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'Melee does not bring me the happiness that it used to' - World's best Super Smash Bros. Melee player is actively considering competitive retirement

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • July 28, 2020 at 11:17 a.m. PDT • Comments: 54

Only a handful of players can claim they've been at the top of the mountain when it comes to the incredibly popular and long-lasting Super Smash Bros. Melee, and the current top dog, Juan "Liquid|Hungrybox" Debiedma, feels like it may be time for him to set his eyes on a new summit.

In a solemn monologue recently posted to his YouTube page, Debiedma explained that he's been experiencing a change of heart in recent times and is heavily considering moving away from competing in the 19-year-old classic title. His central reason: he's tired of being viewed as the villain.

Coronavirus has made offline competition impossible for the majority of 2020 thus far, and so players have transitioned to online tournaments instead. Debiedma starts by noting a decline in his placements through these online events, ultimately coming to the conclusion that he's only operating on about 80% of the drive he traditionally has.

"I think no matter how hard I try can't bring myself to the same level of dedication or be as invested as I was in IRL tournaments," he states. This isn't simply because of the more turbulent nature of network play, however, as Hbox delves deeper into the motivators for his feeling this way.

For a good while now the Jigglypuff expert has been viewed in the Melee community as something of a villain. The main motivator for this isn't because of a snide or disrespectful on-stream persona, but instead, it's widely because of his style of play.

As Hbox notes in his talk, Jigglypuff is a very safe and very solid character. She can be extremely frustrating to face and, compared to the high octane intensity of characters like Fox, Falcon, or Sheik, can be relatively boring to watch.

This has often given Debiedma's center stage spotlight a negative filter and thus worn on him emotionally for years. In addition to regular berating on social media and in stream chats, Debiedma has seen the effects of this spill out into real life events. It was just over a year ago, for example, when a Pound attendee hurled a dead crab at him as he was beginning to leave the stage after grand finals.

The top Melee player discusses some of the emotional pressures of being in his position, then gives us this more encouraging line: "For the first time in a long time, I finally feel loved by a big group of people."

We'll let him tell you exactly why in the full video below.

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