Earlier today, Nintendo announced Steve from Minecraft is the next Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fighter, and Twitter promptly collapsed under the weight of a billion takes. I think the reaction to Steve is mostly positive, though I say so with caution: there's still no shortage of Smash fans who are furious about being denied Geno, Dante, Crash Bandicoot, Sora, and countless other dream entries.
I'm happy about Steve's addition, and not just because I'm a mid-tier Minecraft fan (who much prefers the Dragon Quest Builders series). When Minecraft lands in Smash, he's going to bring a lot of young new fans with him. If Nintendo wants to sustain Smash in the long-run and keep it from becoming a game exclusively for elite players, that minty fresh wave of pickaxes and pork chops is what it needs.
Besides, it's a nice change-up from the usual nostalgic drop-in. Steve is clearly a unique fighter with an interesting moveset. This is not an instance of yet another Fire Emblem character coming to Smash with sword in hand. There are complaints that Steve's style might be too "weird," but Smash has Duck Hunt Dog and Mr. Game and Watch; it'll be fine. Smash Director Masahiro Sakurai knows what he's doing. He even had to re-think Smash's stages to include Steve's unusual block-based method of combat.
(Incidentally, I worry that Nintendo is overworking Sakurai, but I admit the thick layer of salt he poured out during the Steve reveal made my morning.)
Kids are generally excited about Steve's entry into Smash's hallowed halls, and that's another reason I'm glad he's coming. I'm happy that the rugrats are happy. Older Smash fans might scoff at the admission of such a mainstream character, but Minecraft is one of the best-selling games of all time and shows no signs of slowing down. For a lot of people under 20, Steve is as important an icon as Super Mario.
And, at the risk of sounding like a Canadian vampire, the arrival of Steve is the inoculation of fresh blood that Smash needs. A lot of kids are going to get into Smash because of Steve, or they're going to return for the first time since Smash's launch in 2018. Currently, playing Smash online isn't much fun because you're going to get, well, smashed. If Steve can mix things up a little, I'm all for having him on the guest list.
I wonder if, at some point, Nintendo looked at the third-party characters included in Smash and realized most of the roster appeals primarily to players over the age of 25. What does a school-age kid know about Castlevania and Simon Belmont? You're probably not going to catch a fourth grader playing Persona 5. (God willing.) Does Timothy, age 10, care about Solid Snake or Banjo-Kazooie? Mega Man and Sonic the Hedgehog might interest younger players, but both mascots' game output currently isn't consistent. By contrast, Minecraft is a constant in kids' lives. It's a living world that's always on, always available, and always changing.
Nintendo might've cheesed off some hardcore Smash players by bringing Steve into the fold, but it's one of the smartest third-party additions to the series since Solid Snake popped out of his box in the Super Smash Bros. Brawl trailer. Still mad? Well, think of it this way. At least we got Steve instead of a gyrating Fortnite character that utilizes a llama pinata for its Final Smash.