sippin la croix w cptn jack sparrow

Hi! My name’s Farza. I build companies in San Francisco. I usually write a lot about startups, tech, and programming — but this week I wrote about SSBM :). If you want to subscribe to my newsletter where I discuss my journey in startup-land (which I send out once a week), click here!

Melee

Just got back from the final day of Genesis 7, a Super Smash Bros tournament. It’s was a 3-day event. Over 1000 people entered Melee. It was my first tournament in over three years.

Here’s Axe and Plup playing one of their tournament matches.

I ended up getting 513th (wayyyy better than I thought).

I randomly met one of my absolute favorite artists, Convolk, at the tournament. Turns out, he’s a massive Melee fan and a homie. We played Melee for a few hours on Saturday. Then, on Sunday we got to watch Top 8 together.

My favorite player, Zain, ended up winning the whole thing.

The whole tournament was surreal.

Check out my favorite Convolk song here:

Me and Zain, Genesis 7 SSBM Champ :).

Here were the final moments of Genesis 7, when Zain won. You can hear me + everyone else in the venue losing their minds:

I haven’t really felt good about “gaming” for years now. There’s definitely been some unexplainable emptiness.

For some background: I’ve never enjoyed playing games purely “for fun”. Fun is definitely an aspect of it but if I play a game it’s because I want to become one of the best and destroy everyone at it.

I played a lot of League of Legends in high school + college but retired near the end of college. Why? Two reasons:

  1. Dependency on a team of randoms.

I’m down for team games where you play with a set group of people you know. But, the majority of League of Legends is solo-q, where you and 4 other random people need to win by playing this highly complex game together all while barely talking to each other + not knowing each other’s playstyles.

If I play amazing, there’s still a high chance my teammates do terrible and I end up losing + feeling terrible. Experienced League players will read this and say, “Well, you just need to play your role better and carry!”. True! But, I think this whole concept is kind of wack. I play solo-q and need to play amazing in order to “carry” my team and even if I do there’s a high chance I still lose? Hm. No thanks. Seems flawed.

  1. Rate of learning.

In general, I enjoy activities with high rates of learning. It’s a big reason I like startups.

The rate of learning in League is…slow. You learn new strategies while playing these 30-40 minute games and implement them into your gameplay in future games. That means it takes at least 2 games (1.5-2 hours) at minimum to learn something substantial in League of Legends and actually implement it in your gameplay.

Sure, you can learn new strategies while actually playing. But, for the most part during the match is often the time you’re executing on strategies you already know about. You play with the champions, item builds, and strategies you’ve tried and tested. And sure, there is a good deal of decision making you need to make on the fly but decision making != learning. If I want to try new things, experiment, and learn new things - I have to play entire 30-40 minute “normal” games.

The rate of learning is painfully slow.

Where am I going with this?

Genesis 7 helped me re-find my passion for SSBM. I’m going to be playing Melee competitively in 2020. I want to start actually improving.

Why?

The rate of learning in Melee is insane. Each match lasts an average of 5-minutes. The loop of experimenting, learning, and attempting to implement new strategies in your gameplay is insanely fast. If I notice a Fox keeps up-throw + up-airing me one game, I can simply adapt and try new things in order to avoid that combo the next game. Implementation of the proper techniques can still take months, but because Melee’s loop is so short it’s way more satisfying. With Melee, I can pick the exact things I want to improve at and keep turning this “loop” (experimenting, learning, and attempting to implement) to improve at exactly the thing I want to improve at and see myself get better in real time. It’s amazing.

Also, with Melee it’s all you. If you lose there is no one to blame but yourself. This aspect of Melee is extremely appealing to me because it’s really a battle with yourself at the end of the day. That hypes me up.

Lastly, playing good Melee is art and an extremely creative activity. When you see a Falco combo his opponent to oblivion, that’s an artist showing the extent of his skill for the craft.

0-2

I bought a hat at Genesis 7. It’s a simple, black hat that says “0-2”.

In Smash, going “0-2” at a tournament means that you won 0 games, lost 2, and got double eliminated from the bracket. Over 50% of players who enter tournaments actually go 0-2.

Sometimes, people go 0-2 for months when they attend their local tournaments. It’s rough. Melee is an extremely difficult game and it can be frustrating to lose over and over and over again.

But, the best players keep going, keep fighting, and improve. They don’t back down or quit. Even top players likely started out going 0-2!

0-2 is just a good mentality for life.

Don’t be ashamed of losing. Just be proud you tried. Learn from your missteps. Come back next time stronger. You’re only a loser if you quit.

Zip

Oh, and Zip! Is revenue up from last week? Yup :).