I’ve been playing SSBM competitively for a couple of years now. I’ve been to approximately 90 tournaments. The competitive scene is growing, which is really exciting for a game that’s fifteen years old. This past May I went to a major tournament that attracted the five best players in the world, the first time ever that all five of them had been to a tournament in Canada. First place handed out a little over $17,000.
I was wondering if there were any other members here who play and/or follow the competitive scene. I find the way that electronic sports are growing quite fascinating. It’s an interesting time in history for that sort of thing. Players are getting more support, and e-sports are being held in higher regards. There is still a large generation gap with parents who say that video games are a waste of time and an addiction. A lot of people don’t see professional gaming as a respectable career choice.
From my point of view, it seems a bit odd to think of a competitive scene for Smash Bros. I’ve loved the game on every occasion I’ve played it (I haven’t had a Nintendo since the original NES, so that’s not often), but to me, the appeal is that you can have a lot of fun with it even if you have no clue what you’re doing and just randomly mash buttons. I guess it says something about the game that it works over such a wide range of skill levels.
The long lifespan of the competitive scene is also promising. I think the biggest obstacle to esports is that the games keep shifting. With ordinary sports, a kid can hope to become a star football or basketball player or whatever in a couple of decades, and then to have a career spanning a few decades, but with esports, nobody even knows what anyone’s going to be playing that far in the future.
Well, with a lot of e-sports the professional players move along with the newer titles as they get released, take Call of Duty or Street Fighter for example. Some players stick with their older games, but of course those scenes get very small when new renditions come out. Smash is a bit of an exception because Melee for the Nintendo Gamecube is still being played at major tournaments alongside newer games. EVO 2016 had 2,372 entrants for Melee and 2,662 entrants for Smash 4. Street Fighter V had a little over 5,000 entrants. Melee had the third highest number of entrants in total out of all of the games competing at EVO, which is pretty amazing considering its age.
Check this out for a bit of history on competitive Melee: