I have to admit that I’m no expert on competitive Smash in any format. I’ve always enjoyed the series from a casual perspective, but beyond that I’m left asking those who do know for their thoughts and opinions on myriad topics. What I do know something about, however, is remakes and remasters of classic games. And that’s why I thought I’d put some thoughts to computer screen today.
In case anyone missed it, rumors are flying that Nintendo Switch will have GameCube Virtual Console support and that Smash Melee will be one of the first games. On one hand, this is a great thing for casual players who don’t want to break out their GC every time they wanna relive the old days or for folks who don’t wanna pay the high price for a used copy of the title. On the other, however, this creates a competitive dilemma for Melee in terms of what version of the game the scene will use going forward.
On the surface, it seems a pretty simple choice: stay the course and keep playing on GC. The Switch port will almost assuredly have differences—even small ones—as well as some lag due to the jump from standard definition to high definition, and players already have all the equipment needed to play the game. This is not a Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix situation, where the game was not widely available so the community had to make a tough choice.
That being said, what happens if Nintendo decides to formally support the competitive Melee scene when the new release comes out, and only allows use of the Switch remake? Then the situation becomes a little trickier. The idea of alternating versions between events is never fun and only leads to complaints and division, as use of arcade boards versus remasters has shown in the Third Strike, ST and Vampire Savior scenes. Heck, the fighting game scene at large even had to choose Xbox 360 as the official tournament standard for Street Fighter IV and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 for similar reasons.
Hopefully I’m just worrying about things that won’t happen: perhaps Nintendo won’t really care, or the Smash scene could choose to adopt a new version like UMvC3 is currently trying to do. Either way, it would be nice if a new release of an old game was not a cause for alarm like it always seems to be in fighters.