The world’s best Super Smash Bros., Melee, and Project M players have gathered at the Big House 4 in Romulus, Mich., this weekend for a fierce two days of competition. With the arrival of Smash 4 this week and the high expectations for the tournament itself, I sat down with Gonzalo “Zero” Barrios and Adam “Armada” Lindgren to discuss the new game, the tournament, and the competitive scene at large.
So, first things first: Have you guys had a chance to play Smash 4 yet?
Barrios: Dude, I’ve been streaming for, like, 10 hours a day.
Lindgren: A little bit. Maybe four hours or so.
And what are your impressions?
Lindgren: It’s OK. I’ll need to spend more time with it.
Barrios: Shields are weaker. I put up my shield and took, like, two jabs and it almost broke. Also attacking someone in their shield doesn’t push them as far back as it did in Melee and Brawl, which means that your spacing needs to be on point.
So it’s definitely not like Smash Bros. Melee, like fans were hoping?
Lindgren: Melee fans can be so stupid sometimes. Just because a game isn’t exactly what you think it should be doesn’t mean it’s not good.
Barrios: Yeah. I don’t turn on Project M and expect it to play like Melee. It’s just different and that’s not a bad thing.
This is obviously a pretty loaded tournament, but even I’ve been playing Smash since I was a kid. What separates the great players from the regular ones?
Lindgren: Situational awareness. That’s the one thing that I always tell new players to work on.
Barrios: Absolutely. When I tell players to watch their replays, I’m not telling them to figure out what the pros do. I’m telling them to figure out what happened in what situation, and why it worked or why it didn’t.
You talk about it like it’s just a mental process. By that logic, do you think anyone can be good at this game?
Lindgren: Oh yeah, that’s no secret.
Barrios: It’s not like you have to be six feet five inches tall or have Olympic runners’ genes. The problem is how few people want to put in the time to improve.
Is there anyone who is putting in the time? Anyone you’re looking out for at this tournament?
Barrios: I mean, I could name 100 players that could be great if they want to put in the work, but if there’s one guy in the “new generation,” it’d be “Wizzrobe” [Justin Hallett] out of Florida.
Lindgren: I’m not looking out for anyone. They need to look out for me.
Lindgren: Look, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing. Fox is still Fox. It’s not like his shield is bigger just because “Mang0” [Joseph Marquez] is playing him. I’m just playing against a character.
As we finish up our breakfast, a mother of one of the competitors politely interrupts our conversation.
“Are you one of the famous people?” she asks Barrios. He nods politely and allows her to take a picture of him before heading upstairs to the ballroom for pool play. If Barrios has his way by the end of the weekend, even a mother from Michigan will remember who he is.
Image via smashbros.com