Toronto Joe Interviews Alex Valle on Smash, the FGC and More

Toronto Joe

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#1
For those unfamiliar with Alex Valle's body of work, he is one of the most influential members of the Fighting Game Community.

Launching his career as the best Street Fighter Alpha 2/3 player in America during the fabled Arcade Era, Alex has since evolved into a community leader and innovator for the FGC. As CEO of Level Up, a premiere live-stream production company and event organizer for the legendary "Super Arcade" and "Socal + Norcal Regionals" in California, Alex maintains veteran experience in a diverse range of areas relating to eSports. With the rise of competitive gaming in 2014, what better way to learn about ensuring our growth and how to maintain success in the fighting game world, than to talk with someone who has been directly contributing to this movement since the beginning? It's story time with Uncle Valle, so grab a chair.


Alex Valle has been on top of the fighting game world for over 15 years,
and still manages to compete at a high level.
Smash and the FGC

Toronto Joe: Just recently, Super Arcade has been collaborating with the Smash community for weekly tournaments. What has been your impression of the scene, and how do you feel about the FGC having more Smash events in the future?

Alex Valle: I was very impressed with the Melee community in SoCal. Players arrive before Super Arcade opens with set ups in hand and it really shows how much dedication and love they have for their title. Team Oxy does an amazing job rounding up the troops and organizing some of the best Melee tournaments in SoCal so I'm glad everything works out. Looking forward to more Melee events in the future for sure.


Toronto Joe: This year marks the first time we've seen Melee at your extremely popular tournament series "SoCal Regionals", why do you think it took so long for Smash games to appear in FGC majors? What can Smash do to get involved with more FGC events?

Alex Valle: The Melee scene was very foreign / new to some old school SF players like myself who have never really played the game much. I also can't speak for other majors because every region has their own reasons. So I had to put the scene to the test. We use weekly events such as Weds Night Fights and The Runback to gauge interest on the hottest fighting game titles. Adding Melee to one of those days would exhaust our resources so we worked out it's own day called Super Smash Sundays for the testing grounds. The consistent support really pushed the decision for us to add Melee as part of the SoCal Regionals lineup.


Toronto Joe: What is your view on Smash as a fighting game currently compared to your initial thoughts when you were first introduced to the game?

Alex Valle: Smash series was always fun whenever I played it and always considered it a fighting game title. Didn't get too involved with the series because I was heavily vested in arcade fighters such as SF, TK, Marvel, etc at the time. Now I can catch up on who the best players are every other Sunday =)


Building Communities

Toronto Joe: You're someone who has put in a lot of work towards growing the FGC. What advice do you have for event organizers and streamers who want to improve upon the tournament experience for their in-person participants and online viewers?

Alex Valle: Find a group of dedicated people willing to lend a hand and create frequent events. Community building takes a long time so have realistic expectations and cater to your scene directly. Also, event organizers and streamers are 2 separate entities so you have to find some balance to showcase whats best for your scene. Whether it's casual matches, tournaments, or exhibitions you need to promote your scene's activities daily like a job or nobody will know you exist.

"Find a group of dedicated people willing to lend a hand and create frequent events. Community building takes a long time so have realistic expectations and cater to your scene directly"


Toronto Joe: What changes do you think could benefit the fighting game community for its tournament scene to break through to a mainstream audience?

Alex Valle: Good production value at events always catches the eye of a newcomer that might be interested in our scenes. We have our hardcore audience already so it's time to focus on new ways to showcase our scene for the next generation of players. Direct publisher support is also a major contributing factor because every player should know when an amazing tournament is going on.


Toronto Joe: You're known for being a face who has been around since the very beginning of competitive Street Fighter, and still remain extremely active and relevant today. What have you learned from your extensive experience in the fighting game community, having witnessed all of its highs and lows?

Alex Valle: I've learned that after achieving success as a player your inevitable job is to train and/or organize events lol. This is me in a nutshell with Level Up or Mike Watson with Super Arcade.

Home to California's best in the FGC,Super Arcade is one of the few existing arcades left in the U.S
The Future of the FGC

Toronto Joe: How do you feel about the future of arcades in North America? What can we do to keep the arcade scene alive?

Alex Valle: Traditional arcades in North America are pretty much dead. The only ones left have liquor, food, and/or something recreational like bowling alleys / golf courses: Dave & Busters / Round 1 / Barcades / Boomers. Real estate prices condemn many of the old coin-op business models from making much money at all so today's arcades evolve to the above mentioned features. The arcade scene needs a modern approach to stay alive which requires innovative features for today's gamer and casual audience. Super Arcade is going through a renovation soon thanks to all the supporters from the Kickstarter project so be on the look out for what's in store in the future!


Toronto Joe: What do you think stands out in the FGC compared to other popular competitive genres like FPS' and MOBA's?

Alex Valle: The fighting game community started in an arcade where you have no choice but to beatdown the player right next to you. The social interaction is what makes each match interesting because we instantly feel our opponents struggle for every defeat. This arcade culture has carried on to modern tournaments which features some of the hypest moments in competitive gaming history. With that said you can't really compare fighting games to other genres because the action is constant versus FPS , RTS, and MOBAS which are traditionally slower paced. Don't get me wrong, those titles are still very competitive but the difference is night and day when comparing our tournament scenes.


"The fighting game community started in an arcade where you have no choice but to beatdown the player right next to you. The social interaction is what makes each match interesting because we instantly feel our opponents struggle for every defeat."


Toronto Joe: Smash majors usually focus on one game and rarely feature multiple titles from the franchise. What are your thoughts on this? Is it a good or bad thing?

Alex Valle The Smash community should focus on a headliner title which is Melee and try to support others such as Project M and/or Brawl if their scenes are interested. This is part of growing the overall competitive scene. In the SF world, our current headliner game is Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition v 2012. Other SF titles are added for players wanting something extra to play or for special events such as the Tournament of Legends II Qualifiers for Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo. This brings excitement to our events and I think the Smash community has many opportunities to do the same.

"The Smash community should focus on a headliner title which is Melee and try to support others such as Project M and/or Brawl if their scenes are interested. This is part of growing the overall competitive scene."


Toronto Joe: Do you have any plans for Smash 4? Are you excited for its release?

Alex Valle: Very excited for Smash 4! Nintendo seems to have competitive play in mind so I'm expecting a lot of new players take on the old guards! We're definitely looking forward to showcasing Smash 4 in future events.


Toronto Joe: Last question, who would win in a fight. Ryu or Mario?

Alex Valle: I think Ryu would win versus Mario. Mario's fireballs don't do chip damage and Ryu does more damage overall not to mention better normal attacks too. Dodging and rolling can easily be punished by Ryu since he's had experience in the Capcom vs SNK series =)

On a closing note:
A big thanks to Alex for taking the time to do this. The Smash community really appreciates what you & Super Arcade have done for the scene and how open you guys have been with collaborating on FGC+Smash events. As a Brawl/Melee/Project M player it is very cool to see you guys showing love to multiple Smash games in the past. I wish you continued success in your gaming endeavors and look forward to a follow-up interview with you in the future.

You can follow Alex here to stay up to date on his latest projects: https://twitter.com/AlexValleSF4
Show support to Level Up by following or subscribing to their twitch channel and supporting Super Arcade,both are doing an incredible job at providing exposure and growth to the Smash Bros. scene: https://twitch.tv/leveluplive

Image Credits: FGamers, KaraFace, Lost Tyrant
--
Toronto Joe is an eSports lover and FGC competitor/content creator + more. He likes traveling, gaming, and also you. You can find him on twitter @TorontoJoeSSB
 

Man Li Gi

Smash Lord
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ManLiGi
#2
"The Smash community should focus on a headliner title which is Melee and try to support others such as Project M and/or Brawl if their scenes are interested. This is part of growing the overall competitive scene."
We've been saying this forever now and even an outsider agrees. The Brawl community better not die.
 
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#4
This interview was pretty good, enjoyed reading it. Also Super Arcade looks ****in awesome, such a damn shame arcades have died off but what can you do...such is our economy and times. Props to those that keep those things alive though, you deserve any love you get.:happysheep:
 

Hong

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#8
Got to love Uncle Valle. He is 100% on-point about the games. For the time being, if we know we can present one game and only one game, we should maintain Melee as the flagship entry for the scene. That said, PM is actually GREAT for newcomers, so it is very important to have for locals and such.
What do you mean fireballs dont do chip damage?
It's more a matter of game mechanics.

If you block specials in Street Fighter, you still receive a bit of chip damage. In Smash Bros, almost all attacks are absorbed by the block outright.
 

Strawhat Jiggs

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#9
Got to love Uncle Valle. He is 100% on-point about the games. For the time being, if we know we can present one game and only one game, we should maintain Melee as the flagship entry for the scene. That said, PM is actually GREAT for newcomers, so it is very important to have for locals and such.
It's more a matter of game mechanics.

If you block specials in Street Fighter, you still receive a bit of chip damage. In Smash Bros, almost all attacks are absorbed by the block outright.
Mario could always jest power shield the hadouken. Jest sayin.
 

Hong

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#10
Mario could always jest power shield the hadouken. Jest sayin.
Ha ha, yeah. I don't think Papa Valle is THAT Smash-savvy.

That said, if they were both given the same environment and conditions, I would give the edge to Ryu in a straight-up fight. Wouldn't count on him to save princesses or win golf tournaments, mind you.
 

Lizalfos

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#12
Very interesting interview, loved it overall. There were a whole lots of pull quotes, and they were all stuff that I already read earlier in the article. If you do pull quotes in the future, put them before the paragraph the quote is in front of. Once again, amazing stuff Joe.
 

Zan-

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#15
Alex Valle The Smash community should focus on a headliner title which is Melee and try to support others such as Project M and/or Brawl if their scenes are interested.

I see. So is that why you kicked us out of hosting brawl tourneys at super arcade? :ohwell:
 
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Cancel

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#16
Alex Valle The Smash community should focus on a headliner title which is Melee and try to support others such as Project M and/or Brawl if their scenes are interested.

I see. So is that why you kicked us out of hosting brawl tourneys at super arcade? :ohwell:
What? he did that ? 0.o
 

Sunnysunny

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#20
Yooooo old man Valle approves~
I guess it doesn't matter what you play, so long as you have a dedicated community to back it up, and show there love and support~

The community really is what makes fighting games and tournaments great~ <3
 
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