Nintendo shuts down modded Smash Bros. Brawl tournament

Steven Rondina • August 28, 07:26

Nintendo has repeatedly taken public lashings on social media for its hostility towards Super Smash Bros. esports competitions, but the company isn’t backing down.

A Project+ tournament slated to take place at the Riptide esports event slated to happen on September 10 was abruptly canceled by Nintendo. Riptide announced the news on Twitter.

“Riptide was contacted recently by a Nintendo of America, Inc. representative regarding our Project+ events. As a result of that conversation, there will be no Project+ tournaments or setups at Riptide. We understand the impact of this news for the Project+ community,” Riptide said in a statement.

The move from Nintendo follows a similar story in 2020 where a Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament set to use a ROM version of the game with online support was shut down by the company. This was particularly worrying for Melee pros, as the game’s esports scene was hammered in 2020 due to the lack of in-person events as travel and public gathering restrictions became the norm.

Project+ is a mod project for Super Smash Bros. Brawl on the Nintendo Wii. Brawl was generally unpopular within the Smash esports scene, which was remedied to some degree through the introduction of Project M, a mod for the game that changed several core mechanics. Project M’s development team dissolved in 2015, and Project+ took things over from there.

Homebrew add-ons to games are against Nintendo’s terms of service, but Nintendo ceased support for Brawl several years ago and shut down online play in the game in 2014. This made Project+ the only way to play. Given that Nintendo has stepped away from the game, many question why others aren’t being allowed to step in and take the company’s place.

Among them are a long list of prominent Smash Bros. personalities. Most prominent is Juan “hungrybox” DeBiedma, who bashed Nintendo for the move on Twitter.

Riptide is set to continue on with other events including for Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and Splatoon 2.

Why does Nintendo hate fan games?

Nintendo is intensely protective of its intellectual properties and back catalog, which often puts the company at odds with fan games and other community-driven projects. A long list of fan games based on Nintendo characters and franchises have been attempted in the past, and many of them have been shut down by Nintendo as soon as they gain significant notoriety. The list includes a fan remake of Metroid 2, Mario Royale, Pokemon Prism, and most recently a 2D remake of Metroid Prime.

It isn’t just fan games that will attract the wrath of Nintendo’s legal team. Last year, the company went after an OnlyFans model using the handle Pokeprincxss due to the “Poke” in her name being a reference to Pokemon. She has since changed her name to Digitalprincxss. 

This protectiveness towards its brands has seen Nintendo take an aggressive stance against third-party and community-run esports events involving its games. The most notable example of this came in 2013 when Nintendo attempted to shut down a Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament that was set to take place at Evo 2013. The backlash to that decision was so severe that Nintendo withdrew its complaint.

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