Smash Bros. Tournament Organizer Partially Pins Unusually Broad Controller Ban On Nintendo

October 16, 2017 - Super Smash Bros

A venue-wide anathema on a modernized Super Smash Bros. controller during a vital contest final weekend has re-heated a discuss about what kind of controllers should be used in Super Smash Bros. Melee tournaments.

At The Big House 7, that featured all from Super Smash Bros. 64 to Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, controllers like a Smash Box, that seeks to urge a rival Melee knowledge by forgoing a normal (and functionally ancient) GameCube pad for a collection of arcade buttons, were not allowed.


Robin “Juggleguy” Harn, conduct organizer for The Big House and partial of a cabinet that’s tasked itself with substantiating a concept Melee ruleset, pronounced that banning box controllers was a no-brainer for rival reasons. The accurate inputs, he told Compete, give players too many of an advantage over those who use GameCube pad’s joystick.

The biggest evidence in support of such controllers is that these complicated inclination have given a second probability to players who can no longer implement a console’s strange controllers due to health issues, yet a organizers behind a world’s many inclusive Melee events have nonetheless to come around.

Banning a controller in their rival brackets was one thing, yet debate flared when Harn and his staff done it transparent that boxes weren’t authorised anywhere in a venue, even during infrequent matches that had no temperament on a central tournament. Harn would pin this on controller opening and eventuality partner Nintendo.


Reports of a anathema arose after a eventuality and led to a whirl of rumors and confusion. Late Wednesday night, a Big House proffer named Liam “Jagerbombsoldier” Butler jumped on Reddit to share his story with a community. When he arrived for his opening day change using brackets on a morning of Oct 6, Butler was told he would need to keep his new box controller in his bag. He reiterated these sum in a apart review with Compete, adding that Harn and lead Melee organizer Alex “Shadez” Gamero told him it had to do with developer Nintendo’s impasse with a event.

Shortly after Butler’s post went live on Reddit, this information was advanced by dual other sources. As a thread expanded, associate contest proffer Sam “Wisely” Mihelich mentioned being told that box controllers had to be out of sight and that a miss of correspondence could be met with exclusion from a eventuality by security. Speaking to Compete, he combined that these directives were common with him by joint coordinator Josh “Roboticphish” Kassell, not Harn or Gamero. When a news done a proceed to a Facebook organisation for a renouned Melee It On Me podcast, another staff member named Jeremy Sonpar pronounced he was also told that a inclination were prohibited via a whole venue.

Technically, a event’s official website says that non-GameCube controllers are banned. Halfway down a page, there’s this:

Controller Legality: The usually authorised Melee controller is a connected Nintendo GameCube controller; all other controllers are banned, including a wavebird and Smash Box and a variants.

Traditionally, these kinds of manners don’t request to matches outward a central contest bracket. Organizers typically let players do as they greatfully in unaccepted accessible matches.

During a conversation, Harn reliable that these discipline were in place during The Big House, and seemed dubious that attendees had insincere a manners on a tournament’s site were singular to foe and not germane to all aspects of a event. The bit about utilizing confidence to mislay noncompliant attendees, however, he alike to an out-of-control diversion of telephone, with opposite versions of a law swelling so many that fake information starts to be combined to a truth. He claimed that he never destined anyone to act in such a way, yet couldn’t contend a same for a several levels of staff and volunteers that helped run a event.

Casuals are a outrageous partial of any fighting diversion contest (photo c/o Bassem “Bear” Dahdouh)

Harn blamed a peculiarity of a new controllers for gripping them out of a event.


“The box is still, like, an pledge production,” he said. “It’s not a professionally constructed square of equipment. I’ve indeed witnessed boxes frying a console itself. It’s something we wish to cruise when people like Gaming Generations are providing apparatus for and sponsoring a event.”

There are now dual vital box controllers opposed for a courtesy of a Melee community—the Smash Box and a B0XX—and conjunction are famous to have a widespread electrical issues Harn purports. The former is now in growth by HitBox, who have produced similar devices for a normal fighting diversion community. HitBox products have been authorised in Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom foe for years and, according to statements supposing to Compete by co-founder Dustin Huffer, electrical issues like a ones Harn mentioned have never been reported for a 70-odd controllers that have been sent to alpha backers of a Smash Box crowdfunding campaign. I’ve also had a tough time anticipating corroborating reports online.

“We do have accurately one electrical issue,” a Smash Box hardware developer common with Compete. “Sometimes, GameCubes, Wii, and Wii U adapters don’t commend a Smash Box. But this emanate doesn’t brief out a controller, pile-up a GameCube, or leave a console or adapter inoperable. The repair is to unplug it and block it behind in. This is due to a crappy GameCube connector on a Smash Box. Most of a other electrical problems we’ve had are standard fightstick problems: a lax connector on a symbol or a belligerent that isn’t creation ideal contact. These are super simple problems and things that pops adult when we make controllers by hand. However, nothing of it breaks a GameCube or interferes with other people’s controllers. This emanate will be solved in a final controllers.”


That said, it’s Nintendo’s impasse with The Big House that might have done a biggest impact in zodiacally banning box controllers. The developer’s trademark was prominently displayed during a weekend’s broadcast, thanking them for partnering with a event. Because The Big House is an strictly protected event, Harn said, his contest had to reside by certain “constraints,” yet he was incompetent to hold specifics.

“As shortly as we go outward of these constraints, there’s a risk associated,” Harn said. “This year, with a venue change and finances, we wasn’t in a position to take any risks, so we took a very, unequivocally regressive proceed that resulted in a box not being allowed, even in friendlies.”


Harn pronounced that he’s open to an ongoing discourse about a legality of box controllers, yet it became transparent during a review that there’s a lot some-more behind their banning than was creatively common with a public. Nintendo has a manners and a cost of operative with them is to follow them, it seems. What Nintendo provides these events, however, is unclear. Harn wouldn’t say. We reached out to Nintendo about all of this, yet a association did not yield criticism for this article. Without an open bargain of how Nintendo supports these events, there’s unequivocally no proceed for a rest of a village to have equal balance in such discussions, that can make guileless a handful of people who run a many critical Super Smash Bros. tournaments tough.

Parallels can (and have) been drawn between this latest debate and a one that surrounded renouned Super Smash Bros. Brawl mod Project M in a heyday. As an unaccepted tweak of a protected Nintendo product, Project M always existed in a uncanny gray area, and mostly found itself on a outs when it came to broadcasts during vital competitions. In Feb 2015, inclusive Smash writer Calvin “GimR” Lofton of VG Bootcamp explained that his channel would begin relocating away from Project M streams following a recover of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U to equivocate complications that could discredit his business. Later that year, a Project M devs called it quits for many a same reason, foreseeing a destiny where Nintendo, as a legitimate copyright holder, could come crashing down on a stage with catastrophic consequences.

Despite their continued passion, simply competing for a consequence of competing hasn’t been adequate for a Smash stage for a prolonged time. Some see a probability of Nintendo apropos some-more heavily concerned in a rival village as a arrange of holy grail that will lift them into a esports stratosphere alongside games like League of Legends and Dota 2, both of that suffer estimable financial and logistical support from their creators. But a expostulate to constraint that kind of support has resulted in limiting self-policing by some of a many distinguished Smash advocates, from a preemptive scapegoat of Project M to clumsy bans on personification Melee with anything other than a GameCube controller. It’s high time someone starts severely weighing these intensity advantages with a usually building raise of forfeitures before a village becomes mislaid in a possess need for central acknowledgement.


Ian Walker loves fighting games and essay about them. You can find him on Twitter during @iantothemax.

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