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'I feel like a HUGE underdog going into Apex, honestly' - Last year's champion PPMD talks Apex, SSBM's meaning to him and more

Posted by Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor • January 27, 2015 at 6:55 p.m. PST • Comments: 40

Since Apex 2015 is happening this weekend, we here at EventHubs decided to catch up with some of the best Super Smash Bros. Melee has to offer, and will be publishing a series of interviews every weekday. Today, we're covering last year's champion, EG|PPMD.

You can expect more interviews like this to be posted the coming days at roughly the same time as this one, so look forward to hearing from these top level competitors.

Below is a snippet from the interview with EG|PPMD to get you started.
MajinTenshinhan: You're the reigning champion of Apex, winning the event last year, but due to personal issues you haven't been traveling to many national events, besides the big ones like MLG and EVO, since then. In light of this, do you feel more like an underdog or a defending champion, going into Apex 2015?

EG|PPMD: I feel like a HUGE underdog going into Apex, honestly. I know I won last year, but being out of the game for so long and still having the mental handicap that I do, I have to be playing the best I can play in this condition to have a shot at winning.
Hit the jump for the rest of the interview.
MajinTenshinhan: Having not seen you competitively since EVO, personally, I feel like I have to ask - What's your opinion of Super Smash Bros. 4? Is this a game you would consider taking seriously, competitively, and why or why not?

EG|PPMD: I do not like Super Smash Bros. 4 on a competitive level. I find it shallow and that it rewards very basic strategies that do not allow for deeper interaction with an opponent, and I also feel that even combos are jammed or not so meaningful. I personally greatly enjoy deep, intense interaction and the ability to play at a variety of speeds and still be effective. I do not believe Smash 4 has that potential, unfortunately. It can be fine for those willing to learn very specific skillsets, but I think there is much greater reward in learning the depth of Melee.

MajinTenshinhan: What is it about Super Smash Bros. Melee that keeps you motivated to keep playing it at a top level an astounding 14 years after its release? Do you think there will ever be a game that makes you feel the same way?

EG|PPMD: Melee allows me to express myself on a very profound level. I am not just playing the character, I am my character. I am not just playing against my opponent, I am communicating with that person deeply and getting to know them on a very personal level and conversing on that level with the game as a medium.

Said differently, the depth and speed of the game allow me to really bring myself out. Competition is also incredibly fun! I would be really surprised if another game gave me this feeling, but that would be awesome if it did happen.

MajinTenshinhan: You are most known for your exceptional Falco and Marth play in Super Smash Bros. Melee. What was it that made you gravitate to these two characters, specifically?

EG|PPMD: Falco probably takes the most button inputs of anyone in Melee on average. Because I love pushing buttons and feeling a certain reward for each input, I gravitated toward him. I played Marth because I learned about his strong yet very subtle way to control his opponent in a calm way. This is kind of like exploring my opposite ability from what I developed with Falco. I find that I have become a stronger player and more well-rounded thinker by bringing both of those characters to a high level.

MajinTenshinhan: Despite currently being a 14-year old game, Smash is now bigger than ever, which is unprecedented for a fighting game in tournament. Even Nintendo themselves have begun to get involved with the tournament scene, which they largely ignored before. How do you feel about Smash reaching such new heights, and what do you think it will mean for the community in the long run?

EG|PPMD: Well, everything has a tradeoff. The Melee community loses some of its uniqueness it developed while it was small, in exchange for the huge growth we always felt our game deserved. If this trend continues there's no telling how the community may change, but I will hold onto a bit idealistic hope that the Melee community will do the impossible on a sociological level and stay wonderfully interesting and dynamic while exploding for being an exceptional game filled with cool people.

MajinTenshinhan: Which player do you think will be your biggest challenge to overcome at Apex 2015?

EG|PPMD: I think each of my opponents will have certain big disadvantages going into Apex 2015, but my guess will be that C9|Mango will be who I struggle against most, if I must pick one. He's been talking about how great he's been playing lately and of course he had a strong command of the big summer of Smash. He is the most adaptable player I can play against at high level so I must be very prepared even if I get an early lead. He will fight until the very end!

Massive thanks to EG|PPMD for agreeing to do this interview with us, and we here at EventHubs wish you the best of luck at Apex 2015 this weekend.

Picture courtesy of Karaface.
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