Picture from MobyGames
Eh Yo, CaptainJack! Hey everyone, this is CaptainJack (@CaptainJackSSB4) here!
Today, I'm going to talk about "How did the old school Japanese Smash 64 community look like?". It's a shame no pictures are remaining from 64's generation though.
So let's get on to the subject!
- How did the old school Japanese Smash 64 community look like?
- Websites contributed to the community
- Players introduction
How did the old school Japanese Smash 64 community look like?
Even though the community was extreme immature compared to that of Melee or Smash 4 of these days, the players were quite motivated and active for Smash activity.
Of course there were no cash prize, payout nor pot bonus in that time neither, so people's motivation was just to be better than now, beat their rivals, or to be the best player in Japan. It is exactly like Ryu in Street Fighters, who travels to seek stronger players than him all over the world, just for glory.
Picture from PlayStation®.Blog
In spite of the average age of players, we unashamedly traveled from East to West, from other regions to East/West, and vice versa. I think we were doing pretty well because we were hardly 15, 16 years old or so, and it was said that "it's dangerous to meet someone you met on the Internet" at that time. It is said nowadays too, but it had been said very much more 17 years ago. Especially when it comes to Smash, you invite strangers you have never seen before and had no relationship except on boards or MSN Messenger, in your house. This is totally understandable for "our parents", so we had to manage with that in order to play Smash competitively.
Anyhow, this is how we were getting know each other, communicating, meeting and playing Smash.
Websites contributed to the community
At the time where there were no Twitter, Facebook, Discord, even Youtube, websites were the king to unite passionate Smash players. We were gathered on boards of famous sites day and night, such as スマブラ部 (Sumabura-bu), XMS, and Smabrer's Garden etc.
In particular, in my opinion, the most important and also most memorable website from Smash 64 scene was nothing but Smabrer's Garden. One of the biggest elements which made it unique was a wide variety of strategic articles of each character, named "Ultimate Tactics" (this is a mirror, the original one doesn't exist anymore) by himself. I wrote an article for Luigi also.
The owner's name was Hyoga (氷牙), he played Link from the love of the Legend of Zelda. He liked also Demon Link (鬼神リンク "Kishin Rinku") so me and some close friends of him affectionately called him "Kichin-chan". So, it was a shame that he silently retired from Smash community as if he disapeared suddenly.
Including all these things, Smabrer's Garden reminds old school players of a lot of memories from the ancient Smash 64 community. I hope "Kshin-chan" is living a happy life anywhere even if he's not concerned to Smash anymore.
So now let me nominate the notable players of whom I can remind, with a little introduction of them. :)
Picture from YouTube
Hyoga, needless to say more, was one of the more famous person in early Japanese Smash 64 community. Well-known as a Link main.
Thunders, was a Kirby main whom I mentioned in the previous entry. He was not only a good Kirby player but played an important role of TOing and such.
Cho, was a Falcon main based in Osaka. He's from a firming family. I helped them once during busy period with some Smash players, and that was fun.
Moko, was a Donkey Kong main but he liked to play ditto matches. My first smash festa was held in his house, so he is one of the memorial players for me.
Harisen Master, a Fox main. Friend with bellow-mentioned Kotera and Samus.
Kotera, or Rinko, was/is a remarkable Pikachu main, played the GFs with bellow-mentioned Oikawa Meijin at official 64 Mario Stadium tournament, and their matches were broadcast on TV. With his veritable strength, he's treated as a semi-official master of Smash 64.
Samus, was a Samus main and friend with Kotera and Harisen Master. He suddenly appeared in Moko's house together with Kotera as his friend, and showed his amazing Samus that was a quite rare character at that time. He is a good friend of mine.
Sora no Amagumo, he was a Ness main, very tall (183-5cm?) for a Japanese guy. As he was good at drawing and painting, he was in charge of painting stuff at Hyoga's website Smabrer's Garden.
yasu, was a Ness main and co-founder of Smabrer's Garden together with Hyoga. He retired very early because he wanted to concentrate in study to be a dentist in the future.
CaptainJack, me, was a Luigi main and one of the two best players in Japan with Keropi-. You can read details on Smash wiki, but it doesn't mention my performance on Smash 64.
Shohei, was a Luigi main but not exposed to the Smash scene. Because he is my little brother and only 6-7 years old then, so he only played with other guys when I had a Smash festa in my house. And he was doing amazingly well, most of the time when I invited Smash players in my house, he was the second best players in the house after me.
Oikawa Meijin, was a Kirby main and the most famous Smash 64 master of old time. He is active recently, as a presenter or commentator in official Smash events of Nintendo. He is a good-looking guy, and was very popular with his funny character.
Keropi-, was a Kirby main who played almost all characters in the game. He is a friend of Pikirby, who will become one of the official Smash 64 masters of Nintendo. He and myself were two best players in the game, Keropi- in East Japan, me in West Japan. In my opinion, he is the most talented Smash 64 player together with Isai.
Pikirby, was a Pikachu main and one of the official Smash 64 master of Nintendo. He was Japanese "Johns", which means he always made excuse after he lost. But since he was a funny guy, everyone received it positively and liked him. As an aside, he and KoreanDJ really look alike, so all Japanese players participated in OC2 in 2006 summer, called KoreanDJ "Pikabi-san" as if he was Pikirby.
Pikacchi, was a Pikachu main and one of the best players in Japan. He is a good friend of mine. We didn't keep in touch for 8 years or so, but he contacted me on Twitter on July 2014 at the timing of Smash 3DS' release, then we renewed our old friendship. As a result, he is a good friend of mine, is one of the Smash players who came to my wedding on June 2016.
Prince, "is" a Jigglypuff main, the only player who is still active in recent days. Now that he has become one of the most notable players, I'd like to make a fancy comment on him, but it is a shame I didn't know him well enough to do so. Read Smash Wiki to know more about him.
Bakutan, was a Pikachu main and one of the official Smash 64 master of Nintendo. I don't know why, but I felt that he likes acting like a mean person when I met him again at the official event of Smash 3DS in 2014 Autumn.
CF, was a Captain Falcon player. He always made us laugh, he was a funny guy.
9B, picture from Smash Wiki
Ness Mania, was a Ness main from Aichi prefecture. He was a big fan of Ness.
Nessby, was a Ness main from Aichi prefecture. He was a big fan of Ness too.
Aka Mario, was a Mario main from Hokkaido. As he lived very far from both East and West Japan, we could hardly see him in real tournaments. However, he had some presence by what he talks on the forum.
Mario no Hanaabura, was a Mario main from Hokkaido. He never appeared in any of major tournament in Japan, but I remember him well because of his convincing comments on online forums.
Tenbatsu Una-ju, was a Yoshi main from Hokkaido. He was famous on the forum, but no one from major regions of Japan has seen him before because he lived very far. He finally revealed himself to come over Tokyo just before Japan United Smash Festa Round-Robin 1, in March 2001. His Yoshi made a sensational debut on main island Japan, and influenced many players. Pikirby was not an exception. He was so impressed to the point he played Yoshi mainly at the forementioned Round-Robin despite his main Pikachu.
McCould, was a Fox main from Shizuoka prefecture.
Okechi, was a Kirby main from Hiroshima prefecture. He has two brothers, Niku and 9B, and he is the youngest one. He played with Oikawa Meijin and their matches were broadcast on TV. He was very young, so he went to bed at 9pm when he came to Japan United Smash Festa Round-Robin 3 on March 2003. People told me that was very cute.
9B, was a Fox main and the biggest brother of Okechi and Niku family. Needless to say, he is one of the most important persons of all time for Japanese Smash history. He lived in Hiroshima, but currently residing in Osaka and greatly contributes to the community, by holding Smash festa and monthly tournament "Sumabato" series. If you want to learn more about him, SSB wiki: 9B would help you a lot.
As a characteristic topic of Smash 64, there is still "Japan United Smash Festa Round-Robin 1"*. Since it seems to be long, I'd like to write this topic in another day. :)
*Arcitle updated on December 23 2016
The first official Smash Master so-called "Meijin" in Japanese, Oikawa Meijin (Master Oikawa), together with aMSa. Picture from Gamer.