by Hugo “HugS” Gonzalez

You’ve heard the narrative time and time again by now. Melee is a beautiful accident. Melee’s current success is a Cinderella story. Melee has a blossoming community, and we have the documentary, EVO, and the community at large to thank. However, here’s what we haven’t touched on too much: Melee will not die.

Okay, I’m being a bit facetious here. Nothing is impossible, Melee can die, but there’s a huge chance it will stick around for a lot of years. I even dare to say that it will be a fixture in Esports, and Esports as a whole will engrain itself into society just as other major sports have. Here’s the tricky part: there are games in Esports more popular than Melee that will die, whereas Melee will not. Melee is actually in an extremely unique position that even other bigger Esports aren’t in. Here’s what our unique position is all about.

Support From Major Esports Players

Lately, we’ve been getting major support from big organizations such as RedBull, Twitch, and HTC. Here’s the kicker though: they LOVE us. They love us like we love our own game. I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with the people behind the scenes who get the ball rolling on supporting our events, and they are 100% fans of our sport. That’s not to say they don’t love other games, they definitely do. However, the fact that these people are legitimate fans of our players, our story lines, our action, it means that they won’t sit happy seeing us fade away. That’s a great level of involvement to get out of people who are directly responsible for controlling our destiny. As long as they love it, they can help us grow. They will and do.

I mean, we have THE main media outlet for Esports in Twitch creating a crew of their own employees to battle a Redbull crew in Smash at their first convention for a chance to host a Smash tournament in their home region. If that’s not love for a game, I don’t know what is. Can you imagine a bunch of executives at ABC who love Basketball allowing it to die? That’s kind of what we have here.

Resistance to Sequel Replacement

Melee is in an extremely unique situation from most other games. It has survived two successors. That’s not to say that successors like Smash Wii U are in the way of Melee. Smash Wii U has been growing its own independent community and it’s been fantastic. What I’m saying is, Melee has become completely independent, and the competitive community has recognized Melee as its own unique game. At this point, expecting Melee to die because of a sequel is the equivalent of expecting Hearthstone to die because of a new Halo release. We’ve evolved into a self-sustaining sport where people aren’t looking forward to the next iteration, they’re satisfied with this one.

The only successor that would replace Melee is an actual Melee successor, such as Melee HD or Melee 2.0, which we’d gladly welcome. If a true Melee successor is released, then my point stands, Melee survives and thrives even further.

Ease of Viewership and Story Lines

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone tell me they got into watching Melee after catching a stream alone. They actually got into Melee without ever having played the game. They simply watched, and began to follow. I always try to assess a person’s level of knowledge when they view a Melee stream to see if we can actually connect with a viewer who knows nothing about the game, and you know what? It happens a ton. Our commentators are amazing, the straight-forward nature of a 1 on 1 fight is accessible, and the characters on the screen are extremely relatable. It doesn’t hurt that the first thing people end up checking out after hearing about Melee is the documentary, where viewers are then immersed into the many personalities we have in this scene. It’s drama, it’s action, and it’s addicting as hell.

Community-based Upbringing

Melee would not be what it is today without the community that was built around it. In a way, Melee’s biggest curse, a lack of online capability, has become its biggest blessing. As an offline game, players were forced early on to connect with other players live. This formed bonds and friendships that have lasted several years. Do you think MIOM Scar is going to look at a dying game, see it causing a rift among his friendships, and decide to just let it go? Absolutely not. He, like many others, will put in the effort to keep this thing going because, even if we’re not thinking about it, it’s what allows us to nurture these friendships. I get closer to my friends every time I end up in another state for a tournament. Memories are built, bonds are strengthened, and new friendships are formed every time I head out to an event. How can a game die with thousands of people constantly working to keep it together not just for the sake of the game, but for the sake of their friendships?

It’s powerful stuff.

Melee is here to stay for years, and it’s as beautiful an accident as the game itself.