I have a ton of replays saved, which I wanted to convert to video before the update hits, as the new update comes with balance changes, which I would expect would make the replays from older versions unplayable.

From what I understand, the replays you take after each match are simply a recording of all the events and inputs that happened in a match. So when you watch a replay, the game simply recreates the whole match based on that info. That's why you can interact with the replay and change the camera around for example.

So if an update comes with balance changes, the game shouldn't be able to replay the data. Say you had a smash attack that takes longer to execute in the new patch. If you attempt to watch the replay from before the patch, the changed smash attack would throw the whole thing out of sync, wouldn't it? That's why they always warn you of updates and how replays would be lost... or so I thought.

I was horrified today when I realized the game had updated when I wasn't looking. I expected all the unsaved replays to be gone, but they were still there. And yes, the game was updated, as I was able to play online. From the few replays that I tried to watch, they seemed to work perfectly fine... but why?

I don't get it. Why can I still look at the old replays? Do I have to fear some of the replays might be gone and it simply kept all salvageable replays? Or do the replays somehow play back using an older version of the game? If so, why do they warn us in upcoming updates if that's the case?

  • 1
    What was the version update number? Previously only major updates would break replays (if I recall correctly x.x.y being the version number, an update of X would break replays; an update of Y would not. – raumkrieger May 31 '19 at 22:48
  • When you launch the game and it says “press any button to continue.” What’s the version number in the top right corner? – scohe001 Jun 1 '19 at 2:25
  • Weird question... it's the newest version: 3.1.0. Or are you talking about the previous version I had? – noClue Jun 1 '19 at 9:54
  • You said “the game had updated when I wasn't looking,” so I wanted confirmation that the game did in fact update. – scohe001 Jun 1 '19 at 12:37
  • I said I was able to play online though. – noClue Jun 1 '19 at 12:38

It's been awhile since I've been home to play Smash on my own Switch, but I finally got the chance last night.

Upon opening Smash, I was prompted with the screen below with some Version 3.1.0 details. I've highlighted one bullet in particular (the system wouldn't let me screenshot this, so enjoy a picture of my TV):

Ver. 3.1.0 Update Details

  • There may be some compatibility issues with replays from Ver. 3.0.0 and Ver. 3.0.1. Replays from Ver. 2.0.2 and earlier are not compatible. If you want to keep your replays, convert them into videos before installing the update. You can do this via Vault -> Replays -> Replay Data -> Convert to Video.

It sounds like Nintendo only "invalidated" replays from 2.0.2 and earlier (the last update before 3). 3.0.0 updates on the other hand, they've left with a warning that "there may be some compatibility issues."

It looks like these "compatibility issues" are exactly what you're seeing--but at least you didn't lose all of your replays this time!


We're not really sure yet how or why 3.0.0/3.0.1 replays are still usable in 3.1.0. The leading theory is that the game knows what characters/stages are unchanged and so doesn't need to invalidate replays that only use them. The other major guess is that the game actually has both datasets saved and will pick the one that matches the replay, though I haven't seen any proof of this yet.

  • I can already tell you the first theory is not true, as I'm a King K. Rool main and he was changed in the recent update. All of my replays, which pretty much always feature King K. Rool, are unaffected and can still be played. There were a lot of changes to characters, so the game would've nuked pretty much all replays. – noClue Jun 1 '19 at 13:51
  • So... strange thing happened. In some of my King K. Rool vs Young Link replays, the video would randomly stop and give an error message "This replay can't be played" Then it asks me if I want to delete it. No idea why it keeps happening, but I think it has something to do with Young Link's grappling hook. Although, he wasn't one of the characters who was changed in the patch notes, so maybe there is an undocumented change for him. – noClue Jun 1 '19 at 14:20
  • K Rool's up air was the only thing changed for K Rool, and that's only for grabbing edges. Maybe why all the replays worked except for the Young Link hook replay was that this change only made a difference in that replay? Not sure if this is true; just theorising. – MBorg Jun 1 '19 at 15:34
  • @MBorg I found some replays with Sonic that were also broken. As for King K. Rool's change, my guess is that if I grabbed the edge after using up air at a later time than I was supposed to with the new update, then it would break the replay, too, since I should've grabbed the edge sooner than I did. Who knows... – noClue Jun 2 '19 at 10:18
  • My personal theory is that the game saves some extra data in replays such as expected damage or expected KO times, and it can figure out that it's been update-desynced if they later turn out to mismatch. But no proof yet. – Toomai Jun 2 '19 at 13:52

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