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A Modern Controller Is Splitting The Smash Bros. Melee Community


A popular Super Smash Bros. Melee controller’s potential ban from big-time esports tournament Genesis 4 has sparked a debate throughout the Smash community over what constitutes a tournament-legal controller for a 15-year-old game. The controller’s creator says its ban would be “devastating” for his business.

Over a dozen years after Melee’s release, nearly everything about its tournament rules are set in stone—except for tournament-legal controllers. The introduction of the SmashBox is making Melee players question whether they should modernize.

Genesis 4, which takes place in January, is the second largest Smash tournament. Over 1,300 contestants will compete in the Melee singles event. In a private conversation with a Genesis 4 organizer, Dustin Huffer, who created the SmashBox controller, was told earlier this week that his controller, which is not yet widely available, may not be tournament legal. When he explained to pro Melee player Dustin White, aka Gravy, that the controller could get banned, the issue caught fire on social media.

Melee players have always used a standard GameCube controller, which has sticks, triggers and buttons. Years have taught more discerning players that these controllers have some issues. Pro Smashers say the GameCube controller’s sticks degrade over time and that its analog inputs are inconsistent (i.e. getting an exact angle each time is hard). Also, over time, it’s tough on hands.

The SmashBox controller is all buttons, like an arcade cabinet’s console, so directional movements are mapped onto cardinal directions. It’s like more traditional fighting games’ controllers.

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Huffer thinks his controller could be banned “out of a belief that changing the fundamental motions of how you play Smash Bros. is a bannable offense.” He wants to launch a Kickstarter campaign for the SmashBox, but its tournament status could throw a wrench in his plans.

He elaborated that “We have been both financially and emotionally invested into the development of Smash Box for over two years now and to see it get snuffed out from misunderstandings and fear would be pretty devastating.” The SmashBox project can’t take off without a crowd-funding campaign and community support, Huffer said, so he’s glad people are discussing the controller’s legality now. That said, he thinks the ban would be “definitely unfair.”

Genesis 4 tournament organizer Sheridan Zalewski told me the ban is still being discussed and will play out in public forums. He and his co-organizers think that the SmashBox, in itself, isn’t necessarily anti-competitive—a claim that Melee commentator Daniel Lee (aka Tafokints) echoed over e-mail. But “keeping it legal would require legalizing certain categories of modifications that they believe change the game and the skills involved too much,” Zalewski said.

He cited the ability to map a very precise and difficult position, typically executed on a control stick, onto one digital button as the main issue. It could open the floodgates for other modifications that could prove game-breaking.

Several competitive Melee players are still skeptical that the SmashBox could really be disruptive to Melee’s competitive scene. Top-six Melee player Juan Debiedma, aka Hungrybox, told me that “It’s a way to perform very difficult inputs with more precision, with the downside of having to learn how to play the game all over again.”

He does think that the controller is worth a shot. What’s the harm? But at the end of the day, he told me, “this topic depends on the integrity of Smashers and their willingness to not take advantage of something that could exploit the game.”

[Correction—2:00 PM EST]: An earlier version of this article stated that the SmashBox controller allows macros. Huffer elaborated in an e-mail that the “Smash Box cannot do anything that traditional GameCube controller can’t — you just input your moves differently. Because of that everything is more precise and ergonomic, which is the goal of the project. We don’t condone macros.” We regret the error.


Sours: https://kotaku.com/a-modern-controller-is-splitting-the-smash-bros-melee-1789922357

Text and photos by: Julian Pagliaccio


Hit Box Arcade has been around for over 10 years now, and they've been consistently delivering quality products. Today, our spotlight is on the Smash Box.


First impressions matter, and Hit Box delivers — just opening the package is a luxury experience. Most people with Smash or FGC roots are used to things being scuffed — controllers thrown in boxes, getting products in plastic bags — but that's not Hit Box's style.


Our Smash Box arrived in a quality box, which opens up to a nice "thank you for your purchase" sheet, a custom microfiber cloth, and a business card. That's not all though, because underneath you find all the cables you'll ever need, and the cherry on top is Hit Box's own custom GameCube Controller Adapter.


The Smash Box itself is safe inside a custom-fitted drawstring bag held snug by packaging inserts.


The controller sports a nice hefty build. While the controller is slightly lighter than we expected, there's no denying that this thing is BIG. Anyone coming from a traditional GameCube controller will certainly be surprised by the sheer volume of it, but not necessarily in a bad way.


The build is extremely solid, consisting of a steel body fitted with a thick plexiglass top plate. Anyone who's worked with high-end audio or video production equipment will be familiar with this type of solid, blocky, clean form factor.


Out of the box, the Smash Box is ready for games like Super Smash Bros. Melee, Ultimate, and Rivals of Aether. Testing with Melee, the first thing we noticed was the sensitivity and feel of the buttons.


It's abundantly clear the Smash Box has no inherent lag, and the buttons themselves are sensitive enough to detect even the slightest touch. This is definitely something to get used to, as sometimes even resting your fingers on the buttons can trigger them, but this precision is certainly appreciated in the long run.


Having tested for a few days, it's easy to say that the Smash Box is worth the price. It's beautifully constructed, has an iconic aesthetic, and comes with amazing software customization, tons of accessories, and various support channels.


The question we think you should be asking yourself is if it's worth your effort: transfering tech skill and muscle memory to a controller like this is difficult, and probably the biggest barrier for getting a Box style controller. It's taken days for us to get consistent with even basic techniques, and could easily take weeks or months before getting to a similar level of skill as prior to the switch.


However, with its legality for Melee, Ultimate, and Rivals of Aether tournaments, and new research showing its health benefits relative to a GameCube Controller, we think it's a great investment for anyone willing to take the time to relearn their wavedashes, multishines, and pivot-tippers.

Sours: https://www.invenglobal.com/articles/14273/the-gamecube-controller-reinvented-hit-box-arcades-smash-box
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Smash Box controller

The Smash Box controller as of March 2017.

The Smash Box controller is a custom arcade controller designed by Dustin Huffer and developed by Hit Box from 2014 to 2017. Specifically designed for competitive play of Super Smash Bros. Melee, the Smash Box controller replaces the GameCube controller's analog stick with a button layout. This controller may allow more precise and rapid input, though it has a steeper learning curve than the traditional controller. Moreover, the Smash Box controller may have various health benefits, as it puts less stress on the hands of its user. After a "test period" of half a year, various prominent tournament organizers have decided that the use of the Smash Box controller and similar alternative controllers are not legal in high-level tournaments for the foreseeable future.

Background and development[edit]

Super Smash Bros. Melee is traditionally played using the standard GameCube controller, which features an analog stick with an octagonal gate that allows an accurate input in eight directions. However, as the high-level Super Smash Bros. community has developed over time, professional players need to perform with extreme levels of precision. Some players would hold their controller in a "claw" position, using the index finger in tandem with the thumb, in order to move the analog stick more precisely. As Imad Khan of ESPN described the situation: "As competitive matches can have players hitting six inputs per second, accidental slipping of the thumb stick can mean a win or loss." A large variety of different controllers are also compatible with the Super Smash Bros. series, but the original GameCube controller is generally considered superior to more modern models because of its octagonal gate and analog buttons. This has resulted in scarcity of the original model.[1]

Dustin Huffer, founder of Hit Box, designed and developed the Smash Box controller in order to make input as binary as possible (removing the analog stick) and removing the controller's inconsistencies. In an interview with ESPN, Huffer said that his goal was "to evolve competitive gaming hardware for Smash," claiming that the GameCube controller created a "physical learning barrier preventing newcomers from joining in as well as putting a cap on many players' competitive lifespan with carpal tunnel and other RSIs." Development of the Smash Box controller started in 2014 and it became available to some professional players in 2016.[1] Huffer told Kotaku in December 2016 that he was planning to launch a Kickstarter campaign for the controller, but its legal status in tournament play slowed down his plans.[2]


Rather than an analog stick or joystick, the Smash Box controller features four analog direction buttons, allowing players to hit each button individually. This layout and the controller's flat surface allows each individual finger access to any button, eliminating the need for rapid and precise thumb movements. Involved usage of the Smash Box controller may still result in Ulnar tunnel syndrome and general postural concerns, but it is overall less stressful than the original controller. Hungrybox explained that the learning curve for the Smash Box controller is very steep, but it "theoretically could make someone the most technical player of all time." The binary input method could also be of use for tool-assisted superplays.[1]

Tournament legality[edit]

Discussion arose among the professional Super Smash Bros. community as to whether the new controller should be considered legal for tournament use. In December 2016, Huffer was told in a private conversation with Genesis 4 organizers that the controller may be banned from the major Smash Bros. Melee tournament. After Huffer explained the situation to professional player Dustin "Gravy" White, the topic caught fire on social media. Huffer himself described the potential ban as "definitely unfair."[2] Tournament organizers were worried that allowing the Smash Box controller to be used in tournament play would allow other unconventional and possibly game-breaking controllers to be used as well. Genesis 4-organizer Sheridan Zalewski announced later that month that the Smash Box controller was allowed to be used in the tournament, noting that this would initiate a "test period" in which players could determine whether the controller gives an unfair advantage over players who use the traditional GameCube controller.[3][4] Zalewski later stated that this concession was only made to accommodate competitors who had signed up without realizing their controllers would be banned.[5]

In July 2017, a committee of five prominent Melee tournament organizers, including Zalewski, released a recommended ruleset for professional Melee competitions. This document includes a lengthy section imposing a "tentative ban" on the use of non-GameCube controllers such as the Smash Box controller, stating that the classic controller is "somewhat intrinsic to what we consider 'playing Melee' and the skills involved in doing so." Alex Jebailey tweeted his support for this decision and stated in an interview that alternative controllers "should rightfully be scrutinized and tested at a local level before being allowed to used in a major scale event."[6]

The Smash Box controller was allowed during the Super Smash Bros. competition at Evo 2018.[7]


External links[edit]

Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smash_Box_controller
Hax's Ergonomic Super Smash Bros. Controller - From Injury to Innovation


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