Things of Beauty: Super Smash Bros. as Spectator Sport




This comic was a major inspiration for this video:

On why there aren’t more women playing Melee:

The Kotaku piece on competitive gaming:

Chris DeLeon on rules in sports vs. games:

Forrest Smith’s Smash charts:

Daigo vs. Justin Wong:

The Smash Brothers documentary:

Quake speedrun:

Half-Life 2 speedrun:

Siglemic’s Mario 64 speedruns:

aMSa vs. Mew2King at KoC4:

Axe vs. Silent Wolf:

The year is 20XX, everyone plays Fox:

Chuck Klosterman on football and the read option:


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  1. “They treated their only female smasher as nothing more interesting than somebody’s girlfriend” is she a smash god? Is she winning tournaments? No? Then STFU

  2. you could argue that wavedashing was a intended mechanic because Satoru Iwata i believe posted on a Japaneses fourm explaining how to do it back in 2002 they definitely were aware of it

  3. I really enjoyed hearing you gush about your love of Smash even though while I enjoy playing it once in a while, I cannot get into the competitive scene from a spectator standpoint the way you do. Oddly I am a sports fanatic as you can tell from my thumbnail, and I love to play videogames. I can enjoy watching it but generally I prefer watching 1 player campaigns. Speedrunning is cool, but watching someone of moderate talent struggle against a tough boss or a brutally difficult game and come out on top, that's what I connect with. Watching 2 player battles in a lot of games, I find that people find such quick, cheap, disorienting ways to prevail that it's hard for me to follow what just happened without a lot of freezing the action and explaining. Everything seems to go over my head. I want to like it but that happens to me every time I watch 2 top tier players go at it in Street Fighter or Smash or anything. For example, the clip of Ken beating Chun Li you showed, initially I couldn't tell that Ken was even blocking the supermove, I thought Chun Li was nailing a combo and that's why the crowd was cheering. When Ken beats Chun Li and the crowd continues to go nuts, I was like 'hey, wait a minute, I thought you were all just cheering Chun Li. But, then you explained it and I got it.

    So anyways, you are right about the fact that us sports fans do love talking about the history and these epic comebacks and dramatic finishes and how certain great players do the most amazing things every time we watch, that aspect is not unlike your love for competitive smash. I just find it interesting that just as you cannot get a handle on why it should be fun for you to watch sports on tv, I have the same problem with watching competitive smash but we both understand why the other loves the other thing.

  4. Just really waanted to thank you. I love games and esp. Smash is something so unique, it deserves that kind of attention. Having played melee on tournaments for over 10 years, I really appreciate people like you giving it the the love it deserves, it is one of the most beautiful accidents that ever happened in video game history <3

  5. I'll keep a note here of many times I come back and rewatch this.

    I always come back and watch this video because of that line you say by the end.
    "And I love explaining why I love it".

    And in this rewatch (i think it's my 6th so far) you just made me realize that is truth for everything I love doing lmao.
    I would love to have a way to integrate that into my life.
    Explaining why i love the things i love.

  6. This is why I love Pokemon. Lower tier Pokemon play, but still. Because lower tier players pick up the same toolset as every big league player, but they don't know how to turn on the damn drill! Idk where this metaphor is going but anyways good players going through lower tier games with wierd picks is fun as hell, so are draft leagues too! It's unexpected and FUN.

  7. One thing is wavedashing was actually know by Miamoto himself. In a Japanese forum talking about the discoverance of the early wave dash only a few months after the release Miamoto actually responded on the thread giving advice on practical ways to use it in a match

  8. Lmao it's funny that most life long sports fans are probably going "well yeah, you got it"

    Sport is unscripted drama and the stories that come from it are even more exciting than something written by a team of writers

  9. This is exactly why Super Smash Bros. used to be my favorite franchise and now it's my most despised.

    I just wanna have fun.

  10. Always use adblock on Kotaku and Polygon, remember to never give a penny to those who tried so hard and spent 2010-2015 dedicated to destroying gaming culture.

  11. Fun fact they found wave dashing during development and said, "yeah thats epic leave it in fam"

    ok maybe not that wording exactly, but they did know about it, and could of fixed it, but didn't.

  12. In regards to 6:10 , wavedashing is actually on purpose though, it was discovered during the development of the game and left in. Sakurai himself made forum posts about it around the early days of the game saying it could possibly be useful and telling people how to do it. Sure, it wasn't ever meant to be used for the reasons it is now, however its not something left on accident that the game doesn't want you to do.

  13. You can think of actual combat sports as an irl smash game. There are “debuff” techniques like low kicks which slow the mobility of your opponent. There are “smash” attacks – loaded power punches or spinning hook kicks. There are “tilts” and literal jabs. As a fan of both, you can easily like both. It just depends on what you’re willing to give a chance to.

    Sports in general, are easy to get into it. I find anti-sports people to be complete snobs and have some kind of weird chip on their shoulders. Some carry their hatred of sports as some kind badge of honor. Absolutely bizarre.

    How you view match ups is exactly how people view fighters. There are villains and characters and drama. But even more so.

    Storylines and “theater” drive all sports. Also trash talk tends to drive the theater as well.

  14. "How many other competitive yoshi have you seen, … NONE"

    Wow I for sure didn't know he pick up yoshi, love to see the vods

  15. Thumbs down for hbox and m2k being favorites, and the mang0 dislike

    But thumbs up for melee

    The nation

  16. I really liked this video until you started talking about Milktea and Monolithic Maleness. Like, what's the problem? Milktea is not even remotely close to the other 7 who basically revolutionized the game, I doubt most people didn't know her before that documentary. What do you mean should be done?

    Like, imagine Roger Federer's or Lionel Messi's girlfriend having her own chapter in a documentary about him simply because she also played the sport? Or Serena Williams's boyfriend? It would be incredibly stupid and uninteresting for anyone watching that.

  17. To me this video was the best video about competitive smash on the internet, until a few days ago EmpLemon uploaded a new video in his Never Ever series about Hungrybox, talking about things of beauty..

  18. Here from the future 2020 everyone I have showed this too now understands why gamers like competitive games and my side of the argument will forever swirled by this video

  19. I avoid fox because hes toxic.
    I main Falco because hes the more supressed brother of Fox that gets a lot of shit.
    I like that top dog, yet underdog type thing falco has going. Hes up there but he tends to be forgotten that hes even up there. Its strange but it attracts me to playing him.
    Wombo combo-the people start saying “that aint falco?”
    falco is nowhere in the video
    Im the missing falco.
    Im the falco wombo combo

    This shit is goofy, thats why i love it.

    The fast paced, quirky awkward yet so intense and amazing to watch gameplay.

    I love Mango because hes “the top player” but hes the worst god. Everybody shits on him but when I see him, he fights so well.
    Leffen is an asshole, Mango disrespects Leffen, I like it.

    Mew2King is grimy

    Hungrybox is an asshole behind closed doors

    Mango and Falco, Wombo Combo and weird shit:

    Its all part of the game baby, nobody truly understands why they love melee, they throw all these thoughts together to try and piece together why they like it, but we’d be here until the end of time if i could be explained properly.

    Sorry if youve made it this far, I’ve either bored you, made you upset, made you happy, made you cringe, made you think or made you question life. The thing im focusing on is I made you do something.

    Isn’t Melee Weird?

  20. trash talk makes the spectator sport better. rooting against Leffen because he's a villain is because he talks trash, and that makes the games more hype. don't bring PC bullshit into video games. Dont industrialize video game tournaments.

  21. good video but how the fuck you gonna say you hate the trash talk? esports IS trash talk man, the drama and stories you so enjoy about melee partially come forth from the trash talk so its so odd to me how you can say you outright HATE it


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