By Jamie “JAMJAR” Jacobs
The 64 Free For All is a question session with some of the biggest names in Smash 64. 6 questions, 4 top personalities. Today we have four contributors to our scene who will all be competing at Super Smash Con 2017. The incredibly technical Red Link from Brazil: Kort. The author of this very article: JAMJAR. The true power behind Team Mejor: JaimeHR. The showrunner of the big event: Justin.
- What is the one thing you would want a TO to do to make an event great?
Tommy “CAFIL | Kort” Keselik: I don’t have anything special in mind. I’m very glad with the work of the few people who spend their time growing this community. But for the community in general, I wish people were more kind to international guests. It’s not easy for us to come here to play.
Jamie “TSW | JAMJAR” Jacobs: Something I wish more TOs would do is not something that can be done on a whim, but would require effort over a decent amount of events. More TOs need to develop working relationships with people who generally volunteer to help out. Let these people who do a good job take on more and more tasks. Eventually, these volunteers can be highly dependable helpers for the TOs. Too often, our TOs are highly frenzied and don’t feel they can depend on people to help them out, leading to a rather hectic atmosphere around the event.
Jaime Hernandez “RG | JaimeHR” Rodriguez: Well I think there isn’t much that TOs (at least for 64) aren’t doing already in order to make events great, Snosa III had an hour break from the tournament and served pizza to everyone, I was very surprised with that and I don’t think any other Smash tournaments have ever done anything like it.
However, the one complaint I always read or hear about at every game tournament is that there’s always next to no setups dedicated to friendlies/free play, I understand that in order to have a tournament to run as smoothly as possible there has to be enough tournament setups, but at the same time those “tournament only” setups tend to stay unused when there’s no matches left to be played on a certain pool or bracket, if someone dares to pick that setup up to play friendlies there’s a big chance that they will be kicked out from it in order to have another tournament match yet to be played. A “free play/salty suite” area, that’s available not only before or after the actual tournament but for the entire duration of the event, would be a very welcome addition to a lot of players that want to warm up or just play casually.
Security is another issue that I would like to address as it has been a hot topic on the last few months, unfortunately we have had people getting their equipment stolen from the venue which is not cool at all. Security is tricky because people want to feel safe by being sure their stuff isn’t going to be snagged by a random person but at the same time they don’t want to feel like they are being treated like potential thieves by checking everyone’s bags before entering or leaving the venue. Having a secure environment to play our favorite game must be a community effort rather than a TO’s responsibility, now don’t get me wrong here, TOs definitely have to look into taking security measures to prevent theft or any other kind of disaster, but the community itself needs to take responsibility as well.
Last thing would be having 24 hour venues! Haha, they are costly, true, but it is always good to at least try to have them by setting up a compendium like what they did for Genesis 4, where enough money was raised to have a 24 hour open venue for Friday night. It may not work but at least the option is there for those who are willing to spend extra cash to have an SSB all nighter on a bigger place than a hotel room.
Justin “Justin” Wykowski: Having enough setups for extra-friendlies is always a plus.
2. Mariguas finally broke through and won his first major at GOML 2017. Who will be next to achieve that great feat?
Kort: Z or Dext3r. Z deserves more than anyone.
JAMJAR: Wizzrobe seems to be the obvious answer to this. He has shown the ability to play with the top of our game, so no doubt he should be the next one to break through. He has such great instincts for this game, he often does exactly what he needs to do to win, very rarely taking unnecessary risks. He will very soon break into that upper echelon.
JaimeHR: Wizzrobe, without a doubt, he has the potential to break through to win a major, he was close to doing it at last year’s SmashCon, he’s already proved that he is capable of taking out almost anyone at Genesis 4, and just like Doomsday, every time Wizzy’s taken out, he comes back stronger for the next round and you can’t beat him with the same trick twice.
Another candidate is probably Dext3r, the guy loves this game a lot and takes it very seriously, he has worked hard on learning matchups, playstyles and improving his tech skill and decision making in order to make the right move all the time. His best trait is that he never gives up.
The most improved player of the year (for me at least), Zero (not Sm4sh ZeRo, lol) is also someone who I think may eventually win a major, he’s been placing in Top 8 very often after Genesis 4 which, if I’m not wrong, has been his only underperforming tournament of 2017, he’s been getting a lot better after that.
Justin: I think TheZ and Dext3r are both improving VERY quickly and will be knocking on the door soon.
What do you think 64 can do to convince the other games to try out the Waterfall Tournament Format?
Kort: I’m not sure if I like the waterfall bracket yet.
JAMJAR: I don’t know if there is any one specific thing we can do to convince the other games to take the leap. Just keep running efficient brackets, showing that the increased number of games is not a hindrance to a smooth bracket experience. Keep showing and expressing the positive aspects of WTF. Eventually, some other TO will be willing to take a risk and make a splash.
JaimeHR: I think the Waterfall Format or something else based out of it is going to be the future of game tournaments, because it is the closest we can get to a fair tool to measure a player’s skill and it also makes the tournament experience a lot more exciting for the “non-pros” which represent at least 80% of tournament entrants.
The only thing holding the Waterfall Format back from becoming the standard is that many TOs are still skeptical of its good results, as it is still lacking solid numbers. What 64 needs to do, is to keep using this format on as many events as possible, also promote its use on small tournaments by making a few adjustments, for example, have 2 divisions instead of 4 if there aren’t that many players. The point is to try to have as many players as possible to know about the Waterfall Format and experience first hand how much of a difference it is compared to the current format, this way more people would appreciate the new format and eventually ask about it for other games.
SmashCon 2017 is an excellent opportunity to show off and test the Waterfall Format and prove other TOs that it does work as a worthy successor of the double elimination format.
Justin: I guess it really would have to start from the ground up. Get some locals doing it, then a whole region – and then you can start to have the national conversation. But there’s not much of a chance of going the other direction – just too many established systems.
4. What do you do to prepare yourself mentally for a tough set?
Kort: I’m not a strong player in regards to the mental aspect. I just try to have fun. Make some combos, you know.
I don’t want to beat people. I just want to get better at the game. What I actually need to be feeling well for a tournament is to rest well, eat well and stretch every day.
I’m starting to feel hand pain nowadays. I’ve been taking care of that for the past 4 months with acupuncture. Also every night I use a thay balm before sleeping in my hand. I pass it on my hands then put on a medical glove and sleep with it. It gives you a burning sensation on your skin but it’s actually helping your blood circulation to go to your hands. People use this balm for everything in Thailand, even for headaches, it is very popular there. The next day my hands feel totally new. It’s just crazy and overpowered. My acunpunturist told me to use it.
JAMJAR: This is something I have struggled with on and off, but I feel I have recently started to figure it out. I simply go into a set not necessarily looking for a victory, but with a set of goals in mind. I have always tried to approach events with 3 tiers of goals, but recently I have done the same with tough sets. I know I won’t win every set against players around my level, so I have decided to focus on completing tasks in each set, so I feel I gained from my losses as well.
JaimeHR: I actually did not think about this before when I first started going to SSB tournaments in North America, I already had a clear idea about who I could beat and who would definitely take me out, so my first thought was “as long as I don’t play this guy early, I’ll do fine” and if I did get to play that one player, then I would say “that’s it, at least I’ll have fun in this last set”, you can say that I already gave up mentally which it was what I used to do, something I realized over the years is that this was the wrong mentality to have and I should get rid of it.
What I do now is not to worry much about it and try to forget who’s the guy I’m about to play, many people tend to unconsciously defeat themselves mentally just by knowing they are going to play against a top player and get nervous, which cripples their skill to the extent where they will make a lot of simple mistakes like missing really easy edgeguard opportunities to dropping standard combos because they keep thinking more about the guy they are playing rather than their own game plan and lose focus of what’s important, playing the best you can and having fun.
A lot of people also worry too much about losing, they see it as a bad thing, but defeat is actually what makes us improve faster, because it tells us that there are still things we don’t know about the game that the better players know, losing doesn’t mean you are bad, it only means that you still have room for improvement and is also a natural part of the learning curve that everyone should appreciate. Rather than asking yourself “How do I win?” the actual question you should be asking is “Why did I lose?”
Justin: I don’t know who else is answering these questions – but read their responses for this one. I’m what you call an “non-viable character”.
- What will be the Top 8?
JAMJAR: This Top 8 is going to be crazy, I can’t even begin to predict the exact placings. Rather than giving the order, I will just name the 8 I feel have the best shot at making it.
JaimeHR: Well, based on the current events and the amount of talented players we are going to have this year at SmashCon, deciding for a solid Top 8 prediction is really difficult.
First, we got the Japanese players, perhaps the toughest competition for anyone who gets to play against any of them. Fukurou and wario are the ones that I’m most certain that will make it to Top 8 as both have taken titles from big names already, I personally would not be surprised if we see a Japanese Grand Finals.
Next, is the neutral game mastermind from Canada, SuPeRbOoMfAn. Perhaps the only SSB 64 player that’s gotten more trophies and medals than his room can hold, has won almost everything in North America and is certainly looking forward to get another SmashCon 1st place title.
But there is a saying: “you can’t always win”, and that’s what the unstoppable force that is Alvin from Peru has showed us this year taking victory after victory against the big names of SSB64, despite an underperforming debut at last year’s SmashCon, he now has the chance to define himself as the best ever, Alvin vs. wario is the absolute most anticipated match in the game’s history.
Then we have the ever improving Mexicans: Dext3r and Mariguas, whose talents at adapting and learning from their mistakes will definitely play a big role on their path to Top 8, they both have showed us that they can take on anyone.
With all the strong international competition there seems to be no hope for America making it to Top 8, but Wizzrobe AKA “Wizzy” may have something to say about it, he’s “The Legend Killer” of SSB64, the hero America needs to face against the international titans.
However, the hero America wants is none other than the fan favorite: Isai. They say that if he actually tried he could win anything, he tried at GOML and got close to a perfect run until Grand Finals, Smash Con could be the place where we may witness the return of the legend or its end.
Tldr: my top 8 players would be (in no particular placement/order)
Justin: This has honestly gotta be the toughest Top 8 to predict. I know everyone probably says that before every big tournament, but it just feels impossible to guess. Not only is this the most top-heavy stacked 64 tourney of all time – things like Mariguas beating Isai at GOML really shakes things up. So that said – gonna go with my gut:
- Wizzrobe (random gut guess)
Why is Arms the next great esport?
Kort: I don’t know the game.
JAMJAR: Nintendo + wacky new character design = instant win. Also Twintelle.
JaimeHR: ARMS is just genius in every aspect, from its reveal to the gameplay mechanics. Like Steve Jobs revolutionized the phone, Nintendo has now revolutionized the concept of a fighting game and it wasn’t Smash that did this like many would have thought, this is because according to Masahiro Sakurai, the man in charge of its development, clearly stated that Smash Bros. was meant to be a casual party game and he hates competitive Smash and he shows this in every sequel by making it (worse than SSB) radically different than the later, it got faster then slower then shinier, but never with competitive play in mind (for glory in Sm4sh is a joke lol).
But then someone at Nintendo finally stood up and said: “we should make a REAL fighter” and that’s how ARMS was born, who else would name their definitive fighting game with such a generic word that everyone knows it, even if English is not their main language? Nintendo, that’s who! That’s what I call a marketing mastermind.
The key aspect of ARMS to become a serious eSport is that since it was revealed, Nintendo made it really clear that this was their first (true) competitive fighting game, that’s the reason this game has an actual ranking system and is being heavily supported by the developers, and speaking of which, these people are very serious about making the ultimate esports fighting game, so much that their producer Kosuke Yabuki showed us a glimpse of ARMS’ real, complex, depth metagame in an exhibition match against a random guy who happened to be the 2017 ARMS Open Invitational Champion at E3, where he completely obliterated the “champion” and made him look like a scrub. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr. Yabuki is constantly training in secret to stay unstoppable because he knows where the big money is going to be once ARMS overshadows League of Legends!
Justin: Because Legs are so last year?