Super Smash Bros Melee
Image: Beyond The Summit

Update: The #FreeMelee hashtag has evolved into #SaveSmash, and has, at the time of writing, picked up 21.7K tweets – enough for it to begin trending around the world on Twitter.

Original Story [Fri 20th Nov, 2020 00:55 GMT]: The competitive Smash Bros. community has taken the action online this year, but one event hasn't been so lucky.

The Big House - the longest-running major Smash tournament in the US - has received a cease and desist order from Nintendo of America. The issue Nintendo has with this year's event is the fact it requires "illegally copied versions" of Super Smash Bros. Melee and would also make use of Slippi Online - rollback netcode allowing players to duke it out online.

In a statement to Polygon, Nintendo said the tournament organisers "refused" to cooperate, so it was left with "no choice" but to step to protect its intellectual property and brands. Noticeably, the company says it will "continue" to support the Smash Bros. competitive scene in the future.

"Nintendo appreciates the love and dedication the fighting game community has for the Super Smash Bros. series. We have partnered with numerous Super Smash Bros. tournaments in the past and have hosted our own online and offline tournaments for the game, and we plan to continue that support in the future. 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."

In its own response (via Twitter), The Big House said it was "heartbroken" it had to cancel its upcoming online event and had no choice but to comply with Nintendo. It will send out more details about refunds soon.

"The Big House is heartbroken to share we've received a cease and desist from Nintendo of America, Inc. to cancel our upcoming online event. We were informed we do not have permission to host or broadcast the event, primarily due to the usage of Slippi. Sadly, all our competitions are affected.

"We are forced to comply with the order and cancel The Big House Online for both Melee and Ultimate. Refund information will be sent shortly. We apologize to all those impacted."

The Smash and competitive fighting game community have responded to this with the hashtag #FreeMelee, which is trending on social media. The Big House Smash Bros. competition was scheduled to take place between 4th and 6th December.