Brendan's Blog: SoCal Smashfests

Friday, Aug 29 2014  -   Brendan Viloria

This summer, I lost a lot of interest in League of Legends, but I still wanted to stay within the eSports scene, so I decided to get into fighting games. I started off watching old VODs of EVO and Curleh Mustache, so I initially got into the Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 scene. I ended up buying a used copy of the game and an arcade stick too. Within my first week of learning how to combo, I found a Super Smash Bros. documentary called "The Smash Brothers," which gives a history of competitive Super Smash Bros. and also featured our own Daniel "ChuDat" Rodriguez. After watching the documentary, I completely stopped playing UMVC3 and picked up my GameCube controller and immediately started learning advanced techniques of Melee and Project M.

Check out the first episode of "The Smash Brothers"

To first begin my Smash career, I tried out most of the top tier characters to try to find my main: Marth, Fox, Falco, Jigglypuff, Sheik, and Captain Falcon. I ultimately chose Marth as my main. I think it was most likely because he was an easy character to learn techniques with, but also after watching the documentary, Ken became my favorite pro Smasher. Afterwards, I started learning the basics: wavedashing, L-cancelling, SHFFLing and more. I started joining SoCal Smash Facebook groups and telling my friends about competitive Smash, which brought them back into it too. If you're interested in learning competitive Smash, check out Smash Lounge, which has guides to techniques and links to your local Smash Bros. Facebook groups.

The first Smashfest I attended was from the UCLA Smash Group. I first talked to a guy named Crackle, who hosts the majority of Smashfests at UCLA. I had mainly practiced Melee, but Crackle hosted Project M Smashfests, so at my first attendance there on July 11th. I brought my friend Jared with me and the first person I played was Jed "Zinc" Schmidt, a Mewtwo main. During our match, I was nervous and didn't know how Project M Marth worked, so I got easily 4-stocked by Zinc. I later learned he was one of the best at Crackle's house, so I didn't feel too bad about it. I then played Richard "DK Master React" Serrano, a lower power ranked player on Crackle's PR list, and he still dominated me. That night, I ended up learning a lot about Project M, but I still had a lot of work to learn on my own.

This list is what I strive to be on

After my first Project M Smashfest, I wanted to try out a Melee Smashfest. I found a guy from the South Bay Smash group who would be able to host. I went with my friends Jared and Joey and saw that it was held in a garage. I started off by playing the guy who was hosting and I dominated his Captain Falcon. Then, I played his girlfriend, a Peach main, and got 2-stocked. We kept playing and I still could not beat the Peach main. But once they brought out their bong and started smoking weed, it was time for my friends and I to go.

I couldn't really find any other Melee Smashfests, so I ended up going to Crackle's Smashfests because I had a great experience my first time there. I finally got to meet most of the main crew from Crackle's house that include:

  • Daniel "DG" Mossaband - Ivysaur
  • Nathaniel "Nchovies" Cho - Fox and Falco
  • Albert "Alburritos" Tao - Captain Falcon and Wario
  • Ray "Hizo" Yao - Ike
  • Andrew Okeh - Lucario
  • Casey "Moosewad" Reilly - Ivysaur

Each night there is a learning experience; I felt that I've learned so much about Project M in the past two months and I'm continuing to learn about different matchups and how characters can be played.

These are just a few of the Smashers from Crackle's Crew

I've also recently started up a Smash Bros. club at Loyola Marymount University, the school I attend. My vision is to unite the players of my school and the UCLA group to help further the goal of collegiate eSports and to extend the communities in to the surrounding areas. So far, it's going slow, but hopefully it will grow as the school year goes on.

Thanks to the ton of practice I've been getting at Crackle's house, I will start competing in tournaments in September starting with Mayhem in Pasadena, California. I had the chance to attend Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. Invitational at E3 and Kings of Cali 4 this summer and knowing that I'll be able to get to play with the pros (especially LiquidKen) will be exciting. Hopefully it'll be a good experience, especially with some of Crackle's crew entering along side me. My three months of competitive practice will probably not be sufficient to do well in the tournament, but I expect to do better with each proceeding tournament I attend. The main goal for me is not the money, but participating in the eSports experience rather in the background reporting about it. Even if I lose badly, I will always remember, "I tried so hard and got so far, but in the end, it doesn't even matter."

This is the dream of every Smasher alive: to dominate on a big stage in front of thousands

Right now, a lot of eSports and competitive gaming communities are toxic (ex. League of Legends), but if you find the right group of people to play and practice with, it's rewarding. I was really lucky to find Crackle's Crew in the UCLA Smash Group  that helped me grow competitively and is the main reason I feel confident in entering tournaments. With the new game coming out soon, I'm not sure if I'll get into it competitively, but for sure, I'll stick with Melee and Project M until the end. If you're looking to get into eSports, Super Smash Bros. has given me the most positive and fun experience out of any game ever played, even being played competitively.

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