If you were around when the sixth generation of consoles came out (Gamecube, PS2, Xbox, etc.) you should have already heard of the Super Smash Bros series. But being even much more specific, you should have heard about Super Smash Bros Melee, because it was the craze back then for everyone who owned a Nintendo Gamecube.
Selling over 7.000.000 copies worldwide, it could be estimated that about 70% of people who owned a Gamecube, also owned Super Smash Bros Melee. With its commercial success, Melee consolidated the Super Smash Bros series as a fighting game that would receive many more entries as the console generations came and went, but there was something really special about this game, there was an extra something that made people prefer playing Melee even when newer entries had come out. I specifically am one of those who prefers to still play melee over the newer games in the franchise. That interest and that love and care for this game is what made me get to know some really awesome people who are to this day, friends which I consider as one of the best things that I have encountered in my life. But as you know, when friends play a lot of Fighting Video Games together, there's this feeling and special link that develops between certain individuals and that's what I call Rivalries. I'll be focusing mainly on the Rivalries that have been growing and developing between my friends and me since 2015, until the latest tension filled moment came to be and blew up.
It all started during 2015. My Best friend invited me over to a party that a friend of him was hosting. He told me "Hey Kenny! I was invited to this party tonight and they're gonna be playing Smash Bros over there, you wanna come over?" I gladly accepted since it was a friday and I had nothing else to do during that night. At first I was anxious to say yes because I have a hard time introducing myself to new people, but when I arrived, got to know some of my friend's friends and then started playing, all of my worries were gone. I was in the moment and I didn't care about anything else than having fun playing some Smash Bros on the Wii U.
After some months of practicing and playing a lot of of Smash bros on the Wii U had passed, we wanted a slightly different experience. We were also influenced by Top Professional Melee Players who constantly went on to participate on tournaments and we would hold parties in someone's house just to watch the Tournament on Stream, all of us together, while playing Smash. Intoxicated with how Super Smash Bros Melee was played at top level, we slowly but steadily shifted towards getting our own Gamecube/Wii's so we could start practicing Melee too! Just like our favorite top players did and still do to this day. Our practicing only led to us getting better by sparring with each other and soon it became a hunt to find who was the best player overall.
The day finally came. The day we were all training for had finally come to fruition. This is what we had worked our asses over for months. That was the day finally we held our first local tourney. At this early level of us getting accustomed to the meta of the game and the overall heavier and faster mechanics of Melee, we duked it out. Not being the best players of the game at all, but in our eyes and most importantly, our hearts, we were. I remember getting at least into 5th place at that time and boy did I feel great about it but more importantly, here's where things started to take a more serious turn. These results were the first time our current ranks in terms from best to worst were decided. These results worked as the first guideline of who really were doing their homework and who weren't. The people who didn't like their results had to grow a new pair of balls and get up to the level of the top 5 players who were training almost everyday and getting better as time passed. And then 3 years later, in 2018 we find ourselves at our 3rd yearly entry of our local tournament series.
Enter: Evo Caribe 2018
So our third yearly local tournament came to be, and with it's conception, our rivalries came to be once again, joined together only by the passion of playing video games together and overall just trash talking each other because inside our hearts and minds, we all believe we're the best player in the group. This time we were holding several tournaments on different games, Tekken 7, Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike and most importantly, Super Smash Bros Melee. Although this time, aside from the aforementioned tournaments, we all had a bigger date with the devil we wanted to address. The main event and the conception of the Evo Caribe 2018 came to be because 2 of my friends, specifically Melee players 911 and Juan had a beef going on prior to some months before Evo Caribe came to be.
If you haven't figured it out, this isn't a moment I specifically participated in, but it involved my best friend, someone who I consider a rival of mine and another friend of mine who I also consider somewhat of a rival too because of the way we all trash talk each other. Maybe I wasn't the protagonist in here but that doesn't take less of the experience for me. I was as emotionally invested in this match as if I was there playing with my own hands. Two of my dearest friends, duking it all out against the other one, with months of prior preparation all leading up to this moment.
And as the title says, my heart started to get all excited and agitated when the Money Match was being set up, everyone turned off their other tournament setups and actually got up to watch what would be decided in this event. Who would end up winning? By how much? How much money did they bet on this match? What about their pride? There was simply too much at a stake. But they didn't back out, they didn't even show fear when sitting down and then starting to select their characters. They had their mind set and no one would make them change what they were feeling at that time.
On the other hand, the audience was split in two sides. The guys who supported 911 and the other half of the audience who supported Juan. And as soon as the players sat down and started the game up, a very heavy although invisible but absolutely real veil of suspense was set upon the viewers. It wasn't up to us anymore, it was up to Juan and 911 to battle it out and make the other one eat each and every one of their words.
The match was as close as it could get. Requiring the players to win a best of 5 set, it was fairly close. My best friend, 911 took the first game with a slight advantage, this meant I could relax a little bit and stop being anxious about this encounter... I mean, my heart was still beating fast with excitement but this quarrel was far from over. It happened in the blink of an eye, Juan took the second game by counter picking a beneficial stage for his Fox. This is when I really started to sweat. COLD SWEAT. And I wasn't the only one either, everyone in the crowd was expressing surprise sounds and gasping, all the while people in the back murmured about how close the match was going and how they couldn't predict who would win. Then 911 took the third game on his own. People thought Juan was done for but he didn't let the pressure get to him and then took the fourth game with his own hands. And so we reached Game 5.
No player had let the other one take any ground when there was an apparent weakness in the gameplay. They adjusted their game plan as the fight went on, leaving no stone unturned, leaving no weakness to be exploited, until... 911's trusted Captain Falcon sent Juan's Fox out of the stage, and when he tried to recover, he simply couldn't because Fox's Fire missile was stopped by a gallant and appropriate kick to the face. But the humiliation didn't just end there. 911 took a bold decision when Juan was respawning, He decided to taunt. He decided to do what's considered as the most unknightly thing to do, the most disrespectful thing you can do. But hear me out, this can have 2 effects on your opponent, he either doesn't take your taunt and starts playing better and better so he can taunt you back when he wins OR the taunt demoralizes him completely and in turn, makes his hands turn into spaghetti, failing moves, losing stocks by making mistakes, and just playing poorly overall because of the nerve wracking experience taking its toll on his sweaty articulations. The latter is what happened to Juan. So you can already imagine who managed to triumph in that last and fifth game.
Yes, My boy 911 took the win over Juan's fast but repetitive game plan, he proved to be strong, but not enough to adapt his gameplay on a tough spot so he could endure game 5. The decline was obviously visible to the audience and we already knew what was going to happen as soon as 911 took the lead and swoop the whole audience by taunting his opponent.
The Veil of suspense was then removed. As 911 popped off from his chair, I went rushing in to hug him and congratulate him. A few seconds later he stepped back and got his hand on Juan's back, who was still sitting there in front of the TV. Although he had taken the victory, it wasn't an easy one, so some congratulations went all the way to Juan, but more importantly from his Rival. In my opinion there's nothing better than having an eternal rival which you fight everyday to become better. And even better of a feeling is when your Rival feels the same way towards you. There's a special bond which forms between you two, something unique, something that not anyone in a million years could replicate in the same way.
As a conclusion i'd like to remark again that even if I wasn't the protagonist on this event, I was there and I lived it with my own eyes, skin, hair and ears. Every inch of uneasiness, tension and pressure was almost visible to our mortal eyes.I can assure you that in our minds, each and every spectator felt like the stakes of both players were theirs. And it just makes me think about how there's not a thing in the world that makes me feel like this. There's not a thing in the world that makes me feel these many butterflies in my stomach whenever rivalries like this are tested on my field of view, especially when i'm there to spectate and give support to my friends who are giving it their all to be the best and become the winner. Whenever I see them grow and fight each other, I feel like if different parts of myself were fighting each other. It's just a magical sight to behold. It's just too much of an emotional gaming moment for me not to want to write about it. I mean, we've grown so big that we've even organized tournaments at out local colleges, and a ton of new people have joined up to the team, slowly getting to know more participants, bringing them in and then making new friends! I'll leave a couple of screenshots from other tournaments and meetings down below!
This is the continuation of a tournament we had organized at the Universidad Simón Bolivar! It was the first tourney where veterans of the Venezuela Melee Scene joined our tournaments for the first time!
At the Simon Bolivar University!
Another setup at the University! If you paid attention, you can notice that 911 is in here too!
911, a Rossito and me, Volderhein at the university!
Me waiting for a match to be done! (Also I was fatter and had shorter hair, but shh!)
Some of our Friends! In this case Hotaru and Leon commentating on some matches that were being recorded!
Thanks for reading this long ass post guys, HAHAHAHAFJKD <3 If you ever see me writing long posts like this one here, you know i really love what i'm writing about. So i'll see you on the next one guys. I hope you enjoyed the ride with me because I surely did so. Let me know what you think or if you have felt something like this before, I'd love to hear it! But for now Goodbye!
DISCLAIMER: All of the images on this post have been given to me by my friends, so I've avoided using sources to not cloud the post and make it look ugly. These pictures are just on our personal Facebook accounts.