Well, this is certainly a first, isn’t it?
A Smash Bros player in the Pittsburgh/Northeast Ohio region has been caught using a modded Wii system to cheat in tournaments.
Known for using Pichu, this tournament player came from nowhere to beat various pro players in competitive Smash Bros Melee matches.
This was already pretty suspicious in of itself. Pichu is not a good character in Super Smash Bros Melee. Seriously, in every tier list released to date, he’s been a rank F or G character. Someone who is ‘never viable in tournament play’. So to see a new player come from nowhere with a character that has generally done nowhere near as well in tournament play was suspicious.
Above: The current Melee list from Smashboards. Note Pichu’s placement here…
And when people played against him, something seemed ‘off’ about how Pichu was acting in game. His Fair (Forward Air) attack had lower lag than usual. His Nair (Normal Air) attack had a larger hitbox. Grabs were sometimes failing against this Pichu, even when they’d otherwise normally work.
Above: Some examples of this Pichu in game
Turns out he was using a modified iso on a memory card. This would buff Pichu’s abilities to make him more ‘viable’ in competitive play, but only under very specific conditions. Like, if the player chose controller port 4, made Pichu wear goggles and held L while the game was loading. They also had to press down left on the D-pad, if that wasn’t already enough steps.
It was a sneaky setup in general. People could play the same console and pick the same character, yet find no changes in how Pichu was acting in game. As a way of preventing people from detecting any obvious hacks, it worked rather well.
But he got busted anyway. Two other players had acquired the Wii system this individual was using, and had performed testing on it to see what was going on. They discovered the buffs to the character and realised they were only active if the controller was in port 4. The iso’s MD5 hash was then tested, which found it was different from that of the original version.
Now this player is now banned from regional events, and is being asked to pay restitution for any tournament winnings and prizes won with this modified copy of the game. The community is also planning to release evidence that these mods were implemented, like a copy of the various hashes and videos taken from testing the setup.
So yeah, it’s pretty depressing to see really. That some people are so desperate to do well in competitive play that they’re willing to cheat their way to victory in tournament matches. Some people are worried the situation will repeat in future.
But there is one positive side to the whole affair.
Namely, this is supposedly the only example of someone cheating in tournaments with a hacked version of Melee. So hey, at least it’s only one bad player rather than the whole scene being filled with cheats and corruption. That’s a better record than any real sport I’ve ever seen!
What do you think about this situation? About someone using a hacked version of the game to do well in competitive Smash Bros Melee events?