Getting your foot in the door of any gaming community can seem daunting. Entering your first tournament and seeing a venue full of competitors and top players can definitely be intimidating to a newcomer. However it doesn’t have to be. The FGC can be seen as a very close knit group, and there is truth to that. But that doesn’t mean that newcomers aren’t welcome. Speaking from experience, my first tournament was a very fun and eye opening one. You’ll likely be a bit nervous being around veterans in the community at first, but once that passes you’ll feel right at home. Other FGC’s have their specific unwritten rules and laws of the land. Today we will take a look at what you need to know as a newcomer in the Smash Bros. scene.
Getting your start
So you’ve been playing Smash with your friends for years or maybe you just picked up the game. You like the mechanics, have fun and want to take your play to the next level. That’s when you find out that there’s a tournament venue not too far from you. You decide to go to the next weekly event and give it all you got! The big day comes and you make your way into the venue, seeing many new faces. You don’t know where to start, who to talk to. The first step beginning your dive into the smash community is to remain calm. You’re new there, but that doesn’t mean that you’re an outcast. Talk to people, get to know some of the regulars, play some friendlies if there are open set-ups.
Always keep it in your mind that even the best of the best had their first day. Don’t overthink things. You’re at an advantage from the start because you share a common interest with everyone in the venue. You always have a conversation starter if nothing else comes to mind. Not everyone thrives in social situations, but these venues are places that should make you feel welcome. Don’t think of it as you being an outsider fighting against all odds to be liked by others. Think of it as being in a place where you belong; enjoy it!
Meeting top players/icons
If you’ve been watching tournament videos and streams you’re probably familiar with some of the more prominent figures in the community. Players, streamers, commentators, personalities and more that you’ve seen on stream or on YouTube, now in the same room as you.
This is probably one of the biggest hurdles you have to face as a newbie in the community. The nerves are setting in and you want to introduce yourself but you don’t know how to weave your way through the crowd and break the ice. Once again, remain calm and just talk to people.
Obviously don’t be rude and interrupt conversations, or scream at people how cool you think they are. Most top players and community veterans love meeting new people and appreciate the nice gesture as long as it’s done organically. Remember that even though you may see them as celebrities, they’re people just like you. A simple “Hey, I watch you on stream all the time, nice to meet you” is all you need. It’s greatly appreciated and you’ll feel a lot better that you got to meet them.
Getting your name out there
Obviously the quickest way to gain notoriety in the Smash Community or any community is to win, and win often. Beating a ranked player will definitely garner the attention of the masses, but that’s way easier said than done. Not everyone has access to tournament venues, let alone top players in their region.
However, there are still avenues available to boost your status in the community. One great way to do this is through content creation. Creating Smash related content with your added flair and sharing around will definitely get you noticed and can make your tournament experience much more enjoyable. Be sure to share your clips, stream highlights and YouTube videos everywhere you can. Sharing your content to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and especially Reddit could get you the exposure you’ve been looking for.
While it is true that not everyone has the money or resources to start a YouTube channel or start streaming today, it’s much more attainable than traveling to tournaments if there are none in your area. If there is a venue near you and you want to boost your notoriety, get involved as much as you can. Play friendlies with as many people as you can. Get to know the tournament organizers and see how you can help the venue grow (if possible). Smaller venues often rely on people donating supplies for set-ups for events so if you can help, do it (with discretion of course). If you ever get the opportunity to commentate even a simple pools match, just do it, even if you’re not that outspoken.
Any opportunity you get to help the venue and the community grow, take it. Many of the familiar faces and prominent figures in the Smash Community began by simply coming to events and helping out for the game they love. Most importantly, do it because you love the game and because you care, not for fame.
Improving your play
This one is a bit tricky because your mileage may vary based on where you live and what you have access to. No one likes drowning in pools, it sucks. At Glitch 5, the first tournament I ever went to, I only took one game off of someone in my pool, everything else was a big fat L. However your tournament experience doesn’t end once you get eliminated from bracket. If there are open set-ups, play against anyone you can and gain as much experience as possible.
Join the discord servers of all the players so that you can play WiFi battles with new people. If there are top players in your region, play them as much as humanly possible. Above all you need to eat, sleep and breathe the game. Record your matches and analyze them. Anytime you lose ask yourself, “what could I have done better?” All of these tips should help you improve your game. Also be prepared to lose and be okay with that. Do your best to not get salty and take every loss on the chin. Nobody wants to be that guy that acts ridiculous every time they lose a match. The same goes for humility when you win. Don’t pop off after every single win. Be cool about it and be humble.
Okay here’s the deal. I personally got into Smash very late because I didn’t grow up with this game. So there are many stereotypes about the community that I have heard before but couldn’t confirm for myself. I haven’t encountered this personally so I cant speak on it from experience, but many community members have expressed how some players don’t put hygiene too high up on their list of priorities. Now listen, I know it’s not everybody, but apparently it’s a problem. All I’m going to say is, take care of yourself. Make sure you are clean and ready for every tournament and event you attend. You know what I mean and you know who you are. As always if it don’t apply then let it fly.
I’d love to know what your thoughts are down in the comments below!
Featured image courtesy of Smashpedia.
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