Over the last two years, Faster Melee has become by far the most popular netplay client, with hundreds of thousands of individual downloads allowing Super Smash Bros. Melee players across the country to train with friends miles away with nearly CRT-level smoothness. You’d think that after bringing such fire to the masses, Faster Melee leaders TruckJitsu and Snail would rest on their laurels. Last week, however, they announced another ambitious project that promises to build on the foundation that they created with Faster Melee: the Electronic Sports and Gaming League, or ESGL, a Melee league.
Unlike past attempts to create an SSBM league system, ESGL is not based around competition at in-person tournaments. Instead, members of the league will be able to compete with opponents in three different spheres: tournaments, netplay, and their own homes. By combining netplay with in-person play, the leaders of ESGL look to legitimize netplay as a competitive platform—a bold and arguably revolutionary stand to take.
Though ESGL is starting as a Melee-only platform, the organization hopes to eventually expand to other games. Don’t hold your breath, though—the league has been in development for two years, and its first task is surely to get up and running successfully with Super Smash Bros. Melee. This writer hopes that they will succeed; the success of ESGL has the potential to be a great moment for the continued growth and competitive play of all Smash titles.
Check out ESGL's website here, or take a look at the league's trailer on YouTube: