The Smash Brothers was released on October 11th, 2013 to nearly unanimous positive reviews. Watch it here or read more about it below.
"You've gotta watch this Super Smash Bros. Melee documentary that follows some of the top players in the scene - it's quite good. Accessible, too... they break the game down wonderfully." - Kotaku, 10/16/13
"THE SMASH BROTHERS IS ONE OF THE GREATEST ESPORTS DOCUMENTARIES OF ALL TIME." - THE DAILY DOT, 10/17/13.
"If you're a fan of gaming whatsoever, this is simply a must see. No other fan-made documentary is in the ballpark of The Smash Brothers, and flat-out makes the others look bad. And from the small collection of gaming documentaries out there, this is one of the best."
- Info Barrel, 10/27/13
One week when I was 14 years old, I caught a bad stomach virus. Besides the usual cartoons, chicken soup and ginger ale, I was fortunate enough to have on hand the full set of Ken Burns' The Civil War. At that age, anything with war in it appealed greatly to me by default, so without a second thought I eagerly watched the whole thing. Twice.
Ken's unique style of presenting a sweeping historical tale through smaller, more personal stories captured my creative imagination. It was such a wonderful device and its utility stuck with me.
Flash-forward over ten years to an intense battle between me and my younger brother (perhaps even rivaling the battle for Antietam) and no matter what I tried or how bad I wanted it, victory seemed out of reach. In the frustrated adrenaline of defeat, he showed me youtube footage of professionals doing what I was trying to do, but succeeding. Wildly succeeding.
These were pro gamers. Melee champions. Smashers.
I became enamored with their talents and immediately wanted to know more about them. Who were the people behind the players? How did they command such skill and prowess in a game I thought was just a simple button masher?
The more I learned about them, the more I learned about the history of their community - the more I saw in their story something Ken Burns might dream up.
IN THE MEDIA
Whenever I brought up the idea, most people looked at me sideways as if to say, "Who on earth would watch that?". I admit, it was a peculiar subject for a documentary, but I was convinced the most important element was there - humanity.
The story I wanted to tell would expose these people not as they are sometimes portrayed in the media (at best, as misfits; at worst, as sociopaths) but as they see themselves - as real people following a worthwhile passion that had brought them all together.
After producing a pilot episode to raise awareness and power a moderately successful Kickstarter campaign, I spent the next 2 years following their stories and piecing together the greater tale which would eventually become The Smash Brothers.
I will always be grateful to the people of the smash community for letting me tell their story. The next project I produce may or may not follow some aspect of modern gaming, but one thing I have learned on the road keeps me thinking about the subject; that this sort of documentary will only grow in popularity as our culture slowly accepts that some of our most meaningful experiences can, in fact, be digital.
- Travis Beauchamp (Samox)
Click here to watch the series or continue reading for a summary of each episode below.
Episode 1: Show Me Your Moves
A sting operation to showcase the raw talent difference between a pro and an amateur kicks off the introductory episode, Show Me Your Moves. Learn how early techniques like L-canceling and wavedashing quickly separated the pros from the noobs and spurred the development of a regional tournament scene.
The episode ends on a climactic showdown - who's better, Ken or Azen?
Episode 2: No Johns
In No Johns, the rivalries heat up as newcomer Isai joins Ken against Azen and the other East Coast elites.
After a bitter defeat, Azen is given a second chance at redemption and a shot to be called best in the world.
But will he step up to the plate?
Episode 3: Don't Get Hit
As the tournament scene explodes onto the big stage at Major League Gaming, Melee's greatest teams player falters in his singles career.
In Don't Get Hit, Isai must choose between passions and enigmatic loyalties as he faces off against his own team partner and the reigning smash champion, Ken.
Their showdown will forever change the way Melee is played.
Episode 4: The King of Smash
With the coastal rivalries reaching a boiling point, it seems The King of Smash has no equal.
The East Coast makes a final gambit to claim supremacy in a crew battle, but with the globe trotting Ken knocking down pins as far away as Japan, is there no one person who can stand up to the King?
Episode 5: Revolution
With Azen out of the game, the East Coast finds a new champion in the guise of skater PC Chris.
With a laid back style and a ferocious Falco, PC takes the battle to the King of Smash in 3 raucous tournament finals.
When the last stocks are finally tallied, will the Revolution be complete?
Episode 6: Paper Cuts
After PC opens the door, newcomers KoreanDJ and Mew2King jump into the fray.
With Azen back from retirement, Ken's grip on the throne begins loosening to a swarm of Paper Cuts.
Who will come out on top at the MLG National Championships in Las Vegas and claim the largest prize in Melee history?
Episode 7: The Robot
After MLG drops smash and Nintendo releases a sequel, the days of competitive Melee seem numbered.
Mew2King, the new champion of both smash titles (and known colloquially as The Robot) presses on as he searches for perfection.
But in his path stands perhaps the greatest smasher of all time: Mango.
Episode 8: The Natural
Take a journey to the last tournament ever put on by The Ship of Fools as the most bitter rivalry in Melee history plays out on the big stage.
A conservative Jiggs player, Hungry Box is the epitome of "nice guy" and wants nothing but to be friends with Mango.
But The Natural Mango lives and breathes in the fast-lane and can't respect the man who has taken over his mantle as the best Jiggs player.
Emotions run high as the two face off head-to-head.
Episode 9: Game!
The last big chance for Melee to take the main stage at Evo2k13 is nearly thwarted by the company which gave birth to smash, challenging the whole community to take a stand for breast cancer research and the game they've loved for over a decade.
In the end, what was it all about? The championships? The rivalries? Or was it something else?
Find out in the last episode, Game!