Once again, the Super Smash Bros. community is bemoaning Nintendo’s vice-like grasp over its fighting game as the company forces a major, highly anticipated tournament to be canceled.
Within a few weeks of the Big House Smash Melee and Ultimate tournaments, organizers have had to break the news that the event cannot be held nor broadcasted. While Nintendo have become notorious for restricting usage of their titles, this cancelation appears to be a step too far for esport fans who have grown hungry for Smash competitions.
Many fans understand that Nintendo is fully within their rights to demand a cease and desist from an organizer, citing the usage of Slippi. For reference, Slippi is used with Smash emulators to modernize Melee’s esport potential and has been considered a breakthrough for the community since its inception in 2018.
Unfortunately, Nintendo decided this unauthorized usage of a third-party project was enough of a primary reason to delegitimize the entire event. And, in the wake of this decision, the Smash community has taken over social media condemning the gaming giant.
Following The Big House’s “heartbroken” announcement, a number of the game’s premier players have joined fans in slamming Nintendo’s behavior and pattern of restrictive control over the esport. The three most renowned Melee players of all time, Juan ‘Hbox’ Debiedma, Joseph ‘Mang0’ Marquez, and Adam ‘Armada’ Lindgren all decried the situation with quote tweets of Big House’s original statement.
Similarly, Team SoloMid’s William ‘Leffen’ Hjelte also spoke out about the issue, explaining that this is yet another unsurprising failure on Nintendo’s behalf. Citing a 2013 situation in which Nintendo sought to block a Melee tournament from taking place at EVO 2013, the popular gamer criticized the company’s actions.
While Hbox tweeted a dramatic “this is the beginning of the end” and Armada echoed the increasingly trending #FreeMelee slogan, Mang0 opted to take his frustration out in a different, more actionable way.
In what would appear to be a subtle nod beckoning a boycott, Mang0 redirected anger toward Nintendo by picking a fight with the company’s most profitable franchise: Pokemon.
As of yet, there has been no response or clarification from Nintendo. While most understand that the company is technically allowed to restrict competitions using their properties, especially when tied to third parties, the game’s community remains furious with the decision.
Melee was released back in 2001 and, according to the fans, has survived as a beloved esport despite years of overbearing behavior from its developers. Nearly 20 years later, players are not surprised by Nintendo’s pattern of control, but seem to have grown completely sick of it.