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Sakurai Think Gamers “Gave Up On Melee Because It’s Too Technical, Because They Can’t Keep Up With It”

The Washing Post recently caught up with Super Smash Bros creator Masahiro Sakurai to talk about the franchise and its links to the competitive gaming scene. The beloved Smash Bros Melee has always been a tournament favourite, but Sakurai feels it was a little too technical for newcomers. Here’s what he had to say to the news site:

“When you talk about audience, I don’t really think too much about the audience per se,” Sakurai told The Washington Post through a translator ahead of the game’s unveiling at E3. “I feel like a game, at the end of the day, is about playing the game. But if we focus too much on the top level players — or the audience — then the game skews a little bit too much on the technical side.”

“The philosophy behind them doesn’t go in line with Nintendo’s philosophy in that some of these players are playing for the prize money,” Sakurai said. “It comes to a point where they’re playing the game for the money, and I feel that kind of direction doesn’t coincide with Nintendo’s view of what games should be.”

“I think a lot of Melee players love Melee. But at the same time, I think a lot of players, on the other hand, gave up on Melee because it’s too technical, because they can’t keep up with it,” Sakurai said. “And I know there were players who got tendinitis from playing, and messing with the controller so much . . . that really is hard on the player. And I feel like a game should really focus on what the target audience is.”


44 thoughts on “Sakurai Think Gamers “Gave Up On Melee Because It’s Too Technical, Because They Can’t Keep Up With It””

  1. Agreed. Melee is just full of bugs, and I extremely exploitable, that’s why many gamers with common sense play Brawl or Smash Bros Wii U/3DS.It’s just sad seeing players ask for a Melee HD when Ultimate is just Smash Bros for Wii U with tweaked content and old characters. Story mode or riot. /s

    1. Melee is not full of bugs, or are you one of those special people that think l cancelling and wavedashing are bugs?

      1. Melee is technical, but it didn’t stop its community from dying.
        Its dedication is strong despite the years of neglect from Nintendo and many Smash sequels. At the same time, new innovations from players were added to the game to solve these issues.
        9:33 AM · Jul 8, 2018
        Replying to @Jonatha85372998 and @MyNintendoNews
        Noticably, Melee community created Smashbox for people with hand issues, they implemented tutorials in youtube to teach players how to play Melee competitively, and they created Smash Ladder for players who couldnt afford traveling. Its passion of the game is strong…

        1. But still it seems the game is made for people who always play in competitive. If you make a game you want every single person to play it and when some people play Melee in normal, those pros players play it like crazy.

          Look I love Smash and I never played Melee because I was very young and internet wasn’t so popular to let you know about a games but Smash Melee isn’t the perfect Smash.

      2. It’s really not broken. Actually Brawl has worse competitive exploits, like infinite chain grabs that had to be banned. Also, L-cancelling and wavedashing are not glitches L-cancelling was in 64 as well and was specifically featured in the manual, while Sakurai has publicly said that the team new that air dodging into the ground created wavedashing. Wavedashing is literally just air dodging into the ground. It’s not a glitch. I feel like people just like to call these things glitches because they feel like it delegitimizes them and they can’t pull them off anyway. I’m not the most technical Melee player, but that sort of dismissiveness is toxic for all sides of the community.

      3. No but personally I think Melee is for pros and not everyone is a pro at everygame. What I mean is when I play Smash I expect to play against someone who can be a new player, a normal player or an expert player.

        In case of Melee it seems that most people knows those tricks and most of them are expert and if you play against them you’ll surely loose because you have to learn those complex tricks.

    2. What you said has nothing to do with what Sakurai said. He essentially said that he believes players gave up on Melee because of its difficulty. You said “full of bugs, and is extremely exploitable” which is something entirely different. Brawl and WiiU/3DS have plenty of bugs/exploits…they just havent been alive or popular long enough for those bugs to become famous. And like I said before, how many bugs/exploits a game has has nothing to do with what Sakurai is talking about in this article.

  2. Pingback: Every Character That Will Appear in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Listed – Mark Swarrts

  3. He makes some very good points. I’ve went to a few Smash Bros. Tournaments over the years for fun. And man, some people just take that shit way too seriously. I’m shocked that people still play Melee competitively.

    1. My local college would have melee nights once a week I’d show up for smash Wii u and got my ass handed too me. Melee was worse and even doubled the people that showed up.

  4. I honestly don’t understand the hype behind Melee. They say Fox is the best character but I can’t even jump with Fox without falling or putting him in danger and then when you target where you want to go he sometimes goes in a bad direction because of the sensitivity. Its literally like controlling a Ferrari with wobbly tires driving through oil. Plus I don’t know how to abuse the mechanics.

    Melee fanboys say the game is faster paced than the Wii U but what they fail to notice is you MUST abuse the glitches and bugs plus get good with one of the stupidly fast and uncontrollable characters in the history of fighting games. Fox is only good when you master him. When you are playing with friends on a regular basis rather than bragging rights he is a train wreck to use.

    1. Tye the Monado Boy

      Your argument seems to boil down to “I’m not good at Melee therefore I don’t understand why people like it”
      There are people who have put effort into practising and getting good at the game. belittling people as “fanboys” is pretty narrow minded imo.
      mechanics like L cancelling and wave dashing also aren’t bugs.

      1. You’re incorrect. Wavedashing is most likely a bug or glitch in the physics engine.

        Before you even think about bringing up what Sakurai said eons ago, let me refresh your memory on something: He only said that he and the development team were “aware you could do that” during development. That is not the same as saying it was an intended feature, or that it wasn’t a bug or glitch.That’s was just you and the Melee community brandishing their massive confirmation bias.

      2. I’m saying that in order to see the speed of the game you have to do what the pros do and abuse it otherwise it is the same combat pace as Wii U. Lets not call them fanboys, lets call them pros.

        Pros are exactly as Sakurai sees them. They don’t realise that the mechanics they are abusing to demonstrate their talent and the massive speed of the game is something your average player simply won’t care to look into. Thats why the pros are branded as a niche community with louder voices, because they literally are just louder. If getting good at Melee is a requirement when it was a game designed to middle finger the “hardcore” image of fighting games it is FACTUALLY bad game design because it was supposed to be accessible to every kind of player, which would explain why Sakurai hates it.

    2. I mean, I like Melee because I played countless hours of it as a child and still playing occasionally today.
      I don’t think it’s the best one, but most of the time people just enjoy games because they’re fun.

  5. I’m firmly in the middle. I don’t play anything competitively but at the same time I never “gave up” on Melee. Just like any other game I played it until I achieved what I wanted to and then I moved onto another game. I enjoyed playing it, both to unlock all the characters and as something fun to do with friends. I can’t say I had heard of competitive Smash Bros until after Brawl came out and honestly I was too engrossed in Subspace Emissary to even care. Melee was a lot of fun, but not enough for me to dedicate my life to it when I had so many other games to enjoy. Same goes for every single other Smash Bros game.

  6. Melee’s competitive side lost me when having a specific tv and a defective controller was made mandatory.

  7. I still think Ultimateshould be closer to melee than to smash4. If it was and gathered the right audience plus being on a popular console I can see it beeing played in the next decade to come.
    See the efforts you put into learning mechanics, the “easy to pick up,hard to master” aspect is what turns a good game into a legendary game, up to now, smash bros melee is still played competitively whereas the others arent or way less and in ten years people will have forgotten about the Wii/wiiU/3ds versions

    1. Thing is, in order for Melee to be “mastered” you have to abuse the various glitches, bugs and exploits in order to do so. Stuff like Wavedashing, and many others the competitive community use were never intended features of the game itself. Many of those exploits, bugs and glitches, as someone stated before, are often un-intuitive and take countless hours to “master” (Read: turning them into muscle memory through repetition).

      Without those bugs, glitches, and exploits, Melee would, aside from it’s inherent feature of most characters feeling like walking anvils, would be just another Smash title without it’s legendary status.

    2. According to a lot of comp players it is more melee than smash 4. And while I don’t like carpel tunnel, I think this game will strike a good balance between the two

  8. I think with melee the problem in it’s simplest form is that the game has complexity, but nothing else. Similarly to some of the mortal combat games where there is a lot to memorize and plenty of long key inputs to remember but once you get those down it’s just rinse and repeat. A good example of depth without complexity would be a game called dive kick, where you have 2 buttons, jump and kick but there is a lot you can do with these two buttons, giving it depth. But then again, I’m just a mortal with carpel tunnel from games like melee, so what do I know.

  9. It’s not that it’s “too technical”. It’s that it’s too boring to play as the same fighters on the same stages with the same narrow set of rules… which is the mentality of most Melee players.
    Personally, I find a game that tests a players adaptability more fun than testing their dexterity.

  10. I feel one of the best single player modes in Melee was the Event Matches. Some were hard yes. Maybe even “too hard” for everyone.

    Hey, what if they added an “Event Creator”? Like Mario Maker you could share them online. Please Sakurai!

  11. I agree with him. It’s the reason why I’m not into fighting games in general. Most of them just require you to already be somewhat decent at them to even have any fun at all, and I just can’t afford investing that much time into a single game, so I’m usually not interested. Smash Bros. has a slightly lower entry bar, yet whenever I play it, I still feel so incredibly bad at it that I’m not even motivated to play it enough so that I can compete with average players. Basically, what Pokemon games accomplish to do in my opinion, Smash Bros. games don’t quite.

  12. I never have (and never will) play Smash Bros. to be competitive. I don’t give a crap about that stuff. Heck, most of the time I defeat my own self due to losing track of where I am on screen. I play all single player modes until I’ve unlocked all (or mostly all) of everything there is to unlock. Then I move on. I always found it odd how other gamers were still playing games that I moved on from years ago, just because they’re competing etc. That’s just weird to me. How can they not get bored out of their minds? I get bored directly after I’ve unlocked everything. This is coming from a solo gamer who will most likely NEVER play multi-player games again.

    1. You and so many others play games this way, which is why Melee made sure to provide hours upon hours of single player content. Classic, Adventure, All Star, Arena, some fifty Event challenges next to unlockable stages and fighters. So it’s got you covered, and I believe every game since,
      Those games however forgot to include people who like to compete;
      And here is Sakurai basically saying he’s happy to exclude them.

  13. Unpopular opinion, Don’t really care for Melee anymore, I think it’s over hyped, people use glitches and exploits to play the game, more. I liked Brawl and Smash 4 better

    1. Sounds a lot like you don’t care for the people who care for Melee. Rather than Melee.
      If so it’s a pretty popular opinion really, but their overhyping and
      their use of what you call glitches, not the game’s fault right?
      Does it happen when you play with your friends?

  14. The headline should be changed. I came in here to rant about how much everyone loves melee! Lol

    There are way more valid points that could have been taken as quotables in the article.

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