By now, the announcement of the Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl fighting game has up-smashed its way through the internet. Folks are positively giddy about the prospect of beating their friends to death with the cinnamon sugary fists of Powdered Toast Man or with Helga’s toxic, obsessive love for Arnold. But among the roster of childhood faves, characters are missing that would add an even greater level of hype to the already-hype-as-hell game: Nickelodeon’s human stars.
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If you watched The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story, a documentary about the child-oriented cable network’s first years, you’d know that just as critical to Nick’s success as its cartoons was the network’s scripted live-action shows. I’m talking Millennial and Gen Z household mainstays like All That, Hey Dude, and Double Dare, featuring such talents as Kenan Thompson, Amanda Bynes, Marc Summers, and Lori Beth “Vital Information” Denberg.
These actors and the characters they brought to life would be a natural, hilarious fit for a fighting game. Imagine a bout between Reptar and the star of The Amanda Show, Amanda Bynes. As Amanda dodges Reptar’s tail, her “Ask Ashley” rage bar fills until she unleashes a temper-tantrum storm of blows. And for her Final Smash (or whatever the Nickelodeon-ified equivalent) she releases an unblockable barrage of dancing lobsters that stampede across the stage.
Nickelodeon and Ludosity, the developers for All-Star Brawl, can even go beyond cartoons and scripted shows and add characters and elements from Nick’s roster of unmatched game shows. I’m thinking of a game that’ll let me crash a piece of the Aggro Crag (G.U.T.S.) on someone’s head or fight as one of those utterly fucking terrifying Temple Guards (Legends of the Hidden Temple). And slime, I want so much slime. If there’s no special ability that lets players slime the entire stage, then what are we even doing here Nickelodeon?
I regrettably understand that likeness rights prevent most of these dreams from coming true. I am, however, willing to settle for something like Smash’s Mii fighters that merely resemble these memorable characters of my youth. I’ll even take trophies or stages that reference those live-action shows. Nickelodeon’s rich history goes beyond the cartoons we dearly loved. If there’s a way for Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl to pay homage to that, then it will be my automatic GOTY.