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Sakurai believes many players “gave up on Melee because it’s too technical, because they can’t keep up with it”


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The main competitive history of the game revolves around Super Smash Bros. Melee, a more technical and aggressive version that was first released in 2002 on the Nintendo Game Cube. That title has attracted most of the game’s better-known professional gamers due to its more intricate movements, which reward the most skilled players. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (referred to as Smash 4 by most fans) is a slower, more defensive version of the game that has been adopted by a younger crowd of gamers.



“I think a lot of Melee players love Melee. But at the same time, I think a lot of players, on the other hand, gave up on Melee because it’s too technical, because they can’t keep up with it,” Sakurai said. “And I know there were players who got tendinitis from playing, and messing with the controller so much . . . that really is hard on the player. And I feel like a game should really focus on what the target audience is.”


Still, Nintendo is hoping its competitive scene will solidify around the new title, helping turn the Smash circuit into a top-10 esports property.


“Our future hope with what we’ve unveiled in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is we’d love to see Super Smash Bros. Ultimate be the new defining Smash Bros. title across the tournament space,” Nintendo of America Chief Operating Officer Reggie Fils-Aime told ESPN at E3.


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3 hours ago, Paperclyp said:

Ohhhhhhh I think he’s off there. I’d say the vast majority of people who play just play with their buds and don’t think about it all that much. 


3 hours ago, Moa said:

Melee was my favorite smash game both before and after I learned about the competitive scene and advanced techniques. 


That's probably the shared experience of most people who played Melee at the time of release.  Not everyone who owned a Gamecube prefers Melee to SSB4, but it's definitely not a popular opinion anymore to hold Brawl in higher esteem.

2 hours ago, DemonEyesJason said:

To me it was mostly because the game is old and what I've seen of the competitive scene doesn't seem to have the diversity in characters played that I like to see in a strong competitive game.  You can say it's really technical, but when most of the top players play Fox, I really don't care.

This is a problem in most fighting games though.  The competitive community naturally gravitates towards the character believed to be the best.  But since Smash is mascot-based, there should be additional pressure for no character to be OP.

It's actually been a bigger problem with Brawl (Metaknight) and 4 (Bayonetta) than Melee's Fox.  A lot of people are happy to see Smash 4 being shelved because of the Bayonetta effect.


1 hour ago, Xbob42 said:

I have definitely heard many stories about people playing Melee competitive for over a decade having really fucked up hands.

The biggest culprit is L-canceling with those triggers.  It's not only a poor mechanic from a design standpoint, but terrible for your hands after years of playing Melee.  Thankfully, most platform fighters have moved away from that.  Even those citing Melee as an inspiration.

Wavedashing would come second, but it'd be fully addressed if the game let you assign block to a face button.  I tend to put it on the Gamecube controller's X button for Icons, Rivals and PM.

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Melee can be tough as nails at the highest level of play, but that clearly hasn't deterred tournament attendence over the past decade.  It's up there with games like CounterStrike, Street Fighter II, and Starcraft in terms of legs.


I'll agree with Sakurai that some of Melee's inputs are unecessarily technical and hard on the hands, but it is a bit unfortunate that this is still his big takeaway.

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