Why Consuming Melee is Like Eating Super Spicy Food

As a general fan of Smash Bros. I enjoy watching almost every game, but I prefer Smash 4 above all else. However, I’ve noticed that, if I watch Smash 4 after a couple hours or more of Melee, Smash 4 just seems to move muuuch mooore slooowly. If you’ve played a game with a speedy mode, like the Dodrio Tower in Pokemon Stadium, 8-star turbo in Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting, or indeed even Lightning Melee in Smash Bros. Melee, this is probably a familiar feeling to you once you switch back to the default. While I know in my head that the decision-making in Smash 4 is plenty quick, I find that it takes a bit of time to re-acclimate my brain to Smash 4 from Melee.

I have no studies or evidence beyond my personal experience, so I’m not writing from a place of thorough research, but I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way. What’s more, I suspect that, for those who are less interested in Smash 4, the effect is likely exacerbated.

In this respect, Melee reminds me a lot of super spicy food. Like Melee, spicy food has its diehard enthusiasts. If you like chilis and scoville ratings in the hundreds of thousands, then no other kinds of foods compare. Once you try the most flaming hot dishes, there’s no turning back. And if you like it that much, you’ll want to aim for even spicier foods. After all, why settle for less? Similarly, when Melee viewers and players alike talk about why they love the game and why they see it as near-perfect, they mention the blazing fast speed, the difficulty in learning it, and the sense of freedom. They speak of Melee as a unique experience like no other, and that no other games can compare.

The side effect of this, I believe, is that it ends up essentially “dulling” the senses and making other game seem worse, that they require significantly less skill even if that’s the case. In the spicy food analogy used thus far, this would be the equivalent of just eating vindaloo non-stop for an entire day and then taking a bite of a much milder and more subtly flavored food, such as sushi. It’s not as if Indian food isn’t full of a robust variety of tastes, or that flavors matter less in Indian or Japanese food, but if your palate is inundated with spices, then it’s not the fault of the sushi if you can’t get much out of it. And if Smash 4 seems as if its players have to think “less,” it might just be a product of having your senses overloaded by Melee.

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