An Interview with Dapuffster (Smash Bros)
Today, I am joined by the self-proclaimed best Smash 4 Mii Brawler player in the world Alex Oshrin from New Jersey, better known for his name "Dapuffster" or "Jigglymaster" in the competitive scene. Would you like to introduce yourself?
Dapuffster (Alex): Hello. Yes, I have been a part of the Smash community since 2005, starting out with Melee and making my way up to Smash 4. I was also widely accepted as the best Jigglypuff in Brawl and was most recently being stated as the best Mii Brawler by the top Smash 4 player, ZeRo.
I have not been as active in the community as I used to be for many different reasons. However, to say that being a part of the community for 11 years was not a big part of my life would be a huge lie.
So what got you into Smash Brothers in the first place competitively? What was the main pull to the game then say, Street Fighter or Tekken, which had much larger followings at the time?
Dapuffster (Alex): Ah, well that was because I grew up with a Nintendo console. I started out with an NES and moved up to an N64. I did not have anything else so I never grew up playing games like Street Fighter or Tekken. In fact, I am pretty sure that my first fighting game was Smash Bros 64.
I was young and excited for Melee when it came out. When it did, I thought I was very good at the game, always beating my friends at it. For no particular reason, I decided to go on the internet to see if there were tournaments for the game. What would you know, there were, and they were close by.
The tournament I went to what was called King of the Couch, and they had all sorts of different games being played there. You would not go to a Smash tournament today and expect to see games like Halo, Madden NFL, or even Dance Dance Revolution tournaments being played alongside it. The whole experience was way different than it is today.
I see, I see. I can imagine how different it is nearly 10+ years later to see such a difference in the scene. With the rise of esports and events like EVO giving the Smash scene more love, I have to ask: you have said in the past that you know a lot of players personally during your career in Smash as a whole but which players were your inspiration going into tournaments, primarily in Smash 4 where you took part in EVO in 2015, placing in the top 16?
Dapuffster (Alex): I do know a lot of players personally. In fact, despite not talking to him much these days, Mew2King also started his journey in 2005 at King of the Couch tournaments.
I cannot say that there are any players that particularly inspired me, but there are people who helped get me to where I am today.
Player-wise, I think my sparring partners are both very important. My first sparring partner was a local friend of mine, he was around the same skill level as me and through playing him, I was able to learn the core fundamentals of playing the game at a higher level.
My next and still current sparring partner is Vex Kasrani. Not only did he spar with me, but he is what we call a labber, which is somebody who spends time in training mode trying to come up with combos and techniques that you cannot normally learn about just by playing somebody. He also has many other connections through people like Apex 2013's champion, Salem, as well as even housing ZeRo when the Japanese version of Smash 3DS came out, allowing me to play the game a month early. He also was friends with Youtuber PKsparks, who let us play the review copy of the Wii U version before that came out too. That really helped me get a head start on the competition.
Finally, while they are not a player, I would also like to address my parents for helping me out as well. I started competitive smash at the age of 13, so for the first five years, I had to rely on them driving me to events, and they did. That was very nice of them to do.
Who in your opinion then (from your experience and from EVO 2016) at the moment is the best player in the Smash scene? Both in Melee and Smash4.
Dapuffster (Alex): Ah, yes deciding who the best player is in each game. That is no easy task. If you had asked me one year ago, I would have said that ZeRo was hands down the best in Smash 4. But now, I am not so sure. It still could be ZeRo, it could be Ally, it could be Anti. But honestly, I have no idea. If I had to say, though, I would say ZeRo. For being such a big win streak of 50+ tournaments a year ago and with so many people targeting and studying his play style, it is no wonder why the guy has not won much recently, despite all of this, he still places high. Ally may have won EVO 2016, but how long will it before people download him and beat him too?
As for Melee, I am going to have to give it to my man Hungrybox. He has been an absolute monster this year with tournament results and he showed himself with the coolest loser's bracket run at EVO 2016, beating Plup (who knocked him into losers), Mango, and Armada all back-to-back. He fought really hard and it would not be right to say that he is not the best in the world right now.
Well it is no surprise really, they are all big names in themselves. I imagine looking towards APEX and other events we will start to see them truly tested. So tell me then, on the topic of tournaments, is it true you are the sole reason Miis are being banned state side? If I recall you recently topped a local tournament which resulted in Miis being banned-- what is with all the custom move mii hate?
Dapuffster (Alex): The Mii controversy, one of the reasons why I retired from Smash 4. It is true that last weekend, I attended an event that allowed customizable miis (not in size, only by moveset). I defeated the tournament organizer in the tournament and I went onto winning the entire tournament without dropping a single game to anyone. The very next day, a poll was held, asking whether or not they should be banned. Despite the option to ban them lost three to one, the tournament organizer still went through with the decision to ban them. They claimed that they had been thinking about doing this for a while, but it seems that this was too much of a coincidence, since I had not been to one of their tournaments since early 2016.
To make a long story short, characters have alternate special attacks that are called customs. Most character's customs just change the property of it, such as Mario having a fast or slow fireball. The miis, on the other hand, have completely different moves and are the only characters in the game that can use these moves when custom moves are turned OFF. Thus, the Mii community does not view them as actual custom moves.
The opposing side, however, does and wants to ban them since they do not want anyone to have custom moves. That would be reasonable, if not for the fact that they constantly complain about how "broken" or "busted" Mii Brawler is with his other special attacks. Hasty actions such as banning them the day after I won makes it seem like they are banning the character for the wrong reasons, along with Mii Gunner and Mii Swordfighter, who have nothing to do with this at all.
My sparring partner, Vex Kasrani, helps me prove that Mii Brawler is not busted, but rather that nobody understands how to fight the character and can be beaten if played properly. Instead, the community bans them, leading to fewer people playing the character which leads to less experience fighting them, which leads to people thinking the character is busted. It is a never ending chain.
There is a lot of bullying involved as well, such as people always telling us to "play a real character" or that we are just "mediocre players relying on customs."
It is stuff like this that does not make me feel welcome in the Smash community, one that I have known and loved for 11 years. Seeing as how my passion for the game has been lost, I have since moved my passion to somewhere else.
So there is no way we will see you return in the future? Maybe in the next installment or if the rumoured NX port comes out in the future or is this the end of a 10-year legacy?
Dapuffster (Alex): If a new Smash game comes out or new characters are introduced, then there will always be a possibility that I will return. Although it is very unlikely, if Tails from Sonic the Hedgehog or Delphox from the Pokemon series became playable characters, I would drop the Mii Brawler in an instant to play as one of them instead, regardless of how good or bad they may be.
That is actually one of the main reasons why I play Mii Brawler in Smash 4; because none of the characters they introduced this time around really interested me, and I have grown tired of playing as Jigglypuff (who, in my personal opinion, is more boring to play compared to when she was in any other smash game). Sakurai, the creator of Smash Bros., stated that Miis allowed you to play as anyone, and that is what really brought me into them, because I could, in fact, play as anyone. It let me play who I wanted to play as. Why I picked Brawler over the other two Miis is simply because he moved faster than them.
Sure, I could still use Mii Brawler's default move set, but he loses a lot of what makes him fun to play as without his correct special moves. Most tournaments do not even let you change the appearance of the mii. What fun is there in that?
Haha, I see. Thank you for your time today. It has been nice to hear from you. If I am right in saying since your retirement, you have been involved more in a certain hobby of yours. Is there something short you wanted to say about this and perhaps any final words to your fans?
Dapuffster (Alex): Yes, thank you for having me here today.
Let me just say that I will never truly leave the smash community. I may not go to many tournaments anymore, but I do not think that the community as a whole is bad. Besides, nobody can ever actually leave the community.
If any of the readers wish to know where my passion lies now, it is within my latest webcomic series called "Champions of The Melting Pot" which is a parody of fighting games. Had it not been for my 11 years in the smash community, I do not believe I would be able to make something like this. There is a lot in this comic that I believe a Smash Bros. fan will enjoy. Not to mention, there will be many references to the Smash community in it, as well as appearances from the likes of ZeRo and M2k, whom will be appearing to fight against each other in Chapter Seven of the comic. We are currently nearing the end of Chapter Four, so we are not too far away from that happening. I would like you all to please give it a read if you ever get the chance.
Thank you very much for your time today Dapuffster. We wish you the very best in your future endeavours. For those that are interested in Dapuffsters future endeavours, feel free to check out his current webcomic at http://www.alexoshrin.com/.