Super Smash Bros. is a series of games that were made with the local couch competitor or party game scene in mind, but over time, it has largely been played by more competitive players. The newest title, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, has had a competitive community since its release in late 2014. There are many resources out there for competitive players and spectators alike, but getting to your desired resources can require the user to manually sort through players, characters, and stages. This can be a tedious process.
SSBWorld, a website created by a team of two, aims to make it easier to connect all of these elements into an easy-to-use interface for finding videos of competitive Super Smash Bros. matches. Today, I got the opportunity to speak with Anthony Nelson, the face of SSBWorld, about how the website works and what sets it apart from the rest.
Can you tell me a little about yourself?
I live in Fargo, ND. I work as a Digital Marketing Consultant and have been a huge Nintendo fan my whole life. I bought Smash 4 when it was first released. It was my first time playing any game in the Smash series. I absolutely fell in love with the game. After playing around on For Glory mode online, I realized I was really bad at the game. I figured out that there has been people playing this game competitively for 10+ years and that I had a ton of catching up to do. I became a fan of watching tournaments on Twitch and following the top players.
In my attempts to become good, I realized I wasn't happy with the existing Smash resources on the web. There was YouTube videos, reddit threads, random Google Docs, tweeted out images, etc. Everything was scattered.
Is that where your inspiration to make SSBWorld began?
Yeah, exactly. I definitely built the site that I wanted to exist. I felt like the site would appeal to the more casual fan or player that wanted to get better as well as the top level players as well.
I want to clarify when I say "I built" that it wasn't just me. It was a team of two people, me and my buddy Alex. Alex handles all coding and development. I make all the plans and basically tell him what to do. I handle all marketing as well.
Oh, I see. That's still impressive for a two-man job, though.
Thank you. Since it's a side project type of thing, it definitely took us a long time. We worked on it for about 7 or 8 months I think before we finally decided to "launch" it to the public.
Can you tell me a little about what the website offers for those who might not be familiar with competitive Smash?
Yes, absolutely. Right now, the site primarily functions as a database for Smash players and matchups. We want to make it very easy for someone to find videos that feature their favorite character (example: Donkey Kong) or their favorite competitive player (example: ZeRo) or their favorite matchup (example: Donkey Kong vs Mario). We accomplish this by requiring all the information in each YouTube video to be manually entered on our site. Users can submit a video, and then they have to label the players, stages fought on, characters used and the winner of each game. This manual process is what allows us to provide unique data and advanced search functionality that a site like YouTube cannot.
Every competitive Smash player can have their own profile on our site. It's a spot to showcase all of their tourney videos as well as the characters they use, links to their social media profiles and some stats on their game records.
This helps players out because typically your videos will be scattered across multiple YouTube channels, dependent on who hosted and streamed each tournament. A big goal of our site is to bring things together in a way that is easy to find and navigate.
That's really cool. I imagine this will be very useful for competitive players and watchers alike. Is there already a community built, or is it still too early?
In order to show potential of the platform, we uploaded and recorded the data for about 2,800 videos. Sort of "pre-loaded" the database to make the site look interesting and valuable at the time of launch. We revealed the site publicly on February 10th. Since that time, we have had over 2,500 users create accounts on our site and these users have uploaded nearly 12,000 videos to our site. We've had amazing feedback from top players as well as Smash coaches who help top players out.
Our users are primarily comprised of these competitive Smash players, with many of the top ranked Smash players in the world already having joined our site. When a big tournament's bracket comes out, these players can use our site to look up the players in their side of the bracket. Learn what characters these players use and then watch some videos of their games.
I asked Anthony if that was a good way for players to get an edge on their competition and he showed me a tweet from one of the competitors that uses his site.
When a player invests their time and money to travel to a tournament, it makes sense to prepare as much as possible in hopes to get an edge against their competition. A Smash set can come down to a single good read or hit. Every bit of preparation can help.
With that, I wrapped up the interview by asking him about the future of SSBWorld.
I've seen how intense these matches can get, so that seems like an invaluable resource. What plans do you have for the future of the site?
Right now we are pretty much just a video database, but ultimately we plan on making it a bit more of a community site. We have many top players on the site, and we want to give them the ability to make content that lives on their profiles. We want to allow users to follow other players and get notified when they are tagged in a new video or publish a piece of content. Our entire site is user generated content and we plan on keeping it that way.
I want to thank Anthony for taking the time to speak with me today. You can take a look at SSBWorld and all of their competitive Smash Bros. resources via the SSBWorld website or their official Twitter account.