with him right there on the screen.
But it all makes sense when you watch the intro to the original Nintendo 64 Smash Bros. game.
Master Hand is just a representation of a kid playing with his toys. It serves as a believable premise for the game, and at the same time makes sense out of the game's boss. But as The Game Theorists suggest, this revelation has some pretty disturbing implications.
From the setting in the first game, we can assume that the kid is maybe in his tweens -- old enough to read and write, but not old enough to still have plush toys. But then when we get to Melee, the characters are trophies.
Judging by what we know of trophies and Amiibos, these kinds of still figurines are collected by older teens/manchildren. So the kid in the games is getting older, but still plays with toys.
Then we get to Smash Bros. Brawl, which features an intense story mode. Partway through the game, it's revealed that someone else has been pulling Master Hand's strings all along.
Tabuu is nebulous in origin, but it makes more sense when you consider the larger context. If Master Hand is the kid playing with toys, Tabuu is the social "taboo" that wants to hold back an adult from engaging with childish things like spending $115 on a Marth Amiibo.
It seems like a lot to be extrapolating for a kid whose face we never see -- but what if we already know the person controlling the Master Hand? Wouldn't it make sense if the story of Master Hand was the story of the creator of Smash Bros.?
Masahiro Sakurai was still in his twenties when he headed up the original Super Smash Bros. It was the product of a fan, someone who had grown up with Nintendo's characters, someone overjoyed to be able to play with the toybox. As time went on, Smash grew bigger and bigger, and Nintendo kept asking Sakurai to make game after game of the same thing. Whereas Master Hand resembles the creator, the pressure on Sakurai resulted in Crazy Hand, which represents Sakurai's desire to kill his darlings.
Most recently, we had Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS. Upon defeating Master Hand in a high difficulty setting, the Master Core emerges. A whirlwhind battle follows, but at the end, Master Core gives up and just lets you beat it to death.
That's Sakurai, at his core, laying down and giving up. He knows that the franchise will slowly drive him insane, but he has no other choice. It's either this or let his creation be taken over by someone else, letting someone else be Master Hand.
Okay, that was a bit heavy on the metaphors, so let's go out with science.
It's not news: People are still playing Skyrim. At this very moment, thousands of people are exploring that mountainous corner of Tamriel, adding to their ever-growing hoard of dragon bones and cheese wheels. Almost from the very start, fans have been mystified with one thing in particular: The bug jars.
Scattered across the land of Skyrim are five glass jars. Inside these jars are five different insects: a butterfly, a torchbug, a dragonfly, a moth and a bee. Each of these five bug jars feature a different set of runes carved into the lid. Over time, fans have dug into the meaning of these jars, their locations and the runes themselves, and have come to the only sane conclusion: These bugs are part of a bizarre and powerful summoning ritual that will bring an end to mankind.
There's way too many details and variations on the story to cover everything here, but one of the most interesting permutations of the theory has to do with a huge transmutation circle across the entire map of Skyrim. Cue the classic Conspiracy Photoshop:
The five major cities of Skyrim make a pentagon. Inside that pentagon is yet another pentagon, made up of the three dragon sanctuaries, the Dwemer ruin Mzinchaleft and the Tower Stone. In the middle of this miles-wide transmutation circle is a shrine to Talos. Supposedly the ritual involves killing all the dragons, placing the bugs in their corresponding cities (as evidenced by their runes) and then activating the Tower Stone. After that, the "Promised Day" would come, along with the apocalypse, presumably followed by the events of Kirby 64.
This all sounds pretty improbably and yeah, the internet might be looking a little too hard at some bug jars -- but remember, this is the same world in which all of the dwarves vanished without a trace. Bethesda has always been about filling their world to the brim with meticulous details that no one would notice, like the Thieves Guild markings on every single house in Skyrim. When it comes to these games, anything is possible, up to and including the world being destroyed by a moth.
Over the years, Mario's personality has remained pretty simple; in almost every context, he's the "stoic player stand-in," or at best, "horrific Italian stereotype." Luigi, on the other hand, has developed several traits that set him apart from his big bro. Granted, most of his characterization involves his cowardice and anxiety about living in Mario's shadow, but several RPGs have expanded Luigi in other ways. Namely, the fact that Luigi is incredibly dangerous and Mario is the only thing standing between him and an unstoppable wave of destruction.
We know Luigi is capable of evil, because we saw this alter-ego in Super Paper Mario.
It might be a bit unfair to blame Luigi for his actions, Mr. L was a result of brainwashing (and presumably raiding the Hamburglar's wardrobe). But it does show that Luigi is weak-willed and easily-manipulated.
Even when Luigi is lucid, he's still a threat. In Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, the player runs into Luigi several times. Each time you see him, he has new stories about his own adventure running parallel to your own, like there's whole other video game story happening at the same time. The main difference being that Luigi is the hero of his story, which leads to some... complications.
When you ask Luigi's companions about their exploits, they tell a different version of the story, one rife with incompetence and unintended property damage. Even though Luigi means well, his adventures are carving a wide swath of destruction across the Mushroom Kingdom and beyond. If this is what Luigi is doing with good intentions, imagine what he would be capable of if he actually tried to hurt someone.
To most, he's just a taller Mario with a weird floaty jump, but Luigi has amassed an impressive set of strange but formidable powers. In Mario and Luigi: Dream Team, Luigi is somehow the only one who can connect to the dream world.
In the prequel Mario and Luigi: Partners in time, the magical Star Gate senses a darkness in Luigi, and decides it would be best for the universe if he wasn't allowed through the doors. The gang only proceeds after finding the Aurora Block, which can grow as big as the heart of the person who uses it.
To recap: Luigi is dangerous even when he means well, is capable of incredible and inexplicable supernatural acts (including the ability to crush himself with his own heart), and is also easily brainwashed by anyone with as much as a Game Genie.
No wonder he's always hanging around with Mario. Without his big bro, Luigi would inevitably fly off the chain. All of his worst attributes would snowball, and the resulting disaster would be way worse than a common kidnapping. Some people are just better off staying Player 2.
No one is suprised that Bloodborne involves a lot of blood. It's in the name on the box; if there weren't fountains of crimson bodily fluids, gamers would probably riot and/or write really nasty comments on a Change.org petition. Besides making it look extra cool when you slice into a zombie dog, everyone in Bloodborne drinks the red stuff all the time -- at its basic level, it comes in vials that act like a healing potion. Drinking blood is pretty gnarly as it is, but it's more disturbing when you realize that it's menstrual blood.
Though it's never explicitly stated, fans have come up with a lot of evidence to support this super-icky hypothesis. For instance, the characters in the game that give you special blood vials happen to be exclusively female.
Arianna, here, is a special case; she stops supplying you with (again, menstrual) blood vials when she becomes pregnant. Another fan noted that you don't get any vials from an old woman -- possibly due to menopause.
Even though this is the first game in the series, the lore is chock-full of references to that time of the month. The Healing Church are known for picking out particular women to be "vessels for blood" as "Blood Saints." There's an item called the Mensis Cage, a boss called the Mensis Brain and an area called The Nightmare of Mensis.
They're not trying to hide it: "Mensis" is incredibly close to "Menses," which is Latin for menstruation. There's no escaping the validity of this theory. Period.
This revelation makes you look at everything in the game in a different light. Try looking at the Blood Stone shards now:
What do those remind you of? Hint: The correct response is "Oh my god I've been upgrading my weapons with the used tampons of the dead."
If you dudes are feeling a little left out, don't worry! The Blood Dreg item strongly resembles a smattering of sperm swimming in blood.
There are two things you can do with a Blood Dreg. You can consume them to raise your stats (and presumably get your daily dose of protein), or you can hand them into Queen Annalise. What does she want with a handful of gothic spooge? Well, according to the game: "Queen Annalise partakes in these blood dreg offerings, so that she may one day bear the Child of Blood, the next Vileblood heir." Considering what she'd have to do with the Blood Dregs to concieve that kid, maybe she'd be better off just getting a dog.
Nintendo has a wide array of colorful characters, but none is more joyous than Kirby. Though most games in the series involve the pink blob swallowing his enemies and instantly ingesting them to gain their powers, the way he does it is just so dang cute. He's just a big fluffy pillow with eyes! And also a deadly, toothless maw.
Kirby brings that bright and happy energy to everything he touches, but his games aren't always without a dark side. In Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, there's a level called Shiver Star. Though at first glance, it's just yet another random fantasy planet filled with levels for Kirby to waddle his way through, but then you look closer...
Yeah, Shiver Star is clearly the same planet that you are currently sitting on, complete with a single moon. The key difference here is that Shiver Star appears to be completely covered in ice. You'd think that this could mean that Kirby 64 takes place in the distant past, maybe during one of Earth's Ice Ages -- but it soon becomes evident that Kirby won't be teaming up with any wooly mammoths voiced by Ray Romano.
In the middle of conquering this mysterious planet, Kirby stumbles across a factory. The entirety of the facility seems to be in working order, with gears and conveyor belts humming along like clockwork. There are no humans to be found anywhere, so it would seem that the factory itself is autonomous, its moving parts forever working towards an unknown goal. Of course, the paltry security squad on deck is no match for the Kirby's bottomless hunger.
A self-sustaining factory doesn't in and of itself prove the non-existence of humans, but earlier in the world Kirby comes across a place where one normally finds a number of humans: A shopping mall.
While there are a few robot sentries patrolling the walkways and keeping potential loiterers out of the Orange Julius, otherwise the mall appears to be completely abandoned.
There's no other explanation. Most or all of the world's humans are dead, victims of what might possibly be a nuclear holocaust. All that remains are the robots humanity left behind, the same servants who probably dispensed of their masters' corpses when they finally expired. Shiver Star is basically a mausoleum for all of mankind. With that, Kirby 64 has officially beaten out Zelda: Majora's Mask as the most depressing Nintendo 64 game ever.
Apart from their comprehensive suites of online tween harassment simulators, Call of Duty games are in famous for their bombastic single-player campaigns. Almost every mission is meant to make you feel like you're the badass hero of a balls-out action thriller. Mindless as they may seem at times, there's something alluring about becoming the center of the universe, the Only One who can put things right.
At least, that's how the games are supposed to make you feel. But in practice, it plays out a little differently. The structure of many CoD levels requires that the player tail behind one of a handful of invincible badasses as they guide you through the game's pre-set funhouse. Champs like Modern Warfare's Captain Price end up rescuing the player countless times.
These leaders are your center, placed in the game to make sure that everyone is having a good time. Don't know where you are or what you should be doing? Just follow Soap MacTavish, and he'll make sure you continue your rampage through this delightful high-stakes game of world politicking and mass murder. But that's just the thing: You're always following. It's almost like it's an escort mission where you're the escortee.
Though mission objectives vary from "Defuse the bomb" to "Shoot the Terrorist Who Is Holding the President Hostage on Air Force One," it's never long before the game gives up and just tells you to follow. "Follow Price to the Evac Zone," or "Follow Soap to the Burger Town," or "Follow Crazy Gary Oldman Until He Disappears Because He Was Obviously Imaginary the Whole Time." This is a multi-million dollar franchise, and it can't afford to leave any consumers players behind. As a result, you end up feeling like the tagalong on the dreaded escort mission, the yapping Looney Tunes terrier to the NPC's headstrong bulldog.
Put yourselves in the shoes of Captain Price. You've got this goddamned rookie on your squad, and yeah, he completed the tutorial obstacle course with a Veteran score, but it took him like 30 tries. This greenhorn always needs help getting from point A to point B, and he keeps stopping in the middle of a mission to roam around and look for "intel," but there's no way you can ditch him. After all, this kid is the only named character who can die outside of a cutscene.
At best, Call of Duty games make you a sidekick. Escort missions are bad enough as it is, but playing as the escortee about as fun as a Batman game where you can only play as Robin.
When you first start Minecraft, you're not really concerned about where you are -- you acknowledge that it's the strange low-fi Lego world that all the kids are into, and soon start fighting for survival. If you're busy carving a four-square foot hole to hide from hissing green monsters made of dynamite, you're not really concernced with the physics of the world.
Once you get a handle on things, you might finally realize how weird it is to see the moon on the opposite side of the sun, every single day.
Even for a world made of identically-shaped cubes, that makes no goddamned sense. As spumwack pointed out, if the sun is always on the exact opposite side of the moon and the Earth in between, that would mean the moon doesn't revolve around the Earth, but is simpy rotating in its own orbit around the sun (always parallel to the Minecraft world). So the solar system should look something like this:
That would make sense, but there's one problem: The stars don't move. If you look up at midnight on any given evening, you should be able to see the exact same constellations in the exact same spot, without fail. Which makes no sense on a model where the Earth rotates in an orbit. Which can only mean one thing.
In Minecraft, everything revolves around you.
Everything we've been taught about astronomy tells us this is impossible, but there's no other explanation. The Minecraft world is a puzzling anomaly in a video game universe created without care for the particulars of astrophysics. It's up to the internet to decide just how the planet came to be in this situation, and of course, they're blaming humans.
Spumwack suggests a scenario where the solar system was once much like our own, until the sun started to die out. In a last-ditch effort to save themselves, the Minepeople ignited their own world, sacrificing their home planet to create a new star.
The remnants of civilization settled on the dead rock that was once their sun, and then they did what Minepeople did best: They started to build.
You have the freedom to build everything and go anywhere in Minecraft because this it's a fresh, brand-new world. Below you, you can mine enough to hit hard rock -- what remains of the former sun. Above you, you can see the bright shining star, the only thing left of the world you once knew.
Why the Minepeople created a brand-new world and decided to bring Creepers along, no one knows.