This week, Melee pro and creator of the B0XX controller — the infamous Hax$ — released an unofficial update to Super Smash Bros. Melee. Beneath the follow-up tweet that tagged 20+ of the most influential members of the Melee community, fans of Melee esports were already drawing lines in the sand over whether Melee 1.03 was a good or bad thing for the game.
Some fans praised the ambition of the project, but ultimately disagreed with the decision to remove aspects of the original Melee, like stage hazards on tournament legal stages. It's a fair point to note that what Hax$ describes as improved HUD is really just changed HUD and, while optimization purists push for improvements, purists of another sort find it loathsome to change any element of a classic title.
Do we want a Melee patch?
Regardless of what you think about Patch 1.03, it remains an impressive feat of independent development. There is an evident love of Melee and passion for its competitive future in many of 1.03 additions. It's hard to argue against nice things like stage music selection or a useful latency toggle. The latency toggle especially could prove a valuable tool for tournament organizers that want to ensure a lag-free Melee experience but don't have the luxury of ideal monitors.
Melee 1.03 also includes many QOL improvements that are relatively harmless. Unfortunately, these changes share the same memory card with controversial ones. This includes the removal of Pokemon Stadium transformations, Dreamland's wind stage hazard, and the Shyguys on Yoshi's Story.
The patch trailer explains that the "removal of RNG" supposedly makes these stages more competitively viable, but some disagree with the removal of original Melee content for the sake of a certain type of player.
Supporters of Melee 1.03 are quick to bring up that all of these changes are optional, however, that handwaving becomes less effective if tournament organizers embrace Melee 1.03 and enforce these changes as the "definitive" way to play at their event.
HAx$ hopes Melee 1.03 kicks off a new era for the melee community, but what about Panda Global and Nintendo of America's Super Smash Bros. Circuit? Something tells me an ambitious fan-patched copy of Melee is the last thing Nintendo of America will ever support.
Leave it to the games 20th anniversary to also create a branch Marvel cinematic universe-esque branch in Melee's competitive timeline:
Will the competitive soul of Melee be won over by the exhaustively detailed 1.03 and the removal of Nintendo RNG or will Panda Global's maxed-out diplomacy stat convert Nintendo of America into the trusted ally Melee veterans never had?
Warcraft 3 is my one true love and I will challenge anyone to a game of Super Smash Brothers Melee.