Slingshot’s Connor Smith caught up with Robert “Wobbles” Wright during The Big House 6 to talk about casting and playing, investments in the scene and his year as a whole.
Connor Smith: I’m here with Panda Global Wobbles at The Big House, Day 2. What are you most excited for going into this tournament, given how many storylines are converging for this event.
Robert “Wobbles” Wright: I just got out of casting doubles pools, and after watching that, I’m actually casting doubles top eight, so that might be what I’m most excited about. I know we’ve got a lot of exciting singles stuff, but doubles has three powerhouse teams, and then a lot of scrappy underdogs, as well. I’m actually super psyched to watch that and cast that.
CS: For you, as both a player and a caster, what’s are the different quirks of each one, and which one do you prefer?
RW: Between being a player and being a caster? They’re very different. If you’re playing, you kind of have to get into a state of mind where you’re not really thinking verbally, cause if you take too much time to think a thought, the situation’s already over. With commentary, you’re trying to translate everything you see and understand into words. And since I write a lot, and I used to be an English major, ages ago, that’s extremely fun for me. With getting into that flowing state of mind, it’s more of a physical thing. You see the situation and translate it instantly into movements, with your hands. They’re extremely different. It’s also why switching between them is so hard for me in tourneys, which is why I usually want to focus on one over the other. I don’t know. They’re both pretty cool. Sometimes it’s just how I feel that day. If I’m feeling chatty, then I don’t want to play the game, I want to talk about it.
CS: So you’re focusing on casting for this tournament?
RW: I am in singles. I’m putting in overtime. We’re gonna see how that goes. I’m definitely gonna get more casting minutes than playtime, that’s for sure.
CS: Is there anyone you’re looking forward to playing against?
RW: Right now, my projected bracket, if I win my first match in singles wave two, then I play the winner of Eddy Mexico and Nightmare. That’ll be cool. Nightmare’s from Canada. I played Eddy Mexico a long time ago. I’m usually pretty strong against Luigi, but it’s been a while. If I win that, tomorrow, my first match is projected to be Mew2King. We play each other a lot, considering we live nowhere near one another. I don’t know if I’m gonna look forward to that, cause he’s gonna go Peach. So, we’ll see (laughs).
CS: Yeah. I spoke with Spud earlier, and he said his first impressions of Mew2King was that he was the cheese master. Is that a fair statement, as someone that plays Mew2King a lot?
RW: He is a person that will try and find the guaranteed strategy to victory and take it. If you get him in a position where you can mix up, you can make him take risks, he goes, “I don’t like that! I want what’s guaranteed!” So sometimes that’s cheese, and sometimes that’s not. I actually have to disagree. Cheese is almost always a gimmick. Something that if you don’t know how to deal with it, then it obliterates you before you’re even aware. Mew2King tries to be fully optimal. He tries not to use gimmicks that don’t work. He’s not always that great at putting himself in the other person’s head, and therefore being good at cheesing them. He’s usually looking for what’s more guaranteed. He seems cheesy, but the thing he does is long-term viable, or at least he always tries to make sure that he is.
CS: You mentioned he’s probably going to play Peach against you? How has the Peach matchup evolved, over the years. For you as an Icies man, how has this crucial matchup changed?
RW: Funnily enough, it hasn’t really evolved all that much, in terms of the specifics. I’m kind’ve still playing the same matchup that I’ve been playing for the last few years. Every now and then, if they make a little optimization somewhere, and then what I thought was punishable isn’t, and then it’s just another thing that I have to bait out something else. Against Mew2King, it’s really just patience and just not messing up. I know what I know how to do, and then in the close-quarters situations, there’s a lot of rock-paper-scissors stuff. A lot of it just comes down to guessing right and executing on it. Not many crazy things have changed about that matchup, as opposed to how I approach Icies/Falco or Icies/Fox
CS: The term “wobbling” is named after you, but from I understand, you don’t wobble as much as other Icies. Do you agree with that?
RW: Yup. It’s pretty boring.
CS: Do you have a philosophy around wobbling, in the current state of the game?
RW: Well, if it’s in the game, and it’s not actually broken, you should not feel bad about using it. On the flipside, you should always try to play the game the way that makes you most fulfilled, and the way that you enjoy it the most. For me, a lot of what I like doing with my character is exploring new crazy stuff. I try to get away from a purely winning-centric mindset and into one that’s more exploratory. One that’s more “Hey! I know wobbling works, but it also takes five minutes to kill somebody and it’s the same button press over and over.” I’ve done it many times in my career. It doesn’t hold much thrill for me. I would rather do other stuff, but I don’t blame somebody that’s really trying to win for using the optimal thing.
If you asked me to redesign Melee, I would take wobbling out, because I think it’s bad game design. But the Ice Climbers would definitely be buffed to compensate. Cause right now, extremely lethal punishes are what keep them relevant. If they didn’t have that, they would be significantly worse.
CS: Just to wrap up, I know there’s been some new sponsorship announcements for some of the younger guys. For you, as a sort of elder, how does that feel to see this money come in and change the scene. Is it good or bad? How do you see it?
RW: There’s a lot that I really like about competition. I’ve come to understand that obsessing about winning is not really good for a healthy mindset, because so many things come into play, when it comes to deciding who wins a game. And many of them are, in fact, beyond your control. There are a lot of runners in this world that would be setting world records if Usain Bolt did not exist. How do they control that? The guy is a monster. He exceeds human expectations. There are all these people who would’ve been the best if he just became an accountant.
When you look at sponsorships, and you look at the money being thrown around, and all this emphasis on “Win! Win! Win! You gotta look good! You gotta be this big star!” It can really take something that’s fun and enjoyable, like personal growth and all that cool stuff, and then throw even more stress into it. When you throw in that stress, something you used to like, you suddenly associate it with lots of negativity.
Again, you might go, “I find it incredibly boring to wobble, but my sponsor needs me to wobble, cause I gotta win. So I’m gonna do it,” and then suddenly, the game’s not as fun for you. But now that you’ve got something cool, you don’t want to throw it away. There’s pros and cons to it. It lets people travel, and play the game, and push it. You get lots of people watching and enjoying it. You create these awesome experiences, but there are some negatives to it.
CS: Any final thoughts?
RW: I get to play video games, and people watch me. That’s pretty sick. So thanks!
Cover photo by Connor Smith