Super Smash Bros Melee player Kashan “Chillin” of Team Curse takes time out of his busy schedule to answer some of our questions. Some of the topics range from upcoming tournaments, the documentary series “The Smash Brothers”, the future of SSBM, and more.
For those of you who are not yet familiar with the game. 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.
Let’s jump right into it.
For those who might be new to the scene. Could you please give a brief introduction of yourself?
Chillin: I’m Chillindude829, the original Fox main and founding member of H2YL. I’ve been competing in tournaments and placing well since shortly after the game’s release in 2001, so I’ve seen it all as far as Smash goes, and currently the Smash community looks more impressive than ever.
I just finished watching the East Point Pictures “The Smash Brothers” documentary series. Pretty impressive, how did you become involved with the documentary and do you still feel like there’s this East Coast vs West Coast rivalry among the community?
Chillin: Travis aka Samox, the documentary’s creator, actually contacted me in the very early stages of the documentary. Since I’ve been around for so long, I was more than willing to share my stories as a Smash player. The early stages of the competitive game were extremely exciting without established dominant players, and it made for a very engaging narrative in the documentary as players such as Azen and Ken made their way to the top.
As far as the East Coast/West Coast rivalry, it’s not as fierce as it used to be but it still lives on. The MLG 10 vs 10 crew battle may rekindle a lot of the regional pride that we saw so prominently in the first golden age of Smash.
We’re starting to see a huge revival of SSBM as a competitive eSport here lately. As someone who has spent a lot of time within the scene. What is contributing to that revival and where do you see it 2-5 years from now?
Chillin: The documentary is a huge driving force in the recent growth we’ve seen in the Smash community for sure. Many newer players I meet at tournaments will tell me they saw me on the documentary, or the doc is the reason they got into the game. There are other factors as well, of course, such as MLG and EVO adding Melee to their lineup.
Moving forward, Nintendo’s recent showing of support toward the competitive community makes me extremely optimistic about Smash’s future. Of course, a lot of it depends on how Smash 4 plays as a competitive title, but if the first half of 2014 is any indication, Smash will continue to blow up in the next 2-5 years and maybe even beyond.
Fellow teammate “Hungrybox” in another interview mentioned several tournaments that are coming up: E3 (Smash 4 Invitational), MLG, CEO, and EVO. Any plans that you’ll be participating in those tournaments and if so, how are you preparing yourself? Any concern for not being prepared enough or maybe even being over prepared? How do you balance the two?
Chillin: I can’t make it to E3 unfortunately but I’ll be at MLG, CEO and EVO, and I’m extremely excited for all three events. I’ve been practicing both by myself for tech skill practice and with other high level players to adapt myself better to different styles of play. I don’t think that over-preparation is necessarily an issue; practice always helps, but it’s important not to burn yourself out.
What is the biggest difference between the competitive scene now and from what it was five or six years ago?
Chillin: The single biggest difference is the size and scope of tournaments and their spectators. During MLG’s heyday Melee got fairly big in terms of attendance numbers, but online viewership was nowhere near the level it’s currently at. Melee is becoming more and more like a true eSport in that sense; I was approached over a dozen times this weekend at SKTAR3 by people asking for autographs and pictures, and while that occasionally happened in the past, it’s now happening all the time. Because of how big the community’s gotten, tournaments are also significantly harder to get through than they used to be. Brackets become stacked extremely quickly in 2014 and the learning curve is only going to get higher.
Team Curse Gaming is very well-respected in the eSports community and is constantly competing for championships across multiple games.
Could you please bring us into the moment leading up to joining Team Curse Gaming and your reactions afterwards? Was there a process or was there a call and everything was finalized? Were there any emotions involved? I’m sure there had to be some celebrations afterwards.
Chillin: I was working on bringing quality content to the Smash community, such as streams and video content. As I started to gain more of a following, I noticed that many more eSports teams were looking to get into Smash, so I set my sights on a sponsorship.
Team Curse was great from the first time I talked to Liquid112, our manager, and the process went quickly and smoothly. Once I signed the contract I was incredibly excited, hopeful, and optimistic about the future of Smash. It honestly felt like one of the biggest moments in my gaming career. And yes, I definitely celebrated that night… responsibly of course.
Being mentally prepared before and during a tournament plays a huge part in the success of an eSport athlete. Are there any secrets, rituals, or common practices that you could share with us?
Chillin: Confidence is everything. Being mentally prepared for a match means being ready to win regardless of the circumstances. I don’t know about any particular rituals or practices that can lead to this other than practice and matchup knowledge, but being comfortably confident about an upcoming match is easily the best mindset to have.
Tell us a little bit about your style if you could. Is there anything particular about that style that sets you apart from the other players?
Chillin: My style takes a lot from the old-school “mindgames” that brought me success many years ago, but I’ve very much caught up to the current metagame. I have one of the hardest hitting punish games with Fox of anyone, and I’m known for my signature falling up-airs, a great underutilized combo starter.
When you need to take a day or two away from gaming what is Chillin doing?
Chillin: Hanging out with my girlfriend, listening to hip hop instrumentals, and working out. I like watching and playing sports too, but I’ve had less time for that with Smash blowing up the way it has. Go Packers!
Finally, any shout-outs? Where might one be able to keep up to date with your progress?
Chillin: Shoutout to Team Curse, they’ve really allowed me to pursue my passion in gaming the way I want to and I’m really grateful. I also really want to thank Nintendo for their support; as a competitive Smasher, I’ve always dreamed of a day when Nintendo would officially support Smash tournaments and I never realized it would be a reality. I couldn’t be more hopeful for Smash’s future right now, it’s definitely in a great place.
You can keep up with me on Twitter @chillindude829. Thanks for having me!
Thank you Chillin for taking the time to answer our questions. Good luck to you on your upcoming tournaments. Also, special thanks to 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 “Hungrybox” Interview.