We’ve all wanted to recapture that one great moment. From to day to day we will often think back on a specific time where we felt an explosion of emotion towards someone or something, but it can be difficult to properly recall it. There are some of us, however, who can masterfully parcel up that one significant memory and deliver it to the world. They are the artists, musicians, actors, and creators among us. One person in particular, GRsmash, has long been doing it for the Smash community, reawakening those feelings of grandeur within us and breathing life back into memories long since past.
The Youtuber’s name likely rings familiar. Since 2013, his content has touched the souls of upwards of 90 million total viewers, and not for no good reason. That’s because GRsmash’s top-ten-style videos are providing more than what their title solicits. Whether it be his “Top 10 Most Disrespectful Moments in Smash” or “Top 10 Most Awkward Handshakes”, everything he posts is always something the audience finds themselves reveling in. It’s that recapturing of moments, however hype or cringe-inducing, that reminds the viewers exactly what it means to be a part of the Smash community.
Competitive Smash was a relatively niche, grassroots faction of Youtube before the days of GRsmash. Around this time in 2013, not a lot of media populated the scene other than tournament VOD’s and combo videos, and subsequently content rarely ventured far from its intended audience. That stepping-stone towards larger outreach was absent and so the community lived inside its own little bubble, retracted from the mainstream.
As time went on, however, it was becoming increasingly apparent that Youtube could prove to be an excellent medium for showcasing the competitive scene to outsiders. Enter the ‘new-wave’ of Smash media: My Smash Corner, VGBootCamp, Rush Hour Smash, and GRsmash, just to name a few. These Youtubers pumped out Smash content on a never-before-scene systematic scale, helping the community break the mold and paving the way for a new era of connectivity.
By crafting content that presented the competitive scene in a easy-to-understand way, it became possible to bridge in that final gap towards growth. Although most channels were successful in their own right, in terms of sheer popularity GRsmash transcended all others. And there’s a valid reason for that.
One of GRsmash’s most popular videos, “Top 10 Falcon Punches”, has almost 2,000,000 views
To understand why, you don’t even need to be in the Smash scene. Stripped down to its core, his videos are something we can all relate to: just people exuding passion for something that they love. Whether it be a reaction to a sick combo with Falcon or a particularly unbelievable act of disrespect to the opponent, the viewer can instantly revel in whatever their watching because of the sheer excitement castors, spectators, and even competitors are displaying. It’s instantly likeable and relatable. To watch something as seemingly insignificant as a action in a video game and see it turned into something people literally scream over, that’s powerful. It’s something people want to be apart of, and it’s why I think GRsmash is responsible for a lot of growth in the scene. In his own words:
“It's great to see just how much these commentators appreciate the sick plays that are being pulled off, or how much the crowd cheers after a crazy combo, or the laugh of an opponent after they just got completely styled on, or the pop off of a player that just clutched out a super close game. You can really see just how much each person absolutely loves the game and how much they enjoy watching/playing it. It really shows how truly awesome this community is.”
The great thing about GRsmash’s videos is that he can make us relive moments we never experienced ourselves in the first place. We might click on a video expecting to find one thing, and we leave with something completely different yet all the more relevant. One video that does this particularly well is his “Top 10 Most Disrespectful Moments in Smash”. I started this video thinking I was going to see a couple of cool combos and I was proved thoroughly wrong as I finished it. Each clip in that video was entirely unlike the last: from Mango lasering Taj off stage in a twisted show of disrespect to BizarroFlame KO’ing his finishing a combo with uptilt as Ganon, every time I was wholly surprised and wondering how awesome the scene must appear if this was somebody's first time watching a video related to competitive Smash.
Some may think what GRsmash does is ‘easy money’ and he’s just leeching off other people's videos. Whether you think what he does is difficult or not is up for debate, but whatever the case may be, I definitely think there is an artistic element to what he makes. Anybody can compile a bunch of cool clips together and sit back to watch the views roll in. And sure, maybe that’s all some of GRsmash’s videos are at face value, but don’t be mistaken. There is legitimate effort that goes into finding just the right clip or perfect reaction even if it means skimming through hours of VOD’s and “doing better research”, as he put it. He also has a massive audience to constantly keep engaged with new and interesting ideas so that nothing grows stale. You would think it would’ve after 2+ years, but his uploads keep coming, with each one still obtaining a large amount of views.
A video of his that epitomizes his ability to craft a bunch of clips into something much more is his “M2K’s Marth is a Thing of Beauty”. It features a compilation of Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman’s most remarkable combos with Marth. I suppose the clips in themselves make the video worth watching, but GRsmash thinks that isn’t enough. He adds a symphonic melody to sync up with each resolution of the combos, creating an resplendent, almost intoxicating atmosphere that illustrates to the viewer just how awesome M2K is. He reinforces the already sick d-airs, up-b’s, and dancing blade spikes with an extra layer of emphasis made possible by the careful placing of relevant clips together with his desired music choice. When people say Melee is like jazz, or poetry, or something similar, it can be hard to take them seriously. But GRsmash shows us that all the precise movements and tech-skill integral to competitive Melee have a striking beauty to it that makes the game worth playing. That’s art.
As for the future of Smash media, it’s hard to tell with certainty. But from here, it’s only uphill. “I feel like the content in general for the Smash scene has just been improving in quality nonstop” GRsmash told me in an interview. We’re in ‘The Golden Age’ of Smash media right now, and it shows: content has never been better. And whether it be GRsmash, VGBootCamp, ZeRo, or some other channel, media will continue to be disseminated for hundreds and thousands of Smash fans for here and to come.
“For a long time, Smash had a huge lack of dedicated content creators. And due to the type of game that Smash is, and that it has a lot of secret tricks and techniques and things in general that aren't common knowledge, since the beginning of competitive Smash, top players and people interested in spreading knowledge have always been trying to get the word out and help develop the scene by developing guides, analysis, tutorials and just discussing the game in general. There are so many hidden tricks, match-ups, and stage choices etc in all of the smash games, and the community has always been trying to help develop the metagame and get that information out there. It's just due to the type of game Smash is.”
On that last part GRsmash is right: Smash is unique when compared to most fighting games. We started from the grassroots out. Every game has an intriguing story-line, every scene a closely-knitted community, every match a showcase of the hours of practice and dedication puts towards the game they love. And it's because of people like him that the world is allowed to see this little idiosyncratic community. All the crazy combos, pop offs, and deafening screams that he broadcasts give us an opportunity to feel something we haven't felt in a while.
Maybe we are remembered of how hype we were when we watched that one combo as it happened live, or maybe we just want to see how other people reacted, or perhaps we simply want to see what makes this game great. Whatever your reason, behind the scenes there's somebody making it work and fitting the pieces together, somebody who has truly mastered the art of crafting content: GRsmash.
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