“Melee Players Are Stuck in the Past”
A while ago, this would have been an entry explaining why Melee players haven’t been happy with the new games, but I think that’s been explained about a thousand times now. It may not have always been in the best of ways, but the general sentiment is probably clear enough to most members of the community. Instead, I’ve decided to focus on a different issue, a notion among gaming communities which, to me, is a large part of why I have very little respect for their opinions in general. It took a supreme level of antagonism towards the competitive Melee community to really shake them out of it, but in general, the way gaming corporations conduct business (which isn’t really a slight against them, since it’s what they need to do) has created this absurd idea that whenever there’s a new entry into a franchise, everybody needs to move on.
The simple fact of the matter is, they absolutely don’t need to “move on”. Here’s a cool idea, how about people play whatever caters to the things they want?
“Hey dude, how’s your ancient 480i wavecheating nonsense going?”
The Melee scene will never move on at this point, and in my opinion that’s a good thing. Why should they? I’m not even going to get into Melee vs Brawl/Smash 4, but it’s very clear to everyone within the competitive community that the difference between those games is night and day. The fact that these games all have “Super Smash Bros.” printed on the case is like saying everyone named Joe is essentially the same guy, and if you have a friend called Joe, then you should also not dislike anyone called Joe because reasons. I know the name for ideas like that: bullshit.
I’m really not a fan of the term eSports, but let’s take that idea and extend it to real life sports! Many years ago, soccer/football was well, just its own sport without the future games it spawned. In fact the name soccer is a nickname created for it to distinguish Association Football from different variations that had been developed from it, the main one, of course, being Rugby Football. Now, even to the most untrained eye, the two sports are massively different, and last I checked, nobody told footballers to “move on”, considering it’s the most popular sport on the planet. Maybe, just maybe, some things don’t actually need to be totally overhauled and changed every few years. Maybe, God forbid, the rules of the game can actually stay stable so that competition can develop to its maximum potential. Here’s a better idea though, let’s ban dunking in the NBA in 6 years, then change the rules for dribbling in another 6, then let’s change hoop height and size for the next season. Hey fuck you Kobe, why don’t you just move on? NBAfags are stuck in the past.
Of course I’m not saying that new Smash Bros games shouldn’t try new things, because, well, that’s sort of the idea of a new game… BUT, at the same time that doesn’t mean people who play Melee should drop something which to them, pretty much has the perfect game engine. Let Melee continue to be its own thing, I mean just look at how far it’s been pushed over the years without any changes to the game’s code whatsoever, look how much playstyles have changed, who says a total overhaul is needed to shake things up?
Of course, here’s a large issue with people who are supposedly into competitive gaming and the whole “we eSports” thing: they don’t really understand competition.
Competition truly reaches its peak and thrives the most in a stable and defined environment. if you have the game engine specifics or even the game itself completely change every few years, how can we really push true mastery of the game? The beauty of true competition is we always feel we’re close to having something be close to its peak, before someone new comes along and totally stands a cut above everyone else to push competition to the next level. Something like this requires stability, because it needs players to develop a deep and intimate understanding of every minute thing that might affect gameplay. This is only achieved by having the ability to pass on a decade’s worth of hard gained insight to be learned within a few months by a new player. If people bail on Melee, this will obviously never happen, and we won’t continue to watch it grow and change.
This is apparently all Melee boils down to, how terrible!
The final point to try and counter that might be that “watching the same 6 characters just gets boring”, but again this is a flawed notion. Quite frankly, 6-8 tournament viable characters with vastly different styles is plenty for a fighting game. Really, that’s a pretty healthy number, and ultimately the biggest thing you’re forgetting is that the characters aren’t playing the game, it’s the players. Everyone and their mother knows the Fox matchup, so for a Fox to advance far into bracket indicates an exceptionally high standard of Fox play. Do you know what I enjoy watching? Exceptionally high standards of Smash play! The depth of familiarity with the high tier characters gives us the privilege of experiencing beautiful intricacies in play that really put those players a cut above the rest. If the game is so samey, why are we so impressed and awed by players’ moments of brilliance? Surely the fact that we understand these top level plays means we shouldn’t really be impressed right?
Well the answer is simple. Melee is truly an incredible competitive game, in which top level play requires years of practice, knowledge, and intimate understanding for players to be able to conceive and execute top level plays. This standard of competition takes stability and longevity to develop. Emergent strategies from a stable environment, that’s the heart of the best competition.
That’s why Melee players don’t need to move on. Ever.