from the nintendon't dept
Late last year, we discussed a predictably odd move by Nintendo to shut down a Smash Bros. tournament called The Big House over its use of a mod called “slippi.” Slippi essentially unbreaks the 20 year old game when it comes to competitive online play. Otherwise, the whole thing basically doesn’t work from a online play perspective. And, with all kinds of events going virtual, The Big House attempted to run its tournament virtually, meaning that participants would have to use a digitized version of the game they owned, along with the mod, in order to participate. After it nixed the tourney, Nintendo put out the following statement:
Unfortunately, the upcoming Big House tournament announced plans to host an online tournament for Super Smash Bros. Melee that requires use of illegally copied versions of the game in conjunction with a mod called ‘Slippi’ during their online event. Nintendo therefore contacted the tournament organizers to ask them to stop. They refused, leaving Nintendo no choice but to step in to protect its intellectual property and brands. Nintendo cannot condone or allow piracy of its intellectual property.
Many of us rolled our eyes at the statement. After all, digitizing your own owned game in order to participate in the tournament is not “piracy.” The game was bought and paid for by participants. The use of slippi doesn’t really factor into the equation and, yet, its use seemed to be the deciding factor in the shut down. In other words, the target seemed to be the mod and not piracy.
Well, that appears to be confirmed now that Nintendo has shut down a tournament called “Riptide”, hosted at a waterpark in Ohio in-person, due to its use of a mod called “Project+”.
The inaugural Riptide Smash Bros. event was supposed to happen last year but was postponed due to the pandemic. But 2021 has introduced another hitch. The three-day fighting game extravaganza at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio will now no longer feature Project+, a variant of the popular Project M mod for Smash Bros. Brawl that makes the 2008 Wii game fit for high-level competitive play.
“Riptide was contacted recently by a Nintendo of America, Inc. representative regarding our Project+ events,” the event’s organizers wrote on Twitter last Friday. “As a result of that conversation, there will be no Project+ tournaments or setups at Riptide.”
Note that the event was scheduled to go off on September 10th. Participants are getting refunds for their entry fees, given the last minute cancellation, but not for any money spent on transportation or accommodations needed to attend the event. Flights, hotels, etc. are all going unrefunded. And, understandably, people are pissed.
“Super cool of @NintendoAmerica to cancel an event that’s been planned for months just 2 weeks before it happens!” wrote Melee pro JoSniffy on Twitter. “It’s so considerate to all of the people that bought plane tickets and hotels months ago, which are now useless. Keep up the great work Nintendo!”
Notably, there are zero piracy concerns at play here. The event and mod require disc copies of the game to play. The entire competition was to be conducted in-person, with no online play. Nintendo has made no public statement at the time of this writing as to why the tourney was cancelled, leaving it completely open to confusion and speculation.
“This is unforgivable at this point,” wrote past Melee champion Hungrybox on Twitter. “There’s no legitimate reason for @Nintendo to do this that doesn’t include a complete disconnect with the current culture of their consumers. Insanity.”
And so the rest of the Riptide event will go on as scheduled, but this one tournament is shut down, leaving participants that paid for accommodations in the lurch. Why?
Control, obviously. With no piracy to be concerned about, all we’re left with is the use of the Project+ mod. Nintendo quite famously hates modding communities and takes every opportunity to retain strict control over how its games are played. Why it wants to go to war with its own fans and customers in this way, meanwhile, has been an open question for years.