Nintendo’s reputation rests largely on the passionate enthusiasm of its fans. However, Smash Bros. and Splatoon communities are now taking a stand against Nintendo after their controversial decision to cancel certain events.
It all started last month when Nintendo sent a cease-and-desist letter to close down the “Big House” Smash Bros. Melee tournament. Nintendo took exception with the event organizers and players using Slippi (a third party mod) to allow everyone to play the classic Gamecube title online and took legal action after the organizers refused to stop the event.
This decision was controversial because the tournament was only being held online due to COVID-19. In response, various players and fans started using the #freemelee hashtag to express disappointment with Nintendo’s decision.
This past weekend, Nintendo unexpectedly canceled the Splatoon 2 North America Open event. Nintendo has yet to explain this decision, though several players believe it is because many competing teams used names referencing the #freemelee debacle.
In reaction to this cancellation, fans organized and funded their own Splatoon 2 tournament called “Squid House” in honor of the canceled Melee tournament. Fans raised a $25,000 prize pool and will be giving another $3,000 to charity, making this the largest prize for any Splatoon event in history. In other words, Nintendo threw away a major opportunity and players showed them up in a major way.
Ultimately, Nintendo’s actions and the fan reaction has been an unmitigated disaster. And even Nintendo’s biggest fans can’t help but wonder what this means for future gaming events.