Melee is not Teleological

The Melee community is fantastic.  Part of what makes this so is that we have a culture of responsibility and self improvement.  “No johns” is ingrained into our culture, even though johns are often legitimate.  Our game attracts people with a tryhard, give it your all, work hard to become the best type attitude.  People like this—people like me—often think of our Melee journeys as a narrative, where we train hard until we become the best.  This isn’t how it tends to go.  This isn’t Pokemon where we catch 150 muthafuckas, beat some league culminating in a match against our rival, and the game ends.

I am good friends with a lot of the old guard in NorCal Melee.  I don’t know what Sheridan, Germ, and Boback were thinking when they were new to competitive Melee.  Their crew, which was the most influential of its time, was called “death by rape” for fuck’s sake (Sheridan might not have been in DBR).  But I am sure they didn’t expect to end up where they are now.  Who knew that Genesis would turn into what it has become today?  When I joined the community in 2012, Melee was not popping like it is today.  I didn’t think I would ever make any money off the game even if I did become one of the best players.  I didn’t think that Captain Falcon would have a renaissance, and if he did, I thought it would be because of me, not some guys in Florida.  I certainly didn’t think I would fall in love with Melee doubles, considering that I hate teamwork and I hate everything else involving teamwork, and I had never given teams a chance in any other game I played.

A lot of the older community members come out to tournaments to kick it with homies more than to play Melee.  Their friends mean more to them than the game.  But nonetheless, the reason we are close, is ultimately Melee.  Every now and then, even these people who don’t have that same fire to improve that they used to, watch some videos or have some conversations about the game, and it awakens their thirst to play.  The game is just so fucking good.  Don’t lose the fun because you are attached to results.  Sometimes just remembering to have fun can make you get better results.  I was very tryhard and serious at Big House 6.  I plan to take the opposite road at Genesis by competing in doubles, hopefully doing some commentary, and of course consuming tons of alcohol.  Knowing me, I might do just as well in singles.  We’ll see.

Remember that your journeys of improvement aren’t linearly upward; they are more like this:  globalmeantemperature.

Overall, your results should get better over time, but no one is going to be perfectly consistent.  Even the best baseball teams lose several dozen games a season.  You’ll have bad days.  You might switch characters.  You might become complacent because you don’t have good competition.  Don’t lose sight of your goals and remember that we push ourselves because of love for the game.  If you really have a deep love for the game, don’t let social things or other factors come between you and touching the controller.  Hell, we even have netplay now.  I never thought that would become popular in regions with people to play against.

Enjoy the ride and embrace that we aren’t in full control of where things go.  Part of the adventure of life is going forward into the unknown and faring it.  Life is more like sailing an ancient boat that couldn’t go upwind than it is like driving a car.  We have some limited control over how we steer, but we mostly go where the tradewinds take us.  Enjoy the people you meet in the community.  Be enriched by the diversity of Melee players (this community has some real fucking characters from so many walks of life).  Express yourself through the controller.  Be thankful that we found Melee, because the game is beautiful, and as someone who spent more than half of his life in competitive gaming, I can tell you that other games are not as satisfying, and their communities are much less awesome than ours.  Happy Thanksgiving friends.


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