How Come Melee’s Still Kicking?

How come Melee is still around in tournaments like EVO but not Street Fighter III? They’re both deep games, but only Melee is still being played today at EVO. Why? Is it a lack of interest in SF III?

That’s because fighting games and smash have different histories. In Fighting Games, everyone always plays the new one. Only the new one gets to be on stage at Evo and other majors. Sometimes the new one is worse than the old ones, but it’s usually not that much worse.

Smash Bros had a critical fracturing of the community when Brawl happened. Literally the entire community split in half. No other fighting game has been as big a disappointment as brawl, except maybe SFxT. People felt actively spited by the creator, and they still do to this day, because Sakurai spites us. Oh, he’s proud that his games are played competitively? Great, he also tells us to go play Virtua Fighter if we want a challenge.

Then, Melee was slowly dying. It had to struggle to survive. Tournament turnouts were really low, for both melee and brawl, then both of them were dying off. Smash didn’t seem like a tournament thing anymore.

What turned that around? I think some people would argue that the tournament series Revival of Melee was a huge turning point for the game. Mew2King versus DaShizWiz is still the most viewed Smash related video on youtube besides Wombo Combo.

Then there was the lead-up to the Documentary:

APEX was getting big, but the game was still on the periphery, then we got dropped a lifeline in the form of a chance to be at Evo. It was us or Skullgirls, another game that never got a shot at Evo. The bid war was huge, the community effort was huge. The first episodes of the documentary were coming out at that time and suddenly everyone saw the history of smash. Everyone knew who Ken was, and the guy got dragged out of retirement. He played an Exhibition match versus Scar at Kings of Cali 3, over whether he’d enter Evo or not. We had everything on track, we won the donation war, and that Evo, we put on an amazing show. Armada said he was retiring after APEX that year, but this dragged him out of his complacent retirement. Out of nowhere we had Wobbles come up and make it to grand finals versus Mango, who he had knocked into losers earlier in the same tournament. Armada was no longer uncontested on top, and this lead to the summer of smash, where there was major after major with no end in sight. Turnout suddenly went up everywhere in the country. Everyone started pioneering new tech like Shielddrops. Combos started getting longer and crazier. The game is still evolving and you wouldn’t think that’s possible at this point, but it is.

Then more episodes of the documentary came out and let people in on the rivalries among the gods and Smash catapulted itself into being a phenomena all its own.

If Nintendo had released Smash 4 instead of Brawl, none of that probably would have happened. If they released a competent enough sequel that everyone just moved on, you wouldn’t have this grudge, this commitment to Melee.

No other game has been forced through a turmoil like this.

Can you provide examples of new things still being found in Melee to this day?

This was just released by SSBM tutorials today.

Also a bunch of the combos in this video are new:

For example, chudat’s launch to the platform, to a jab reset to wobble.

Sfat’s firefox stall into ledgetech wavedash is sick as fuck and also new.

There’s also the tech trap, which is maybe a year old by this point, or two years. Essentially, when someone is about to hit a platform, you hit them upwards right before they hit it with a move weak enough that it won’t send them up much. If they pressed L or R to tech, then they’re locked out of teching for the next 40 frames, meaning if they tried to tech expecting to hit the platform, they now are forced to miss a tech, which makes them vulnerable to a jab reset or OTG, unless they expected you to try to trap them and deliberately didn’t attempt a tech, which then leaves them open to you just not bothering to hit them, which leads to a missed tech anyway. This is especially useful for jigglypuff, who can tech trap people, then just rest them.

A lot of framedata stuff is still being explored by the community, because there are setups that can grant consistent amounts of frame advantage, or certain frame advantage setups on shield. I mean, here’s Mango not knowing about frame advantage stuff: (Leffen’s wrong here by the way, nair is +0 at best, which is still safe, and will beat simultaneous grab on shield if you have port priority, but it’s not +1, wish he explained the concept of frame advantage better, but he was playing, so whatever)

That combo with M2K (sheik) versus wizzrobe (falcon) looks new too. Dair to launch, weak hit bair to ftilt to relaunch, then weak hit bair to fair. Really maximizing the damage. He went from 75% to 121%

There’s also a lot of teams combo innovation, and one strat that stands out in this video is the fox (Leffen) who WEAK HIT BACK AIRED HIS OWN TEAM MATE (Ice) INTO THE RECOVERING OPPONENT SO ICE COULD GET THE SHINESPIKE! WHO DOES THAT!?

Or there’s Wizzy’s trick of dairing the opponent when they’re close to the ground into an immediate jab, so they get jab reset. That low to the ground most people won’t be expecting to need to tech, they have no time to react to getting dair’d and would need to have input tech before getting hit to get it successfully.

Or there’s Mango’s plot armor. Someone needs to nerf that.

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