APGNation sat down with Samuel Buzby, AKA “Dabuz”, the winner of the first National Super Smash Bros. 4 tournament, to talk to him about his victory and see what he has to say about the world of competitive gaming. Samuel is a 21-year-old college student majoring in finance who grew up and lives in New York and works part-time. Samuel has been gaming “ever since receiving a Nintendo 64 with Bomberman 64 for [his] 6th birthday”. He also loves animals, has a pet bird, bunny, and dog. So lets see what our champ has to say about his victory, the new Super Smash Bros, and competitive gaming as a whole, shall we?
APGNation: How long have you been playing games competitively? Have you done any other sanctioned game events, including tabletop games?
Samuel Buzby: I started playing competitive (tournament) gaming when Super Smash Bros. Brawl came out, I was 14 at the time. However, I didn’t get deeply invested into the offline competitive scene until I was 16 or so. I’ve attended and won tournaments for Brawl, Playstation All Stars Battle Royale, Mortal Kombat 9, and Injustice: Gods Among Us since then. I’m also the winner of the national Kid Icarus Uprising tournament from a few years back. I’ve tried getting into other genres such as MOBAs, RTS, and even card games, but none of those have appealed to me in the same way that fighting games do.
APG: What do you do outside of Super Smash Bros?
SB: I work part-time while waiting to attend college again starting spring. I’m often times just out and about with friends. I play a lot of other video games and I’m an avid anime watcher; in fact, I’d say 70% of my free time when I’m not with friends is doing one of those two. I also have a small hobby with opening up and sometimes fixing electronics such as gaming consoles, controllers, and even laptops. Finally I love music (as I’m sure most people do), some days I will spend hours just looking online hoping to come across good music.
APG: What do you do for training? Do you have any advice for readers looking to break into this growing community?
SB: I play a lot, and I mean a lot. A game with 50 characters and 37 stages takes a lot of time to get good at because not only do you have to know your character inside and out before starting to get good, but you need to know your opponent’s character. Oftentimes, when I find someone who matches my skill level, I will play them for an hour or more straight and stick to one or two characters the entire time. I also make sure to think about what I’m doing, what works, what my opponent is doing, ect. Basically I try to take away one thing every match and work on it: “Why did I die that first time? Why can’t I land the killing blow? How strong is that setup he did on me? Would this setup I just thought of work well?”, ect. The best way to break into the Smash Bros 4 community is simply going to the big community hubs, attending tournaments, talking to people (especially tournament organizers) and networking. We are a very open community and will help anyone who shows interest get into the community. A couple of the big sites to check out right now are Smashboards and NintendoDojo (formally known as Allisbrawl). Also, every player starts out bad when they try to become competitive, I used to be awful, horrendous, but now I feel like I’m at the top of any fighting game I play in. It takes time, effort, the ability to accept defeat and learn from it to get better.
APG: Was the tournament difficult? Do you think that the Super Smash Bros nationals was a good representation of the best players for the game?
SB: The hardest part of the tournament is making it there. I had to play a sudden death for the grand finals at the regional tourney and the entire round was a back and forth where every time someone got a kill, they would die immediately afterwards. The second hardest part of the tournament was fighting Xaltis, playing him in the Rosalina ditto was difficult and I only won because of one good read where I took his second stock early with a forward smash, otherwise I think it would of came down to the wire in a sudden death. Right now its way too early to say who are the best players anywhere, but some of the players that entered (Falln, Jumpman, Deven3000, Xaltis, Darc, I can’t remember all the names) are competitive Smash players so I think a high level of skill was shown.
APG: Have you played all the Super Smash Bros. games? Which is your favorite in the series and who do you usually like to play as?
SB: I have been playing Smash Bros. since the original on the N64 where I played almost entirely against CPUs, at that time level 9s were kicking my butt! During the Melee days I had a group of friends where we would go over one of their houses and play for hours every day after school…I was still getting my butt kicked. Brawl was when I decided to try and be competitive and it is my favorite because it was the first game where I really challenged myself against other players and I absolutely adore the way that games plays. I love playing as Olimar in [Brawl] and Sheik in every Smash game.
APG: How often do you play Super Smash Bros. online? Were you very active when Brawl was still providing online matchmaking?
SB: I play almost daily and for a few hours each day; it’s a very addicting game. I was active in the Brawl community for about 4 years, playing online quite a bit. I have more time online in that game than anything else I have played.
APG: Are you going to pick up the Wii U version of Super Smash Bros. next month, or are you sticking to the 3DS version?
SB: I will be picking up the Wii U Smash 4, obviously. Having a Gamecube controller and HD graphics is a massive step up and I can’t wait for it. [I] already pre-orded the bundle that comes with an adapter and new Gamecube controller! I will also be able to stream and do it almost daily with the Wii U version, so it will be very fun.
APG: What do you think of the new roster and customizable characters?
SB: I’m very pleased with the new roster, even if I don’t like using many of the new characters. Seeing some of my wishlist characters such as Palutena, Little Mac, and Megaman getting a slot is awesome. Certain characters like Rosalina, Wii Fit Trainer, and Shulk all shocked me with just how fun they are. I’m also happy to see just about every character I liked from previous Smash games returning, the only character I miss is Lucas. If I could add one character to the roster, it would be Isaac or Felix from Golden Sun…though I doubt it will ever happen. Being able to customize their moves adds a new level of depth to the game and it’s great to change my character according to my style and see how creative the developers could be with moves; some even completely change the character, Samus and Donkey Kong for example, though there are some custom moves that seem slightly too ridiculously useful in my opinion. I don’t like the addition of equipment, it just doesn’t feel right when a character’s stats and even properties can be changed so drastically [that] it’s like they are a different character completely. I am in love with Mii’s, however, and look forward to unlocking all of their gear and outfits.
APG: Are you going to continue attending competitive gaming events? If so, which ones?
SB: I will be attending competitive gaming events for Smash 4, I plan to travel the country and possibly to others if I can continue to be successful in tournaments and my goal is to win every tournament I go to, especially all the big ones such as Apex and Evo if they include Smash 4. If and when Smash 4 dies out competitively, I will still probably still find some game to play competitively.
APG: What are your thoughts on the rise of eSports?
SB: It’s shocking to see how e-sports have changed in a few years time. I remember as a little kid seeing a tournament for what I think was Quake Arena on TV and then never even hearing about tournaments again until I started playing competitively. Now, with the rise of Twitch, social media, and a barrage of big organized events such as MLG, Dreamhack, Evo, and big sponsors, e-sports is really exploding. I think it was last year that professional League of Legends players are now considered professional athletes by the USA’s standards, which is something I wouldn’t expect in a hundred years. At this rate I have faith e-sports will become so massive that we will be seeing it on TV often, advertised in commercials, talked about in the news, ect. It’s all about building awareness and being fun not only for the players, but for the spectators.
APG: Would you consider playing a round with this editor? I would love a match with the champ.
SB: Haha! Sure, just message me on Twitter (which is @BuzSensei), and we can set something up. Bring your A game though because I don’t hold back!
APG: Do you have any last words for our readers before we end our interview?
SB: Thanks for reading this very long interview and I hope some people reading this will pick up competitive Smash or at least spread the word. It’s an extremely fun activity and the community is full of great people. I hope everyone is enjoying the new game. Finally, I will be streaming the Wii U version of the game once it’s out. My stream will feature top-level gameplay, analysis, and will also be meant to help players of all skill levels step up their game. So check it out if you want to learn, just watch constant good matches, or even just to support me (Updates will be on my twitter @BuzSensei). To everyone reading this, have a smashing time!
There you have it, Nation, words from the champ himself! Let us know how you are doing in the ring (or Battlefield, or Final Destination) below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @APGNation, and give a shout-out to the champ while you are at it! Thanks for reading!