'Smash Bros.' star Hungrybox dishes on his fantastic Evo run
Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma is one of the top Smash Bros. Melee players in the world. His character of choice, Jigglypuff, is a cute, pink-colored, balloon-like Pokemon who uses devastating kicks and attacks that lull her opponents to sleep. With DeBiedma at the controls, Jigglypuff is deadly. This year alone, the Team Curse player placed in the top three in nine Smash Bros. tournaments. And that’s not including doubles, in which he and his partner placed in the top three in eight of 11 tournaments.
At last weekend's Evolution World Championship series (Evo)—the biggest fighting game tournament in the world—DeBiedma made it to the final match before ultimately falling to Joseph "Mang0" Marquez. We called up DeBiedma to get his thoughts on Evo, Nintendo's sudden embrace of the competitive scene, and the recent Smash Bros. resurgence.
Nintendo finally embracing the competitive scene
The fact that [Nintendo] went to being our enemy, pretty much saying ‘you can't do this,’ to now backing us—it’s pretty crazy. It shows the power of the Smash community.
Winning against Armada at Evo
I felt like if there was a time I would win a national or international, it was definitely Evo. I was playing really really well. Because of that I basically thought I might as well give it my all here. I beat not only [Kevin "Dr. Pee Pee" Nanney]for the first time in a year, but [Adam "Armada" Lindgren] for the first time in years.
The value of a positive mindset
I feel like i'm already doing fine. I feel like most other top players play a lot more than I do. That’s awesome. But it’s because I know my character very well. I know very well how [Jigglypuff] works. As long as I can continue being consistent and have that positive mindset, I feel like I can eventually beat him.
How he managed such an amazing perfomance at Evo
It was definitely mindset. My entire week at MLG was negative, I was annoyed traveling there, the flight delayed, there was a long-ass shuttle ride. The vibe wasnt very positive. I felt like everyone was against me for whatever reason.
I used to care a lot about what people thought, I was trying to please everyone. I sorta came to the realization that it’s false to please everyone. Do your own thing. The people who appreciate that are the ones that matter to you most. There’s always gonna be people who dislike you, there’s always going to be haters. As soon as I started accepting, that’s when the fandom, the fanbase seems to grow biggest. People started appreciating me for what I do. I appreciate it, but I'm doing it for me. I’m doing it for me.
And so that’s what’s sort of my mindset going into Evo was. My buddy Sean happened to visit, and I think I wouldn't have done as well if he wasn’t there. I kind of just hung out with him all weekend, it was a lot of fun. It goes to show the impact of one person.
Diversity in play styles and characters 13 years after the game's launch
The game is constantly evolving. This is why it’s so cool. You have so many options, so many characters. Not only is this Sakurai's masterpiece, he will never outdo this. Now in Melee we’re seeing Yoshi players. We’re seeing crazy players playing low tiers. It’s just really really cool to see all this variety. It’s not just the top tier. It’s not just Fox and Falco. There are so many other characters.
Continued Success in doubles
Doubles is very different than singles in many ways, obviously. In doubles you have to respect all other three players on the field. If you have good communication with your partner, you can be really good. I have really good communication. I kind of tell him ‘no no, do this, do this,’ and he listens to me. And when he does that we start winning. Like at Evo we won amazingly. Like we won with flying colors.
It’s definitely a positive thing. We should have been there the entire time, it’s just that people have negative connotation of Smash. Like, we were a bunch of immature kids. Granted a lot of them could have done better, especially back in the dark ages. When Brawl first came out, it was really an embarrassing time for us.
In terms of where we stand in the fighting game community: We went as far as we could, we exceeded our passions, and now look where we are. You can't just sit around. Go out there and help, go out there and work. Go out there and educate yourself, find local players, get on your Facebook groups. It doesn’t matter how big or small your community is. I started out in the bottom too—you know, everyone did.
Screengrab via Beanman25Jr/YouTube