Social media has been in an uproar since Nintendo sent a cease and desist to The Big House Online, one of the largest yearly Super Smash Bros. events.
The news broke earlier today that Nintendo of America would not allow the event organizers to host or broadcast the tournament because the Melee bracket was going to utilize the community-developed online mod Slippi.
Since then, #FreeMelee reached number one trending worldwide on Twitter, the biggest creators have already made videos, and multiple esports organizations have responded, supporting the community. The main discussion post on r/smashbros also broke 10,000 upvotes and has slowly been crawling up the main page of Reddit.
The players started the conversation, bringing up the previous instances of Nintendo trying to shut down something within the Melee community, including the infamous Evo 2013 incident where the stream was almost canceled even after the Melee community raised thousands of dollars for charity. That specific instance is being cited as the main reason for the community to stand together now, with hopes that it will get Nintendo to back off again.
Organizations like Cloud9 and eUnited were among to show their support, as both sponsor top players in Melee and Ultimate, respectively. And people from the larger Fighting Game Community have also weighed in, backing the Melee scene even as their own events continue running.
Slippi, a mod developed by a single member of the Melee community, has allowed players across the world to enjoy the 19-year-old game without having to leave their home utilizing incredible netcode. This was one bright spot for a community that otherwise would have struggled without LAN tournaments, but now, Nintendo basically gave the ultimatum of not running a tournament or doing it in person for Melee.
In front of more than 20,000 live viewers on Twitch, streamer and content creator Ludwig Ahgren, who has a history within the Melee community as a player and commentator, interviewed Big House organizer Robin “Juggleguy” Harn, legendary commentator, player, and Twitch employee Bobby “Scar” Scarnewman, and top player Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma.
According to several sources, including Juggleguy and a brief appearance from Kris “Toph” Aldenderfer on the stream, this was not a decision made in a day and there was a lot of thought behind The Big House being canceled. There is now worry that this isn’t just Big House, but that this could also be a sign that Nintendo could shut down Genesis and other tournaments, too.
Scar said this has turned into a case of the Melee community vs. Nintendo, and the veteran commentator notes that there are a lot of stories to tell.
“The Big House Online has just begun, that’s how I feel,” Scar said. “This is the road to Big House Online where the real ‘online’ is us vs. Nintendo over the airwaves, over Reddit. Peacefully resisting, but we aren’t going to not talk about it.”
These stories include how Nintendo reportedly shut down plans for a Smash League and other big events with partners like Red Bull and ESL.
As a result of those interviews and and the backlash, Ludwig announced that he would run the Ludwig Ahgren Championship Series Three as a $10,000 charity event, in part to put more attention on Melee for a good cause, and to see just how far Nintendo is willing to go.
Right now, the event is planned to fill the canceled Big House Online dates from Dec. 4 to 6, with more details to come in the upcoming weeks.