A Taunt By Any Other Name?
Show me your moves!
You’re too slow.
Taunting has always been a part of the Super Smash Bros series. By definition, a taunt is: a remark or action made to provoke, challenge or anger someone. But can it also be a sign of respect?
To some people, the answer apparently is, yes. But why? I’m sure you’ve joined an online match in For Glory when, just as the match has begun, your opponent taunts you. Now to most, this would be a message from your opponent that they think very little of you and feel confident enough to taunt before even seeing what kind of fighter you are. To others, a simple taunt to start a match is a sign of respect to their opponent, akin to a handshake or wishing them the best of luck.
Because Smash Bros doesn’t allow you to communicate with your opponent online, people must create ways to let the other person know what they’re thinking. After a match, you’ve probably seen your opponent change their name or tag to “GG”. This translates to “Good Game” (or GGs which means Good Games). According to some players, displaying a “taunt” prior to the match is no different. It’s a sign of respect rather than disrespect. But what if you’re like me and feel that a taunt is a taunt and nothing else? When the announcer is finished counting down and shouts “Go!”… you go! Am I suddenly the one being disrespectful?
I posed this very question on SmashBoards recently and was shocked by the response. Apparently, I’m a horrible person and should be ashamed of myself. I disagree, at least when it comes to playing Smash Bros online. I consider myself an old school gamer. I play to have fun, but also to win. I’m not the best, not even close, but I take each game seriously. I know Smash Bros online is a joke to some and many people simply troll, but I still always try to win. When the match starts, I’m in win mode and begin my game plan. That game plan is to hit you and try to avoid being hit (you know, the basis of Smash Bros). If I see an opening, I’m going to take it. So if you choose to taunt and give me a free hit… thanks!
Here’s the thing: not everyone partakes in this ritual of taunting prior to a match. If I wait to see if you taunt, I could get punished. I main Dr. Mario, so getting combo’d and/or gimped is a real threat. I don’t want to lose a stock because I thought you might taunt me in a show of respect when, instead, you ran up and tossed me over the ledge. Also, some people are actually just jerks. They taunt because they think they’re great (hate to break it to you, but you’re really not). They wish to anger you in hopes of you getting ahead of yourself and making a costly mistake. So why am I wrong to punish a taunt regardless of circumstance? Good question.
I’ve heard that there’s no need to rush into a match and to wait and see if my opponent sends a “friendly” taunt my way and to return the sentiment. But what if my opponent is the aforementioned jerk? If I reciprocate the taunt, they will just take that opportunity to punish me. Sure, I don’t have to respond and could always wait for their taunt animation to finish before actually starting the match. Still, I was ready to go when the match began, not 2 seconds in because Mario insisted on tipping his cap to me. I don’t have everyone’s taunts memorized, so I’d basically just be waiting for them to make the first move. Not very wise if you ask me.
I’ve watched many major Smash Bros tournaments and I rarely, if ever, see pre-match taunts. Of course, For Glory is very far from a tourney, but why would the rules be any different? I don’t recall two NBA teams stopping to high-five immediately after the ref tosses the ball up for the jump. I can’t remember two boxers sharing a friendly hug after the bell rings. These things are done prior to the game or match. That’s how it’s done at Smash tournaments as well. Before starting a match, the players might shake hands or wish the other ‘good luck’. As I mentioned earlier, players often change their tags to send messages to opponents after online matches. If you really must say something, either wait to say it after the match or do it before. When the match begins, it’s time to fight. It’s confusing to me how so many people can disagree with this simple premise.
Once again, I get it, it’s a game. It’s supposed to be fun. And it is, for the most part! So let’s have fun by actually playing the game. To those that like to display a pre-match taunt, I say do so at your own risk. Just don’t assume your opponent will do the same. Also, don’t get angered when they don’t. Remember, just as you might think they’re disrespecting you by taking the free hit, they might also see your taunt as being disrespectful to them.
This is a discussion and it’s obviously open for debate. I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the matter. There are always two sides to every argument. I think I’ve reasonably gone over both sides of this particular argument. My personal stance is clear, though: I don’t believe in the pre-match taunt and will take any hit you willingly choose to give me. If you feel the same, let me know in the comments section below. If you now despise me because of this, tell me why! Either way, I appreciate you taking a moment to read this article and being a part of the discussion here on AZBros.com. Thanks!