A Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament match grew so heated over the weekend that a player unplugged his controller and walked off the stage mid-fight, as he had grown frustrated with his opponent’s stalling tactics using Jigglypuff the Pokémon.
Jigglypuff has been in the Super Smash Bros. series since the beginning and it has had a shaky history in terms of its competitive use, except in Melee. Jigglypuff is one of the lightest characters in the Super Smash Bros. series which means that it’s easy to knock into the blast zone in order to take stocks, with the trade-off being that its low weight gives it incredible aerial mobility, which allows it to zip around the stage and evade the attacks of the enemy.
It was at the Battle of BC 3 event in Vancouver, Canada, that an ugly exchange happened during a match between Alejandro “Chango” Gastelum, who played Jigglypuff, and Chaucer “Fauxhebro” Gilson, who played the Ice Climbers. According to Kotaku, Gastelum took the point lead in the fifth game and used Jigglypuff’s mobility to leap between the platforms on the Fountain of Dreams stage in order to prevent his opponent from being able to attack, with the intention of running out the clock in order to win the match.
Gilson grew so frustrated at Gastelum’s tactics that he stopped in place, causing his opponent to do likewise. The two players did nothing while the clock ran down until Gilson unplugged his controller and walked off the stage without even a show of sportsmanship towards his opponent.
There has been a lot of discontent in the Super Smash Bros. Melee community recently, with concerns that the popular Super Smash Bros. Ultimate might usurp the game’s place on the tournament scene, as EVO 2019 will not be including any Melee events. There has also been a division in the community over the banning of “wobbling” in some tournaments, which is a move used by the Ice Climbers that allows them to perform a repeatable combo with Popo grabbing the enemy and Nana hitting them one after the other. There are some fans who agree with the ban due to how frustrating and overpowered the combo is, while others see it as an extension of the mechanics of the game. Not coincidentally, Fauxhebro plays Ice Climbers, which means his ability to execute with the characters has become more limited.
It’s understandable to be frustrated when a player uses stalling tactics in a fighting game, but there is no excuse for showing unsportsmanlike behavior. Super Smash Bros. Melee is a game that has had its mechanics bent to the point of breaking by the fans, with every exploit that the developers never intended to appear in the game being used as a weapon in tournaments. With that being the case, there is nothing wrong with a Jigglypuff player using the strengths of their character to win a match, however frustrating it may be from a viewership experience.