At the beginning of July, I went to my first Super Smash Bros. for Wii U tournament, which was Albion 2. The event was the second highest Smash 4 tournament in Europe in terms of entrants, beating BEAST 7 by one competitor. Even though I did get my butt kicked (I did manage to win one game, mind you), it was still a blast to play a fantastic game and to experience what it was like to be in such a competitive environment. I sadly couldn’t make day 2 for the Top 64, but on the first day, I did manage to ask some players a fair few number of questions about Smash 4.
My questions will be in bold, and answers from interviewees will follow alongside their gamertag. The occasional response will be highlighted in bold and in brackets, shown during the written answer. Pictures used throughout the article came from the official site for Super Smash Bros. 4.
Ignoring how they play, who do you like the best out of the game’s roster? Reasons may be their origins, their personality, their design, and so on.
TronBonne: I play Mega Man, and I think Mega Man is probably my favorite character in the game. His actual catalog of games behind him massively benefit him as a character. His move-set is super fun to play, and it covers everything, it’s not just old Mega Man. It’s all the moves from all the games, it just feels really satisfying. Also, his design just looks good. I think with a lot of characters, you kind of play them based on how they look. I love Wario, but I hate how he looks, so I can’t play him! But yeah, Mega Man all day long.
Spam: My favorite character is Ness, because I like the game he comes from! Big Earthbound fan, and I just so happen to main him in the game as well.
Ramses: I think one of the coolest characters in Smash Bros., especially Smash 4, is Samus, because the way she plays really emulates that bounty hunter feeling. The charge shot, and the keep-away; it really feels like you’re playing as a boss monster who’s stronger than you, so you have to rely on your wits and your keep-away and your agility to get over that.
PG: Well, my first main was Game & Watch. He’s a fun, goofy character, but didn’t quite work out for me in play because he’s just too light and his neutral is a bit bad. But in terms of design, he’s pretty hilarious, so I like him.
OldManG: I’m not sure. I mean, I play Captain Falcon, and I do like Captain Falcon, but I also like a lot of the characters. I think there are a lot of cool designs in Smash 4, I don’t know. It’d be a toss-up between Captain Falcon and Donkey Kong, and maybe someone like Pac-Man who’s got a really interesting design. I hate the character, but he looks really cool!
Interrobang!?: That’s quite difficult! I really like Little Mac. I really like his backstory, and I love the way he’s designed. The fact that so much of him is so true to his games, and the way that a lot of what he does would be physically impossible. Apart from, you know, certain moves, but so much of what he does is so realistic in a game that’s so crazy. It’s really fun.
If there is going to be a Smash for Switch, which three characters would you like to see and why?
TronBonne: I was big on the Goku train, but now that we’ve got Fighters Z coming, I’ve got that fix. I come from a PC gaming background, so I’d like to see some crossover from the Blizzard stuff, so maybe some Warcraft characters, and OverWatch characters would be sick. If they could work that in that’d be weird but, it’s one of those ones where it’s like, because of certain characters they put in like Bayonetta and Cloud and stuff, you’re like ‘maybe it is possible?’ Why not wish? I wanted to see Banjo and Kazooie, I think that’d be really fun, and I think he’s fit in. Third one? Jeez, I’m not entirely sure. I wouldn’t say no to another Pokémon. I would like to see something that’s like ‘how would this work?’ Like Muk, like how would you get that to work? ‘Cause they got [Jigglypuff] to work, so I would like to see something original, and not just like four limbs with two arms and four legs.
Spam: Ice Climbers, obviously. Everyone wants them back. The other two, I want them to be creative, like with Wii Fit Trainer. Maybe, umm, not Wolf, ’cause that’s like a Fox clone. It’s difficult actually! Maybe another Earthbound character, like Paula, she’d be pretty cool. Not that she’d ever have a chance of being in, but we can all hope. (She’ll be in it before Mother 3 gets localized haha.) Yeah, too true! Third character… It’s difficult because I haven’t thought about it, because they seem so unlikely to happen. Actually, I would quite like to see King Boo, from the Mario series, be a character, ’cause he has some interesting aspects. (I thought you were going to say King K. Rool for a second!) King K. Rool? Nah nah nah, it’s gotta be King Boo.
Ramses: So my number one is a character called Kalas, who is a character from Baten Kaitos. That was a cult hit on the GameCube, and it’s such an amazing game because there’s so much room for moves, and I’m personally a fan of rush-down characters, and he really is an agility-based character. And also, I really love disjoints and the whole gameplay that provides. Outside of that, I’m actually not that much of a Nintendo fanboy, so that’s surprising I guess. I’d really like to see some more characters from the Mario series, because I do think the Mario series has the most interesting characters, in terms of translating from a non-fighting game to a fighting game. So, stuff like Dry Bones would be really cool to see how that kind of character would be implemented. I guess for my final pick, I would love to see Ridley. (Everyone wants to see Ridley!) Everyone does want to see Ridley, and the excuse that he’s too big, it just doesn’t make sense to me! Charizard is in the game, but I guess there would be some design overlap with Charizard being a dragon as well. But even then, Ridley is such a cool character! I really want to see Ridley.
PG: My number one is Isaac from Golden Sun. I was hoping with every single trailer with Smash 4, I wanted him so bad. He never came. They kind of tried to make him, from scratch again, but they never finished him, and that made me really sad. I think they should bring back some more characters; Ice Climbers is the obvious one. Umm, Pichu. I’ll have Pichu as well. (That’s such an odd choice!) But it’s the whole mechanic where Pichu hurts herself as she does moves, so I think that’s quite interesting. So with rage in Smash 4, I think that’d be kind of interesting.
OldManG: Hmm, I haven’t thought about that… King K. Rool, ’cause memes, you know? I’m not sure what Nintendo characters they could add… Funky Kong, ’cause he’s better than Donkey Kong. Bring Snake back.
Interrobang!?: The first one, I want to see Neku Sakuraba, from The World Ends With You. He’s a really sick character, and he uses magic with various pins, so he can do all sorts of really cool magic tricks, a bit like Robin in a way. In the game, he has a really fun backstory, and I think he’s a really interesting character. I used to play a lot of heavy characters, so another character I would like to see is a heavy character. Something like King K. Rool, who would be really interesting as well, especially if they give him his trident, because then you’d have a big, long-ranged attack. And then, one that I’ve always kind of fondly wished for in my heart, is Kellum from Fire Emblem: Awakening. He’s a big ol’ might that nobody every notices! I just think it’d be really fun if, one day, he appeared in a Smash game, with no announcement, nothing like that, he’s just there! And it’d be really fun! (It wouldn’t even do the siren thing he’d just show up!) He wouldn’t, he’d just be in your roster, and nothing would change, nobody would notice! It’d be brilliant!
Do you play any other games competitively, and if yes, what games?
TronBonne: So I actually came to Smash from Marvel Vs. Capcom, which is where I got my tag from. I used to play a lot of League of Legends, and competitive [World of Warcraft] Arena. But I had to do that in because of health problems haha, I was playing it a lot! But yeah, with fighting games, I hadn’t played any properly competitively until Smash. Mainly OC stuff, MOBAs mainly.
Spam: Oh no, just Smash. I watch Melee competitively, but I don’t play.
Ramses: I’m a competitive junkie. I started off playing World of Warcraft when I was twelve, and I actually rose to the top ranks in Arena, which was the competitive mode for World of Warcraft. I actually almost competed in a European tournament back then, and then I dropped that game and played some Brawl. I played some Melee as well, and then I moved to League of Legends, where I hit Diamond relatively quickly. I tried to get something competitive going, but in the end I ended up quitting. I also played some Warcraft III, which is an RTS game. LOVE that game, probably my favorite game of all time. Kind of a shame that the scene died. Currently, I’m only playing Smash 4, because I’m trying to get the high ranks, and when you try to reach the highest heights, especially since I work almost full time with 32-hour weeks. So it’s kinda hard to keep up with the kids, you know, everyone in college where they have so much free time practicing over wi-fi and this and that. So I’m using all my free time, currently, to play Smash 4.
PG: No, just the two Smash games; Smash 4 and Melee.
OldManG: I used to play League [of Legends] a lot, but I never really got to top-level play. Other than Smash, not really, no. I’d be tempted to a few other fighters other than Smash, but no.
Interrobang!?: Yes! So I play Tekken competitively, I play Injustice somewhat competitively. And I really want to get into the new Dragon Ball fighting game when that comes out. One of my friends is really great at Marvel [Vs. Capcom], so I’m hoping he’ll teach me.
What do you find to be the best thing about competitive Super Smash Bros.?
TronBonne: You see, I’m a pot-filler, and I’m aware I’m a pot-filler. (What’s a pot-filler?) Someone who just turns up to make the prize-pool a bit higher, with no intention of actually winning haha. I think a lot of people would fit into that category, whether they would admit it or not. But I think the scene is really fun. I’ve played in other fighting game scenes, and everyone’s super try-hard about it, like aggressively competitive. I think in Smash, if you are just better than someone, you style on them and people appreciate it, because it’s just a flashy game, and you can get it out of your system. I think playing in the Smash community, and playing in competitive tournaments like this, is just fun. Like, proper fun.
Spam: With Smash, specifically, the community is really tight. Everyone helps each other, like if someone needs housing, someone will house you just because you play Smash. Everybody loves each other. And I feel that’s a quality you don’t really get in other communities such as Street Fighter. There are a lot of rivalries, but with Smash, everyone loves each other, so that’s what I love the most.
Ramses: The best thing, is that when you see someone play, it’s like… So I know people have said this before, but I really think it has some truth to it. It’s like having a conversation with someone, right? And you can really tell where things go wrong because, say that I hit you repeatedly with the same move, I’m telling you ‘deal with this.’ And the fact you’re not dealing with it lets me continue doing it. And, as soon as you start counter-acting that, it’s like you telling me ‘ok, stop doing that same thing, we’re gonna try to mix it up.’ That kind of conversation, and the split-second decision making that happens during those matches… I just keep coming back to it, it’s amazing.
PG: The community, I guess, is the best thing. You meet new people, and it’s just a great way to make new friends.
OldManG: It’s just the back-and-forth, I guess. It’s kind of common with every kind of fighting game. But it’s just like when you’re playing against a person, you can really see a person’s personality and all that kind of stuff. It’s like a battle of the wits, as well as reactions, and you can really get a feel for the back-and-forth. It’s just nice to outsmart someone else and get insane combos!
Interrobang!?: I really love the community; the people are really nice. The thing is, I’ve been a part of different communities. I’ve been part of the Street Fighter community. I’ve been part of the Injustice community. I play Tekken competitively. And honestly, the Smash Bros. community is the friendliest bunch of people that I’ve ever come across. Everyone is genuinely lovely, and that’s not always the case when you play games competitively.
Is there any advice you’d give to newer players in the competitive scene?
TronBonne: So, the first tournament; you are going to lose. You might be the best person in your playgroup, you might have beaten all of your friends, but you are not going to win. And that’s fine, completely fine, so don’t get demoralized by that. You are going to take games eventually, and you need to set yourself some realistic targets. Like, ‘I want to play this guy’ and ‘I want to learn this match-up’ and wanting to ask questions, rather than ‘I want to win the whole thing.’ I think, have a good breakfast. No, seriously, you don’t want to be feeling nerves, and nerves feel so much worse when you’re hungry. SO eat well in the morning, get up early, get some sleep the night before. Don’t actually be worried, because at the end of the day you’re playing a game that you like playing. So there’s no pressure on you to show off or impress anyone. Just, you know, chill, it’s a game, and everyone’s super nice. Even if someone beats you they’re usually pretty nice about it haha. So just chill out, but I feel as do you should practice. Don’t go in and just hope to win, because then you’ll just feel better about how you’re playing.
Spam: Don’t expect too much of yourself if you go to your first tournament or whatever. Especially in this scene, the skill level is fairly high I reckon, and especially recently. Everyone has leveled up all of a sudden, so don’t expect to get out of pools or top cut immediately. Take everything with a grain of salt, and ask people for tips. If you lose, ask on how you could improve.
Ramses: This may sound a little pretentious, so forgive me for this, there’s this psychological concept called locus of control. It describes the way people handle, the way people blame things when things go wrong. So is it internal, or is it external, et cetera et cetera. It’s very important when you play competitively, that you always blame yourself because as soon as you start blaming things outside of your control, at that point you stop improving. Say you lose and you’re like ‘that character is so bull-sh*t,’ and at that point, you don’t accept the responsibility for your loss. And if you just keep accepting your responsibility, and facing the negative emotions that come with losing, that is the path to greatness. So that’d be my advice; just keep looking for the answer within yourself because it’s always there.
PG: Just go to tournaments! The more tournaments you go to, the better. The more friends you make, the more excuse you have to go to tournaments really.
OldManG: Just have fun. One thing: don’t be salty. You’re gonna be really bad at the start, so don’t be salty at the start. Just have fun, and practice a lot. But mostly don’t be salty. Take every loss.
Interrobang!?: I think the advice I would give is to play a character you love. It’s always tempting to look at something like a tier list and go ‘OK I’m gonna start playing competitively; I want to win. Who are the best characters in the game?’ But if you don’t have the passion for the character and the desire to really learn them, then you’re gonna have a tough time winning matches. Today, I’ve won a bunch of matches with a character that isn’t necessarily considered very good: Little Mac. I really love the character, and I love playing him. So even though he’s considered one of the worst characters in the game, I’ve still done well today. I think that’s really important when you’re starting out.
Well, there you have it! Thanks again to the players for lending me their time in answering my questions. You can follow them on Twitter at @jagextron, @themainantoine, @ramzeus_da_GAWD, @OldManGenius, and @DumbGrammarJoke (PG doesn’t have an account on the platform). In addition, thanks to the DAT Team (@DATTeamSmash on Twitter) for putting on a simply smashing event (pun completely unintended, I swear).
Make sure to let us know your answers to these questions in the comments down below too!