Video Games

The Magicant Stage in Smash Bros. Ultimate Perfectly Depicts EarthBound’s Flying Men

Super Smash Bros Ultimate - Flying Man

While Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is an excellent fighting game, it isn’t beloved for its smooth controls alone. It provides near-perfect representations of characters, items, and places from a wide range of video game franchises. If you want to see the level of care Nintendo puts into these likenesses, you don’t have to look any further than the EarthBound-inspired Magicant stage. 

The Magicant stage isn’t new to Smash Bros. Ultimate, but it is a stage that many players might have missed the last time around. It was exclusive to the 3DS version of Smash 4, which means Wii U players were left in the dust. Thankfully, Nintendo created an updated version of the stage for Ultimate that kept everything that made the original stage special, like the Jolly Flying Men from EarthBound

In EarthBound, players meet their first Flying Man shortly after entering the dream world of Magicant. The Flying Man offers to “be your courage” and fight alongside you. If you agree to his offer, he’ll join your party and follow you until he is killed in battle. If you return, you’ll find his tombstone and another Flying Man that is willing to join you. You can repeat this process several times, but when you meet the fifth Flying Man, something changes. 

Instead of immediately volunteering his services, the fifth Flying Man admonishes you for your behavior. “Of course, we’re your courage. But we warned you not to treat us like trash!” he cries. “Didn’t you get it?! This isn’t courage, it’s desperation. If you don’t understand ‘courage,’ look it up in the dictionary. Okay? My name’s The Final Flying Man.”

When he dies, a fifth tombstone appears, but the Flying Men don’t return.

Super Smash Bros Ultimate - Magicant

On the Magicant stage, the Flying Men will gladly fight for you, provided you reach them before your opponents do. They’ll fight heartily for as long as they can, but will eventually disappear, leaving a grave in their place. When one Flying Man dies, a new one will appear, and the process will repeat itself. However, once the fifth Flying Man is defeated, you’ll have nothing but tombstones until your next match. 

It’s a small detail that many players will never even see; you have to play for quite a while to go through five Flying Men. But even though it’s a minor feature, it perfectly illustrates the care that Nintendo takes with everything they create for the Smash Bros. series. The next time you play on Magicant, don’t treat the Flying Men like trash. Take the time to notice them and the courage they lend to you.

Mandi likes games about existentialism and the power of friendship. She's really into chickens.