Super Smash Bros. Melee professional player Juan “Hungrybox” of Team Curse take’s time out of his busy schedule to answer several of our questions on topics ranging from Team Curse itself, upcoming tournaments, play-style, and more. SSBM or Melee, is a crossover fighting game where the game centers on characters from Nintendo’s gaming franchises: Mario, Pokémon, and The Legend of Zelda. Without wasting any more time, let’s jump right into it.
Thank you “Hungrybox” for taking the time to answer a few questions. For those out there that might be new to the tournament scene or looking to get into it, could you give us a brief introduction of yourself?
Hungrybox: My name is Juan DeBiedma, aka Hungrybox. I’m a professional Super Smash Bros Melee player and I’m considered to be the best Jigglypuff player worldwide. I’m from Orlando, FL but I was born in Argentina. I’m studying ChemE at the University of Florida, currently interning at Henkel in Arizona.
Why Melee? What is it about this particular game that drew you in?
Hungrybox: It’s just the game that I played since I was little. I was very competitive with my close friends and I enjoyed all of Nintendo’s Mario titles. This was another game for me to beat, but thankfully a friend and I discovered the competitive scene about 7 or 8 years ago, and since then winning has always been on my mind. I like the unorthodox value of the game. I didn’t like Street Fighter or other FG titles because they required a huge button input to do each combo. In Melee, every character shares roughly the same input for their 30 or so moves – it’s up to you to decide how to merge them together.
What particular moment did you realize that this was more than just a game but a way to earn some serious extra cash?
Hungrybox: Twilight Showdown 6, a tiny Tampa local tournament in 2008 where I placed in the top 3 for the first time. Made $27.50 that tournament, and it was the sweetest money I’ve ever earned.
Without giving too much away, could you explain a little bit about your fighting style and what sets you apart from the other competitive players?
Hungrybox: The fact that I use Jigglypuff gives me a mental edge on a lot of players. In my playstyle, I’m a greedy novel editor – I’ll catch every last mistake or typo you make, and punish you harshly for it. My entire style is based on Puff’s ability to get early kills or “gimps” via Rest, her high-risk One-hit KO move, and her great aerial game. I like to believe that when I’m playing well, I have every last option covered – and the opponent ALWAYS gets caught.
If you have any weaknesses which one would you improve on?
Hungrybox: Impatience and the ability for me to accept critique.
Tell us a little bit about Team Curse and how that all came together
Hungrybox: They contacted me earlier in the year after Ken and KDJ were picked up by Team Liquid. I think that, that acquisition on their behalf was a wake up call to many eSports teams to start recruiting Melee players due to the enormous revival of the scene. Steve (CEO of Curse) Tweeted and then called me and gave me an offer that was very exciting, so I readily accepted. They’ve provided me with travel to many tournaments, which was nothing short of perfect in terms of what I wanted from a sponsorship. I’ve also began streaming on Azubu.tv/hungrybox with high-quality melee matches.
How do you keep yourself from burning out on Melee? Any tricks or tips that you could share?
Hungrybox: Just never forget that you play this game because you enjoy it. Wins and losses come, that’s just life. Enjoy it while you can, and be happy that you got as far as you did. Many of my dreams of being a pro gamer have been realized, with the last goal being the best player in the world. It might just happen this summer.
I understand that you have a tournament coming up. Could you explain a little bit about that tournament and maybe any future tournaments that you have coming up
Hungrybox: The “Smash Olympics”, as I call them. E3 (Smash 4 Invitational), MLG, CEO, and finally EVO. Balancing these while interning is difficult, but possible. Each of these are international tournaments that are incredibly difficult to win. I’ve placed high my whole career, but I haven’t won an international event since 2010. I want this to be the revival of that. I want to cement my place as a Melee legend. Each of these tournaments is super important, but honestly EVO 2014 will be the “final boss” – a tournament I got so close to winning and threw it away. I’m planning to make the big comeback.
Any special rituals before preparing for a tournament?
Hungrybox: Praying never hurts. And I’ve taken a liking to standing up during matches. Helps me focus better.
Finally, any shout-outs? Where might one be able to keep up to date with your progress?
Hungrybox: Shoutout to Team Curse, Cooler Master, Alienware, and Energems for giving me the proper tools to perform well in Melee. I’m proud of all the FL players who drastically improved, Shoutouts to my mom who’s always there in everything and to Amanda. You can follow me at twitter.com/juanthefatty or facebook.com/juanthefatty and I’ll be streaming on azubu.tv/hungrybox. Thanks again!
Special thanks to Hungrybox for taking the time to answer our questions and Curse Gaming’s SSBM Player Manager McCain LaVelle for setting up the interview.
That wraps it up here. Thank you for joining us and make sure to check us out on Twitter @btnsmash.
If you’re not quite done yet. Check out Team Curse Gaming “Chillin” Interview.