I mean, this character isn't even playable. What's the deal?
A vocal contingent of Super Smash Bros fans have an obsession. They've wanted one of Metroid's prime villains, Ridley, as a playable character for years—long before the latest installment in the series was even announced. Their campaign has thus far yielded nothing tangible, leading to widespread outcry on these here internets.
So who is Ridley?
Ridley is a dinosaur from our imagination, and when he's tall he's what we call a— wait, no, wrong (sometimes) purple dinosaur dragon creature. Ridley is a space pirate from Nintendo's much-loved Metroid series. He's main character Samus' archrival, and he's appeared in almost every game in the series. He's also pretty big.
Why are people so adamant about getting him in the game?
Well, I mean, he's pretty cool, for one—and a legacied Nintendo character to boot. Kinda makes sense that he'd end up on the roster, especially given that Samus is the only Metroid character on there so far. For years—going back to the pre-Super-Smash-Bros-Brawl days—people grumbled for his inclusion, perplexed that he only ever appeared in level backgrounds, cut-scenes, and at best, as a (still non-playable) campaign mode boss.
Tensions boiled to a fever pitch, however, when back in 2008 the now defunct Nintendo Power Magazine asked Super Smash series head Masahiro Sakurai about rumors that Ridley was once considered for a playable spot in Brawl. His (now infamous) response:
"I think that would probably be impossible. [laughs] If we had put our best efforts into it, we may have been able to do it. But he might have been a little slow. Would that have been all right? [laughs]."
Over the years this quote has been twisted into everything from an admission that Ridley could totally be a playable character and the development team just isn't trying hard enough, to Sakurai chalking the issue up to Ridley's monstrous size (which he didn't; he only specifically mentioned speed).
Regardless it made people mad, escalating Ridley's spot in the big show from occasional, impassioned request to eternal sticking point.
People have even found ways to hack Ridley into previous Smash Bros games.
Is Ridley playable in the new Smash Bros for 3DS/Wii U?
No. At least, not so far. Now that the 3DS version is out in Japan the entire roster's been revealed, and—wouldn't you know it?—no sign of Ridley's handsomely jagged face or gentle 113-toothed smile anywhere.
How are people taking that?
But some are doing constructive things too—for instance, making tributes to Ridley that suggest how he could be included as a playable character in Smash Bros, if Nintendo ever decides to go that route:
Others have made Facebook groups in support of Ridley's poor, purple plight.
So I take it people are even more upset now?
Bingo. Many are especially outraged because Ridley's once again stuck on the sidelines while so-called "clone" characters (that is, ones that play a lot like preexisting options) like Dark Pit take up space. Why not make a real new character, these armchair designers argue. Of course, it's not always that easy, but that doesn't really mean much when they can't rampage around as their favorite purple space dragon, devouring all plumbers, Pokemon, and pink puffball men who might stand in their way.
Is there... *dries tears* is there hope for the future?
Maybe! Rumors persist that Ridley will make his way into the newest Smash Bros game later, possibly as some form of DLC or unlockable. The newest edition of the rumor suggests that linking the 3DS and (when it comes out) Wii U versions of Smash Bros will bring new characters into the fold by way of some unknowable connective wizardry.
These EXTREMELY RUMORED characters VERY ALLEGEDLY include Ridley, the equally mourned Mewtwo, Dixie Kong, and The Chorus Kids from Rhythm Heaven. Again, there is VERY LITTLE ACTUAL EVIDENCE to suggest that this is true.
Not much is substantiated right now. This could just be hopeful fans seeing Ridley everywhere in the same way Bigfoot believers and UFO hunters see their respective quarries in everything from forests to cereal bowls. It could mean absolutely nothing at all.
On the upside, Nintendo has finally started to embrace the concept of DLC with games like Mario Kart 8 on Wii U, so we'll see. Fingers crossed.
Do fans treat any other characters this way?
Yes, although Ridley is arguably the most fervently whispered about. Donkey Kong big bad King K Rool is another banana-cream-pie-in-the-sky hopeful, though. People have been requesting his inclusion for years, and the Internet is littered with art of what his costumes would look like and even potential move sets. Fans also frequently get up in arms about Isaac from handheld fantasy RPG series Golden Sun, Krystal from Star Fox, and—perhaps most obscurely—Geno from Super Mario RPG.
So all-in-all this sort of behavior isn't entirely atypical, but fans only really go above and beyond for a select few characters.
Ridley? Ridley Ridley Ridley?
Ridley. Definitely Ridley.
Top image credit goes to N3ON from Smash Boards.