Super Smash Bros Melee is widely popular today, as made apparent by the Smash community, two decades after it first came out. All sorts of people come together regularly to play it, both casually and competitive, despite there being more games in the series that came out later.
I think it’s that last bit that has made Nintendo view the Melee community as a thorn in their side, not just ignoring them like they probably should, but sometimes downright attempting to put a stop to the happenings on the scene. It’s happened all over the place, and it’s happened quite a number of times, and I think we can all agree that it makes little to no sense.
Well, this is that time Nintendo caved to pressure from the Smash Community.
Recently, we saw Fizzi create a rollback netcode for Super Smash Bros Melee, allowing people to have full events online, which was an absolute godsend to a community that is only ever known for LAN events unable to meet up due to a global pandemic. Nintendo literally shut down one of the biggest Netplay tournaments going around, causing outrage, and the #FreeMelee movement gained some real traction. We’ve not really seen anything in the way of a resolution to this one, and we likely never will if history has told us anything.
There was one time where there was a resolution. There was one time where players of Smash Bros Melee beat the behemoth in front of them, and raised a ton of money for charity at the same time. The story goes back all the way to 2013, and the largest fighting game tournament in the world, EVO!
Super Smash Bros Melee was not originally meant to be at EVO and hadn’t been featured at the event since 2007. Super Smash Bros Brawl was featured for a couple of years after Melee lost its spot, but beyond that there was little to celebrate at EVO for fans of the platform brawler.
The staff at EVO decided to do something interesting, however, by having a competition where the communities of games not on the lineup could compete with each other to raise money, with the community raising the most money getting the final coveted spot. It became clear fairly quickly that the communities of Super Smash Bros Melee and the criminally underrated fighter Skull Girls would be going all out to ensure their game would feature at the event.
In the end, the Melee community clutched it out, raising over $90,000 for breast cancer research in the process. It was a huge win for the many players who had been keen to see Melee return to the biggest stage of them all.
Excitement was building around the event, Melee players signed up in droves to enter EVO, more than doubling the all-time entry record at the time to get a grand total of 709 entrants. It was safe to say that the future of Melee had never looked brighter.
But Nintendo had other ideas. Less than a week before the tournament was scheduled to begin, Nintendo of America tried to pull the plug on the whole thing. EVO announced that they did not have permission to stream the Melee portion of the event, with legal action being threatened if they were to stream it anyway.
Needless to say, the community reacted harshly. Not just the Melee community but gaming communities from all genres and countries began openly expressing their outrage and confusion as to why Nintendo would sabotage their own property. Somehow Nintendo had found itself the villain of the story and was facing a public relations nightmare.
It took mere hours for Nintendo to cave to the pressure from gamers everywhere. Some would say they came to their senses, but Nintendo’s actions toward the Smash community since suggest that there is still some bitterness there. However, in this instance, EVO was allowed to go ahead as planned, with Melee an integral part of the festivities.
The event went extremely well, and on the day legendary player Mango won in an extremely hype tournament. Melee got its happy ending, and only a few months later, Samox released his acclaimed documentary series The Smash Bros. The power of EVO and Samox combined led to a boom period for Melee, one that it is still reaping the benefits of eight years later.
And it turns out, it almost didn’t happen altogether. EVO later said that Nintendo tried to shut down the entire tournament and not just the live stream. EVO were adamant that Melee should still take place as they’d earned their spot. Through discussions with Nintendo, they managed to get them to sign off on the in-person event, but not the live stream.
All in all, Nintendo, for a reason that nobody quite understands, seems to despise the competitive Smash community. This is just one example of many where they’ve caused issues for the various games, making it difficult for events to operate properly. If you ask me, you should be more upset about it… Especially if you are a Project M fan…
But that’s a whole different story.
Thank you for stopping by Nintendo Link and enjoying this “That Time” article. What do you think of the Smash community fighting against Nintendo? Are you surprised? Not at all? Let us know what you think in the comments below!