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 Post Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:40 pm 
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For those of you who don't know, Evolution Championship Series (Evo for short) is probably the biggest fighting game tournament in the U.S. and maybe even the world. Games like Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom are the main stays, but they do rotate the games featured every year so there are different line ups. Now I'm not a huge fan of the more traditional fighting games but this year it looks like they're going to feature a game that is very near and dear to my heart: Super Smash Brothers: Melee.

Melee and Brawl have both been at Evo before (once each), but the Smash games have always been controversial choices. There's been bad blood between the Smash community and the communities of other fighting games. Part of it stems from the fact that Smash is perceived as a party game and not a "real" fighting game. But by the same token, there have been Smash players who reject all other fighting games as inferior to Smash because of a couple mechanics. And that's also ignoring the fact that there are fractures in the Smash community because of a Melee/Brawl rivalry.

So for the most part, the Smash community has kind of had to go it alone, with grass roots tournaments (and for a while, Major League Gaming tournaments, but MLG is primarily FPSs now) and it's own community hub separate from the shoryuken forums.

This year, Evo had a set line up of seven games, but were going to allow an eight game based on a charity donation drive. The game community that donated the most (proceeds going to breast cancer research) would be the eight game at Evo and have its finals on the main stage. The drive ended yesterday and Melee is the tentative winner with a donation of ~$90,000. The runner up game, Skull Girls, donated ~$78,000.

Anyway, I'm just really happy about this and thought I'd share. I think video games could be a viable spectator sport in the future. I mean, look at StarCraft's popularity in Korea. Of course now League of Legends is more popular I believe. But I think it'd be great if a video game took hold like that in the U.S. Madden is pretty big, though I don't know how the biggest Madden tournaments compare to Evo.

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 Post Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:29 pm 
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Blizzard actually televises (it's online, but it's set up like televised) the StarCraft II tournament. It's really sort of cool, in a nerdy sort of way.

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 Post Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:49 pm 
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That's another crucial difference for Smash. Unlike Street Fighter and StarCraft whose tournaments actually get support from the companies that made the games, Nintendo doesn't really support the competitive aspect of Smash. It's a bit disappointing.

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 Post Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 12:09 am 
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Dodger77 wrote:
That's another crucial difference for Smash. Unlike Street Fighter and StarCraft whose tournaments actually get support from the companies that made the games, Nintendo doesn't really support the competitive aspect of Smash. It's a bit disappointing.

One more reason to hate what Nintendo has become, lately.

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 Post Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 2:42 am 
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The main problem that I have with Melee as a competitive fighting game is that it is not, by any means, balanced for tournament fighting. You have to turn off all of the things that make the game truly fun - items, the crazier stages, ect... and with Melee in particular a good Fox player could often stomp all over equally good players who played other characters. The ongoing joke was 'No items. Fox only. Final Destination.'

Because that's pretty much what the final rounds always ended up being any time it was played in tournaments (I know, I've participated in them).

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love Melee to death - I spent almost an entire year in the dorms having crazy marathon play sessions with friends of mine. It is a great, FUN, game. But it was never targeted by Nintendo to be a competitive fighting game. The fact that it can be played as one is a testament to how awesome the game is, especially once you get to the point of advanced levels of play.

I would also say that Melee is actually the better game than Brawl, because to me it seemed like Nintendo moved it further toward party game and away from competitive game (with inclusions of things like Smash Balls). Personally, I'd love to see Nintendo look at this and go "oh, maybe we should move this more toward competitive fighting gaming rather than party gaming", as they already have a great, effective, fighting system already set up.

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 Post Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:17 am 
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I dunno, Smash Brothers in general has always seemed like a party game series to me. Not as much as Mario Party, but still...

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 Post Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:35 am 
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Tiers are pretty much inevitable. Was the original StarCraft as balanced as it is on day 1? Hell no. It took iterative patch development over the course of years to get it right. Fighting games are no different. Street Fighter does have that iterative development going, that's why there are so many versions of it.

That being said, the imbalances in Smash aren't all that bad for what amounts to a one shot. 4 dominant characters, with another 7 being at least somewhat tourney viable. But tiers aren't everything either. The best player in the world is a Peach player (6th on the tier, not even part of the elite 4!) And there's also stage and character counter picks built into the tourney rule sets. That Peach player goes Young Link (17th) against Jigglypuff (3). The stages all kind of look the same, but there are subtle differences to the size of the playing field as well as the "blast zones" (like a low, or high ceiling for example.) which favor certain characters. Fox loves low ceilings, for example, 'cause he's got powerful up sending kill moves. Jigglypuff and Peach loooooove those wide and high stages 'cause they can always float back.

I love the chaos of 4 man free for alls too. But when it comes to a test of skill, I'm sorry, but I gotta go with 1v1 items off. I can't really back this up but my gut is that items would skew the imbalances towards the faster running chars. And item spawn points can be camped, and there's also the randomness which...well, it's random! For what it's worth, one of the evo smash tournaments had items. Pretty sure it was Brawl though.

As for brawl, well, it's a different game sure. I bet there are still a sizeable group of people around who consider smash 64 to be the best one. That is their right.

There's really only one thing about Brawl that bothers my "competitive" sensibilities, and that's tripping. Everything else I just chalk/chock? up to personal preference.

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 Post Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 1:21 pm 
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I never understood why people hate items so much. They've always been relatively easy to work around or fight against, regardless of the character I'm playing. Maybe that's just me, though.

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 Post Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:52 pm 
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Kajin wrote:
I never understood why people hate items so much. They've always been relatively easy to work around or fight against, regardless of the character I'm playing. Maybe that's just me, though.

For what it's worth, I don't hate items.

There are just different flavors of Smash. Party Game 4-Person Free For All, Highly Competitive Items Off 1v1 are the big ones that come to mind for me. You can also mix and match aspects of those two for a pretty satisfying variety.

And if we're talking just Melee specifically, there's also:
Coin Battles
Event Modes
Lightning / Slow-Mo
what was it, Fixed Camera?
and.... well..... a few more of those gimmicky ones.

It's all still Smash though.

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 Post Posted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 6:28 pm 
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...and the winner is Joseph "Mango" Marquez. The former American champ, before Armada (who is from Sweeden) came on the scene. Evo 2013 was the largest Smash tournament in history with close to 700 participants. More importantly however, is that due to pressure from fans Nintendo allowed Evo to stream the tournament.

For some reason, Nintendo has always been against big Smash tournaments on the basis of exclusivity, i.e. Nintendo makes games for everyone; Not just for the hard core audience.

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 Post Posted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 2:42 am 
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OK, what's the smell... Oh, I see, thread necromancy, carry on.

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