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The EVOlution of Melee

An Interview with Super Smash Bros Expert, Prog

If you enjoy fighting games, you probably know a little something about the EVOlution Championship Series. Even if you don’t, you might want to, as the tournament is not only entertaining to veterans, but also great for newcomers to see what kinds of fighting experiences are out there. This year in particular has a huge amount of variety, with NINE different games being played. Whether you’re into 2D fighters, 3D fighters, super heroes, or technical execution based games, there is something for everyone.

Of course, one of the big reasons anyone is able to get into these games is because of the professional commentary that helps players engage on a different level. Commentators bring knowledge, reasoning, and especially hype to the greatest moments during these matches and are integral to the streaming experience. I spoke with Wynton “Prog” Smith, one of the prominent commentators at EVO 2013 in regards to Super Smash Bros. Melee. We talked about his experience, and what made EVO 2013 one of the best so far.

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07/22/2013 at 08:49 PM

I always loved Melee--in fact, if it weren't for Mega Man appearing in the new Smash Bros., I'd probably be satisfied enough with just a remaster of Melee for the WiiU (with on-line play that actually works, of course).

Sadly, I hear Smash Bros. WiiU is not going to have any kind leaderboard for competitive play, which is a shame (but typical Nintendo).

Guess that's why we have EVO.

Vice's Assistant

07/22/2013 at 09:11 PM

Where'd you hear about that? I haven't heard anything concrete about Smash 4's online yet. Besides even if there isn't, Miiverse could provide a stable atlernative and even a platform to get Nintendo to patch in too.


07/22/2013 at 10:05 PM

If you mean the lack of an on-line ranking system, that came from an interview over at IGN.

Here's the passage: Still, the creative director couldn’t get into specific implementation details, though he did note his team has no plans for any sort of world ranking system. “We don’t want to have a type of situation where you have a ranking pyramid, and only the people at the very top can enjoy it. I think there are other unique ways to be able to implement a system where people can get satisfaction out of performing at a skill level relative to their peer group.”

But yeah, Nintendo fanboys are already defending the decision.

Jon Lewis Staff Writer

07/22/2013 at 10:42 PM

i find it odd that Nintendo is doing that, but knowing them im not surprised. I doubt online will be much better than a game like PS:All Stars, but as long as its playable ill be ok. Still, i think they dont realize that ranking creates competition, which drives online play. The thrill of ranking up in UMvC3 and SSF4 kept me going, and kept matches more intense. Sure, a loss causes salty feelings, but a win is much more satisfying.


07/22/2013 at 11:00 PM

I agree, which is why I'm bummed, too. Mr. Sakurai has always seemed to be a little more, say, enlightened than the usual Nintendo exec, so I had hoped he'd do what almost every other developer would do in the modern age and provide a stat tracking/leaderboard system of some kind.

But who knows? Maybe he'll change his mind at some point in the future.

Nick DiMola Director

07/23/2013 at 09:02 AM

I'm not totally surprised. Sakurai has always been against Smash being a competitive game. It seems like he's coming to accept that it has become one, but I don't think he's at the point of embracing it.

All that being said, I think this is a mistake on Nintendo's part. They should be putting serious resources toward making Smash online a great experience and utilizing the established FGC to fine-tune it. I think Smash is better through local multiplayer in general, but at this stage in the game you just can't ignore the market that would go online frequently with it to practice.


07/23/2013 at 09:52 AM

In regards to latency and lag, I think the play will be decent--I certainly hope it will be, anyway, so that people can practice.

But as Mr. Lewis said, half the fun of on-line play is moving up those rankings. What's my incentive to play if there's no lasting measurement of my performance, no bragging rights or goal to strive for?

I also worry about options. Brawl's forced two-minute fights (I always play stock) were absurd, and made worse by the terrible lag. Again, I hope Sakurai and friends get it right this time. 

Vice's Assistant

07/22/2013 at 09:07 PM

Bravo, Jon. I admit I only saw the finals for Melee but Prog and Ultra Chen were seriously hyping it up. I really hope EVO lets Melee, and even Smash 4 if its up to stuff, back at EVO 2014.


07/23/2013 at 10:04 PM

Great interview Jon.

I only managed to watch the finals of EVO, but fortunately I saw the finals of Melee. Although I couldn't see Mango's victory (he won, right?) because I had to lunch and I sometimes got bored and went around the Smash Wiki, what I saw was exciting and shows that the Smash Bros. games can be quite exciting games that also has a big appeal on people, which shows the dedicated fanbase. I also think the internet plays a big role on exposing the fanbase of Smash Bros. Just don't mention the tiering of characters and stages, and the tripping of Brawl though.

Jon Lewis Staff Writer

07/23/2013 at 10:30 PM

Yeah, Mango won, haha.

But indeed, Smash is can be a very fun and competitive game. Sure you have to alter the game a bit but it's still very enjoyable. I dabbled in competitve Melee back in the pre-brawl days, and then continued to play competitive Brawl for a couple of years after it came out. Unfortunately, I fell off mainly because Brawl was a unfulfilling game in the long run. Its a great game overall, but competitively it was vastly inferior. Not to mention, my main is considered one of the worst characters in the game - Link. I've been playing a lot of the Project M Brawl hack lately and I must say, its pretty fantastic.


07/23/2013 at 11:04 PM

Yeah, i've seen that while it's still a beloved game, Brawl is a very mixed issue with the Melee veterans. Personally, since I played a lot, but never owned and got more into the mechanics of Melee (I played the game years ago), I didn't notice any drastic changes in the mechanics of Brawl and because it's the only Smash game I own, I played the hell out of it and it became one of my favorite games on the Wii.

Hehe, Link is also my favorite character and it's only now that I discovered he's considered and very low tier character. Also curious is that, except for Lucario,maybe Fox and Snake, my favorite characters aren't of high tiers (Sonic, Samus, Kirby and Ike).

Jon Lewis Staff Writer

07/24/2013 at 12:20 AM

in brawl, last time i checked, Snake is still top teir (right below meta knight), fox is high, Sonic, Samus and Ike are mid and i think Kirby is mid/high. Might have changed. Zelda characters got screwed. Bottom 3 are Link, Ganondorf and Zelda. They call it the Triforce tier. tsk tsk...

I'm looking to change my main to Samus in the next smash game though. I'm deciding to go for more series/character loyalty and my favorite nintendo franchise is Metroid, so yeah. Hopefully shes good in Smash 4... but some how Link always pulls me back. 


07/24/2013 at 09:19 PM

If you wanna know the current Brawl tiers, go here.

Yeah, except for Toon Link, the rest of the Zelda cast isn't well liked in Brawl.

As for the rest of the tiers, Snake isn't below Meta Knight as the best character, but it's still a high tier, Lucario is in what I call the great to excellent tier, Fox is also there, Kirby, Sonic and Ike are in the average tier and yeah, Link and my version of Samus are at the bottom tier.

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