A global pandemic, several disappointing showings at big Netplay events and 10 months after his CEO Dreamland 2020 victory, Hungrybox finally broke the curse. On Sunday, he won the Galint Melee Open over SFAT.
I WON THE GALINT OPEN!!!— hungrybox (@LiquidHbox) January 11, 2021
FINALLY MY FIRST ONLINE MAJOR WIN!
And first big Melee win since CEO2020!!
And it was on 1/11 (Juan won one!)
🏆 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆 pic.twitter.com/LavwQgYzYn
While the Galint Melee Open featured DQs from players like Zain, Mango and Axe, Hungrybox’s win remains a step up from his previous performances at Netplay tournaments. These ranged from finishing out of top eight, as he did at LACS2 to outright failing to win weeklies. Hungrybox had won smaller tournaments during the last 10 months, but the Galint Melee Open was his first notable victory.
Meanwhile, SFAT, Hax$ (third place) and Aklo (fourth place) rounded out the Top 4. The tournament also brought surprise showings from longtime players like Vish (ninth place, wins over Vincessant and Aura) and ycz6 (13th place, wins over Krizski and KoDoRiN) – in part due to aforementioned DQs.
Over in Europe,organizer Exile announced the start of a European Smash circuit called SAME, with monthly Netplay events planned over the rest of the year. The first event will happen in late January, with the latest iteration of the Valhalla series. Leffen also announced that was he was planning to fully switch from using a GameCube controller. At one point, he was playing with his keyboard. Currently, he is using the Frame 1 controller.
In other news, former Top 5 Japanese Fox player Shunsuke won a best of seven exhibition match over aMSa, 4-3, with the set being played out on CRT. And in Chile, Sheik player Raikin – the No. 3 for online players in Chile – came out on top of the online Smash Bong Summit, winning over Mave.
1. Random Thoughts on Exhibition Style Events
For a while, I really did think the Salty Suite was dead. Exhibition events have been around in Melee history for as long as I can remember – and many of them play a huge role in elevating the scene in the eyes of the public. Since 2015 or so, it felt like the scene had moved on. And yet in the last year, we’ve seen grand public exhibitions between the likes of Mango vs. Zain, iBDW vs. Westballz, Hungrybox vs. iBDW, and Shunsuke vs. aMSa. Clearly something has changed.
The more I think about it, these types of events are also so much easier to manage if they’re done online. You don’t have to worry about the physical location of everyone involved, the same kind of ‘hype’ is there as far as public attention, but without any of the in-person downsides and as far as out-of-game distractions go, it’s entirely up to the players. Are the hoots and hollers of a crowd analogous to reading chat? I would argue that they strangely, unbelievably, are. And if reading chat is a distraction for players involved in an exhibition, they can tune it out (although I doubt many of them would, because…well…content).
The only downside of exhibition style events is that unless there’s a significant monetary reward for them, they’re only as serious as the players make them. In other words, I doubt that you’re gonna get iBDW to care about an exhibition against Zain if the two are expected to play in bracket on the same weekend. Still – that’s not something unique to online exhibitions. As far as those are concerned, I would love to see more of them,
2. Smash Content Spotlight: Fiction
Lately, I’ve been trying to take playing Melee a bit more seriously and one day, I stumbled upon Fiction’s YouTube channel. Er – not quite. By “stumbled upon,” I really just mean that Ambisinister brought them up in our Discord and I’ve been binging all the lessons since.
Let me be clear: Fiction’s analysis and lesson material blows every single other top player’s YouTube content out of the water. It honestly stuns me that these videos aren’t getting more than hundreds of views – if people cared about playing this game as much as they say they do, these would get thousands. Honestly, Fiction could probably get hundreds of thousands of views if he did something along the lines of a “beginner tutorials” video with polished graphics, animations, etc.
What makes Fiction’s lessons so good is that he cuts a lot of the bullshit you’ll find with a lot of other similar analysts. He has a very funny but understandable way of explaining what cracks people have in their gameplay and how to address them – and he does this across so many levels of play. I’m not going to call out names here, but while I’ve seen a lot of other top player analysis on YouTube, most of them are situation-oriented, made for novices, or they are packed with an overwhelming amount of information spread across many hours.
With Fiction, he picks out a specific concept quite early on in the lesson that he finds is the most important one for his learner, and he hammers away at it in the course of an hour. I would honestly recommend that people still watch his lessons that don’t involve their own main. They’re that good – and watching many of his lessons with other people forced me to acknowledge flaws in my own views of Melee. The best way to explain it is that Fiction “arms” his viewers and learners with a rock solid ideological foundation for viewing the game as it is – not what it “should” be – and learning each of the player, situation, and character-specific knowledge that they need to move on.
So many players, at least in my experience are either too heavily micro-focused or take things like positioning for granted and give binary advice (“just do this move and you’ll win”) to people who aren’t aware of what concepts they need to understand for that advice to work. I know this sounds like a commercial for Fiction, but I swear, he isn’t paying me to do propaganda. Speaking of Smash YouTube…
3. Where I’ve Been (and Moving Forward)
Needless to say, the last year has been really weird. I haven’t seen any of my Smash friends since Genesis 7, but we’ve taken the time during our in-person hiatus to put more time and effort towards projects we had discussed for seemingly forever and never actually done. I tried continuing this column, but didn’t have the heart to keep it going as they came to fruition. Last winter, my friends and I were part of a large community effort toward celebrating our scene’s perseverance within a pandemic, and we even brought back a show that we had stopped doing for quite some time.
I’m at a weird point in my life. I want to keep making videos with my friends and help usher a golden age for Smash content with all my spare time, and yet I have a deep anathema toward the ‘professionalization’ of our scene. I want to remain involved in Melee, both as someone who uses playing the game with his friends as means to stay in touch with it and as someone who wants to play a necessary role in culturally preserving it – but I want everyone to feel the same way as I do. I stake an unhealthy amount of my self-worth into how I’m involved in a niche, but I know that it means so much precisely because it’s just a niche.
Over the last year or so, I’ve received so many kind words of support from friends, colleagues and complete strangers. Most of them have been geared toward Melee Stats videos, but every now and then I get a question from someone asking when Monday Morning Marth will come back. I guess the long story short is that I’m bringing it back for the near future.
In the mean time, I hope you enjoyed this column. Next week, I’ll be bringing back the Monday Morning Mailbag, so if you have any questions you want answered for then or if you just want to drop your biggest, fattest, most galaxy brain take to be featured in the column, do so.
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