I remember the night I became heavily interested in Super Smash Bros. It was my sophomore year of college, and my roommates and I held free-for-all matches on Super Smash Bros. Brawl (cringe-worthy). After a good three hours of smashing, I returned to my room, opened my laptop, and searched the Internet in hopes of finding some techniques that would help step my game up. After viewing some Brawl videos on YouTube, one of the suggested videos on the side was a Melee match between one of the five Melee Gods, Mew2King, and a Fox player that slips my mind.
I had never seen anything more fast-paced, fanatic, and fun. The commentators, probably D1 and Prog, kept the hype going, and M2K’s Marth absolutely shredded.
For the next week I spent all of my free time watching Melee and Project M (RIP) videos – I was addicted. Soon I installed both PM and Melee on my Wii so that my friends and I could play this sandbox fighter together.
Fast-forward to 2016.
Every Tuesday I meet up with the same group of friends and play Super Smash Bros. Melee for about four hours. Not only am I a better player, but also more knowledgeable of the game and its various quirks that define it. Now more than ever, the game has become so much more than just a party game to me… it has become an aid in supporting my personal and professional life. Here are just a few parallels between the game and my life and how I have benefited from.
There’s always another game.
This was the one of the very first parallels I drew between playing smash and everyday life. Not every game is going to be played the most optimally, and you might even lose or not play to your best potential. But that is okay. There is always going to be another game – another shot at anything where you may come up short.
I found this lesson particularly useful when pursuing jobs and internships. It has never been about how well I do in a match of Melee, or how well I did in an interview, but what knowledge I take away from the experience during these events.
This coincides with my next point…
You learn from your opponents.
As a rookie Smash player, there will be many chances where your opponent will just straight up outplay you. They have a better neutral game understanding, they know how to combo your character, they might have better tech skill than you … I could keep going. What is important to understand first is that they are better than you. Once you accept this, then you can finally start to make adjustments, whether that be in-between stocks, or in the next game.
Outside of Melee, I have come to accept this very early on in my professional life. No matter how well I think I am doing to market myself as a competent and unique individual with a defined set of skills, I know that there are others who are just better than me. This has led my personal drive to always strive to be something more. Behind this parallel is the instinct to keep on moving, keep on learning, and keep on trying to compete on stages that might favor me or not.
“Reading” your opponents.
As a Sheik main, “reading” your opponent is crucial in any matchup. A “read” is performed when a player predicts a player’s movement and capitalizes on it. The best example of this is when Sheik is performing a tech chase on opponents, specifically the “spacies,” Fox & Falco.
This is much of the same practice of identifying trends and capitalizing on them as they appear and eventually disappear. As an advertising and public relations student, I have learned that this can help create genuine and authentic interaction between brands and users. Identifying and keeping up with trends is even now more so important in the realm of social media and popular culture, two things that I also have a passion for.
Matchups do not exist in a vacuum.
Matchups are measures of how even or uneven a fight is between two characters in a tournament based setting. The melee matchups somewhat define a tier list for the characters, which you can look at here. As you can see, Fox and behind him Falco, remain the overruling kings of the game, and have the better matchups against the other members of the cast. However, just because these characters are considered the best of the best, it does not mean that they cannot be beat. These matchups do not define the match before it even starts, they are just suggestions – suggestions that can be defied.
The parallel I have come to here is one that expects people to not try their best, and give up when faced with restrictions. What Melee has taught me here, is to forget those defined matchups, and to try again and again. You might not always get the result you want, but you will always learn.
Finding something new in something old.
Melee is a game that is nearly fifteen years old, and we are still finding more out about the game. One of the latest findings is that of V-Cancelling; where a player can stop their velocity and possibly live longer by pressing either L or R in the air have being hit with a powerful attack.
In my classes and through my own professional career, I have found that looking through something old in times when you need something new can be very beneficial. Your past ideas and thoughts are sometimes not needed when they come to mind, but may become necessary down the road. In a creative instance, it is important to keep these ideas in one form or another, so that one day they might become used again.
Super Smash Bros. Melee for the Nintendo Gamecube has become a huge staple of my college and young adult life, I am forever grateful of the things I have learned from it. I hope that my readers will find some parallels in their hobbies to aid them.
If you have any similar experience with a hobby, please let me know! Or if you want to talk about Melee, I am always interested.
Until next time,