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Published June 18, 2018

This series is a tribute to standard “Monday Morning Quarterback” columns in traditional sports. In it, I discuss my quick takeaways from the last week of the smash community. Consider this a mix of news and mild takes. Featured image from ZeRo’s Twitter – will take down, if requested.

On Sunday, Zain won Omega, a two-day Long Island regional that featured many heavy hitters from Tristate and even surprise appearances from Spanish legends Overtriforce and Trifasia. The day before, n0ne won Smashville 7 from losers, overcoming his loss to Pikachu Kimchi and beating the rest of the Midwest-laden field. HugS also won Bridgetown Blitz 3 in Oregon.

And no other tournament happened in the Smash world! Right, guys?

1. The Smash Ultimate Rant

I don’t really have a broader point to bring up in this segment so consider this a Kanye West-esque, roller-coaster, stream of consciousness. By the way, in case you’ve been living under a rock, the new Smash game is titled “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” – ZeRo won the Smash Invitational for it at E3 last Tuesday.

I am so irrationally excited for the new Smash game. It would be easy of me to take the snarky Melee veteran approach and not care – and honestly, I don’t have time to emotionally invest myself in another competitive game – but boy, am I thrilled to get Smash Ultimate.

That said, the ESPN interview with Nintendo CEO Reggie Fils-Aime feels ominous. He implies that the Smash community would be better off with players of each game uniting under one title. It could mean Nintendo wants to be an active participant in the competitive scene, but maybe only under the agreement that everyone plays its chosen game.

Moreover, his Trumpian response on UCF, as well as the interviewer’s obvious discomfort with speaking more in-depth on the topic, worries me. I don’t expect Fils-Aime to have any knowledge on it, but the kind of people who have access to powerful figures like him should be adequately prepared.

Can I really be mad at Fils-Aime though? Melee is a scene of hundreds of thousands of casual viewers, but if I were to estimate actual tournament-goers or people who regularly attend nationals, that number drops quite a bit. It doesn’t make sense for him to care about us when he has a company with thousands of employees to manage, as well as millions of casual players to cater to.

As far as the actual game goes, I haven’t played it, so I can’t say for certain, but it looks fine, I guess? I don’t really care about wavedashing  or even wavelanding as much as I care about having precise control over my character, being able to combo my opponents and feeling rewarded for putting in hours of practice to learn the game.

This is something that I feel gets lost in public discussion, partially due to the overwhelming influx of casual players that suddenly have big opinions when it comes to game design. For example, when I try to explain what I want in another Smash game, my non-Melee playing peers will often respond with something along the lines of “you just want wavedashing,” or some other reductive conclusion, usually related to Fox, Final Destination, no items, how people like me ruin games, why Melee players are elitist, etc.

Ultimately, our goals are different. I want a game that both is an intuitive experience, but also rewards me for my hard work and practice. People might see my perspective, particularly my threshold for “hard work and practice,” as potentially off-putting – that’s okay.

I feel like even Melee players sometimes lose sight of this. Folks, if you’re reading this, you don’t have to frame the discussion in terms of “wavedashing” vs. “not wavedashing,” even as a measure of trying to prove “competitive depth” or that one game is “better.” It’s okay to want a more technically demanding game if you think it leads to a higher payoff. Just own it, rather than act like the below. Not everyone is going like what you want.

2. Other random thoughts re: Smash Ultimate

  • I’d like L-Canceling to come back, but I understand that most players don’t care for it, even if I think a lot of the rationale behind wanting to get rid of it is entitled. Here’s a more-than adequate write-up on L-Canceling, related to game design.
  • I’m not a fan of how knockback works and I still think more hitstun would be great.
  • Dash dancing looks pretty good again.
  • Directional air dodging is an obvious plus,  even if wavedashing and wavelanding aren’t available.

3. The Most Random Streak in Smash History

Mango vs. Captain Falcon. ChuDat vs. Sheik. Armada vs. players outside of the Big Six. As Melee viewers, we love to talk about streaks, but I’m going to bring up the most ridiculous one you’ve probably never heard of: Bladewise vs. Samus. This was something I heard over the weekend and was curious enough to take a look at.

I took a look at what archives I have seen to confirm this – so far I can say that in his competitive career he has never lost to a Samus at a significant tournament. HugS won Bridgetown Blitz 3 last weekend, but he may have also just dodged his toughest opponent, one who has beaten him in their last five sets.

Granted, on its own, this streak doesn’t mean too much. I’m sure you could find any Top 50 player and find a similarly dominant stretch of time against a character, but it was still noteworthy to me, even as Bladewise finished a somewhat disappointing seventh at Bridgetown Blitz. At least he still didn’t lose his streak.

That’s all I got for this week. Or at least most of it.

What I like:

What I don’t like:

  • Existential dread about a future where Nintendo once again tries to C&D Melee tournaments.
  • The extremely corny, eye roll worthy, totally manufactured beef between Sonic Fox and ZeRo.
  • Speculating about Smash Ultimate.

 

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