Drama happens all the time in whatever community you look at. It’s a fact that you just have to deal with. As of a few years ago, Smash has been getting into the spotlight more and more as a competitive game, and for good reason. Not only does its competition get really intense, but the games are incredibly accessible, and generally easier to follow than most other competitive games. Sadly, Smash has obtained this reputation in the FGC for not being a “true fighting game” for almost no reason other than it being different. This whole debate between whether or not Smash is a true fighter has been going on for literal years.
Though, as of late, it’s gotten worse. Not only are Smash players being verbally attacked at basically every chance someone gets, but members of the FGC who encourage Smash and allow them good treatment at tournaments, such as Alex Jebailey, organizer of Community Effort Orlando, who I have seen multiple people on social media openly go after, are attacked for essentially being “smash sympathizers” and also get disrespected by members of the FGC. Basically, everything I’m talking about with community disrespect from the FGC can be summed up in this Redditor’s letter to the Smash community (WARNING: tons of harsh language). Now, before you say anything, yes, I know that post is from r/Kappa, and while r/Kappa is a generally toxic place anyway, this letter still does a good job at showing many people outside of r/Kappa’s position on Smash as a game.
The conflict between the FGC and Smash doesn’t stop there, though. It also spans into actual tournament organization. Smash 4 was handled horribly at EVO. Hardly any setups per pool in the 2nd or 3rd largest tournament there, some setups not having all the stages unlocked, inefficient space for the size of the tournament, and more. Smash 4 had it the worst at EVO.
These are just two accounts of the FGC’s disdain towards Smash; there are many more. And all of them are acting like god damn children.
Now that we know a bit of the FGC’s side of the conflict, let’s look at how the Smash community responds to it. Spoilers: They’re acting just like the FGC; like god damn children.
Let’s look at CEO 2016. Smash players drowned out the awards ceremony for Guilty Gear Xrd by screaming “Melee!” constantly, not only disrupting the event, but completely disrespecting the players who put in just as much effort, if not more, in their game of choice, just like how those Smash players do in their own game.
As for responding to the fiasco at EVO, the way they treated it wasn’t much better. The community has every right in the world to be mad at the organizers for messing up as badly as they did. That said, the community had lashed out in a way that only harms them and the reputation of their community. Yes, EVO was a mess, and yes, you should be mad about it. But what you should be doing is not whining about how you’ll never go back to it, and instead try to work things out in a civil manner through connecting with members of the community that want to support you, because they are there.
This kind of behavior, from both the FGC and the Smash community, is completely unacceptable. Not only does treating games like this completely undermine all the hard work and effort the members of each community put into their games and events, but it also horribly damages the look that competitive gaming has today. Do we want to be seen as a group of kids who just argue about video games all day, or do we want to be seen as actual competitors in something much bigger than we could imagine? Do we want respect, or do we want to be looked down upon? Because right now with the way the communities are acting, the outcome is not respect. This kind of drama is what holds back competitive gaming as a whole, because instead of working together to improve the overall scene as much as you can, you feud and nitpick and piss and moan about how wavedashing isn’t as demanding as doing an FADC. In order to better the community as a whole, this fighting needs to stop entirely, and we need to work together to make both Smash and the FGC as great as they can possible be.
I love competitive gaming; I love the sense of community it brings to people. We need to strengthen this sense of community as best we can, and it’s impossible to do so if all that’s happening is people being pushed away from both sides. The only way we’re going to reach the point where both communities are working at their best is by having both sides get off their high horses and get it through their thick skulls that everyone is playing their games for the same reason: For some good matches and some good fun. To improve themselves and each other.
To get hype.