Former Smash Bros Melee competitor addresses community toxicity

Photo by: Pawel Durczok

On Jan. 2, former professional Super Smash Bros. Melee player Adam Lindgren posted a statement discussing how his retirement in 2018 has led to him receiving more toxicity from the Melee community.

Super Smash Bros. is a Nintendo fighting game series featuring a wide selection of video game icons. While the series is primarily designed for casual play, competitive Smash Bros. has existed in grassroots communities ever since the release of Melee. While many players tend to focus on whichever Smash game is the most recent, Melee is the one title that has not died down despite its age. Those in the Melee scene hold onto it due to the more advanced techniques present in this title that are not possible in its sequels. 

While Nintendo has started to show some interest in the competitive Smash scene, that interest is only ever on their newest games. The Melee scene is forced to rely on support from within the scene; this, coupled with the fact that the scene is nearly two decades old and full of stories to tell, has led to increased attention on those at the top of the community. One of these people is Lindgren, better known in the Smash community as “Armada.” 

Armada was one of the most prolific Melee players of all time, taking part in competitive tournaments from 2007 to 2018. During that time, he never finished any lower than fifth place, and was considered the best player in the world in three years: 2011, 2012, and 2015. He is considered one of the “Five Gods” of Melee, a group of dominant competitors also including Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma, Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman, Kevin “PPMD” Nanney and Joseph “Mango” Marquez.

Armada announced his retirement in Sept 2018, citing his burnout with the game. In his announcement, he said that while he had been struggling to enjoy the game since 2017, he still loved the community around it. Unfortunately, that same community now thinks that Armada looks down on it, according to his new statement.

Armada describes that, since his retirement, fellow Melee God Mango has frequently talked about his retirement on stream. At first, he would downplay Armada, making unfavourable comparisons or outright saying anyone could beat him. This evolved into Mango claiming that Armada retired because he was scared of the competition, though according to Armada he had discussed his reasons with Mango prior to retiring.

“I have many times explained my reasons for retirement,” said Armada. “Ironically enough, I had a conversation with Mango at Genesis 5 about how my motivation had fallen for a long time and how this did trouble me, but I guess it had to be ignored for Mango to continue his lies.”

Armada then describes how Mango had taken a comment of his out of context to make it sound like he thought the scene had been getting stale since he retired.

“I tried to make it very clear this is not at all what I said or meant but the damage was done,” said Armada. “Mango for years pushed an agenda that I essentially disrespected every player and thought no one had gotten better at all… Mango painted a picture of me as someone that would rather see the game die, as someone that disrespected all the players, someone afraid of competition and apparently Melee being something that can’t be talked about for me.”

He says that he’s no longer able to play Melee on stream or even talk about it too much, for fear of Mango’s fans sending him hate.

“These lies at their worst led to people wishing I would die,” he said. “I guess in these peoples’ minds I was the person Mango had painted up for them, a person that wanted bad for Melee and did not respect the players. As someone that gave my all to Melee for so many years, it made me sad how I could feel a clear change which obviously was led by Mango… I still play Melee occasionally to this day but for my own sake I will keep it offline.”

Armada cites these extreme Mango fans as the worst of the experience he’s had since retiring, but he says that the community leaders need to watch what they’re saying before an impressionable audience.

“Call me crazy but I think it’s important to recognize that streamers, YouTubers, etc., have a responsibility in all of this,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, if people cross lines it’s their responsibility, but if a content creator acts this way I think it’s fair to say they played a huge role in creating the mess. Mango absolutely knew what he did and kept pushing.”

This last point in particular was echoed by multiple Melee community leaders, including fellow Melee God Mew2King.

“I have had many similar bad experiences as you for a very long time,” he replied on Twitter. “But I was too scared to speak up & thought things changing was impossible (they were large factors to my depression, and also my moving away from Melee in recent years). I relate to a lot of what you wrote here.”

Mango responded to Armada’s statement that evening, saying that both him and Armada should have handled things better.

“You know what Adam at the end of the day I think we have both gone about this pretty terribly,” he said. “I think we are both right and wrong in a lot of these situations. We used to be good buddies and it honestly does suck that we fight like we’re in high school. I’m deeply sorry that you received death threats that were on my accord. At this point we can squash the beef and move on.”

While Armada did not reply directly to Mango’s thread, he did acknowledge his response in his original thread and agreed to squash the beef.

“I have seen Mango’s tweets, I will drop this now and I hope we both can accept each other moving forward,” he said. “Long live Melee!”

Armada has since announced that he will be attending Genesis 9, a major Melee competition, as a commentator, and that he looks forward to reconnecting with the community. 

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