IGEC Panel Highlight: The Smash Bros — How an Unsupported Nintendo Game Survived as an Esport

The Smash Bros. Panel at IGEC 2019 will host a roundtable discussion with professional Smash Bros competitors featuring a Q&A session. Our panelists will explore how Smash differs from other FGC titles, the larger role of grassroots esports vs. publisher supported ones, and how the recent involvement (and infamous lack thereof) of Nintendo might change the game's competitive future. This panel is a marquee event for competitive Smash fans and FGC enthusiasts!

▲ Image Source: Beyond The Summit


Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the most recent game in the Nintendo's flagship multiplayer series, has been a success with gamers worldwide. The massive character roster from countless gaming franchises, from Nintendo classics like Mario and Link all the way to Final Fantasy's Cloud Strife, has made Smash Ultimate the best selling and most popular game of the Smash Bros franchise in less than a year.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is massively popular amongst professional fighting game players as well, and currently has the most entrants of any competition at EVO 2019. Nintendo has done an excellent job of working with the top players and leaders of the Smash community.

Or have they?

However, the relationship between Nintendo and the competitive Super Smash Bros. scene has not always been all Yoshis and rainbows. The second game in the series, Super Smash Bros. Melee for the Nintendo Gamecube, has been kept alive by its community for nearly two decades despite Nintendo actively trying to render the game's competitive circuit obsolete. 

Despite these efforts, Melee marched on. Alongside its Nintendo Wii successor Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Melee made a triumphant return to the EVO stage in 2013 after nearly a half-decade in the nintendoghouse. In addition, the Melee community once raised nearly $100,000 for cancer research & awareness. The grassroots philanthropy was a shining representation of the passion and unity of the community of a series that to this day has its FGC authenticity called into question.

"In the year of our lord 2019, there are still people claiming that Smash is not a real fighting game. They are very, very wrong." - Jeffrey L. Wilson, PCMag

With Super Smash Bros. Melee players and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U [dubbed Smash4 for clarity] united under the Ultimate banner, 2019 has the potential to be the biggest year for Smash yet. At IGEC 2019, Nintendo America Brand Ambassador and content creator Roger DiLuigi will be moderating the discussion between Smash Bros. veterans and competitors. The goal is simple -- understand how Smash continues to thrive despite so many obstacles.

▲ In addition to the panel, IGEC 2019 will feature an Ultimate tournament and chances for attendees to play against the pros and win prizes!

The panel will feature three speakers from the competitive smash scene. Echo Fox's Jason "Mew2King" Zimmerman has been competing across multiple smash titles since the mid-2000s. His performances across nearly 15 years of Smash, specifically Melee, has put him in the elite company of the 'Five Gods', five competitive players who ruled the smash community for the past decade with top performance after top performance.

Team Liquid's Kashan "Chillindude" Khan has been a prominent figure in the Melee scene since its inception in 2001.  While his elite competitor days may be behind him, Chillindude's involvement in the community and extensive contributions to The Smash Bros Documentary make his knowledge of the scene's past, present, and future second to none. 

Rounding out the panel of speakers is DaJuan "Shroomed" Jefferson McDaniel. Previously competing under the banners of the  Winterfox and Immortals organizations, Shroomed rose to notoriety in the smash scene after several top finishes in the competitive Melee circuit starting in 2012. Shroomed hit his career stride over a decade after the release of Super Smash Bros. Melee — his relevance is a testament to the longevity the Smash scene continues to foster and facilitate.


Aspiring smashers will also have a chance to test their mettle against the pro panelists, as well as streamer Mychal "Trihex" Raymond Jefferson, in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate best-of-three match. IGEC attendees will skip the line with a ticket in hand, and prizes will be attainable for those who manage to prove themselves against the best of the best.

The challenges will take place from 1:00pm-6:00pm. 

Whether you are a Super Smash Bros. enthusiast, a tournament organizer, an aspiring pro, or part of the new generation of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fanatics, this panel is a must-attend as it will provide visibility on how Smash has evolved as a community and its bright future as a premiere esport.

The Smash Bros. panel will take place at 4:00pm in the Doheny Beach room of University of California Irvine's Conference Center. More information on IGEC panels can be found here

IGEC 2019 will be held at the UCI Conference Center on Tuesday, June 4, 2019. Get your tickets now! 

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