While the main draw of Super Smash Bros. is the multiplayer action, there is something to be said about the story behind the fighting game. Featuring fighters from beyond Nintendo's usual cast of characters, Sakurai decided to explain how this was all made possible with very complex lore that not many people know about.
And at the center of it all is Master Hand. Smash fans will remember seeing a white gloved hand in the short intro of the original Super Smash Bros., bringing plush to life with a snap of his fingers. At first this seems like just a clever way of introducing the game but it's actually part of something much, much bigger.
Super Smash Bros. 64
In the opening to Super Smash Bros., Master Hand takes out a plush of Mario and drops it onto a table. Upon snapping his fingers, Mario is transported onto a stage and is animated, signifying that the doll has come to life.
Master Hand was seen again as the final boss of Super Smash Bros., appearing in the Final Destination stage.
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Super Smash Bros. Melee seres the return of Master Hand. He is the boss in Classic Mode, meaning players once again face him on Final Destination as the final battle. Defeating Master Hand turns the screen black. The battle itself doesn't offer any insight into Master Hand, but a trophy in the game does.
The trophy description reads: "The Master Hand awaits anyone who survives the long difficult road to the Final Destination. This symbolic link between the real world and the imaginary battlefields of Super Smash Bros. Melee is quite a handful in battle, and just because he wears a white glove doesn't mean he fights clean. Get ready to get flicked, swatted, punched, and poked like crazy!"
This answers some questions fans may have had in Super Smash Bros. 64. Master Hand is able to take characters from "the real world" and put them into Smash, a world that's apparently "imaginary." But why?
Melee introduced Crazy Hand as well. While he looks similar to Master Hand, Crazy Hand is more spastic and unpredictable, moving his fingers in a sinister way. Crazy Hand is said to be the left hand to Master Hand's right hand, but it's not clear right away what this truly means to Smash's lore.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
While Master Hand is once again the final boss in Brawl's Classic Mode, the game brings a lot more insight into Master Hand's role in the growing Smash universe.
The Subspace Emissary is one of the most popular single-player Smash modes of all time. Master Hand appears in this mode and can be seen giving orders to villains at the beginning of the story. He does this through a video screen. So his Master Hand evil?
A trophy in the game said: "A being tied to the link between this world, where trophies fight, and the world beyond. The meaning of his existence is unknown, as are his goals, but he seems to have obtained (and kept hidden) a power that borders on absolute. He also seems to feel a certain joy in challenging chosen warriors who've claimed many victories. He waits even now in Final Destination."
Ganondorf reports to Master Hand after all the Smash characters arrive in Subspace. When Master Hand is revealed, Ganondorf notices that he's under the control of a being known as Tabuu. Tabuu has used chains of light to enslave Master Hand in hopes of getting him to recruit all of the fighters.
When freed, Master Hand fights Tabuu despite being bloodied and hurt. Unfortunately, he is defeated by Tabuu, too weakened to take on the bad guy. It's not known what happened to Master hand after this moment but he does appear to be dead.
Super Smash Bros. 4
Master Hand has apparently survived. He is the final boss of Classic Mode once again, even appearing with Crazy Hand at some points. In fact, this time around it seems as though Master Hand and Crazy Hand are one — they share an HP meter. They also do attacks together as one.
This is a bit peculiar since Master Hand was revealed to only be evil in Brawl due to Tamuu. But now he is fighting against the Smash roster once again. This time, defeating Master Hand releases Master Core.
Master Core is only revealed in Smash 4 if players defeat Master Hand and Crazy Hand at an intensity of 8.0 or higher. He is some type of mass, with an abundance of particles appearing to come together to create an incredibly powerful being. They are known as the Swarm.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Master Hand and Crazy Hand are the bosses of Classic Mode in Ultimate, but this time they both have their own health bars. Only certain characters fight him. Master Hand also appears in Adventure Mode: World of Light.
A swarm of Master Hands can be seen flying towards the fighters. They look to be controlled by Galeem. The hands unravel, revealing blue energy within. Galeem absorbs this energy and then releases a beam of light.
During the game itself, Master Hand will get in the way of fighters. He must be defeated in order to face Galeem. When Galeem is defeated, Dharkon appears with an army of Crazy Hands. They attack the Master Hands, destroying them and revealing yellow light. It's possible that these are just copies of Master Hand, which explains the light and lack of blood.
Master Hand appears to be controlled by another force once again. This time it's Galeem. At one point during a fight, Master Hand can even be seen "looking" back and forth in confusion, clearly confused how he got there. Once you defeat Master Hand and Crazy Hand, they will even start helping you fight Galeem. Players can even control Master Hand.
Galeem is known as the Lord of Light. He is the "ultimate enemy" of Smash Ultimate, with the fighters attempting to stop him from recreating the universe in his own image. Dharkon is the dark version of Galeem with the same goals.
Where did Master Hand come from?
The origin of Master Hand is unknown. But he isn't solely tied to the Smash universe.
Master Hand is also found in some Kirby games, including Kirby Super Star and Kirby and the Amazing Mirror. Master Hand even has some similar attacks in Kirby Super Star, like walking across the stage and flicking Kirby. Master Hand and Crazy Hand are the bosses of Level 9 in Amazing Mirror.
Sakurai is the creator of Smash and Kirby, so it's not too surprising to see Master Hand in both games. But what does this mean about Master Hand and his role in the universes?
Master Hand's origins are unclear as are his motives. In Brawl, his trophy reads: "The meaning of his existence is unknown, as are his goals, but he seems to have obtained (and kept hidden) a power that borders on absolute."
Master Hand is the "source of creation" of Smash's universe but it's a mystery why he has created this universe. He enjoys challenging fighters but would that be enough of a reason to create an entire universe?
While having infinite powers similar to Kirby, Master Hand seems to be made of organic materials, evident from when he bled. For this reason, many have speculated that Master Hand represents the creator of Smash, since Master Hand appears to be from this world but has created an entirely different universe where characters fight.
This makes it all the more confusing, however, when his alignment comes into play. Is he good or evil? Master Hand is revealed to be controlled by another force in almost every game, meaning he isn't the one making decisions. But in Smash 4, Master Hand was still doing pretty sinister stuff after Tabuu was defeated.
So is Master Hand Sakurai? Are the villains who control him Nintendo?
Another theory is that Master Hand and Crazy Hand represent different types of gamers. Master Hand is a calculated fighter, someone who practices techniques, maybe an older sibling. Crazy Hand is a more in-the-moment fighter who relies on instinct, maybe a younger sibling. Is Tabuu their father? That would explain why he makes the fighters into trophies, like taking a child's toy away.
Some Smash fans even wonder if what is happening in-game is even "real life." Maybe it's all made up. Maybe they are not the real fighters. Is a kid just imaging that all their favorite characters from different games are coming together to fight?
Sadly, Sakurai hasn't answered any of these questions after so many years. And now he is too busy riding horses and petting his cat to tell us. For now.
Esports writer and editor with a passion for creating unique content for the gaming community.