I just wanted to feel something. The Heroes vs. Villains Splatfest seemed like a no-brainer to me at first. I try to be a good person and Nintendo’s Smash heroes are some of the best role models a person can have. What does it mean for us though, to be “good” in a videogame that is about winning and splatting people? You’re always going to be a villain to somebody. Even the person of purest intentions is going to do something wrong or be misunderstood at some point, so I decided to cut my losses and pick the Villain side from the get-go.
Nintendo’s heroes are iconic, brave, colourful, and stand out from a mile away. The villains however have a much more interesting and intricate design and more emotional depth. A running theme with Nintendo heroes is they barely say anything and just save the world every time with perfect movement and emotional stability. I can’t relate to that. I can relate to Ganondorf being the only Gerudo male trying to save his species, as an Australian in the squid world surrounded by Japanese players. I can relate to K. Rool being extremely jealous of Donkey Kong’s banana stash and trying to distribute them fairly across the island. Anyway, that’s enough about Smash I think, today was about Splatoon. I had a good time playing with friends on team villain for a bit, but decided that solo would be worth a punt, and perhaps the true test of this ideal. This was where I could find out the real meaning of villains and heroes. The first match started with two aerosprays and a splattershot on my team. Great turfing weapons, I thought. We would claim the land as our own and their poor inking composition would not be able to respond.
The depressing reality sunk in faster than a curling bomb-rush could fill my lungs. All three of my teammates died the second they arrived at the middle of the stage. While we were thirsty for turf, the blaster on their team was sub-strafing like crazy and picking us off like flies. The squiffer was slaying with pinpoint accuracy, the dapples was dropping beakons, and the aerospray was just doing their thing without dying. This was an incredibly organised team of heroes working together. It took us a long time to get one kill as we ran in one-by-one and died, greedy for personal glory as well as turf dominance. Each of us trying to claim the spoils for ourselves, not willing the share the turf with other villains. I finally managed to splat both the blaster and the squiffer and promptly belted out a Booyah! One person Booyah’d back, one was dead and another was just turfing a corner of our base we already had. I don’t think they even noticed. This was our chance to gain control with numbers advantage over the enemy, but they jumped back to their beakons faster than you can say “Link is a loser”. The one victorious Booyah was fleeting as they re-took mid immediately. I traded with the Blaster and let out another Booyah, despite knowing it was a bad trade. We needed numbers and I needed to stay alive. I needed to pretend like I had a plan for the morale of the other villains.
Inevitably we got swamped in the last 30 seconds and lost by a huge margin. Both teams had the same power level at 1700, but the Heroes simply worked together better. They knew the game, they knew each other, they had a purpose. I threw a sprinkler at my own feet as the game ended, and stood there as the ink wiped away my tears in an eventual circular motion. A villain does not wipe his own tears.
This wouldn’t do. After 7 games of similar disappointment, I ended up with my lowest Splatfest score ever at 1670. Getting matched against Japan may have played a part, but the bigger problem was the villains not working together. Everyone was going for individual glory and conceding all control over the turf in the process. With all logic out the window, I decided that being a villain slayer with one single weapon that I main is not the right approach.
I had to be more evil. It was time for the Tenta Brella to consume every living soul. It was the only thing big enough to block the hope of heroes. It was also time, for a 10x battle.
This game ended up being one of the hardest, but most fun battles of my life. Like true greedy villains, everyone’s eyes lit up at the mere sight of a 10x battle. Booyahs flooded the screen and we knew this was our chance. 7 bad games would be completely washed away by the clout on offer here. The game ended up being very close. After how the previous games went, I knew that having 3 good turfing teammates would not be enough. The heroes had a very aggressive octoshot and 3 other weapons that outranged all my teammates. I had to support them with beakons, shields, and win a lot of fights myself. Instead of acting like 4 individual villains, we had to combine to make one big villain. Soyboy and jojack got their ink armours at the right time to dig me out of trouble, Falcor88 got no kills but turfed like an absolute maniac, and I just kept control of the middle with my tent blocking any hope the heroes had in all directions. We lost our fair share of fights but ultimately triumphed.
At the end of the day, what did I learn about heroes and villains? Absolutely nothing. I learned that we’re all the same. People on both sides needed support to accomplish anything. I learned that Splatfest is simply about being there for people, having as much fun as possible, playing with friends, and if you gamble on the solo lottery, the best approach is to take it with a grain of salt and a playstyle that you’re going to have fun with. Ultimately your team is going to perform better when they are all enjoying themselves, this goes for seasoned players and new ones. Someone playing their first Splatfest could be the person who decides the outcome of the game, and a Booyah would absolutely make their day. You might think they won’t notice if you put a beakon down, but place them anyway. Support them anyway. Give them a chance. The real villains are those who don’t have any fun, and I must say that if we lose the Splatfest, it won’t be the worst thing in the world. The worst thing in the world is not being yourself.