Fan Service: For the Love of Crossover

Nintendojo vs. Mel’s latest column. A crossover of epic proportions!

By Mel Turnquist. Posted 06/26/2012 10:00 4 Comments     ShareThis

Fan Service Masthead Column 2 Pokémon

Hello and welcome back to yet another (belated) edition of Fan Service; where the best of fandom gets their props and the worst of fandom gets their knocks. Today is neither a prop or a knock but rather a discussion about the concept of crossovers and why fandoms of all types enjoy seeing this kind of thing happen. It seems like every fandom has that one game or one franchise that they’d love to see crossed over in some kind of adventure. However, it never seemed to occur to me to wonder just why there is such fervor for this. And in a console company like Nintendo, it’s a lot more common practice than most think… and I’m not just talking about Smash Bros.

So for those who have no idea what I’m talking about, a crossover is basically when two different franchises appear in a work together. It could apply to two fleshed-out franchises or franchises within franchises. The former is something like Smash Bros. or Marvel vs Capcom. The latter would be something within the Mario Party or Mario Kart field of things. They both fall into the “Throw a bunch of characters together for the hell of it” but one is more wide ranging while the latter is more insular.

So why exactly do people clamor for crossovers so much in fandom? There’s several reasons for this, actually. One of the reasons has to do with the “Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny” kind of trope (the song is great, but I’m talking of the trope) where people begin to debate things like “Who’s more badass? Captain Falcon or Samus?” or “Do you think Balloon Fighter could beat Pit in a race?” and also the ever popular “Mario or Sonic?” debates that heated up the schoolyards in the early 90s. Everybody wants to see these fantasies played out in one way or another. And the power of the crossover can make it happen.

Snake and Samus screenshot, Super Smash Bros Brawl

We aren’t saying anything…

Another reason is shipping… because Rule 34 likes to punch us all in the face with sheer mental scarring, shipping between franchises is an inevitability. People want to ship all kinds of things together but I think there needs to be an official rule that if you are an angsty JRPG protagonist then you are automatically shipped with everything. No exceptions. Yes, even cups of tea and clouds. So much Final Fantasy crossover shipping and Fire Emblem… especially Fire Emblem characters in Smash Bros. They are shipped with EVERYTHING. It’s ridiculous. I’ve already covered this in the Joys of Crack Pairings but it has to be reiterated again. Probably the most popular ship I’ve seen is Snake/Samus. Then again, Smash Bros. was what made this one seem plausible.

Probably the biggest reason why everybody likes a crossover is because we just love the idea of worlds colliding for us. The reason everybody fondly remembers Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is because of the fact that it crossed over Disney and Warner Bros. cartoons. And quite honestly, we all wanted to see that happen (I’ve got to give the Nostalgia Critic some credit on this reason because it was his Disneycember review of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? that made this idea even cross into my mind). Every kid had wanted to see Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse interact. It’s the same idea with video games, particularly Nintendo. We all want to see Mario and Sonic team up for adventures. We all want to see what would happen if Link had to team up with Pit for an adventure. There’s several others ideas that we all have and I’m sure you all have far more creative ideas.

So this brings me to my proposal of what would be the ultimate video game (at least in Nintendo terms); I call it The Great Nintendo Crisis. It’s a combination of a platformer, an RPG, and an adventure game. And yes, the idea kind of came to me for the most part from both Kingdom Hearts and The Subspace Emissary single player game from Super Smash Bros. Brawl. You star as your Mii who is embarking on the World of Nintendo, which is this hub which leads you to the other franchises that choose to participate. (Doesn’t this sound likeNintendo Land? Great minds, Mel –Ed.) Before you can enjoy the day hopping from here and there, something happens and everything disappears. And you’re the only one there. A voice cries out to you, calling out for help. It hands you a key, the only thing that the voice was able to save. It seems that a dark wizard has imprisoned the world of Nintendo. And you have to set out and set free the franchises one by one.

Super Smash Bros Brawl group shot
Imagine a whole game of moments like this! We think Mel needs a development team, stat.

The other Nintendo characters are playable once you set them free. You get a limit of 6 characters in your party and you can mix and choose in any manner. So if you’re someone who likes Luigi, you can pick Luigi. If you’re someone who wants to see an all badass team of Snake, Samus, and Captain Falcon (among others), then go right ahead. Each world has a boss, who is the Big Bad of each franchise begin controlled by the wizard and in the end you all have to unite together to defeat the wizard, but only you can make the killing shot.

Obviously, this would never happen. For one thing, licensing would be a pain in the ass to get even if it’s all within the Nintendo umbrella (well within reason). For another, the budget on this would be kind of crazy. And also, them taking a fan’s suggestion? Yeah right, that’d never happen in a million years. But it’s fun to dream, right? I still think that if it actually DID make this, it would make a killing due to everybody’s love of crossovers.

This was kind of what I was thinking when I was making the See You on Wii U, Kirby feature. It’s the ultimate kind of game that most fanboys and fangirls would love to see happen once or twice. And if any of you want to make some kind of fanfic about this, go right ahead! I’d love to see someone write this up! I may snark on fandom a lot, but I do enjoy it.

Well, that’s all for today’s edition of Fan Service. May your fandom get the props and avoid the knocks. And if you have any crossover ideas or love letters then feel free to comment!

4 Responses to “Fan Service: For the Love of Crossover”

  • 156 points
    Linkrevenge says...

    A little insensitive with the fans service image there. Because it makes fun of my religion and I am not liking that. Others have made this mistake and I am sad you have made that too. *shakes head* Please change it with something that won’t offend, thank you.

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    • 1396 points
      penduin says...

      I (and all of us, I’m guessing) respect your right to believe whatever you want, but you’re being overly-sensitive. It’s a famous image, this is a Nintendo fan site, and that’s all.

      If you honestly can’t help but be offended, then turn the other cheek. That’s what the guy said, right?

      Anyway, I’m offended by censorship, so original poster: please don’t change the image. ;^)

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    • 697 points
      Adam Sorice says...

      Hello LinkRevenge,

      First of all I’d like to apologise on behalf of the website if the Fan Service masthead offended you in anyway. The nature of the Fan Service column is to highlight and discuss both the weird and wonderful things about Nintendo fandom and we felt that the image in question was a good fit for that brief. No members of our staff have been in contact with me in regards to the image and it was made available to both Senior Staff and the writer in question before publication.

      I believe the original intention of the image used is not to cause offence at all, I can only imagine it was originally created to be a pastiche and not a parody in any way. The fact that the Pokémon in the picture itself are depicted as Gods in the Pokémon franchise (Arceus is described quite clearly as the creator of all Pokémon) creates a meaningful correlation between this pastiche and the original Da Vinci painting’s subject matter. The original Da Vinci itself is one of the most iconic pieces of artwork ever and so with all things in popular culture, has become a point for further creative inspiration. The original Last Supper is also a fiercely contested image in its own right, obviously the nature of the discussion relating to the gender of one of the subjects has been widely narrativised in the likes of The Da Vinci Code.

      I hope the fact that I have clarified our thought process behind the image has brought you some comfort in regards to your original offence and also justified why the image will remain in place on the website and at the top of this article. I can only apologise once again for any offence caused and hope this does not dissuade you from continuing to read and enjoy Nintendojo.

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  • 381 points
    Hyawatta says...

    Crossovers

    Crossovers have been the epitome epicness for me since the earliest points in my memory. I remember watching Space Ghost crossover with Teen Force and the Herculoids. That sparked my love for crossovers, not just for the sake of mixing different characters together, but as a means of heightening the intensity and significance of the problems that the characters would have to team up in order to overcome.

    As I saw more crossovers such as He-Man and She-Ra or Scooby Do and Speed Buggy, I realized that there is a major difference in how epic the crossover is based on how solidly the parts are able to stand on their own. The best crossovers were from series that were already well established on their own. Even when the characters already existed in the same universe, the crossover would still be epic as long as they could stand well while apart. However, crossovers that dealt with characters that were not fleshed out before they met up with the others were simply not epic, and did not give off a vibe of having multiple worlds colliding so much as having a special guest star show up.

    Batman: The Animated Series turning into Batman/Superman Adventures, then eventually becoming Justice League worked because Batman and Superman’s shows could stand alone. Turtles Forever worked because we have seen the original Turtles’ comic by itself, we have seen the 80’s cartoon by itself, and we have seen the ’03 cartoon by itself. The Avengers movie worked because the previous movies were good enough to stand alone. The better the parts can stand alone, the better the crossover, but that is just the foundation of what is necessary for a good crossover.

    Crossovers are my favorite thing in fiction media, so much so that it forms the basis of the whole of my original works. Nothing can create the intensity of epicness that a crossover can provide. Along with a solid foundation of materials that can stand on their own, you also need to weave them together in a cohesive and synergistic way, allowing the characters to act and respond naturally to their new situation without breaking them or the environment.

    Smash Bros is a lite and fun crossover that adds an element of epicness without being serious enough to mess anything up. Something along the lines of a Metroid X StarFox or a Captain N type of crossover must take things more seriously. Something along the lines of Super Mario RPG would likely be a good reference point to try to build a successfully epic crossover game. The Super Mario Bros Z flash series is another good example. The Mario & Luigi game structure might work well for that type of crossover. Project X Zone looks interesting as well. But, for an epic adventure that’s based more on action than on RPG and RTS elements, it may take gameplay comparable to Super Mario 64 or Ocarina of Time to pull that off; perhaps something akin to Kingdom Hearts set in NintendoLand. If ever this new epic crossover Nintendo game turns out to be, I would very much like to play through it cooperatively with my friends and family.

    Example of Epic Crossover (Still if Progress) from my bro: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2516718/1/The_Justice_League_of_Anime

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