Super Smash Bros. Melee, above any other entry in Nintendo’s crossover fighting series, has endured. It’s still a fixture of major esports tournaments, like Evo and DreamHack, despite there being two newer entries in the series. Players worldwide remain devoted to the GameCube game since its fall 2001 launch.
More than Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and the N64 Super Smash Bros., there’s a rhythm and art to Melee that continues to attract players of all skill levels. The best way to understand that, and the game’s long-lasting appeal, is obvious: by watching really talented people play the game.
Back in 2015, members of the Smash Bros. reddit created an introductory guide to Melee and why it’s so beloved after more than a decade. These videos, wrote user Thedmatch, stand as the greatest matches ever played on the competitive circuit. Among the combatants are venerated Melee champs like Adam “Armada” Lindgren and Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman, who have both have won more than $150,000 from their tournament successes.
Alongside players Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma, Kevin “PPMD” Nanney and Joseph “Mango” Marquez, they’re what Smash esports fanatics refer to as the “Five Gods” of Melee. Watching them behind the controller is about as good as it’s ever gonna get, barring playing Melee yourself with a bunch of friends.
At the Genesis tournament in July 2009, Mango and Armada took each other on for five minutes of pink-on-pink, four-stock battle action. Watch as Armada’s Peach wail on Mango’s Jigglypuff — but the tables turn quickly.
Here’s Mew2King playing against Masaya “aMSa” Chikamoto at the Kings of Cali 4 in 2014. The relative newcomer is a star with Yoshi, who Thedmatch notes is not one of the better characters in the game. Part of the fun in watching competitive Melee is seeing fighters you normally wouldn’t dare play with completely own the ring — spoiler alert, aMSa goes on to calmly wipe the floor with Mew2King.
Deviating from Thedmatch’s list a bit, here’s a fight between Mango and PPMD at June 2014’s SKTAR tourney. Melee turns friends, like Fox and Falco, into sworn enemies, and that’s exactly what’s on display here. You know players are evenly matched when the fight goes on for more than 10 minutes, too.
If you’ve made it this far and are thus committed to watching as much Melee as possible for the rest of its anniversary day, here’s a long one. It’s from this year’s Evo grand finals, with Armada and Hungrybox rocking Fox and Jigglypuff, respectively. The whole video is almost 45 minutes long, but there’s nothing like seeing an excited Smash victor’s elation at the end of a match ... although the loser’s disappointment is kind of a bummer.
The Smash Bros. reddit is a good place to find even more classic matches throughout the years. As the 15-year-old Melee remains an Evo mainstay, among other tournaments, it’s not too late to learn the game well enough to perhaps compete alongside these players one day.