It has finally happened.
“Super Smash Bros. Melee,” the 2001 platform fighter-turned-electronic-sports darling of many Nintendo fans has finally been thrown out of the Evolution Championship Series’ (Evo) mainline rotation, complete with a farewell video during a livestream on Twitch, this past Tuesday.
For many fighting game fans, it was a cause for celebration.
For “Melee” players, it was a time for mourning and salt.
Lots and lots of salt.
I can understand why one would be mad that a game with a smaller fanbase like the French Bread-developed “Under Night In-Birth: Exe Late[st]” (“UNIST”) made it in as the ninth and final entry on the event’s main stage roster, but the scene for fellow “anime” fighting game, “Guilty Gear Xrd Rev2,” didn’t bat an eye at their exclusion from the main stage.
They already had their time in the sun, after all.
The scene for “UNIST” has proven time and again they deserved a moment like this – recent tournaments and events like Ben Robinson’s Climax of Night proved that community leaders are willing to take personal financial risks. They even take ones that might send them into poverty to get their game recognized by the wider Fighting Game Community.
“Melee” players, unfortunately, do not care for that – the $94,683 donated to breast cancer towards their inclusion at Evo 2013, notwithstanding.
They keep saying “they don’t need Evo,” yet, when they finally get excluded from the main lineup of the “largest fighting game tournament in the world,” they get absurdly mad, almost as if that sentiment didn’t carry any meaning.
By this point in time, “Melee” players have a wide array of events across America, and the entire world, just for the game of their choice.
Events like Genesis, The Big House, Super Smash Con, and our local offering, Shine, provide enough battlegrounds for “Melee” players and “Smash” players, in general, that set themselves apart to the point where Evo shouldn’t matter to them.
There was only one tournament dedicated to “UNIST” and other French Bread-developed titles in 2018, again, Robinson’s Climax of Night. “Melee,” on the other hand, had 25.
That’s 24 tournaments, and the inclusion of Evo counting for itself.
As for this year, “Melee” was well-represented at Genesis 6 in early February, and “Melee” players get to look forward to next month’s Full Bloom 5.
“Melee” players and fanatics need to know it is time to move on.
This game is practically a dinosaur now, and I shouldn’t be talking, given my expertise in older fighting games. In general, “Smash” fans have moved on. Evo audiences have moved on. Time, itself, has moved on.
Despite this, competitive “Melee” players refuse to let go.
Instead, they should take this negative, unproductive energy and put it toward the events that will cater to them, 18 years after its initial release. Heck, even going to your local “Smash” meet is a unique way of keeping it alive.
But knowing the bad side of the competitive fanbase, they’ll just keep whining instead of doing anything about it. Typical stuff, I say.