SmashCon 2016: Reliving the Biggest SSB64 Tournament Ever with Darkhorse
And only 17 years after the game’s release! That’s gotta be some sort of Guinness record.
By Phil “Geodude” Nolan
There’s a lot to be stoked about in the aftermath of Super Smash Con 2016, held from August 11–14th in Virginia. With the explosion in popularity of Smash in general, SSB64, the ol’ faithful of the series, is emerging into the spotlight once again.
SmashCon saw far and away the best turnout that SSB64 has ever had at 314 entrants. For general and casual pop culture, the original title remains Smash’s most colloquial; The one everyone played in grade school and picked up again in college. The one people you’ve just met will insist that they are unbeatable at. There’s something there that the 64 scene is more than ready to tap into as they plan to ride the wave of popularity into future growth.
I had a chance to talk to EMG’s Jason “Darkhorse” Brody, a figurehead and commentator in the 64 scene, about what went down, what you should watch if you missed it, and what’s next for the game that started it all.
SGU: For those of us who had to watch at home, what was the atmosphere like at smashcon?
Darkhorse: “SSC was massive compared to last year. All of the returners were impressed and all of the first-timers were in awe. The size of the convention was so impressive and the fact that it started off with a 64 event made it magical. The anticipation of Alvin and the Japanese players was palpable.”
Did you see a lot of the other smash communities show up for 64 top 8?
Dh: “The place was packed. Members from every community were there. It helps to have figureheads like Wizzrobe and Isai because they are a part of multiple communities.”
This was the biggest 64 tourney ever. Was it the planets aligning, or were the TOs and community hustling to make this what it was?
“This had nothing to do with luck. The 64 scene has been riding the success from Genesis 3 and building up to this. The moment G3 ended, TOs were already talking about SSC. Everything was carefully planned out from the international players’ fund, to housing and flights, to 64 exclusive events like the combo contest.”
SGU: Any specific moments that were truly electric for you?
“Watching Wangera miss that rest was crushing. Hungrybox was watching and you could see he was visibly upset to see a fellow puff go down like that. All hope seemed lost until those last few seconds. Everyone went nuts. People were literally running around screaming.”
“I was commentating during top 8 but even through the headset I could hear the roar of the crowd every time Isai did something remotely impressive. That guy will always bring the hype and no matter how good the rest of the community gets, he will always have that special allure about him. Him 4-stocking Wizzrobe with Luigi was absolutely insane.”
North america seemed to be united to take on the rest of the world, but which part of NA is really the strongest at this point?
“Top 3 in US, Canada, and Mexico is actually pretty close right now. Canada has the overall #1 with Boom, but Isai is right there. Top 8 looked like this:
1- CA (SuPeRbOoMfAn)
2- US (COG | Wizzrobe)
3- US (Isai)
4- MX (Mariguas)
5- CA (TR3GTheZ)
5- JPN (Wangera)
7- CA (GODS | Revan)
7- JPN (Kurabba)
There were players from each of the 3 regions that placed 9th, too.”
How did SmashCon stack up for you in terms of big moments in 64’s history?
“I would argue and say that G3's top 8 was more exciting, but overall SSC is the best tournament of all time. It featured a top Peruvian player in the US for the first time. We saw Japan Vs. Peru for the first time. Isai made his return to the east coast for the first time in almost three years. There was a shocking number of upsets.
Another thing that set this tournament apart from virtually any other major was the attention to 64. Doubles, singles pools, singles bracket, and top 8 were all streamed. Top 8 was given a Saturday evening slot. The very first event of the convention was a 64 combo contest that saw a larger in-house audience than melee top 8 last year. These are the kinds of things that 64 needs to continue growing.”
What were some of your Favorite matches?
The Z/tacos: youtube.com/watch?v=NtUfAfYm8Hk
The Z/Wangera: youtube.com/watch?v=8u9HR4vrers
Isai/Boom: youtube.com/watch?v=HgDsFCocE6U ”
Like melee, 64 has its own rivalries. Did things play out as expected? Where is the balance of power now?
“The strongest of Japan did not come out so this question doesn’t really get answered. We did finally see someone from Peru vs. Japan but it was only one person and it was three Japanese Yoshis. We learned that Alvin struggles against top tier Yoshis. Another thing we learned is that Wizzrobe is no joke and is undeniably top 3 in the US.
Superboomfan saw real competition. Mariguas took him to game 5 and Isai’s Pikachu scared him. Boom realizes now that he has to actually train to be the best, even though he was probably the best player at SSC. Alvin is close and Isai might be on the same level. Top 4 is some combination of Isai, Jouske, Wario, and Boom. hopefully we get Wario and Owl out to Genesis 4.”
Can you provide a little background on who was on top of 64 in the lead-up to SmashCon?
“Genesis 3 saw record numbers for 64 and the success of the international players fund. With the $3,500 raised, we were able to bring out 11 different smashers from around the world, including Wario and Wangera from Japan.
Wario ended up 3–1'ing Superboomfan in winners and taking the title 3–0 after Boom reset the bracket. Wangera pulled an upset and double eliminated Isai. Isai went Fox and Mario and for the first time ever, we saw his Pikachu in tournament. It was only for one game and he SD’d his last stock, so going into SSC, Isai’s Pikachu was a big question mark and so was Wangera. Unfortunately, Wario had other obligations and could not make it to SmashCon.”
What’s next for 64? Do you think the explosion of popularity for smash will continue to feed each game’s scene?
“The more positive exposure this game gets, the more other events realize 64’s potential. We will continue to see growth because the people behind the scenes are constantly pushing for excellence and are relentless with their efforts. This game has seen an insane increase in popularity in the last 2 years and it has all of the momentum right now.”
You can catch more from Darkhorse on Twitter, and tons of these matches are on his Youtube. Shouts out to TourneyLocator and VGBootCamp for streaming SmashCon and having so many of the VODs up on youtube so soon. For more from the 64 Community at large, check out http://onlinessb.com and http://facebook.com/groups/Smash64Community/ …
Thanks for checking out TSGU! If you’re feelin’ it, Follow me @nilpholan on twitter for more, or check out some of my past gaming video work and professional video work. Please direct all hatemail / regular mail to GeodudeSSBM@gmail.com