As the year 2021 draws to a close, we at Inven Global are looking back at the players, casters, events, and games that made this year of competitive Super Smash Bros. Melee so special. In a year of turmoil, the Smash community continued to thrive and bring some incredible competition.
We're excited to present the second year of the Inven Global Awards (IGA). Voted by the editorial crew of Inven Global, along with some of the game’s most well-respected players, casters, and community figures, the IGAs celebrate the many strong facets of Melee in 2021 — the best players, casters, content creators, etc.
One of the prides of Melee is the content surrounding it. While other games have developers with enormous budgets to put together first-rate content, those in the Melee scene have put their hearts into work that can be just as compelling. Here are the cases for each of these fantastic content pieces. Fans can also vote for the content piece they think deserves it the most, and the player with the most votes will receive the IGA Community Award.
The Game Nintendo Wishes It Never Made — Melee Stats
For such a challenging and emotional topic as the relationship between the Smash community and Nintendo, “The Game Nintendo Wishes It Never Made” tells the story right. Though the title is a bit provocative, it’s a sober look at the complex issue the scene faces. It gives a great rundown of most of the run-ins Nintendo has had with the Smash community while approaching them with enough self-awareness to not come across as whiny or entitled.
At the same time, the creators make the right decision to insert some of their own stories into the film as well, giving it another layer of humanity.
Part of the community might disagree with some of the ideas presented in the documentary. And who knows — the Panda Global and Nintendo partnership may soon prove the video to be out of date in some ways. Even if that comes true, though, it’s a touching celebration of all that the Melee community has built-in spite of the obstacles from its game developer.
The Melee Stats Top 100 Players of All-Time — PGStats/Melee Stats
2018’s “The Top 100 Melee Players of All-Time” by Anokh "EdwinBudding" Palakurthi and Melissa “Pikachu942” Blight is one of the most ambitious projects in Melee’s history. The project’s successor accomplishes the same goal — only with better presentation, more community involvement, and even more effort to make the project as accurate and impartial as possible.
What else can be said about this monolith? The amount of research that went into this project is unbelievable — scouring tournament threads on Web 1.0 forums or interviewing veteran players on events that have no written record. The editorial is great too, with all the rankings being justified in a clear and grounded manner. They also provide a fun look at how all of these players contributed to the game, as well as the unique play styles they had. They even provide gameplay examples for each selection — another impressive layer of depth considering the difficulty in finding footage for some of the earliest players.
Creating good historical content is a challenge in any game, and Melee’s grassroots nature makes it more challenging than most. The creators of the Top 100 Melee Players of All-Time record history well in spite of that. It’s an achievement that hasn’t been emulated in any other game.
Metagame - Travis “Samox” Beauchamp
Despite the mixed community reaction to The Smash Brothers’ successor Metagame, and Samox stating that its reception “definitely felt like a failure" when compared with the universal praise for The Smash Brothers — it’s still an important work for the competitive scene. And after criticisms were levied towards the films, Samox’s final edits created a truly special product. With involvement from all the major players in the Five Gods era, it gives an entertaining and detailed look at one of the most iconic periods in the game’s history.
It’s a benchmark for Melee documentaries. The music, production value, and storytelling are all more polished than The Smash Brothers, and at its best create a perfect representation of the emotions at the time. It also goes more in depth to the gameplay aspects of Melee in a way and highlights the beauty there as well.
It’s a lovely showcase of why our game is so great, and at its core is an excellent story on the lives of some interesting characters. Whether he’ll do more projects on Melee in the future is unknown, but it has been a privilege watching the career of Samox.
The Story of APEX 2015: A Splendid Tragedy — Walter “Turndownforwalt” Brandsema
Apex 2015 was one of the greatest tournaments in Melee’s history. Equal parts chaos and heroism, it had everything that makes the community great. A roof caving in because of a snowstorm caused a last minute change in venue. Some of the most legendary sets the game has had were played at the event. And there were so many storylines throughout the event, you’d make George R. R. Martin say, ‘Dang, that’s a lot.”
Turndownforwalt’s YouTube documentary, “The Story of APEX 2015: A Splendid Tragedy,” gives a proper retelling of the fabled event. It’s comprehensive, detailed, and presented in the entertaining-but-educational style Turndownforwalt has mastered. He makes it feel like a community effort — inviting many of the scene’s most prominent figures to share their memories and opinions on the event. And despite most of the insane storylines running parallel to one another, Turndownforwalt puts together something both entertaining and digestible.
It’s the perfect retelling of one of the game’s craziest chapters. New viewers unfamiliar with the event will get a perfect retelling of why the event is so special, and older fans now have the best way to relive this magical event. A splendid tragedy indeed.
Mango cements legacy with Smash Summit victory — Tyler “Fionn” Erzberger
While more known for his work in League of Legends and VALORANT, the Esports Writer has been following the Melee scene for years and chose a perfect opportunity to write a piece on it. Mango’s win at Smash Summit 11 speaks for itself — few players have accomplished what he did that weekend, in any game. The technical skill he showed playing in an era with most of his contemporaries retired — even his longtime rival Juan "Hungrybox" Debiedma called him the greatest of all time.
In less than 1,500 words, Fionn captures all the mystique of this tournament run. Hardcore Melee fans may see it as a bit watered down without any technical details or mention of the smaller storylines at Summit 11, but that’s intentional. For what he tried to do — tell a compelling and emotional story to a general audience — he succeeded.
Just take a read. His concluding words for the piece are, “When Melee is at its best, there might not be anything better. And on Sunday, a day that the game he loves needed heroics, Mango made sure there was no one better.” For this article, he made sure the same.
The Inven Global Smash Awards panel for Melee
- Alexander Lee
- Austin Watts
- John "Oddball" Popko
- Julian Carney
- Tim Masters
*Note: Nobody can vote for themselves in the Inven Global Smash Awards.
**Note: Due to the lack of votes in this particular category, the award for Best Content Piece in Melee and Ultimate was decided solely by the Inven Global editorial team.
What has your vote for best Melee content?
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