At Super Smash Con a few weeks ago, I caught up with Smash Bros commentator, personality and Twitch Streamer, Coney. Coney, competitively, was most notably a Super Smash Bros Brawl player who was considered one of the best King DeDeDe players in the world. He has a weird knack for being the guy who plays the bigger and villain characters in Smash.
Other than playing, Coney is a big presence on the mic in the Smash scene. He MC’d at EVO this past year, does commentary frequently for different Smash Bros tournaments and hosts different podcasts and shows about Super Smash Bros. (Links to those are at the bottom)
In our interview, we talk mostly about the hype for Super Smash Bros Ultimate and some bits about the Smash 4 scene since EVO of this year.
Gage: Overall, how excited are you for Super Smash Bros Ultimate?
Coney: “Incredibly, on two ends. One of them as a competitor because obviously that’s where we all start and I didn’t really like Smash 4, for a lot of different reasons, I wasn’t like a huge fan, but I was a huge fan of Brawl and I really like what Ultimate is doing to the Smash 4 formula in terms of gameplay it feels a lot more weighty and heavy like Brawl was. As a commentator and personality, oh my god, it’s going to shoot through the roof. To see how far we’ve come in the Wii U community in three years since like, Apex 2015, which is the first big major. See how far we’ve come since then to now, on Wii U which is like, on a life support system, not many people bought it, everyone owns a switch, everybody’s getting Smash, it’s a new time and it’s such a huge potential point for the community where we could explode, and Nintendo is on board too.
“If you watch a lot of the things from the ultimate gameplay reveal, there’s so much stuff there for spectators and like, so many different members of the community and not just casual players it seems like they’re buying in at least slightly, which is really exciting, it’s good times.”
Gage: Nintendo is packing in a lot of content to Smash Ultimate. We’re looking at 73 characters, including Echo Fighters. We just had the announcement of 103 stages and so on, do the number of options hurt the game or open it up for more opportunities?
Coney: “I really like that question because I think a lot of people think just like, more is better. I like having more characters. Any kind of diversity that can be implemented in the game is good. What’s going to happen though is like, a lot of people say that Bowser Jr is just a worse Sonic and it’s weird, because they don’t seem like the same archetype, but if you look at their kits, they’re kind of similar, and you’re going to run into a lot of that, like, why would you use X when you could use Y. Why would you use Ike when you could play Cloud. It opens up for a lot of that, but I think having as many characters as you can really invite the casuals because people see K Rool, who I immediately thought like, he’s bad, no chance he’s going to be good, and maybe I’m wrong? But I’m like, he’s going to be trash, but if someone is really into K Rool for whatever reason they might be like, I wanna be the best K Rool in the world, y’know.”
Gage: Do you think there’s some kind of K Rool fan club who were losing their minds at this announcement?
Coney: “Oh God yeah. Certain characters have cults around them. All the Sonic kids get together, wear Sonic hats, they’re all in the same hotel room taking baths together, sleeping in the same bed. I could see K Rool being that guy. Like Gannon players kinda do that too, and K Rool fits into this villain who people are attracted to, he’s kinda big and ugly which some people like, I can see him having a little cult seriously.”
Gage: The internet has something for everyone, right?
Coney: “Exactly, but back to your question, the stages are, I think, more like what you were saying, like so many options, I don’t know how TOs are going to figure that out. Especially with hazards.”
“Smash 4 is gone. It’s kind of par of the course, like with most fighting games, it’s kind of natural.”
Gage: Speaking of hazards, Smash Ultimate is giving us a ton of options to tailor to how we want to play. Hazards can be turned on and off, plus tons of other aspects of the game can be turned off. You can charge Final Smashes. Do we see some of that in the competitive scene?
Coney: “Maybe. I genuinely think that if we get more data and the final smashes aren’t crazy. But it’s weird because they said it was going to be weaker then Marth killed Lucas at 20% with him. That’s a one-hit kill. Now there are certain things about that, like, he can’t do it in the air, he has to do it on the ground, there are lots of things to factor in. But I think that if they are okay, I think it’s worth trying. But I think the problem with the game is like right now it’s Rubik’s Cube because it’s like, do you keep all final smashes, do you have rage on, because now we can turn that off, how many stocks, stuff like that. And we have to figure it out in a way that’s compelling to viewers because this is the biggest chance we’ve ever had in terms of getting that casual viewer base in, and getting them to stay, but then you also don’t want to make it a total jank fest where no skill is required, so there’s delicate balance, I’m glad I’m a commentator and not a TO. I don’t have to make those decisions, you put it in front of me and I’ll talk.”
Gage: So after Ultimate drops, does that kill Smash 4 completely?
Coney: “Oh yes, Smash 4 is gone. It’s kind of par of the course, like with most fighting games, it’s kind of natural. Melee is the exception like that’s so unique and such a different thing that we’re never going to move on from. It’s a cult. But Smash 4 has run its course, even if Ultimate wasn’t coming out, Smash 4 is on a very gradual decline. And you’re seeing the signs, right, you’re seeing the EVO Grand Finals and other stuff. Ultimate is a breath of fresh air.”
Gage: Speaking of the EVO finals, how do you feel about that? Because from what I saw it was a big point of controversy in the Smash scene and a huge talking point.
Coney’s retelling of the incident.
“So in the EVO grand finals, it was Lima against Captain Zach two very young Bayonetta players, their age is something to keep in mind here because I think they’re like 15 and 16, or 16 and 17, very young. They got up in grand finals, after beating a lot of people and like securing wins that they didn’t look like they can get, getting booed all weekend, just by everybody, if they were ever on stage they would get the crowd to boo, very frustrating for them, they started off the game just, stalling. They’re just holding their guns out, and they can hold that indefinitely, or for the whole six minutes or however long it is, and they held it for about 30 seconds and the TO had to come over and be like hey, you have to play it out otherwise it’s collusion which is against the rules.”
Coney: “I had fun because I was the on-stage MC for that, so I got to talk to them while they were doing it and I was like Hey what’s your gameplay here, and what’s your strategy? In terms of reverberations in the scene, I’m of two minds about it, because like yes obviously it looks bad to the greater community and to fighting games and to EVO, blah blah blah, but at the same time they’re young, they’re getting death threats at 16, like what the hell is wrong with you, it’s ridiculous. There’s a lot of weird homophobia because Zach is very feminine and dances on stage and like, he does it to get under your skin, but a lot of people were just throwing out slurs and stuff like that, like they’re doing it just to have fun with each other, but it’s kind of tongue in cheek because they’re like we made it here you didn’t, we can do this because we’re friends. And they say that they didn’t think about that but they thought about it, slightly. It was in the back of their minds, but I genuinely think they were just trying to have fun, I think it’s being blown out of proportion. Whenever anything like this happens in Smash, people are like think of the children it’s ridiculous you’ll live and it won’t matter. I don’t think it’s a big deal I think people are making it bigger than it has to be. But I think it’s very clear that Smash 4 has run its course.”
“Brawl is obviously not a great game, not a perfect game, but it was very interesting”
Gage: Do you think the difference between Smash games is more toxic than other fighting games and series? Just being at the event and knowing Smash players, it seems there’s a lot of hate being directed toward different entries constantly.
Coney: “I don’t think so. In terms of inner Smash stuff, like Melee vs Smash 4 at the top level it’s fine, because everyone respects each other, but if you’re talking about like top players, they get it. There’s a bit online, y’know, nameless faceless, everyone talks crap online, it’s the same anywhere. So I don’t think it’s out of the ordinary but I can’t really speak that much in terms of FGC because I’m not a part of that. It seems like in FGC a lot of ire is painted at the developers like Capcom for the disaster that was Infinite, like, they’re mad at them, not the people playing. Unless you’re perceived as a shill, like F Champ, they get their own crap.”
Gage: You being a Brawl player, I see a lot of hate toward that game because it’s so different from Melee. Is that just because it’s not the game that their playing so they hate on it?
Coney: “What it is with Brawl is that there’s a big bandwagon thing, because like, I was around for Brawl the whole time. There was a big bandwagon effect for those that didn’t know how to play Brawl or didn’t know its intricacies because Brawl is obviously not a great game, not a perfect game, but it was very interesting and I think, hot take, it was more competitively sound than Smash 4. I never got into Smash 4. But you’ve got a lot of younger people like I said the two EVO winners were 16 and 17, their memories of Brawl are literally 7 and 8 years old. And there’s a lot of people like that in Smash 4. They’re kind of jumping on the bandwagon and a lot of it is in good fun, but you do see a lot of that.”
To find out more about Coney and his upcoming events, check out his Twitter page and find him on Twitch as he plays some terrible FMV games from time to time but this is also where he hosts one Smash Bros related show, The Blast Zone. You can also hear Coney on the new podcast, High Percent on iTunes, YouTube, Soundcloud, and Spotify.