There are video games that try to make you cry. There are games that gross you out. There are games that tell a sweeping story. There are games that make you think seriously about the world around you.

"Super Smash Bros. Brawl," released recently by Nintendo, is none of those. "Brawl" is about one thing: simple fun. And that's good enough. In fact, it's so good that "Brawl" will almost surely be one of the top-selling games of 2008 and might become the bestselling game yet for Nintendo's popular Wii console.

It is certainly the most anticipated game released this year (at least until "Grand Theft Auto IV" comes out in April). Thousands of fans, disappointed after "Brawl" missed its original release date in December, have flocked to advance tournaments and demonstrations in recent months.

In some ways, "Brawl" is a throwback, a gamer's game. The successor to the original 1999 "Super Smash Bros." and 2001's "Super Smash Bros. Melee" (which has sold more than 7 million copies for Nintendo's GameCube), "Brawl" is all about jumping, spinning and unleashing various attacks to knock your opponent -- whether human- or machine-controlled -- off the screen.

The secret sauce in the "Smash Bros." formula has always been its diverse range of characters taken from other game franchises. Even companies outside Nintendo have seen the value of licensing their famous characters to the series. If you like console games, "Brawl" is like having Luke Skywalker, James Bond and Indiana Jones all in one (impossibly improbable) movie.

The new game's roster reads like a Who's Who of Japanese console stars. It includes Mario, Princess Peach, Zelda, Link, Donkey Kong, Pikachu and Samus Aran ("Metroid"). Perhaps most interesting, it also includes major characters from outside Nintendo, such as Sonic the Hedgehog (from Sega) and Solid Snake (from Konami's "Metal Gear" series).

In their games, these characters are central and often engaged in deep stories. In "Brawl," they are reduced to slightly different packages of teen-friendly combat moves. It's a bit like seeing Gandalf as a sword-and-staff-swinging melee machine (as he has been in some "Lord of the Rings" action games) rather than as the driver of a sweeping plot.

But on its own terms, as a relatively easy-to-play fighting game that is ultimately no gorier or no more violent than Saturday morning cartoons, as a game with no larger point than trash-talking friends or relatives on the couch as you bop their character off the next ledge, it's great. And there's nothing wrong with that.