13 years of Melee and still going on?
An article about expectations on Smash 4, hope and fear about the future of Melee
– by Tero @TeroLawliet
About the author:
Tero’s first contact with the competitive smash scene was in 2006, watching MTV True Lifes “I’m a professional gamer” featuring KillaOR. He is the founder of the German Smash Boards, former Melee and Brawl Back Room member on smashboards, and founding member of Salty Playground (until July 2014). Over the years, he has hosted several tournaments (Smash Royale) and has been a TO at most German events. Currently, he lives in Sweden in the Uppsala/Stockholm area.
A few days ago I stumbled across this article called “Melee the masterpiece, Melee the demon” and I was fascinated by its last paragraph:
For him, Melee was more than a sequel, more than a game even. It was his idée fixe, his impossible ambition to create something infinitely deep and comfortably shallow at the same time. Now Melee has become his Pinkerton: A revitalized cult masterpiece, a bolt of lightning caught in a bottle, and the one puzzle piece that could fix everything… if it didn’t already belong to another era.- Joshus Calixto
I’d like to talk about this. Smash 4 has been receiving lots of hate from many Melee players lately. A lot of this hate is directed towards the series creator, Masahiro Sakurai, who has stated more than once that he does not want the Smash Bros. series to be directed towards the competitive audience, but rather towards casual gamers who wants to play Smash with their family and friends.
Famous community member Wife even stated that we should let go of Melee and focus on Smash 4 in the future. With this article I’d like to discuss what I do not like about this statement and what MY opinion is on this matter. While not as well known as Wife or Sakurai, I have been around the scene for a while to build a substantiated opinion.
More than an Accident
Reading social media coverage about Melee, we often find the statement that Melee was just not intended to be a competitive game. I agree; It wasn’t intended to be one, but it was built as one! Taking a closer look at the engine mechanics makes us realize that Melee was given this enormous depth on purpose and not on accident
Every Game is Different
For Brawl and now for Smash 4, the development decisions were different from the start; These games were not intended to be built in the way that Melee was. If you are reading this article up to this point, you may think that all I’m trying to say is that Melee is awesome and we should not play the other games. However, this is not the case.
I want us to play and accept the Smash games for what they are. Sakurai slaved so much over Melee to give us the perfect game that we have today. We honestly can’t expect him to do this for every Smash game to come. Instead, I tell you to play all games, host tournaments, play in tournaments. Enjoy whatever game you like more, but don’t complain about future games to not be like Melee is. If people want to have Melee gameplay there will always be Melee to get back to. That’s the reason why we are still playing this piece of art after 13 long years, why we have reached the Platinum Age and why we will still be around in 5 years or, perhaps, even more.
Enjoy the Game You Like
If there is one takeaway I want you to remember, it is this one statement: Play the game that you enjoy the most whether it be Smash 64, Melee, Brawl, or Smash 4. Do not follow the trend and play any game just because it’s “the game to play” at the moment. People’s passion and dedication towards the game they love the most is what keeps that game’s community alive. Don’t hate on people who play other games. Let them life their passion like you live yours.
I was lucky to grow up with Melee. I have been playing Melee non-stop since its 2002 release in Europe and I won’t be stopping anytime soon. Personally I am not interested in Smash 4 because I already have what I want. I don’t care if Smash 4 will be “good” or “bad”, “competitive” or not. There will be people who like and play it anyway, just like there will be people who like and play Melee. Or Brawl. Or Smash 64. Or Project M. For everyone who likes Melee as much as I do: Let’s not let this game and community die because another game in the series is going to be released.
And just like Melee was more than a game for Sakurai when he created it, it is more than a game for us now. Melee is Sakurai’s legacy. Even if he did not intend it to be that way, he knew that it had exactly that potential. I am sure that somewhere in his mind that he considered that something like this could happen.
It happened and I’d like to thank Sakurai for giving us the option to make it happen. He may never read this, but maybe my #ThanksForMelee will reach him at his twitter @Sora_Sakurai to show him that his pain during the development wasn’t in vain and that we do realize what he did for us.