Nintendo of America has once again stepped in to foil fans’ efforts to keep its old games alive and vibrant. After learning a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate event at an Ohio waterpark next month would also feature competitive play for Smash Bros. Brawl mod Project+, the company’s lawyers sweeped in like they so often do to ruin players’ fun.
The inaugural Riptide Smash Bros. event was supposed to happen last year but was postponed due to the pandemic. But 2021 has introduced another hitch. The three-day fighting game extravaganza at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio will now no longer feature Project+, a variant of the popular Project M mod for Smash Bros. Brawl that makes the 2008 Wii game fit for high-level competitive play.
“Riptide was contacted recently by a Nintendo of America, Inc. representative regarding our Project+ events,” the event’s organizers wrote on Twitter last Friday. “As a result of that conversation, there will be no Project+ tournaments or setups at Riptide.”
Scheduled for September 10, this last-minute twist gave competitors and fans alike who booked passes, travel, and accommodations for the event less than two weeks to figure out a new plan. While Riptide is handling refunds for the Project+ tournament, flights and hotel rooms are a different story.
“Super cool of @NintendoAmerica to cancel an event that’s been planned for months just 2 weeks before it happens!” wrote Melee pro JoSniffy on Twitter. “It’s so considerate to all of the people that bought plane tickets and hotels months ago, which are now useless. Keep up the great work Nintendo!”
Nintendo has been at war with fans for a while, and the Smash Bros. community has attracted a lot of unwanted attention recently for its use of modded versions of the game in tournaments. The company shut down the entire annual Big House tournament last year over its intention to broadcast a Smash Bros. Melee tournament that made use of the “Slippi” mod, which adds rollback netcode to the game for a smoother online experience. Splatoon 2 players showed solidarity at the time by spreading hashtag messages on social media like #FreeMelee, and then Nintendo shut down their tournament as well.
But what makes this instance even more absurd is that Riptide’s Project+ tournament would have been completely offline. (Brawl’s official online multiplayer, just to note, has been out of commission since 2014.) The mod also requires disc copies of Brawl to work, so piracy is not an issue either. Project+ is merely a game mod, so if you’re wondering what Nintendo’s objection is, you’re not alone.
“This is unforgivable at this point,” wrote past Melee champion Hungrybox on Twitter. “There’s no legitimate reason for @Nintendo to do this that doesn’t include a complete disconnect with the current culture of their consumers. Insanity.”
Unlike the completely canceled Big House 2020 event, the rest of Riptide, including Smash Bros. Ultimate and Splatoon 2 tournaments, is still set to move ahead as originally planned. The problem isn’t going away, though. Low Tide City, a sequel event of sorts to Riptide taking place in October, is still set to feature Project+. At least until Nintendo’s lawyers find out about that one as well, it seems.
Update, 9/2/2021, 4:52 p.m. ET: A separate fall fighting game event has preemptively cancelled its own Project+ tournament following the Riptide news. Beyond the Summit Mainstage 2021 in November will no longer feature the Brawl mod, it announced on Twitter yesterday.
“While this news is unfortunate, we believe that earlier notice for the community is ultimately better than a last minute cancellation,” the event’s organizers wrote. “We will be reaching out to all attendees registered for Project+ events with more details about refunds soon.”