YouTube 64 Spotlight: Havasu Smash 64

By Ben “Bacorn” Corn

You don’t have to worry about getting Shrekt or yelling “Go Baltimore” to enjoy these YouTube channels.

The featured Super Smash Bros. 64 YouTube channel this week is Havasu Smash 64.

If you follow 64, you know about Havasu. It’s one of the best scenes in the U.S. and came to fruition almost completely based off the sheer willpower of Daniels, its benevolent leader.

Currently, Havasu’s YouTube channel focuses on VODs of tournaments and money matches. In fact, the $500 MM between Daniels and Smurf and KeroKeroppi’s 2v1 comeback from ODS are the two most-viewed videos on the channel, both nearing 300 views.

The channel also has some videos chronicling the adventures of the Havasu Smashers, mostly Daniels. In fact, Daniels says his favorite video is one of the Havasu guys getting kicked out of their hotel for SNOSA II.

Daniels said he plans to make more feature videos like that, but also wants to make sure he always has plenty of gameplay for Smash fans to watch.

“Yeah we’re planning on making highlight vids that are funny/interesting/crazy shit that happens etc. and I also have made two videos documenting my travels to GOML and SNOSA,” Daniels said. “I want to continue the momentum by streaming for major tournaments from now on as opposed to just our weeklies and ODS.”

So check out the Havasu channel and drop them a subscribe! I’m sure Daniels and the rest of the crew would appreciate it!

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5 Reasons You Should Spend Your Friday Night Watching An Australian Smash 64 Major

By Jesse “Sweetchilli” Rosenberg

This weekend will be host to one of the most stacked SSB64 tournaments the country has ever seen. No, I’m not talking about Shine in Boston, because we don’t live in the U.S. We live in Australia, God’s country. And while it doesn’t feature SuPeRbOoMfAn, Super Smash Bros. 64 at the Sydney-based Ozhadou Fighting Games National (OHN) will be the best Australian Smash that has ever been witnessed.

Here’s 5 reasons to watch it:

  1. International Sponsorship!
    This tournament is big for the Australian scene, and not just in numbers – It’s the first SSB64 tourney in Australian history to receive international sponsorship.The winner of 64 at OHN will receive a brand new joystick donated by our international partner and general good-guy company Enkko.
  2. Interstate Rivalries
    It’s also the first tournament that has seen multiple players travel interstate to attend. Previous tournaments like BAM 7 or Project Melbourne 2 managed a couple of interstaters, but OHN has nine Victorians coming up, five of whom are driving for 9 hours in a car with a CRT plugged into the cigarette lighter. If that wasn’t enough to wet your whistle, here’s some words from Australia’s Smash 64 Ambassador, Pete Charalambous, about why you don’t want to miss this tournament. “OHN will probably be the most stacked Australian tournament to date,” says Pete. “Traditionally Sydney and Melbourne have only been able to play online so finally we will have a clear image of which city is better.”
  3. Kirbymon
    Originating from Sydney, Number 1 seed – and possibly Australia’s best 64 player – Kirbymon, is a mythical Keyboard player who will be seen for the first time with a keyboard on console at OHN, thanks to Melbourne Player James who is bringing the adaptor he made. Kirbymon is no joke, in the past managing to take games off infamous cheater and macro user/TASer Emmi Zhang.
  4. Australia’s Recent Growth
    While he’s annoyed that he won’t be able to make it, Pete is excited about what OHN means for the Australian smash scene as a whole. “This tournament is straight off the back of Melbourne’s first monthly,” says Pete. Which has seen new players and veterans improving significantly. This tournament is the beginning of an Australian renaissance of Smash 64.”
  5. Commentary
    If you hadn’t heard, Australians are the best commentators, so make sure you plug your headphones in and prepare yourself for some bloody stunning vocals.

The Tournament will be streamed at SSB 64 Australia   with top 16 starting around 11  p.m. EDT and uploaded to the SSB64 Australia YouTube channel.

Jesse “Sweetchilli” Rosenberg is a 22-year-old writer and smash player/TO living in Sydney, Australia. He likes making low quality videos, playing low quality smash, and eating cheap, low quality Thai food. He plays Falcon, but like most Smash players, is a Ness main at heart.

An Insider Look at Competitive Smash 64 – Dark Gentleman

The- journey from a “best in my friend group” player who got 0-2’d at his first tournament to a regular competitor with a winning record.

Stop by Nebulous Gaming NYC’s weekly Smash 64 event and there is a good chance you will be locked on Dreamland with my Jigglypuff at some point. I am one of many players who have joined the fray in what I can only describe as a renaissance of the game. I know from reading online posts that the community has had a surge both in popularity and infrastructure. From my point of view, I joined a fully developed and well supported tournament system and community. Although I have a long way to go as a competitive Smash player, I’ve also improved immeasurably since my first tournament. It can be daunting when you first get involved. Many players will seem unbeatable.  This article is a tribute to the up-and-comers out there; my perspective on joining the Smash 64 scene and rising up the ranks.

The Nebs Crew
The Nebulous crew are a tight knit bunch who love New York City almost as much as they love Smash 64.

I’m a natural-born competitor. The past four years I’ve been primarily committed to combat sports: Boxing, Muay Thai, and especially Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. These offer a very pure type of contest environment. One-on-one. Your skills, knowledge, and training against mine. Smash 64 appeals to me because, from a mental perspective, I actually find it very similar to fighting. Make a defensive error and you will pay for it. Become a bit too predictable and you will pay for it. However, as long as you have a stock left to play, you are still in the match.

In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a smaller and weaker competitor can most often beat a larger opponent if he/she has superior knowledge and experience. However, if the larger fighter has equal knowledge, the advantage usually swings back to favor size and strength. This is the Smash equivalent of spacing vs tech skill. My experience has been that with good enough spacing, you can defeat a decent number of solid opponents. However, an adversary with a certain degree of technical superiority will prove a very steep challenge.

For years, it was enough to compete in Smash against my close friends. We battled in 4-stock free-for-alls, all maps permitted except Zebes, all items on except, of course, hammers, hearts, tomatoes, and stars. It seems bizarre to me now, but that style of play is most certainly alive and well in some circles. We were ignorant of the game’s many nuanced technical moves, but we were fiercely competitive with each other none-the-less. I found out how to “tech” on recovery and I magically started winning every game against my buddies. If this sounds like the typical story… that’s because it is. I still have just as much fun playing Smash as I did back in those anarchic free-for-all days on Saffron City. Although I’ll admit that competing, commentating, and improving are a touch more satisfying. You have to travel to a tournament to discover how much you really don’t know about the game you’ve played forever.

Reptar (the NYC version) and I learned a little bit of tech together before attending our first weekly. We were both knocked out of the tournament with a score of 0-2. Q! traveled from PA to NYC to visit Nebulous and he 5 stocked me using Samus. That night my only accolade was winning a single friendly (out of about fifteen) against KoRoBeNiKi. Competing at Nebulous offers an opportunity to face off against a fantastic variety of styles and characters. Firo’s popular all-action low tiers are a constant feature. Jimmy Joe threatens with his spacing and counterattacks. Zeppelin has a high-pressure Falcon while Reptar’s style, with the same character, is more defensive. Kelvinheit’s Pika will sometimes play extremely aggressively and then go on defense the next time you play him. kHz’s smash IQ and skill make him a dangerous and adaptable player in any match.

Every local scene has a multitude of narratives. Mine is that of a player who did more research, played more, and came back. Jimmy Joe invited me to play him 1-on-1 a few hours before he got on a plane to commentate Hitstun 3. I found out Zeppelin and I were neighbors and we started training more. I went to a Nexus tournament where melee players have a Smash 64 night and came in second (thanks for nothing, Smash Jesus). I entered more Nebulous weeklies and won a few sets. I gave a couple of top players on the scene a good challenge, and later starting taking some games. Then, all of a sudden, someone called me their rival. I developed a distinctive style: patient, frustrating, and tough on punishes. Totally awesome!

The next big step for a beginning player is attending a major. Super Smash Con was my first and it opened my eyes to the wider world of Smash. I could write an entire article just my experiences at the event. I met with international players, learned new play styles, and got to witness the game being played on the big stage. Seeing Smash played in front of hundreds of fans for the first time was a thrill. Competing in a major is also vastly different from playing in a local weekly. You will face a player from another region, who you’ve probably never played before. I had the feeling of representing my region as well as myself. Out of the three hundred and fourteen players who registered for the largest SSB tournament of all time, I was one of the sixty-four to make it out of pools. I achieved my personal goal for that event. Nine months ago I didn’t even know how to short hop. If I could do it, you can too.

Jiu Jitsu Pic
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has allowed Dark Gentleman to draw parallels between the two and apply novel ways of thinking to Smash 64.

Those who are familiar with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu know that, like Smash players, grapplers experience a very unforgiving learning curve. To get good you must be prepared to lose a lot. You will probably lose to a fighter you have beaten in the past. There is also a formal tier system that denotes experience. Jiu Jitsu “power rankings” are usually known but rarely discussed. For example, it is pretty rare to hear, “Bob is a better fighter than Steve,” in the gym, even if Bob always beats Steve. With Smash that is not a possibility since results in tournament tend to speak for themselves. What I learned from fighting is this: never let past results hold you back. No one is better than you. They might just be better than you right now.

As a competitor, I think it is most important not to shackle yourself to your ranking. Amazing sets happen at every level.  When two low-ranked players battle down to the last stock in losers’ bracket… that’s hype. Go beat the number one seed at your local. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose when you face a higher seed, so why not give them a run for their money? That’s how I try to play. With Super Smash Con in the books, 2016 really is the year of 64. It’s an awesome game we play. It’s an all-time classic. Let’s keep playing.

Featured Picture: The Dark Gent earned a spot on the top right of Mike “Moonshoes” Paddy’s N64 signed by the top 64 out of 314 at Super Smash Con 2016.

Hacking Into the Minds of Smash 64 Modders

By Chet Dunskies

Do me a favor. Rewind the VHS tape and think back to your childhood. Some of you may still be kids but the Smash 64 community is generally a bunch of geezers at this point. Anyways, do you remember the feeling of “what if”? One idea crystallizing, only to spur on the next. I often felt this way after playing a video game. What if Pokemon existed? What’s going to happen when I finally beat Captain Falcon’s target test? What if naked Samus was a playable skin with a Gameshark code (You lied to me, Chris.)?

There are those who have gone beyond imagination and brought potential into reality, working to dissect the game we love in order to see just what is possible. These are the modders, hackers, diddlers, wizards, whatever you want to call them. Seeing how much progress and success was possible with PM begged the question of what was possible for Smash 64. Progress has been slow in 64 and there is plenty of low hanging fruit for those with the diligence to determine the functions of the mostly unidentified code. For this article I posed some questions to two Smash 64 hackers, both with different goals, in order to highlight their efforts and gain perspective from the content creators themselves.

Jordan “Jorgasms” Barkley Interview

For those unfamiliar, 19XXTE  “is a hack for SSB64 made by Jorgasms which adds stages, costumes, timers, and more to the classic and eternal SSB64.” The primary goal here has been to optimize competitive play in SSB64. Jorgasms and his work stand at the forefront in terms of earning the competitive scene’s favor and prolificity. His work is referred to as 19XXTE as a play on Dan Salvato’s 20XX melee hackpack. Using an SD card on a flash cartridge to play the patched ROM, players can utilize the new anti-camping multiplayer timer and stages like Battlefield, Metal Mario Zone, and Final Destination for the first time.

To showcase the capabilities of the hack, here’s a video for 19XXTE 0.9. The latest version, 0.11, has a salty runback function, among other additions.

Chet Dunskies: What made you want to start this project?

Jorgasms: I had been involved very heavily with the Melee Netplay Community Build for a long time. I decided to depart since Myougi, the organizer, and I did not see eye to eye on everything. The build was and still is great but I wanted more control over a project. I looked to Smash 64 and thought the game was unexplored and which meant freedom to do whatever I wanted.

Today, I’m working on it because of the comments I get from people when they find out I’m Jorgasms. People freak out and thank me for “keeping their game afloat” and other ridiculous things like that. I like the idea of being able to help a community grow so I will continue to mod this game until I truly believe there is nothing more I can give it.

CD: Are there other individuals that helped you with 19XXTE or that you would like to acknowledge?

J: I’d credit my start to InternetExplorer, Dan Salvato’s tag at the time. I watched his “Intro to Wii Modding” series on his twitch VODs when I knew virtually nothing about modding. After I had some idea what I was doing, I reached out to achilles1515 on a few occasions. His prompt responses kept me going. I’m sure there are others in the Melee workshop that aided me as well it’s just been a while.

When I started to mod Smash 64, I was mostly using the RAM addresses/Gameshark Codes found by Madao and Danny_SsB. They pretty much laid the foundation for 64 hacking in general.

Someone who reached out to me for help was pillowhead. He wanted help understanding Gameshark Codes for a casual hack he and his friends wanted. He eventually bailed on that idea and just made a ROM patch based on whatever version of 19XXTE was out at the time which he shared with me. This was my first exposure to CajeASM and the ability to actually execute my own code instead of modifying the code in game. This led to bigger hacks like playing as Polygon characters, alternate costumes, and debug menu toggles.

bomberman
A Bomberman skin had been modded into 19XXTE.

Couldn’t really find anywhere to fit him chronologically since he’s pretty much been helping the whole time. tehz always has these small tidbits of information that are so helpful. He knows a lot but has a busy schedule. He wrote two fixes for me that allowed polygons to be playable and made a slight adjustment to my stage load function to allow the cursor to remember its position. He also tends to have ideas that he can’t explore such as DMA, the big focus of 19XXTE 0.10.

Recently, I’ve annoyed Nick Mang to test my development ROMs on his Everdrive pretty much constantly and he has yet to complain.

Not modding related but I’d also like to thank Shears who has advertised this project. I look forward to working with him and Studstill in the future.

CD: Many people have seen how the Falco mod was created and assumed that we’re at a point where characters or stages can be created willy-nilly. Could you clear up why progress has been slow with hacking SSB 64?

J: I’ve spent a pretty extensive amount of time talking to the creators of the Falco Mod, Nick Mang and FrayedAdversity since we’ve all sort of explored stage hacking and character hacking. From these conversations, we’ve concluded that the following obstacles have prevented real progress.

  1. We can’t model hack efficiently. We can move vertices but everything is pretty much guess work. Roja’s “SSB Revolution” ROM uses a tool that simply does not work on console. The creator of the tool himself has made this clear on the download page.
  2. The refusal to “replace” characters. This keeps us from alienating players. The most common complaints about “SSB Revolution” is that characters are just re skinned or that they replace other characters.
  3. Polygons don’t have special moves enabled. Even when you enable them, projectiles don’t appear. This is the biggest limitation by far. Understanding file loading and the relation between characters and their polygon version is difficult to say the least.
  4. Understanding special moves in general. Their confusing.

There are things we can do for sure.

  1. While many believe that Falco’s dair is just a modified version of Kirby’s, it was written from *almost* nothing.
  2. We can swap some animations to create hacks like Falcon’s fair as a knee (the third hit of the jab) or a Mario with fox’s back air for example.
  3. Basic stage edits.

CD: After covering some of the limitations, what is your vision for 19XXTE and modding ssb64 in general?

J: 19XXTE 0.9G achieves like 90% of what I wanted initially (anti-aliasing isn’t disabled, no random music toggle, no shield colors fix) but I definitely have bigger plans now.

  1. Fix 19XXTE 0.10. As of now, 0.10 works best on emulator which is a shame and so against what 19XXTE is about.
  2. More toggles. Other surprises and fun things here. I’ll spoil one. The ability to patch a stage file. Texture hacked Dreamland without a top Platform for one of your favorite Melee stages.
  3. Look into a way to patch original carts. Don’t get too excited I’ve only theorized ways that probably (like 99% chance) won’t actually work.
  4. Clones come to 19XXTE?
300px-battlefield_64
Battlefield, one of the 3 stages previously only playable in single player mode, now fully unlocked for multiplayer in 19XXTE.

CD: Anything you would like to see added to the game that you’re not personally working towards?

J: I’d say clones but I am working towards that with the enabling of polygon specials.

CD: Are any of the debug stages worth adding, like the intro video stage?

J: Not really. The ones that aren’t in the game tend to be fairly broken. The fixes people want to see like changing the camera on the How to Play stage are not simple whatsoever. I’d rather stick to the stage patching thing I mentioned earlier.

CD: I know that you have plans to release some tutorial videos to help others learn the craft. What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into hacking the game but is a filthy pleb?

J: 1. Gain some sort of programming background. C or any of its variations, Java, Python, Swift. Whatever floats your boat.

  1. Watch Dan’s “Intro to Wii Modding Video”
  2. Wait for the tutorials, they will be helpful.

CD: How can the community support 19XXTE?

J: Keep playing it. Talk about it as much as you can. Tell your friends. The bigger this project gets, the more people who play it and the more people that want to help hack this game.

I’m not providing my donation link here. Play the game first. Revisit the tread (tiny.cc/19XXTE, typed exactly like that) and then donate if you want to say thanks that way. I want it to be clear that this project is in no way a money grab for me (like “Faster Melee”).

Nick Mang Interview

One of the latest mods to come down the pipeline is the Falco mod by Nick Mang.  Applying the idea of melee clones to 64, Nick altered hitboxes so that Fox would have properties similar to Melee’s Falco. . This created a strong enough aesthetic to excite a lot of people. When people first caught wind of this mod, there was a palpable degree of hype in the Smash community as a whole, at least on r/smashbros. I asked the prodigal son Nick Mang about how the mod came to be as well as some of his ideas for the future.

*For a demonstration of the mod, please watch this SICKening montage by Michigan’s own Jinjo.  **Disclaimer: Strap on neck brace before watching. 

Chet: What gave you the inspiration for Falco?

Nick Mang: I really wanted to add Falco to the game because my roommate mains him in melee, and we thought it would be an easy addition to the game. Honestly, we just wanted to add Kirby’s dair and change the angle to shine, but once I realized how easy it was tweaking the values I decided to change the majority of his moveset.

CD: What is your realistic vision for future characters, stages, etc. for Smash 64?

N:My realistic vision for future characters for now is to just have all of the major clones in the game such as Ganondorf, Dr. Mario, Toon Link, and maybe Lucas. As for stages, reducing stages and disabling their effects are a possibility. If the code structure gets studied better, I could see Dreamland alterations.

CD: What would you most like to see added to the game?

N: I’d like to see 19XXTE 0.10 come to console because that means Jorgasms has figured out how to call DMA functions on console. Either that or having actual clones, not having to replace fox to play Falco.

falco
Falco, the first new character to be modded into Smash 64 with 19XXTE.

CDDo you think it will be possible to make these character mods playable on console via flash cartridge, e.g. Everdrive?

N:It will definitely be possible to play these character mods on console. My mod works on console, but it’s not the Falco mod that got spread around. That mod took my code and further modded it and combined it with a buggy model that doesn’t work on console. I think his changes are a lot better than mine and would advise people to use his mod over mine.

CD: What do you think the community wants the most: new characters, stages, or game mechanics?

N: I think the competitive community doesn’t want anything more than a timer because none of the stages are utilized. I think decent tournament stages should be the priority, but I think the general community would like new characters because they are really fun to play around with.

CD: How can the community support what you’re doing or modding in general?

N: Start making mods! It’s not hard at all, and the small communities on smashboards or other n64 modding websites are generally very helpful. Start small with gameshark codes and see where you can take it.

Sooooooo good. What would you like to see in the game kids? Comment below with your ideas and don’t forget to check out, like, subscribe, yelp review, and geo cache the smashboards.com Smash64 forum for more information and resources. There has never been a better time to help grow all aspects of the 64 community. One idea can change everything(something).

Chet Dunskies has argued and complained about smash bros. to himself for 10 years. He only now has decided to surface and share some of these thoughts. Thanks to both my interviewees and the guys at The Smash Writers for giving me a shot.