Smash Bros. fans say Nintendo's new tournament guidelines spell doomsday for community tournaments: "GGs folks it was a good run"

Best 3DS games - Super Smash Bros. for 3DS
(Image credit: Nintendo)

Super Smash Bros. fans are sounding the alarm over Nintendo's strict new community tournament guidelines, which could indeed be devastating to local organizers and competitors.

Both Nintendo UK and Nintendo Japan have published updated rules for community tournaments that will significantly limit what can and can't be used in local events. Curiously, Nintendo of America has yet to follow suit, but Smash Bros. fans are nonetheless distraught over what the changes could mean for the unofficial competitive scene.

The new community guidelines put hard limits on how many participants can take part, how much money organizers can charge (no more than it costs to set up the tournament), and how much money can be won. Moreover, the rules disallow the use of any pirated or modified software in tournaments - seemingly cutting off mega-popular mods like Project M and Project+ - and dictate that any online component must use Nintendo's official servers. Sponsors are also prohibited as part of Nintendo Europe and Nintendo Japan's new tournament rules.

In what I can only perceive as a petty gesture, Nintendo also prohibits "the sale of food, beverages, or merchandise" in these small-scale events. C'mon, Nintendo, if a Smash Bros. tournament doesn't reek of stale pizza and Mountain Dew, is it even a Smash Bros. tournament? 

Another guideline I found concerning and amusing in equal parts says tournaments can't "involve anything that Nintendo deems inappropriate." I just have to ask: if serving food and beverages falls under Nintendo's definition of inappropriate, what else might organizers be dinged for?

Smash bros

(Image credit: Nintendo)

"I don’t want to be doomer about this but uh, it’s over," said Reddit user Eldritch_Skirmisher

"What everyone had feared has happened," said Actual-Coast590.

"We’re going underground buckos," said SabinSuplexington. "Back to the old days. Tournaments will be held in restaurant basements, it is gonna be cash entry only, and Project M is gonna be there."

While the overall vibe in the Smash Bros. community is of overt panic, not everyone sees the news as a surefire death knell for the local competitive scene.

"Its so exhausting being a part of this community sometimes, feels like no other community has to go through the trenches like this as often as we do," said HollowLoch. "As scary as this all is, I genuinely can't picture a future where the Smash community dies out - it's lived too much and I've been around for this exact same scenario way too many times to actually believe that this is the time Nintendo kills Smash."

"This is going to be just another speed bump from Nintendo and not the final wall that people ITT think it is. Nintendo will try to enforce this and screw over a few tournaments at first, and then give up like they did when trying to crack down on Slippi-run tournaments," echoed D09987766.

The guidelines apply to all competitive Nintendo games, but the effects they could have on the Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament scene are particularly concerning. For one, it sounds like online Melee tournaments are dead, as the game doesn't officially support online play. Also, Twitter user DarkGenex notes that Nintendo of Japan's website doesn't let organizers apply for licenses to run games that aren't on Switch, which in theory would rule out Smash Bros. Melee entirely.

To clarify, it seems this particular restriction only applies to events big enough that you would need to apply for a license (200 offline contestants or 300 online), and the license application process appears to be Japan-specific for now, but considering the official rules for Nintendo of Japan and Nintendo of Europe are basically identical, the implications for the future of Melee tournaments are troubling to say the least.

I've reached out to Nintendo for clarification on the above and will update this article if I hear back.

Find out where Smash Bros. ranks on our list of the best fighting games you can play today.

Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.