2020 has been a crazy year. We recap some of the games industry’s most polarizing and controversial moments that have occurred this year.
2020 was the year the world stopped. There was so much going on that it was a lifetime. I feel like I’ve aged a lot more in a year than I have in the past four years. From diplomatic turmoil, unexpected and tragic celebrity deaths, to of course a pandemic that has killed and ruined the lives of millions of people, it seemed like everywhere we turned, something new was brewing. Thankfully, video games have helped many gamers have at least one path to turn to when the going gets tough, but there were also times when hardships followed. Here are some of the most significant controversies that erupted in 2020 for games:
Smash Bros. C&D for Slippi (#FreeMelee)
COVID-19 has really put the brakes on things for the fighting game community, shutting down all tournaments for the foreseeable future. Tournaments for all the other big games have gone completely virtual, but specifically for the Smash community, things were much worse. The only game supported by Nintendo was Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and the game’s online netcode is unreliable, even though all parties involved use LAN cable for netplay.
What happened is that the Melee community, supporting a small group of developers, ended up having a resurgence in a time of distress. Super Smash Bros. melee is considered the best game in the series, and it was uploaded via a mod for the Dolphin emulator named Slippi.
The game was fully playable with reliable netcode through an emulator, and Nintendo is very protective of their properties, even though they no longer make money with some of their old titles. A Slippi tournament hosted by The Big House has been canceled by Nintendo. Fortunately, everyone involved was reimbursed for their costs, but fans have since released the viral hashtag #FreeMelee.
Of course, Nintendo had all legal rights to send a stop and abstain from this organization, but it was not a wise PR move on their part. There are other fighting games played through Parsec and other third party programs that harden the network codes of games with bad codes. The companies whose games are played through these third-party apps support these tournaments, or at least do not remove them.
Since the birth of the #FreeMelee hashtag, basically every Nintendo ad will have people posting it just to get their point across. Even though it’s something really big and especially loved like the Smash Bros. The Sephiroth trailer or the Nintendo World direct, you’ll see it. I say, the power to these people, because the Nintendo of C & D has been given away since Slippi also included the cancellation of a Splatoon 2 event of the tournament because some major players have shown their solidarity with the Melee community by putting something related to the hashtag in their nicknames.