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The Double-Decade Down Smasher!

Throughout the course of time, video games have been considered a disposable form of media that gets forgotten easily with each passing title lasting a few years or less over the course of the last forty years. However, it’s not always like that, there are very rare cases of games lasting far more then its predecessors or competition in that it’s community is still playing and communicating with one another to keep the fire alive for years without end. From as early since 2008 until today, Super Smash Bros. Melee (2001) has remained a pinnacle in the fighting game community.

But what is Super Smash Bros. Melee?

Super Smash Bros. Melee is a crossover fighting game from 2001 developed by HAL Laboratory and published by Nintendo for the GameCube with characters from the Super Mario Bros. series, The Legend of Zelda series and the Pokémon series and much more. It is considered more a party/platformer game and a sandbox game where the players are given much creativity to interact without a pre-determined goal, it was also considered more casual then other competitive 1v1 fighting games of today such as Street Fighter, Tekken, Mortal Kombat, etc. (Keep in mind the images below are just examples of fighting games that are vastly different to its approach to gameplay despite supposedly being in the same genre)

Street Fighter
Mortal Kombat

“Hands-On” Analysis 😉

With its unique gameplay and style at the time Super Smash Bros. Melee not only learned from its previous game Super Smash Bros. 64 about design and gameplay mechanics but also did it in a way that makes it fresh and original. The whole narrative revolves around the characters fighting each other for the sake of it, for the most part. You pick a character, play with a friend or against the A.I and fight until the time runs out or until your lives has been depleted. You move around the stage via the stage, platforms, obstacles, etc. and use your fighters’ moves the best you can to outwit, outsmart and outfight your opponent.

ALL 26 Characters

Even though Melee doesn’t involve the main reason for the narrative of the game, it is highly known in the ‘Smash community’ that everything started because of these two troublemakers and they treat the characters as toys and give a subliminal message that we are the hands and secretly we (the player) were the hidden antagonist the whole time.

A Brief History Lesson

I have played Melee a few times whereas I played each subsequent sequel even more, however, besides Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for the Nintendo Switch, Melee is the only game in the series where it is still played in local and international tournaments today and a lot of it’s popularity comes from community survival. “One of the reasons the Melee community depends on in-person gameplay to thrive is because there were no other ways to play the game other than in person using the same console and television screen” (Winger 2021 p. 6) considering streaming technology wasn’t as developed as it was today and the in-person commitment and interactions that kept the community active. Another reason was that Melee’s creativity and dedication to the freedom of the player is what made it stand out from the other titles in the Smash Bros. series which always the kept the community including me coming back for more content involving Melee, people have been happily enjoying this game for over twenty years and it doesn’t look like it is going to be forgotten anytime soon.

Reference List:

Winger, N.J. 2021, Super Smash Bros. Melee: Performance as Community Survival, State University of New York at Buffalo.

Song in the Background of the Audio:

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