The History of Competitive Smash (Warning: Long Read)

AlphaZealot

Smashboards Owner
Administrator
Joined
Jul 6, 2003
Messages
13,080
Location
Bellevue, Washington
#1
History of the Smash Community
Questionnaire Responses by Chris “AlphaZealot” Brown​


The following are responses to questions Chobopeon has asked in regards to his work on the history of eSports. It is a long read, and by no means do I think most people will get through it all, but there may be some gems in here people will appreciate. This was written semi-quickly so there are certainly typos and grammatical errors, and as I talk more with Chobopeon more things will be included or changed for his book, I'm sure. Regardless, I'm hoping some of you may find this information interesting at the very least.

What is the Smash community's view of MLG? I know that a lot of the FGC has sour feelings toward MLG. Can you compare that to the Smash community?

The Smash community generally views MLG positively. MLG started running Smash tournaments back in 2004 with Melee. It took guys from within the Smash community in order to run the tournaments and used the community ruleset, which were positives. Adam Apicella (Clap) was also very accommodating and helpful with the community at this time and even through to today, he does not get enough credit really (neither does Sundance for giving the community a chance!) In 2005 and 2006, MLG also broadcast Smash occasionaly on their livestream, which helped the community’s exposure. In this time I was also hired to write about the game and attend Pro Circuit events, and MLG also hired JV to replace M3D as tournament director. Finally they hired Omnigamer as a ‘referee’ and Bach for video recording. Together the four of us ran the events and did what we could to promote the tournaments and the tournaments were generally successful, averaging 169 entrants for the 6 open events (the MLG 2006 Championships were invite-only and not counted toward this). Brawl in 2010 averaged 187 entrants over 5 events.

In 2007 MLG ran the Smash Underground Circuit which was four events where they contributed $2,000 to the TO’s to be used for whatever they needed. In addition JV and myself went to each event to help run them (JV was Tournament Director and myself for event coverage). After that, in 2008, MLG had me write their “Get Better Fast” for Brawl, but publishing was slow and the project, like all the GBFs, was scrapped. They also ran a few tournaments through Gamebattles and toward the end of 2008 they purchased Smashboards from the previous owner, Gideon.

In 2009 MLG didn’t really do much with the community besides stabilizing the site from the influx of new members, moving servers, and hired JV as the GM of the site. In early 2010, membership crossed the 150,000 thresh hold, but was then slashed when inactive accounts and zero-post accounts were deleted (bringing membership under 70,000, and it was since risen back to 115,000+). Also in 2010 MLG ran Brawl on the Pro Circuit, bringing Smash back after four years. I was the tournament director this go-around, as well as providing coverage here and there. Overswarm ran the content side of thing for the 2010 circuit, while Dazwa, Pierce, and Solidjake (along with two non-Smash refs) handled the referee duties.

MLG did not do anything with Smash in 2011 other then maintain ownership of the site and allowing me to publish a few articles about the community.

Upsides to MLG include roughly $200,000 in prizes, part-time employment for a number of community members, legitimizing the community and game on a broader scale after it was scorned by EVO, and all and all growing the scene. This last part is especially true in 2005 and 2006, where there was a huge explosion in Melee attendance and number of tournaments that coincided with MLG’s events. MLG even got Smash a 4-page spread in Nintendo Power magazine featuring the underground and professional scenes and getting the word out on Smashboards back in 2005.

The downsides would basically be dealing with getting dropped from the Pro Circuit, not once but twice. The community has rebounded nicely both times though, with Melee holding it’s largest tournament in 2009 (2 years after being dropped ~350 entrants, Pound 4) and Brawl holding its largest tournament in 2012 (14 months after being dropped, 400 entrants, Apex2012). So getting dropped was not a death knell for the community since it was very strong outside of MLG, holding roughly 500 tournaments a year. Otherwise negative things like the splitting scandal between M2K and ADHD in 2010 was difficult for the community because it was published in a lot of places. While MLG has done a great job stabilizing the servers as Smashboards (before MLG took over and just after Brawl’s release, the site was often called “Crashboards”), it has also dropped the ball a little in site maintenance/responding to administrative requests. They have done a nice job keeping the community at the helm and allowing the site to keep its own identity, though.

There is a distinct separation between the traditional fighting game community (Street Fighter, etc) and Smash. Even though you guys share events, the communities and culture are different? Why does this divide exist? What commonalities are there?

The divide goes back to at least 2003 when Melee starting picking up steam as a competitive community. This was the time when our first 100-person tournament occurred and monthly events starting popping up in many major cities. The community desperately wanted EVO to give it a try, but to no avail would they even consider running a Smash tournament. The issue and divide centered, quite simply, around Smash being ‘kiddie’ and ‘not a fighter’. It was not taken seriously by the FGC and no amount of tournaments or scale of the community at that point would legitimize the game competitive. This schism existed and continues to exist to this day. Things started to change slightly back around 2007. That year EVO ran Melee and it was their second largest attended game and had a great crowd reaction, but it wasn’t meant to last. The following year EVO ran Brawl, but put items on and the turnout barely broke 100 people. The community hated items but EVO wanted to run it their way (as opposed to the community standard – something they have claimed to advocate but did not do so in this instance). A year after EVO2k8 we were able to get Smash back as a ‘sponsored’ event (by AllisBrawl.com) in 2009 and we filled an entire 128 bracket with community standard rules.

Other than EVO the Smash community was also featured at Season’s Beatings. I went the first four and ran the tournament at the third and fourth iteration. We were one of their top 3 games in terms of attendance in the first three years, but by the fourth iteration the tournament became to expensive for most of the community. There were plans to run the game at SBV, but when it was scheduled the same weekend as an MLG event with Smash and their Smash TO (me) couldn’t run the game, it was scrapped. Aside from Season’s Beatings and EVO, the only other major event that Smash is at with other fighting games has been Devastation.

The commonalities that exist are the fairly universal ones (as I’ve discovered from working/interacting with Halo, Madden, Smash, Tekken, and a few other games over the years). Holding tournaments in people’s basements, finishing tournaments at people’s houses after the venue closes down, growing pains that go along with building a community from almost nothing, community drama, etc. The Smash community has an old saying called “No Johns” which basically means “no excuses” so this could be similar to labeling scrubs at FGC events, but to the FGC the Smash community is already scrubby because of the ruleset (banning items, stages, etc.).

As far as ranking players, is this thread of any value? I'd like to highlight a player or two from the modern scene and I've been highlighting each game's top/most interesting players. Can you give me some suggestions and reasons?

There is the Official SWF Rankings thread. This thread is a fairly powerful tool (I would recommend actually going and opening up the Google doc). It catalogs 520 tournaments and over 4,600 unique players and ranks them. Only tournaments in the last 12 months counted. The downside is the thread hasn’t been updated in about 4 or 5 months because it is a huge effort (we will be switching to an even more accurate system soon). At the peak there were 530 tournaments and over 5,100 players in the database – by far the most comprehensive database in the history of fighting games and sadly only the Smash community is aware of it. On that same note the Smash community has better data tracking than any fighting game scene I’ve seen and essentially everyone except for maybe the knowledge contained in liquidpedia. Sadly some of this info was lost when MLG cleared almost all threads that were last posted in prior to 2007.

I mention this last point because back in 2005 a player named Chillen tried to create a national rankings with the top 20-25 players by polling influential players, but that thread is since lost with time. I attempted a more comprehensive ranking myself after Chillin retired his rankings, using formula instead of opinions, but that thread is also lost with time unfortunately.

The national rankings though is a great start for identifying Brawl players. The most notable players in the history of the game are probably, in no order, for both games, Ken, Isai, Azen, PC Chris, Mango, M2K, Ally, ChuDat, ADHD, Hbox, Dr. PP. This only covers the North American scene though, and the list could be expanded with names like Brood, Nietono, Captain Jack, Otori, 9b, Mashishi, and Bombsoldier from Japan along with Armada, Mr. R, and Gluttony from Europe (again both games). There are probably more but the interaction between the three (JA/EU/NA) scenes is rare.

Probably the most important person to mention though is Ken Hoang. You can search him on Wikipedia and see his rather lofty list of accomplishments. He won a fair amount from Smash including multiple MLG national titles, was considered a world champion after traveling to and defeating the best in Japan, and also won EVO2k7 and even got second at the items-Brawl EVO 2k8. Probably even more noteworthy is that he is easily achieved the highest heights of any north American eSports player – having been a contestant on Survivor in 2008. He was not eliminated until the very last episode (2-hour season finale) and finished 5th. Survivor averaged 13 million viewers weekly, yet because Ken was a Smash player his accomplishment went largely ignored by the eSports world except for an article on MLG. The FGC ignored him entirely. Ken was also rated as one of the top 5 ‘deadliest’ gamers in a magazine article by Electronic Gaming Monthly.

A few Smash players have also appeared on TV: MTV’s True Life featured KillaOR and later Compton appeared on MTV with a few of the guys from Empire Arcadia.

Can you talk in detail about what the Back Room is, how it formed and what role it plays in the Smash community? I feel it is incredibly unique in esports and I'd like to discuss it at some length.

The backroom originally started as a social room back around 2001-2002. It was simply an extra room that more experienced players could go to talk more personally – almost as a reward for being on the site. This was before the days of weekly or even monthly tournaments. Then the room started producing the official tier list for Melee back in 2002, in 2004 the room released the compendium of Smash knowledge but failed to keep it updated. I actually took this project on and it was my first writing contribution for the community. Starting in 2007 the Melee Back room released the very first ‘recommended ruleset’ and it still releases a version to this day. IN 2008 there was a bit of chaos as the Melee and Brawl backroom were one room, but the two had split by the end of the year. The Brawl Backroom became a bit more ambitious than the Melee Backroom, releasing the ruleset, match up chart, tier list, weekly character discussions, and SWF Rankings (maintained by Rajam though, not the BBR).

Later in 2010 and early 2011, the Unity Ruleset Committee formed. This was a room and group just for TO’s who worked together and ran the same ruleset. Before this group formed of the 500+ tournaments held a year in Smash, few if any ever ran the same ruleset. Within months of this group forming and releasing their ruleset, over half of all tournaments (and sometimes much higher percent’s in a weekend) were using the same ruleset. This is an innovative idea never before seen in any other community, since many communities rely on a single entity to guide their ruleset. Starcraft is an exception because of multiple competing large scale tournaments, resulting in about half a dozen, maybe more, map pools, but even 5-10 ruleset variations is small compared to the 30+ in Brawl before the URC came around.

Without losing sight of the question though: the backrooms are essentially invitation only rooms that members can gain access too after having contributed and proven themselves to the community. There are a few side things: posting habits are important, great players are sometimes kept out of the BR’s because they act immature on the boards and never actually contribute their knowledge to the community (so what purpose would have in a BR if they never discuss anything?) Reputation on Smashboards is important, and by reputation I mean not being a moderator/admin liability. If you get banned from the site you will likely lose privilege to the BRs.

The question about the Brawl Backroom and Melee Backroom usually has to do with secrecy. Why are they secret? I think part of it is simply because that is always how it has been. Another part is that it allows people to speak freely, like you would with a close circle of friends. The URC has slightly different motives since the TO’s may wind out negotiating with each other since they are running physical (as in real) events. Them aside, the Backrooms could probably be opened up to at least public viewing, and it is issue that comes up each year.

However, I’m not sure how unique it is. There are backrooms in other eSports games, the thing is they simply are not as visible. Usually they are simply invisible forums with the top level administrators. Looking just at MLG, a lot of decisions about rules (like Halo) are made at the physical MLG headquarters in behind-closed doors discussions and usually only one or two people end up making the final call. Yes there is some community play testing, but ultimately MLG (and EVO) end up having rules and major decisions being made by a small handful of people. There isn’t anything wrong with this, but with the Smash community, lacking any huge early event over the last 10 years to set the standard, the community developed backrooms and the rules ended up being group discussions both in public and in the BRs.

The idea of closed-door decision making seems to have supporters and detractors. Can you explain why you think this is the best route and what you think the community's opinion is about it?

Closed door decision making is a good route because at some point a decision has to be made and you can’t have someone second guessing it as you are making it. A great example to illustrate this without talking about backrooms is seeding brackets at tournaments. If the Tournament organizer/director makes the bracket in front of everyone: good luck ever getting it done as 100 different voices will cause so much noise it will be impossible to tell heads or tails of the discussion.

Is it the best route? I think ultimately I’d like to see Brawl Backroom and Melee backroom discussion published and put out publicly after-the-fact so people can at least gleam the valuable information. I also worry and have become more worried in the last year that the existence of the backrooms has created a brain drain at Smashboards, causing the “best and brightest” posters to no longer contribute publically but instead privately.

What are your feelings on the state of Smash today? What sort of online viewership and in person attendance do major Smash tournaments get today? Can you give me examples of recent prizes and tournament results?

Just recently we held Apex2012, it was the largest Smash tournament to date, with over 700 unique players across the three Smash games. 400 entered Brawl, over 320 entered Melee, and 64 entered Smash64 (capped bracket). People say the community is dying all the time and have for years, going back to when MLG first dropped the game in 2006. It seems that people love to say that about Smash because it has plenty of detractors, but in spite of it all the community continues to chug along. I think part of the reason is because it is the best selling modern fighting game – with over 10 million copies sold. Therefore there is almost always new players/blood to pick up the slack.

Smash is strong. Right now the game stands at the edge of a precipice and the community will likely have to embrace a very controversial topic: which is banning MK. The URC has banned the character at events, whether everyone follow suite or whether it fractures the community remains to be seen (it only took full effect on January 9th, 2012). If it fractures I’m not sure what will happen, almost like a Smash civil war. It could lead to bigger and better things if one side finally wins out or it may lower interest in the game. This isn’t the first time this has happened though, going back to 2003 we had a huge debate on items and briefly the community was fractured. After items were banned at the largest national of the time, TG6, everyone followed and the community grew by leaps and bounds.

Online viewership is mixed. Smash livestreams are in their infancy, only really developing in the last year, and making the biggest strides in the past 4 months. Before then they were amateurish, choppy, and hard to watch. In 2009 Apex had 1,000 viewers concurrent for its livestream, which was the most. Apex 2010 got a little over 2,000, and then Apex 2012 breached 7,000 during it’s Melee broadcast and 6,500 during Brawl. I see that as growth there, but it obviously pales in comparison to the 10-20k some FGC streams get, much less the 100ks+ EVO gets concurrent.

That said, I think discussion wise and content wise Smash is one of the most rich community there is. Part of the reason is because of the aggressive, lively rule debates that many find themselves attached too. Smashboards, for example, averages around 800 people on at anytime, which is almost identical to Shoryuken in recent weeks (shoryuken for awhile lead averaging around 1,100-1,200, but they have peaks and valleys around new games whereas the Smash community hasn’t had a new game in four years). Smashboards membership is also over 115,000, and this is after a purge of over 50,000 members just 2 years ago. By comparison, Shoryuken, the largest forum for nearly all other fighting games for the last decade, only has 60,000 members. This also undersells the Smash community a bit: at the same time almost 1,000 people are on Smashboards, almost 1,000 people are also cruising on AllisBrawl, another hub for the community.

AiB by the way has the most sophisticated free bracket technology I’ve seen, along with match histories, and a very strong (but small) ladder for Brawl (since Brawl has no online ranking system on its own). Check out my own profile as an example of what AiB is – it is facebook merged with everything a competitive gamer who enters tournaments wants (e.g. links to their tournament placement, links to who they beat and lost to at tournaments, etc all in one page and chronologically and automatically ordered).

Prize wise the Smash community has often been unmatched. In 2010 Gnes won $12,500 at MLG Dallas, and the prize pool was $30,000. It isn’t just MLG though that puts out that kind of money, Genesis 2 in the summer of 2011 had over $22,000 in prize money. However, the power of the Smash community isn’t the once-a-year large tournament, it is the near weekly local or regional events. If you check out that Smash rankings for example, you can see that a player like Ally or Mew2King has placed top three and won money at over 30 different tournaments in a 52 week period – and this is underreported! In all likelihood these players are attending a tournament roughly 40 weekends a year and winning between $200 and $1,000 at every single one of them (because Smash runs both Singles and Doubles, the prize money can quickly add up). Looking at the data since 2005, it would be a reasonable estimate to assume that dozens of Smash players make over $10,000 a year, many over $20,000, and a few between $30,000 and $40,000 a year. All this without endorsement money.

Here is a link to data I collected and worked though back between 2008 and 2009, showing roughly $400,000 in prizes in North America alone! In a single year! And this was without MLG money involved. No sponsors, just community driven tournaments, over 600 of them, actually. While the community has gone down slight, now just over 500 tournaments, it is still huge for in-person events in comparison to many games. Looking at this and other data I’ve collected over the years, I’d estimate Brawl alone after four years is approaching the one and quarter million prize threshold between singles and doubles. Obviously this can’t compare with $5 million DOTA prize pools and some of the things Starcraft has seen, but when compared to other fighters it is more than adequate to put the game in the top 3 since its release prize wise, and if you were to factor in Melee events (not just Brawl) that numbers rises once again. On average though Melee has about 100 tournaments a year now, roughly 1/5th of what Brawl has, but the community is still healthy for a 10 year old game, having just held it’s second largest tournament ever with 320+ entrants!

Can you explain the genesis of competitive Smash? How did it start, what sort of competitive circuit was there (if any?), what sort of money or prizes were there for the top players? Are there any notable matches you can point to (either on YouTube, to some old website or even from memory)? Can you contrast all of that to today's scene and tell me what has changed?

Smash started obviously with the release of Smash64 in 1999. Melee was released soon after, and a 13-year old kid by the handle of Gideon created Smashboards. Smashboards started slowly, and Gideon once mentioned how he felt bad for the person who wanted to hold the first tournament because he thought no one would come. Not many showed, but it was a spark, and by 2002 a few cities had near monthly events that attracted 20-30 people. Things started to take off in 2003 when the TG series grew, culminating in the first national tournament, TG4, which broke the 100 player barrier for the first time. Matt Deezie’s tournament series increased its draw with TG5 and finally TG6, after which he retired. At around the end of the TG series, another series, Melee FC (For Cash) took off in the Midwest. This was held by the Kishes and was a three day Smash extravaganza where for a reasonable fee of $50-$75 (depending on the year) you got 3 full days of Smash, 2 nights of housing, and three meals a day (all included with your fee!). Truly a community event. The last FC tournament was held in 2007. It attracted 256 entrants and 91% of these entrants came from a state other than Indiana.

The next great underground series was/is Pound, Apex, and Genesis. Genesis started in 2009 and set the record for most ever at a Smash tournament (over 580 unique tournament entrants between Brawl and Melee). Apex started that same year and was a reasonably successful Brawl national. Pound 2 back in 2007 was an MLG sponsored tournament and broke 200 entrants, by its 4th iteration in 2009 it attracted roughly 350 people and set the record for most people at a Melee tournament. The series ended in early 2011 amid a flood of controversy though as prizes were not paid. Apex, as I mentioned earlier, recently set the record, with 700 unique Smash entrants, largest Brawl tournament ever, and second largest Melee tournament.

Tournament wise Smash was part of MLG in 2004 (half of this season), 2005, and 2006. MLG sponsored four underground events in 2007. MLG also ran Brawl in 2010. Smash was also part of the defunct and rip-off V-games and saw time on various and questionably legitimate circuits in 2005-2007. It was at EVO2k7 and EVO2k8 as official games but was dropped and was only a side event at EVO2k9 (and has not been seen since). Smash has also been seen at Devastation with average fanfare.

As far as matches, there is simply to much to talk about. You can compare any video in 2006 with those in 2012 and be blown away. Great matches in the past almost always feature Ken in some way though, and I would recommended the Ken-Bombsoldier series of 2005 as that defined the Marth v Falco metagame for some time to come (all Falco’s after that mimicked Bombsoldier). I would also suggest Armada v Mango at Genesis 1 in 2009, truly an amazing series. Mew2King v Armada at Pound 4 is also very good. Melee has been around for over a decade and there have been hundreds of amazing matches in that time. The biggest development is the game has become hyper technical in the last few years, surpassing what was once thought to already be an unreasonable technical barrier. Melee APM’s peak in the 200’s as an average, with bursts into the 300’s. It is an insane level of technical skill not seen in any other fighting game, but quite frequently overlooked because of the games seemingly simplistic controls and the FGC’s general disgust for Smash as the antithesis of fighters.

Can you briefly compare and contrast each generation of the game?

Smash64: no competitive community for a long time. Starting around 2007 they figured out a way to play it online and a small community developed. Isai was largely considered the best Smash64 player ever, but has been outplaced by the likes of Superboom. Biggest tournament held through: Apex2012 with 64 entrants. This game though is a college favorite and I’ve seen college tournaments get 20-40 entrants, and that is with minimal advertisement. Game has funky hit boxes and guaranteed zero-deaths. Also a very defined top tier and a lot of completely unviable characters. Still, it revolutionized fighting games in that it combined the RPS guessing games of a fighter with the movement and fluidity of a plat former.

Melee: The birth really of the competitive Smash scene. Started in 2002, the game at first seemed to have reached a peak in 2006, but a resurgence after its near death in 2008 has shown that the next level of Smashers is almost mind-bogglingly fast and technical. The game added spot dodging, light shielding (removed in Brawl), L-canceling, wave dashing, direction air dodging (and air dodging in general), Side-B moves, and the C-stick for quick Smashes. Recoveries for all characters were improved. Melee has been the most balanced of the bunch, containing roughly 5-6 viable tournament characters (if the standard is winning a large-scale national) and almost 10 semi-viable characters (placing top 8-16 at nationals). The Melee ruleset, once having over 10 stages, has condensed to an average of about 6. Most Melee tournaments use nearly the same ruleset now that the game has existed for over a decade competitively.

Brawl: The next step in Smash. The competitive scene moved onto Brawl, which resulted in a decline of Melee in 2008. After 2008, Melee emerged again as a separate entity (and largely anti-Brawl) while Brawl trudged along. Brawl introduced gliding, removed directional air dodges, removed light shielding, added auto-grabbing, increased the grab box for edges while adding a long edge invincibility advantage that continues even after edge release(very annoying and resulting into near-broken edge play for some characters), added Smashballs (not used in tournaments), and otherwise there were very small things that varied by character. Brawl has the most polarity between characters. One character (Meta Knight) stood leaps and bounds over the rest, with only 2, maybe 3, even having close to even match ups with the character. The next tier though is relatively balanced and holds about 4-6 viable characters. Disregarding the issues Meta Knight creates, the lower tiers in Brawl have a higher performance than Melee, but on the whole the game is less balanced than it’s predecessor. At current the URC has over 10 stages, but some tournaments run with as few as 6-7, and some still run with 15+, too.

Every Smash game added new stages.

Who is AlphaZealot?

I’ve been a member of the Smash community for almost a decade, here is a brief (and long) summary of my work:

Smash Community Work
• Smashboards.com member since 2003, over 10,000 posts
• Moderator on Smashboards from 2006-2007
• Super Moderator from 2007-2010
• Senator (high position attainable aside from GM) from 2010-Present
• Brawl Back Room Head from 2009-Present
• Created original MBR Recommended Ruleset
• Created and maintained the SSBM Compendium of knowledge from 2005-2007
• Provided coverage for 2006 MLG Pro Circuit for Melee
• Provided coverage for 2007 MLG Underground Circuit Melee
• AllisBrawl Director of Ladder Content from 2008-2009
• AllisBrawl Ladder Playoff Director 2008-2009
• Worked with the international player Rajam and helped implement the very first Official SWF Rankings (5,000+ ranked players now)
• Compiled Tournament Statistics for June 2008-June 2009 for MLG, leading to MLG picking up the game in 2010
• Compiled Tournament Statistics for January 2010-December 2010 for the Smashboards.com Ambassador Program
• 1st ranked player in Ohio in 2009, Top 100 ranked player since the inception of the Official SWF Rankings
• 2010 MLG Tournament Director for Brawl
• Organized and ran 5 events in the "Wings and Brew" tournament series in 2009
• Organized and ran 2 events in the "Seasons Beatings" tournament series from 2008-2009
• Organized and ran 8 events in the "Delta Upsilon" tournament series from 2010-Present
• Organized and ran 3 events in the "Charity Gaming" tournament series from 2011-Present, raising over $1,300 for charity
• Have traveled to the following states for Smash tournaments in the last 5 years: New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, Nevada, California, Virginia, and Washington DC.
• Created and implemented the Unity Ruleset Committee, the first ever attempt to unify the 500 Smash tournaments held in a year, leading to adoption rates in some weeks almost as high as 90%

Major League Gaming Information (some info here is repeated)
• First published article September, 2005 - currently the longest running freelance writer for MLG
• 2005 - Smash Melee content for Pro Circuit
• 2006 - Smash Melee content for Pro Circuit
• 2007 - Smash Melee content for Underground Circuit, Information booth at Pro Circuit
• 2008 - Halo Referee
• 2009 - Halo Referee, Madden Head Referee
• 2010 - Brawl Tournament Director
• 2011 - Halo Tournament Director
• Account name on MLGPRO: AlphaZealot (join date Jan 2004)
• Have staffed over 30 events for MLG
 

erbanez

Smash Apprentice
Joined
Aug 15, 2009
Messages
132
Location
Connecticut
#3
I expect everybody to read this several times through, and there will be a history test soon. Great work AlphaZealot. Thanks for teaching me more about the game I will always love.
 

z00ted

The Assault of Laughter ﷼
Joined
Apr 18, 2010
Messages
10,800
#4
This is written very well and probably took a lot of hard work.
Good read!
 

Mekos

Smash Master
Joined
Apr 4, 2007
Messages
3,132
Location
killing the evils of this world
NNID
Mekos123
#5
Good read...not saying I agree with everything but good read AZ
Love how u are explaining the history of smash

"One character (Meta Knight) stood leaps and bounds over the rest, with only 2, maybe 3, even having close to even match ups with the character." This is not true. Just cuz you are not aware of an enhanced metagame of a character doesn't mean it doesn't exist. For example, I have greatly enhanced the lucas meta game(and only play lucas that way) and meta knight is not a heavy problem for me. I say mk is 0 but since people call me crazy for that I give him a +1 against lucas. Any top level Mk who has played me recently can vouch for me. Esam also doesn't think the mu is that bad for pikachu either.

Since mk is the best people make an excuse for his loss and just say the mk needs to get better at the mu and eventually it won't be close again.
Everything is a loss-loss situation for mk. smh
 

Sensei

Smash Lord
Joined
Nov 20, 2005
Messages
1,991
Location
North Hollywood, CA
#7
Great thread, knew most of this but there was a lot of new and interesting info I learned. BTW, lets wait until Isai loses a tournament with top tier characters or a 12 character battle before we take away his throne. He used low tiers at Genesis and APEX and still managed to win sets and get 2nd with close battles at grand finals.
 

SpeedyJ

Smash Journeyman
Joined
Apr 17, 2011
Messages
268
Location
Auckland, NZ
#9
That was a great read AZ, and YES I finished it all the way till the end. And I think Captain Jack slipped your mind in the list of Japanese players :p
 

AlphaZealot

Smashboards Owner
Administrator
Joined
Jul 6, 2003
Messages
13,080
Location
Bellevue, Washington
#10
I wrote an awful lot all at once, I will edit in things that I know I missed and mentions that I think need to be made. Captain Jack was definitely an oversight, bound to happen when writing 5,000+ words.
 

SSBMLahti

Smash Lord
Joined
Jun 5, 2010
Messages
1,252
#14
This was a great read. I learned so many interesting things. I mean, I didn't even know we had an Official SWF Rankings thread.

Long live Smash.
 

Wizzrobe

Smash Champion
Joined
Mar 27, 2011
Messages
2,280
Location
Florida
#20
Wow, great job putting this together. This would probably be useful to someone who is just now joining the smash community.
 
Joined
Jul 15, 2012
Messages
15,940
Location
Australia
NNID
Aerodrome
#27
Who is AlphaZealot?

I’ve been a member of the Smash community for almost a decade, here is a brief (and long) summary of my work:

Smash Community Work
• Smashboards.com member since 2003, over 10,000 posts - zero infractions in 8 years
• Moderator on Smashboards from 2006-2007
• Super Moderator from 2007-2010
• Senator (high position attainable aside from GM) from 2010-Present
• Brawl Back Room Head from 2009-Present
• Created original MBR Recommended Ruleset
• Created and maintained the SSBM Compendium of knowledge from 2005-2007
• Provided coverage for 2006 MLG Pro Circuit for Melee
• Provided coverage for 2007 MLG Underground Circuit Melee
• AllisBrawl Director of Ladder Content from 2008-2009
• AllisBrawl Ladder Playoff Director 2008-2009
• Worked with the international player Rajam and helped implement the very first Official SWF Rankings (5,000+ ranked players now)
• Compiled Tournament Statistics for June 2008-June 2009 for MLG, leading to MLG picking up the game in 2010
• Compiled Tournament Statistics for January 2010-December 2010 for the Smashboards.com Ambassador Program
• 1st ranked player in Ohio in 2009, Top 100 ranked player since the inception of the Official SWF Rankings
• 2010 MLG Tournament Director for Brawl
• Organized and ran 5 events in the "Wings and Brew" tournament series in 2009
• Organized and ran 2 events in the "Seasons Beatings" tournament series from 2008-2009
• Organized and ran 8 events in the "Delta Upsilon" tournament series from 2010-Present
• Organized and ran 3 events in the "Charity Gaming" tournament series from 2011-Present, raising over $1,300 for charity
• Have traveled to the following states for Smash tournaments in the last 5 years: New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, Nevada, California, Virginia, and Washington DC.
• Created and implemented the Unity Ruleset Committee, the first ever attempt to unify the 500 Smash tournaments held in a year, leading to adoption rates in some weeks almost as high as 90%

Major League Gaming Information (some info here is repeated)
• First published article September, 2005 - currently the longest running freelance writer for MLG
• 2005 - Smash Melee content for Pro Circuit
• 2006 - Smash Melee content for Pro Circuit
• 2007 - Smash Melee content for Underground Circuit, Information booth at Pro Circuit
• 2008 - Halo Referee
• 2009 - Halo Referee, Madden Head Referee
• 2010 - Brawl Tournament Director
• 2011 - Halo Tournament Director
• Account name on MLGPRO: AlphaZealot (join date Jan 2004)
• Have staffed over 30 events for MLG
How obnoxious.

I don't care who you are.

Props to you for writing the other stuff up though. It was a good read.
 

SFA Smiley

The SFA King
Joined
Jan 19, 2010
Messages
2,640
Location
Virginia/Arizona
#28
He put that so that people would know this was wirtten by someone who knows and has experience about the history of competitive smash, not to show his trophy room
 

Life

Smash Hero
Joined
Jul 19, 2010
Messages
5,263
Location
Grieving No Longer
#29
Minor nitpick. Melee did not technically add l-canceling. 64 had z-canceling which was the same concept but more powerful.

Excellent article, and also thanks for linking to the APM article as it's pretty awesome too.
 
Joined
Jul 15, 2012
Messages
15,940
Location
Australia
NNID
Aerodrome
#30
He put that so that people would know this was wirtten by someone who knows and has experience about the history of competitive smash, not to show his trophy room
We only had to look at his name to see that.

AlphaZealot
MLG Tournament Director
Head of Smash Community Growth
Senator

AlphaZealot's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Maryland and Ohio
Posts: 11,637

rofl so many titles.

I just thought it was unneeded and a waste of space (and 60 seconds of my life I'm never getting back)

If someone questioned the legitimacy of his post, he could have posted that useless fluff to shut them up instead of sticking it in the OP.
 

KrIsP!

Smash Champion
Joined
Oct 8, 2007
Messages
2,599
Location
Toronto, Ontario
#33
Honestly? I thought it would be longer.
Good read though, I learned some things.
I'm really impressed by the lack of Tl;dr in this thread.

I thought someone would for sure say it.

Really well put together write up AZ.

It's essentially in the title, to do it would simply be trolling and I don't know why anyone would troll a compendium of smash info.
 

ballin4life

Smash Debater
Joined
Nov 12, 2008
Messages
5,534
Location
disproving determinism
#34
smash 64 has a "very defined top tier" with a bunch of "unviable characters"?

pretty sure a bottom tier got second at apex 2012, and 3rd place beat 4th place (a Pikachu, top of top tier) with Samus, the bottom of bottom tier (after losing a game with high tier Falcon). and the winner primarily used a high tier (not top tier) character (Falcon).
 

ciaza

Smash Prodigy
Premium
Joined
Aug 12, 2009
Messages
2,751
Location
Australia
#35
In addtion to what ballin has said, I feel compelled to change a couple of things for the sake of neutrality/respect:

Can you briefly compare and contrast each generation of the game?

Smash64: no A competitive community for a long time. Starting around 2007 2003/4 they figured out a way to play it online and a small community developed. Isai was is largely considered the best Smash64 player ever, but has been outplaced by the likes of Superboom with players like Superboom close behind. Biggest tournament held through: Apex2012 with 64 entrants Kanto 2010(?) with 92 entrants (citation needed, I recall mentions of Peru/other international tournaments with over 100 entrants). This game though is a college favorite and I’ve seen college tournaments get 20-40 entrants, and that is with minimal advertisement. Game has funky hit boxes and guaranteed zero-deaths. Also a very defined top tier and a lot of completely unviable characters The most balanced of all 3 smash games with every single character being viable at high-level play. (That Kanto tournament I mentioned had Samus - the undisputed worst character in the game - winning the entire tournament, for instance.) Still, it revolutionized fighting games in that it combined the RPS guessing games of a fighter with the movement and fluidity of a plat former.

Melee: The birth really of the competitive Smash scene. Started in 2002, the game at first seemed to have reached a peak in 2006, but a resurgence after its near death in 2008 has shown that the next level of Smashers is almost mind-bogglingly fast and technical. The game added spot dodging, light shielding (removed in Brawl), L-canceling, wave dashing, direction air dodging (and air dodging in general), Side-B moves, and the C-stick for quick Smashes. Recoveries for all characters were improved. Melee has been the most balanced of the bunch, containing roughly 5-6 viable tournament characters (if the standard is winning a large-scale national) and almost 10 semi-viable characters (placing top 8-16 at nationals). The Melee ruleset, once having over 10 stages, has condensed to an average of about 6. Most Melee tournaments use nearly the same ruleset now that the game has existed for over a decade competitively.
 

M!nt

Smash Champion
Joined
Jan 26, 2011
Messages
2,087
#36
I wish you wouldn't have put such a negative attitude toward Smash 64. Also lol @ brawl being more balanced lmao
no offense ; ]
 

asianaussie

Smash Debater
Joined
Mar 14, 2008
Messages
9,343
Location
Sayonara Memories
#37
Things about smash 64

1) 0-deaths exist, but don't happen every single time a hit is confirmed - this is the nature of the game, it isn't a negative thing.

2) 64's low tiers are the most viable out of any official/non-official smash game to exist (granted, smallest number of characters, but the point stands) - Link is regarded by good players as mid-high tier on Hyrule, Luigi has high tier punishment from a number of moves and Samus...well, ok, Samus sucks, but people can definitely play attrition well with her, as shown by Japanese players, JaimeHR, etc.

3) Shieldstun is higher than Melee/Brawl, this simply means you can't shield aerials and expect to get ezpz punishment, deal with it.

4) Pika has Meta Knight level matchups, but the game is different and punishment is prioritised (and Pika's techroll is indisputably ****ty), meaning that if you can get in on him, you can compete very well.

I don't like a lot of the negative wording, such as the use of 'Still' near the end (as if 64 is a bad thing) and 'the likes of Superboom', which almost has a negative inflection - nothing near what boom deserves for playing and beating Isai in big-name tournaments.

ciaza, Melee is arguably the most balanced when you take into account the respective scenes, since there are 5-6 quite viable characters jostling up the top, whereas if there were more Isai level hyper-competitive players and actual prizes/recognition for winning tournaments, then chances are Pika, Kirby, Falcon and Fox would take most placings and the rest of the cast would be put off to the side.

The rest of the article was interesting enough for me to go through and read, so kudos on that.
 

Ranmaru

Smash Legend
Premium
Joined
Feb 10, 2008
Messages
10,430
Switch FC
SW-0654 7794 0698
#38
I'm going to read this now. I read it before but I feel I should re-read it. : ]

lol wait... wrong thing... I don't think I read this before. xD
 

Ranmaru

Smash Legend
Premium
Joined
Feb 10, 2008
Messages
10,430
Switch FC
SW-0654 7794 0698
#39
Wow. The creator of all this... was a 13 year old kid. Good sheee
 
Top