Super Smash Bros. Ultimate players have been frustrated with a trend within the community for quite some time now. No, it's not the bad lag in online matches. It's not how many pros are getting canceled. It's not even the amount of fake "patterns" proving who the next DLC fighter will be.
IT'S THE GODDAMN THUMBNAILS.
Who knew getting second in Smash World Tour 2021 made your eyes pop out!?
Did the Nintendo Direct at E3 2021 make you involuntarily pee yourself from excitement too!?
ARE YOU BLOWN AWAY BY KAZUYA'S DISGUSTING DAMAGE, BROKEN SETUP, AND DEATH TAUNT!?!?!??! BECAUSE WE ARE!!!
In all seriousness, YouTube thumbnails throughout the platform — not just in Smash — have looked this way for a while. Almost every popular YouTuber has a graphics person or editor who creates thumbnails with arrows and circles, bright colors, and (most importantly) the YouTuber looking like they just got told Sakurai himself is the last DLC fighter in Smash or that there's now a mod that lets you see Mythra and Pyra's feet.
Smash players are most likely just jumping on this trend because it's been proven to work. Yeah, maybe you're much too high IQ and artistic to waste time trying to understand the nuances of baby-magnet thumbnails that are way too infantile and simplistic for you to stoop down to. But let's be clear: These thumbnails get clicks. And clicks get money. So should we blame them?
It's not like the competitive Super Smash Bros. scene is giving players a good, consistent salary. Everyone knows that Juan "Hungrybox" DeBiedma worked a full-time engineering job despite being the best Melee player in the world. So can you blame him if he puts "a few" shocked Pika faces in his thumbnails?
What may frustrate the Super Smash Bros. scene about these thumbnails is the sell-outy feel of them. A lot of times, the Smash community is quite serious about the game and the competitive scene. They take the gameplay seriously and respect the skills of the top players. But then you go over to YouTube and suddenly you're bombarded with CHEATING PRANK ON MY GIRLFRIEND (SHE CRIED) style thumbnails.
But maybe these thumbnails aren't as jarring as the Smash community makes them out to be. Ever heard of a pop-off?
Pop-offs are part of the Smash culture, just as much as whining about DLC patterns and Melee vs. Ultimate. This is part of the Smash community. Crumbling to the floor. Running around the room. Kneeling and crying. Just make sure to respectfully shake the opponent's hand afterward.
But maybe these thumbnails aren't so weird. Maybe they aren't so far removed from Smash culture. Being overly excited and animated about the game is part of what makes the community special. The home-grown feel of the tournaments, the winners excitedly pumping their fist after a win at a local. This is Smash.
So maybe we should stop hating on these thumbnails. Maybe —
— Nah, I can't! F*** that. These thumbnails must stop.
Esports writer and editor with a passion for creating unique content for the gaming community.