Nintendo’s relationship with the competitive Smash Bros. community has always been, well, strained. For nearly two decades since Super Smash Bros. Melee was released the community and Nintendo have been at odds with another. The relationship especially soured during EVO’s 2013 Championship Series and it’s happened once again in 2020 with The Big House tournament.
The Big House is a Super Smash Bros. tournament which started back in 2011 which quickly gained popularity and became a beloved event within the Smash community. With hundreds of attendees and competitors it is one of the most popular and largest Super Smash Bros. tournaments to date.
— The Big House (@TheBigHouseSSB) November 19, 2020
Originally, the plan was to host both Melee and Ultimate tournaments in house but after COVID-19 happened and because Melee does not support online multiplayer as a GameCube game The Big House planned on using a third-party mod called Slippi which made it easy for players to connect with others all over the world online.
Unfortunately, Nintendo believes there was a possibility (and there is) that some competitors would be using Slippi to illegally emulate the game and so the company issued a cease and desist order. In a statement, Nintendo explained they had reached out to The Big House before the cease and desist order asking them to stop using Slippi and organizers of The Big House allegedly refused to do so. Nintendo’s full statement can be read below.
Nintendo's statement on the Big House event cancelation: pic.twitter.com/GCyHeeWpcy
— Patrick Shanley (@pshanley88) November 19, 2020
Legally, Nintendo has every right to issue a cease and desist order since Super Smash Bros. Melee is its intellectual property. That said, Nintendo pulled what can only be described as a dick move. Melee was released in November of 2001 and for the past 19 years Nintendo has largely neglected the game aside from digital ports to the Wii and Wii U. No matter what kind of Super Smash Bros. game is released Melee continues to be the most popular and beloved game within the Smash community. But for whatever reason Nintendo, as well as Sakurai who created the game, have refused to even release a remastered version of Melee which is something the community has been begging for.
Now, more than ever, an online competitive Melee tournament is something the Smash community truly needs. It would have been the largest Super Smash Bros. tournament of the year at a moment when this is also the most difficult year in modern history. With a pandemic that is forcing people to stay home for months, unity and a distraction from the shit show that has been 2020 is something we all need. Sadly, Nintendo appears to be more worried about competitors pirating a game which they’ve ignored for 19-years than appealing to their fan base and they don’t look to be reversing their decision anytime soon.