Lag is the downtime period after performing certain attacks or maneuvers. While in the lag period, a player cannot attack or move, and he or she is completely vulnerable to the attacks from an opponent. Different attacks have different lag-times, with the general rule of thumb that more powerful attacks (such as Jigglypuff's Rest, Ganondorf's Warlock Punch, or even Captain Falcon's Falcon Punch) get longer lag times. In some(most) cases it is actually completely avoidable with a properly timed DI. This is notable when playing with characters who have a stall-then-fall attack, and are left grounded for a few moments. Pressing upward during the correct set of frames will allow you completely avoid said lag, so and so forth.
- Main article: Freeze frame
Hitlag, referred to on the Dojo as "impact stall", is the lag that occurs to an attacking character when a powerful move connects with an opponent. Most hitlags are only a few frames, but some hitlags are quite long, such as Zelda's Lightning Kicks and Captain Falcon's Knee Smash. These attacks have approximately 30 frames (half a second) of hitlag, which is easily noticed in real time. This lag will still affect the attacker even if the attack deals no damage, such as versus Mr. Resetti, stage elements, or a character that is invincible. In addition, when two similar attacks clash and "clink", or an attack is Perfect Shielded, it will produce slightly longer hitlag.
Not to be confused with hitlag is hitstun. Hitstun is the amount of frames between the time you get hit and when the knockback actually occurs. During the hitstun, it is possible to use a technique known as Smash DI, which is where you input a direction during the hitstun, and immediately go in that direction, regardless of the initial knockback direction. It is also possible to perform Multiple Smash DIs, which is best represented in the Perfect Control video on Youtube, at about 2:36, and a slower version at about 3:51, during the credits.
Notably, most electric-based attacks cause a decent amount of hitstun and hitlag.
Wifi lag, which is very often confused with frame delay, the amount of time it takes for a move to be inputted, is a change in the FPS (frames per second) of a game due to connection interference. Wifi lag is very common in brawl and semi-common in Project64k/Dolphin. Wifi lag can be caused on either game for multiple reasons. It is quite possible to have 0 wifi lag with someone online while having massive delay. Some of reasons when wifi lag occurs are listed here:
- A dial up connection on brawl wifi virtually always results in lag on brawl wifi.
- A wireless connection, such as by a laptop, automatically causes a small fps drop every so often on either Project64k or Dolphin, which is a form of wifi lag as well.
- Torrenting/Downloading programs/stress on a person's connection (such as someone else in the house online)
Wi-fi lag is a very trodden-upon part of Brawl, and is often cited as one of its worst aspects. However, most players do not realize the difference between Brawl and a game with minimal wi-fi lag such as Mario Kart Wii. In a game such as Mario Kart, a system can predict other player's positions while it waits for the next update - a half-second of lag is perfectly playable. But in Smash Bros, it must know the exact position and action of every element of gameplay before it can do anything - and as this must be done 60 times every second, tiny amounts of lag have a massive effect.
Screen lag (also known as button lag) is not a product of Super Smash Bros., but of the equipment that is being used to display it. Some HDTVs and computer monitors have a short delay in displaying the game actions. While in some cases (especially when digital recording is being used), this delay can reach levels that make the game unplayable, other times it is a minor amount that can be tolerated. In fact, some players intentionally practice on a screen with a delay to improve their reaction time and predicting skills.
On several HDTVs, the lag appears to be caused by the deinterlacer, which converts interlaced video to the progressive video that LCD, plasma, and DLP displays expect. Most deinterlacers are designed for non-interactive video such as television and DVD movies; they buffer several frames to determine how best to handle each part of the picture. Wii owners can use a component video cable and progressive display mode to skip the deinterlacer, which noticeably reduces this lag in Melee and Brawl on TVs such as a Vizio VX32L.