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Thursday, November 18, 2021

Panda and Nintendo to Start Officially Licensed Super Smash Bros. Circuit in 2022

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - With both Super Smash Bros. Ultimate AND Super Smash Bros. Melee!

While Nintendo of America has yet to publish a press release on this—a tweet doesn't count—today Nintendo and eSports organisation Panda Global has announced “Panda and Nintendo Partner for the First Officially Licensed Super Smash Bros.™ Circuit!” Their goal is to create a welcoming and fun space for Super Smash Bros. players, while also promoting competition... with cash prizes! Which is quite unusual for Nintendo, a company that has been sponsoring competitive online Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournaments but pays out in non-cash-redeemable eShop money and merchandise. The exact prizes and many of the details are unknown.

Panda Global Nintendo of America Super Smash Bros. Melee Ultimate official circuit invitation letter
I bet they wanted to have a Super Smash Bros. newcomer-style envelope/letter but got this instead.

We do know they described the circuit as a “short series” that leads to one single championship. Once large-scale events return and aren't cancelled by the Chinese Communist Party Virus, there will be in-person qualifying rounds for both Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Super Smash Bros. Melee, as well as online qualifying rounds for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Unofficial fan-made modifications to Super Smash Bros. Melee that allow one to play online through unauthorised emulations are, of course, not a part of this event.

This is the first time there is an officially licensed Super Smash Bros. circuit for both Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, though up to this point, Nintendo in Europe has had something similar for just the latter... though it got cancelled (or postponed indefinitely) because of the Chinese Communist Party Virus.

I'm hugely in favour of this announcement, at least as a concept since we don't have details. Panda Global is highly respected among the Super Smash Bros. community. They also run PGstats and the Panda Global Rankings for the Super Smash Bros. games, which are very authoritative statistics gathering and player rankings. Nintendo couldn't have selected a better partner in this, quite frankly. While a lot of competitive players have many legitimate reasons to be skeptical of Nintendo's presence (like Nintendo not paying people who win their existing tournaments!), Panda should provide significant credibility to this.

Some die-hard Nintendo haters have reacted with great hostility towards this. It's probably safe to ignore them since they don't know what they want. The community has always been split between “Nintendo should leave us alone and let us continue to be grassroots” versus “We really wish Nintendo came into the scene, helped clean it up of some bad elements, and provided money and sponsorships so people aren't paying more in airfare and hotel fees than their tournament winnings, if they happen to win at all.” Of course, this is a great announcement for the latter group, and that's always been my own preference. Still, we don't know what's going to happen exactly...

Regardless, many people wrote Nintendo off from ever wanting to even say the word Melee outside of Samus's Melee-based actions in Metroid Dread since the community has been toxic both to the company and to its fellow members—and with the latter, that's sometimes been far worse than just toxic. There's been rumours and people in the know trying to get this kind of circuit going on for a very, very long time, but it's fallen through due to bad faith negotiations from the company's part (according to the other people). Now it seems to be here. Somehow. I think the last time Nintendo mentioned Melee in the context of Super Smash Bros. was... this:

July 2016 might seem like “only” five years ago, but that's an eternity. I mean, Hungrybox did used to be a highly accomplished competitive Super Smash Bros. Melee player with a very fierce rivalry with Armada. Now he's just a clickbait YouTube personality. It's been a long time!

While we wait for 2022, I think the last Super Smash Bros. Ultimate event we're going to get from Nintendo is the NintendoVS US Challenge Cup Fall 2021 Event #2 taking place this Saturday on the 20th. I... don't recommend you participate. I bet you have some better uses of your time!

Ludwig is very eager to learn what will happen with this circuit. He is a bit concerned about what will happen with the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Online Open series, since he would like those to continue. If only for selfish reasons because he has a little fiefdom over it. KoopaTV will report on future updates to this.

The Online Open continues in April 2022 for North America, while Panda-Nintendo has no update at all.
Finally, an update in May! The Panda Cup circuit!


  1. I did NOT think this day would come. I reckon I'm going to need to watch out for aerial porcine creatures on my commute home tonight.

    1. Stay safe!

      I'm looking forward to you reconciling this with your comment from two weeks ago.

    2. In that regard, my feelings are mixed. On one hand, it's a good thing that Nintendo is actually backing aspects of Smash tournaments now because such a thing OUGHT to lead to greater accountability for how the players behave. I mean dang--I thought MY local scene was full of gatekeeping assholes but I had no idea how bad things were elsewhere.

      I do, however, react to the fact that they're including Melee in it with casual dismay. The world needs to move on from that game.

      I feel I should clarify that by "not kowtowing" in that previous comment, I meant that they were refraining from drawing the ruleset for their online tournament along traditional local tournament lines. I don't equate Nintendo licensing a Smash tournament to kowtowing to the scene at all--if anything, it's a play to start gaining greater control of the scene and start having IT kowtow to THEM.

      Which, you know, is probably not a good thing, but better than the other way around in my opinion.

    3. If Melee got ported to the Switch like so many... older games are, would ya still say the world needs to move on from it? Should the world move on from SM64?

      Having the scene kowtow to what Nintendo wants is the fear of a lot of people, though! (Many times because they associate Nintendo with goofy rulesets like items on and Final Smash metre... which was a thing in tonight's Challenge Cup, yes, but Nintendo has shown many times they're more than capable of being normal.)

    4. If Melee gets ported, that means they're porting Gamecube games. If they're porting Gamecube games, THAT means that they can port the THOUSAND YEAR DOOR.

      If I can get Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door on Switch, I'll be willing to forgive them for porting Melee, and by extension be willing to forgive Melee for continuing to exist.

    5. TTYD die-hards are arguably as obnoxious as Melee diehards. Just saying. :x

      I ended up voting for Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance in this very recent poll...!

    6. Oh, I'm not a TTYD diehard. Heck, I place Super Paper Mario above it in my list of top Paper Mario games. I just really miss playing it is all.

      To preempt you asking me, I order all the Paper Mario games as follows, from best to worst:

      1) Super Paper Mario
      2) The Thousand Year Door
      3) The Origami King
      4) Paper Mario (64)
      5) Color Splash
      6) Sticker Star
      7) M&L Paper Jam (not strictly a Paper Mario game but he's in it and my point is, it's worse than Sticker Star)

    7. Turns out I wasn't gonna ask you, but I can hear Captain Stitch in the background asking me when I'll write The Origami King's review on KoopaTV.

  2. Happy that Melee got freed of conservatorship but I will not be watching it as I do not need to have Sora related videos recommended to me.

    1. Oh, I'm sure these'll be streamed and the ad breaks will be for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's Fighter's Passes. >_>


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