interview

Read Our Unabridged Interview With Nintendo World Championship Winner John Numbers

by Kyle Hilliard on Jul 23, 2015 at 12:40 PM

Last week we posted the majority of our interview with Nintendo World Championship 2015 winner John Goldberg A.K.A. John Numbers, highlighting 19 questions we had for him about his history with video games and his experience participating in the NWC.

After reading the article, Numbers took to Twitter to say he felt his answers were taken out of context and we e-mailed back and forth discussing the feedback on the article. In the interest of transparency we're sharing the complete, unabridged transcription of the interview. I was excited to chat with John and enjoyed my conversation with him, and any negativity derived from our original interview feature was not intentional. You can read the article and judge for yourself if his words were twisted in any way.

Game Informer: Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me.
John Goldberg: Yeah, sure, it’s fine.

I’ll jump right in. Your name that you went by during the event – John Numbers. After e-mailing you a few times I thought maybe that was your actual name.
No, no, my last name is Goldberg.

Is it okay for us to print that?
What? My last name being Goldberg?

Yeah.
Yeah, sure.

Sometimes people don’t like to have their real name in print.
Oh, it’s fine.

I just always like to ask.
As long as you don’t mess it up like the Queen’s County Chronicle, who put me down as Johnny as my first name.

So it’s just John, right?
J-O-H-N, then Goldberg.

G-O-L-D-B-E-R-G?
Correct.

I will not call you Johnny, I promise. [Laughs]
Thank Goodness.

Where did Numbers come from? What is that about?
Before I got into the Smash community, I basically used John followed by a few numbers for Internet aliases. I did the same thing when I first got into the Brawl competitive community one year after it was released  – I think 2009 in that case? A few years in people were just like, “Hey John. John 12346 sounds stupid. How about John Numbers.” And eventually it just stuck.

I think they were right in that criticism.
Yeah, John Numbers does sound cooler than John 123456.

What is your background in gaming? Are you a professional Smash player? I had never heard of you before the Nintendo Championships, so I was wondering what your background was.
Aww, that’s upsetting.

I’m sorry!
It’s fine, it’s fine. I actually do have a high competitive background in the Smash community.

Okay.
Basically the way it worked was, one year after Brawl came out I found that competitive communities exist for Smash, so you know, I got into Brawl. And then I entered tournaments for a little while maining Lucario and all that business.

Okay.
Eventually I went off to college and then I started playing other games. Melee, Project M – I’m not sure if you’re allowed to mention that game.

Oh yeah, of course.
Project M, some 2D fighters on other consoles like Street fighter, Marvel, Skullgirls, all that good stuff. I actually, at that point, had quit Brawl because – this is just a personal opinion, Brawl isn’t a very good competitive game. But I didn’t realize that at the time because I didn’t have a very good point of reference. So when I started playing these other games, like Melee, Project M, and 2D fighters which were very well-received for fighter, I started to realize all the problems with Brawl and that it wasn’t a very good competitive game. Of course it was still a great fun party game and all that.

I interviewed the guy who won a 3DS Smash Bros. championship…
Devin3000? [Editor’s note – I was actually speaking of Sam “Dubuz” Buzby, but didn’t recall his name at the time. Buzby is the player who had a preference for Brawl.]

He spoke very highly of Brawl. It’s interesting to hear some people really like it from a competitive sense. 
We’re actually part of the exact same crew, House of 3000. We have dissenting opinions over Brawl. Anyway. Eventually in Stoneybrook, I got into Project M as a competitive game maining Charizard and actually I became a pretty serious threat at that point. I took out a lot of big names, and it was pretty fun. Eventually I stopped playing though because Smash 4 was coming out. I tried to play both, but Smash 4 ruined me in terms of playing Project M. I just had to let it go unfortunately. The controls, the handling’s too different mainly because of buffering and all that.

With your background Smash, were you invited to this Championship? Or did you go through the preliminary rounds and stuff like that?
Yes, I went through the preliminary rounds.

Give me the story of how you made it to E3 and everything.
Alright. Let me just finish the Smash 4 thing, I was almost done.

Oh yeah! Sorry, I didn’t mean to cut you off there.
Smash 4 came out, and I made the permanent switch. Now I main Wii Fit Trainer and that’s all she wrote. I’m a big customs advocate, but I can see they’re going downhill at this point. You know custom specials.

Yeah, sure. I know what you’re talking about.
I’m actually the biggest threat I’ve ever been in any Smash game, so I’m pretty excited.

You feel like you’re at the top of your game, right now?
Yeah, I’m performing way better than I ever did in Project M. I’m consistently placing in money in like every tournament.

So is that…
Only… oops, go ahead.

Sorry, I keep cutting you off [laughs].
Don’t worry.

Is that your full-time gig right now? Playing Smash?
No, no, I have a full-time job at a place as well.

Are you still a student in college?
No, I graduated. You can’t find work though. I had to find work at my dad’s place.

Gotcha.
Anyway, what was I about to say? There was one last thing. Yeah, I’m doing the best I ever did. So let me get to the Best Buy event. So the way that worked was obviously we all got the message from Nintendo Direct, Reggie doing pull-ups with his GameCubes, cheating on the Power Pad, whatever, and I was like, “Okay, I’m just gonna go because it’s at a really close Best Buy.” It was actually only nine minutes away from me. Not nine minutes – nine miles. So that was pretty close. So I was like, “Okay, I’ll just go.” And then they announced what game it would be. It would be the championship mode on Ultimate NES remix for 3DS. And the way that works is you have to go through three games on the set timer – do you know how it works already?

Yeah, I’ve played a little bit of that game.
Okay, so you know how the mode is and you know how Mario 1 and Mario 3 are completely insignificant? Basically, it’s all about getting the Doctor Mario and maximizing your score.

Okay.
So the thing is, in addition to being a competitive smasher, I’m also a monster at puzzle games. You might not – which one did you play, the ultimate…?

I played the first one a little bit. Unless I’m confused – I’m talking about NES Remix.
Oh, no, no, I’m talking about championship mode. It was a mode in NES Remix.

Ooooh, okay. Yeah, tell me – give me a little bit of background on that.
All right. Yeah, let me explain. The way it works is it gives you a three-game gauntlet, 6 minutes and 21 seconds to work with just the original.

Okay.
You start by playing through Mario One on the first level, 99 lives, and you get fifty coins. It was just like the original. And the strategy for that is going in the pipe, killing yourself and then looping back twice to get coins anyway. And then it’s Mario 3. Get 25 coins, and to do that one you just take the basic route into the coin heaven and you’re done. And then you spend the rest of your time playing Doctor Mario. But that has a score multiplier of 100x, and the other two games are like 1x multipliers. So it’s all about getting to Doctor Mario as fast as you can. Just like the original, where it was get to Tetris as fast as you can. And so a lot of people jokingly refer to that as the “the Doctor Mario World Championships.”

[Laughs]
So, as it turns out, it also has an online leaderboard, and I currently hold the highest score on it.

Oh, okay.
So the way it worked at the Best Buy event was you get one try, and whoever has the highest score by 7:00pm wins. So I did my event, I did my attempt. I got 4.7 million, which was a bad run for me, and I left. 4.7 million was way above average, but I didn’t like it. My average runs were like 6 million. Anyway, I couldn’t stick around the whole time because I actually had a Smash tournament that day.

Okay. [Laughs]
So they were like, you can leave, we’ll call you if you win. So I left and I went to the Smash tournament, and in the middle of it I got the call. They were like, “You won!” And I was like, "oh baby." They confirmed all of my stuff like email and phone number and stuff like that, and that was the end of that. And then I went and won the Smash tournament. 

[Laughs] So it was just a good day for you overall?
Yeah. So a few days later I got the email that had event travel itinerary – I could take a plus one, all that good stuff – and eventually I was on a plane to California.

Cool.
And there I had a free hotel and all that good stuff. I met everyone, including Egoraptor and Jovenshire from GameGrumps and Smile Games, as well as speedrunners like Cosmo and TheMexicanRunner and stuff like that. Oh, and Trihex. And eventually, we got on the big stage and they made us do rehearsals first – where we’d be standing, where we’d be sitting, all that.

I actually have a question about that. In terms of preparation and rehearsals – did you get any coaching from Nintendo? Did they give you any kind of like, “don’t use profanity” or any kind of things like that? Or was it pretty straightforward?
It didn’t matter. We didn’t get to talk the whole time, but they didn’t tell us anything like that. I swore a few times during the event.

Oh yeah, I saw you. [Laughs]
Mostly – oh, you saw me during Mario Maker mouth out  “I f***ed up”?

Yeah, yeah.
Okay. Yeah, that one was really obvious. [Laughs]

But nothing really from Nintendo in terms of coaching or anything like that?
No, they just told us where to walk during the event, and they put us backstage so we could practice Blast Ball.

Okay. Um…
So I bet you want to – okay, go ahead.

No, no, no! Please, I want you to talk. I’m interviewing you! I’m not meaning to cut you off. Please continue.
I bet the next event in question is, how did the games go?

I was there at E3, but I was working so the only thing I really got to watch was the final –
Mario Maker.

– Mario Maker stuff which was really awesome. Were there some games you were more confident or less confident in?
Yeah. Let me get to it.

Yeah.
So we start out with Splatoon. And the way that one worked was we had 16 people so we had two rounds of 4v4. I believe it was best two out of three as well. I didn’t think they were expecting it to take as much time as it did, but it did. Anyway, the way it worked was the two winning teams got to move on, and then the two losing teams played each other, and the winning team from that got to move on as well.

Okay.
So we had 12 people going ahead. For me, I was in the first wave of players on the orange team and my name was player three. And we won twice in a row, so we didn’t have much of a problem there. I was actually the most contributive team player on the team game and second most on the second game, so that’s nice too. It’s always good to know you’re working the hardest there.

Yeah.
Anyway, the other teams made it forward. The losing team had to go into an underground bracket, I’m sure you know about that.

No, but please tell me.
All right. I’ll google an image, but the underground bracket is basically for the losers. The underground bracket was completely made of retro games, and only one person got to advance and make it back to the winner’s side. So the first four losers had to play Legend of Zelda, and we knew about that going in because they told us there’d be Legend of Zelda, you know, with the tweets. We also knew there’d be Splatoon, of course. Okay, so eventually – I don’t remember who won that, I’d have to see the bracket to know, but – oh!

Yeah, those are details that I can look up too, just like, you know, who you were up against and everything.
Right. So the next game was – so the way it worked was, in underground, the winner got to progress to the next stage of underground and that was it. They couldn’t come back into winners until they got through the whole challenge. So one person advanced there and then the next game was Blastball – 3v3s. And that was one game, a five-minute gauntlet, and this one I was actually very nervous about cause the way it worked was it’s basically soccer except instead of kicking the ball you’re shooting the ball. And it’s pretty exciting – it was a pretty exciting game, honestly. Forget the Federation Force thing. I wish they had made a whole game out of that.

Yeah, kind of has an aside – I’m with you on that. I played it a little at E3. It’s a solid game.
I was like, ooh, I wonder how they’re going to expand on this in a full game.

Sure.
And then it was Federation Force. By the way, I don’t have any strong feelings about it because I’m not really a Metroid fan. It’s like the one series I’m really bad at.

[Laughs]
But I can understand how a lot of people would be miffed about this game being released the way it is.

Yeah.
Obviously.

After Blastball, what was next?
Yeah, so Blastball, I was very nervous about. We got to practice backstage and I actually lost both of the practice times I played. I was like, “Oh no, I’m going to get sent to the losers.” But it turned out I went commando when we played for real. I ended up getting two out of the three goals that we needed to win. So, in the end of that, it was the two winning teams got to go on, as well as the best performing player in the losing teams. So that would be eight people total, and six people would go into the, you know, the – four people would go into underground bracket for a total of five if you include the Zelda winner.

After that, the second run of underground was Super Metroid, and I was sitting in my chair so scared at that point because I realized if I had lost at Blastball, I would have been eliminated in one fell swoop. So I was sitting scared, horrified, especially since Sinister was, you know, in that. And he’s a popular Super Metroid speedrunner. If I had been forced to play that, I would’ve been eliminated on the spot probably, so I was so relieved that I made it through Blastball. It was the one weak link game for me. I even thought I would’ve been able to make it through Zelda because I was practicing that like crazy and everyone who played actually did really badly. So the next game, with the eight remaining players, was Mario Kart 8, and there was nothing amazing about Mario Kart 8. I used villager and the crowd seemed to like that.

[Laughs]
[Laughs] And yeah, I used my normal load out – Villager, Blue Falcon, Slick, and Flower Glider. That’s a 3 acceleration/4.5 speed build, and I did pretty well. I placed in, the way it worked was whoever played the, I’m sorry, they did two sets of four players doing three races and the three players who had the highest scores got to move onto the next round. And the five losers went into, you know, an underground. So the five losers, plus the one who made it from Super Metroid, got to play Balloon Fight. And Cosmo ended up winning that.

At that point I was really upset because Egoraptor? We weren’t expecting him to get as far as he did. He himself said he didn’t even expect to get that far. He was just there to have a good time. And he actually got a really high score in Balloon Fight. They made us do Balloon Trip to get the highest score you can in six minutes or so, and he got a really high score and Cosmo beat it by only a few thousand points. Man, Egoraptor could have made it top four. But, in the end, Cosmo made it to top four. So at that point, there was no more underground. If you lost here you were done. So with the four remaining players, we played Smash and you can imagine how happy I was when that came up.

Yeah. Was that a surprise for you guys? Or you knew that going in?
Uh, no. The only games we knew about were Splatoon, Zelda, and Blastball.

So when they said Smash Bros., what went through your head?
I was like, “Oh my God.” [Laughs] It was like I was laughing when it came up.

[Laughs]
My plus one was shouting at me from the audience because he’s also a competitive Smash player. I was very relieved. In the end, I dominated it. Anyway, how did that work again? So the format was, well, first we got to watch Hungry Box versus Reggie, which was hilarious.

Wait, actually – that is on my list questions. Tell me what you thought of Reggie’s performance.
I don’t want to say anything too damaging here. It seems like Reggie was deliberately playing badly, but I don’t know – I don’t think it’s possible to play that badly on purpose.

It was pretty rough. [Laughs]
I don’t have any comments on it.

Sure.
He spends 16 hours a day managing a company.

Yeah, yeah. He’s a nice guy. I’m sure you got to meet him, right?
Um, actually, I didn’t. I shook hands with him, but that’s about it.

Oh, okay.
And  I got – yeah, I’ll mention that at the end. Um, so Smash,  I was very relieved and I also dabble in, like casual modes of play, and it’s a good thing I did because they made us do four-player free-for-alls, timed. You know, the mode is get as many kills as you can rather than be the last one standing. So, actually I have a lot of good experience with that because I do that on my down time for fun.

Gotcha.
So, my main in that mode is actually Shulk instead of Wii Fit Trainer for different reasons. He’s more suited for a 4v4 environment than he is for a, you know, for a free-for-all environment than he is a 1v1. By using high-range moves and powerful attacks, his shield and his counter it’s all good stuff for racking up kills and staying alive. So, in the end, I actually dominated it and T1 wasn’t even trying to hide it when he was commentating, he was like “Oh, he’s a competitive player.” I was like, "Okay, thanks for dropping that."

Hmm.
So I dominated it. I was at plus two at the end of both rounds, and the way it worked was whoever had the highest, the two players with the highest combined scores got to move onto the finals, and that was me and Cosmo. Cosmo’s combined score I think was plus one, so, yeah. So at that point we were at the final round, Mario Maker, and it was something, to be sure.

[Pause] Um, you’re still good?

Yeah, yeah. I’m trying to be more careful about letting you finish your thoughts because I’ve cut you off by accident so many times. [Laughs]
Oh, sorry. [Laughs] I remember the question I wanted to answer. Um, we were half-expecting all the games that showed up because, um, let me explain that quickly before I get into Mario Maker.

Yeah, please do.
We started with, we knew of Splatoon, Blast Ball, and Legend of Zelda would all be there right off the bat, obviously. The retro games we had no way of knowing what would show up, so with Super Metroid and Balloon Fight we thought, “Okay, that’s what they are.” But on the modern side, we basically knew Mario Kart would come up. We knew Smash would come up, especially since the DLC just dropped. For the final game, I actually didn’t think it would be Mario Maker. But when I saw the three retro games were deliberately trying not to be Mario, I was like, “Okay, it’s going to be Mario Maker.” Everyone else called it before I did. So, we got into Mario Maker and I guess you’re just gonna have to ask me questions about that because you saw the video, you know how it all went.

Yeah, it was very entertaining. Did you… was it fun? Or was the word "fun" not even on your mind?
Oh lord, it was so fun. It was the funnest nonsense going into that.

I was also curious while I was watching you – this just something I was thinking about. Was it really uncomfortable to be blindfolded onstage in front of an audience?
Actually no, because they were pumping in smooth jazz into the headphones, and that incidentally is my favorite genre second to video game music. So I was just sitting there tapping my hands on my lap like an idiot. I was listening for audience reaction so that’s all I could hear with the headphones on, but I couldn’t get anything meaningful out of it.

Since all you could hear was the audience, what did that do to your confidence?
Honestly, I couldn’t get any meaningful information out of it. There were also some moments where the music ended and I was able to hear the gameplay, but again, I wasn’t able to get anything meaningful out of it.

So, obviously, you couldn’t see Cosmo playing while you were onstage.
No, I wasn’t even facing the screen, let alone the blindfold.

Yeah. Did you go back and watch and see how he did?
Yes, I did.

What did you think of it? Because it was pretty clear early on that you were going to win, or were in the lead. Cosmo was playing great, especially with a game that was just totally dropped in his lap, but you swept it pretty well.
Yeah, I have, this is the last caveat of mine – I’m actually a very big 2D Mario buff. I have a lot of experience with pretty much every 2D Mario game. I was going in pretty hard on that. I got pretty unlucky on the second level as you saw.

Yeah, but by the end when you guys were racing, it wasn’t even a contest.
Yeah, I saw that. I said, “What happened Cosmo? You were doing so well on the first and third levels?” To see him just perform like that? It was a letdown honestly. I was hoping it would be a good match, but he only got into the pipe as I killed Bowser. So I was like, "wow."

Did you get a chance to talk to him about it?
I got a chance to talk to him and he didn’t choke or anything. He just wasn’t familiar with the mechanics.

Oh sure.
That’s all.

Sure.
Yeah. I wasn’t, honestly, choking either, because I wasn’t expecting to win at any point during this. And that’s the big thing. Months ago I didn’t even consider that I was going to win. I was just like, "I’m going to California. This is my first time on a plane, this is my first time on the west coast, this is my first time doing something with E3, and I get my $250 Visa card. This is gonna be a good time." And it was a good time, overall.

I got to check out Koreatown and all that, but not Hollywood. And I was just like, "Okay, so we’re playing and we’re playing," and I was just like, even when we got to Mario Maker, the thought never crossed my mind that I was going to win this. I was like, "okay, I’m gonna do my best." But, I never had winning on the mind when I was doing it so that probably contributed to me not choking. Because I can choke sometimes in tournament play. Something else that might’ve helped was I have a lot of experience with tournament nerves. But Cosmo also has experience with dealing with large groups of people while he’s playing. So, I’m sure we were both prepared for that.

What was going through your head when you won? Because, correct me if I’m wrong, but they brought Miyamoto onstage to give you the signed 3DS. A whole lot of stuff happened at once. How were you feeling about it? Were you surprised?
Well at the end of the final level when I killed Bowser, I actually didn’t expect that to be the end of the level. I thought they were going to throw some bait and switch at me and make me do more levels, especially considering how many tricks there were in the first three levels.

But, something I noticed in the final level, I guess this is unrelated to what I just said, but in the final level I noticed that they were deliberately trying to avoid death pits and anything like that, because there were no checkpoints and you’d have to start all over if that happened. So, I was like, "Okay, that probably means that they took the liberty of making it extremely long level." When I hit that axe, they’re probably gonna be like “Okay, how about another level?” But no, that was it. That’s why I didn’t like have a face when I first won and they panned to me, I was like, "Oh, oh, I won! Yes!" Also notice my facial reaction at the end of the third level, because – this will be the last thing I mention about the game – at the end of the level, you might’ve saw it, there was the ticker tape, right? And I just ran through the goal post expecting the level to end, because in Super Mario World when you pass it, the level ends regardless if you hit the tape or not, so I ran through it. and nothing happened, and that’s why I was smiling. I, like, went back into frowning mode.

[Laughs]
I was like, "oh." So, yeah. Anyway, yeah, when I won, I was really excited. I’m a little introverted, so I don’t do a very good job of physically showing my emotions very well, but I was extremely excited, don’t worry about that. It just didn’t look like I was.

[Laughs]
It just didn’t look like it, pretty much. That’s why I looked a little disappointed, but I wasn’t. Trust me. Anyway, with Miyamoto – when I won, I was like, “Oh boy, a trophy,” and I was being snarky because I knew I was getting a trophy – they said so on Twitter.

[Laughs]
But it wouldn’t be any fun without some surprises, so here’s a guest: Miyamoto. And oh my gosh, I was star struck when that happened. I was floating there and I shook his hand. I was overjoyed to meet the man. I was a little annoyed that Cosmo got a 3DS, too.

[Laughs]
My prize was a 3DS and trophy, but he got a 3DS, too. But I’m sure that trophy may be worth big bucks one day.

Yeah.
Don’t put that in the magazine. [Laughs]

So what’s um, what are you doing with that 3DS? Are you actually using it, or do you got it on the mantle or something?
The 3DS I’m going to keep for a very long time, at least for sentimental purposes. I might sell it one day, I probably won’t, but you never know. It might be worth a lot in the future.

Nah. You can’t. You  gotta hold onto it, man, that’s your prize.
I’m more likely to sell the trophy because that thing doesn’t even have my name on it [laughs].

Oh really? Okay.
It’s just a really heavy, 25-pound trophy. I think it’s made of lead.

[Laughs]
Anyway, I met Miyamoto, I shook his hand and basically said thank you for all of the games and experience you’ve provided for us over the years. I’ve had a good time gaming with Nintendo. And he said thank you. He more or less understood what I said.

And your only interaction with him was on stage, right?
Yeah, he wasn’t backstage.

Cool.
Reggie came on and I shook his hand. I didn’t get a chance to say anything to him.

You should’ve given him some Smash tips. [Laughs] So, here’s a couple questions I have that are unrelated to the tournament. You performed really well onstage, and like you said, you’re a big 2D Mario guy, so what do you think is the hardest specific section from a Mario game?
Oh, I don’t know. I guess that stupid part in uh, I think it’s World C in Super Mario Brothers 2, Japanese, Japan.

Oh, the Lost Levels in America?
Yeah. That stupid part in World C where you have to get through a fire bar, but there’s like two edgy blocks that don’t let you do it easily. I don’t know.

No, that’s a good answer.
There aren’t that many hard moments in Mario, honestly. The hardest I would say is finding star coins in Super Luigi U is really difficult.

Here’s a question I like to ask big Mario fans. When we had a chance to interview Miyamoto at E3 we asked him – do you think Yoshi’s Island for the Super Nintendo is a Mario game?
Oh. Me?

Like, do you think it is? Because it is called Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island.
I consider it a Mario game.

You’d consider it a Mario game?
I consider it a Mario game. I understand Yoshi has made his own niche for himself at this point, but that is still a Mario game. I’m not sure about Yoshi ‘s Island DS, or Yoshi’s New Island, but the one on SNES is definitely a Mario game.

Ok. Noted.
Why? Is that important to you?

It’s like I said, it’s a question that I like to ask. It’s actually not something I am emotionally invested in, but there are a couple editors at Game Informer who like to argue about it. One side says that it is not a Mario game, others say it’s its own standalone franchise.
Well, don’t forget there are segments in that game where you can play as Mario.

Exactly. That’s one of the arguments we always bring up.
Now, I only say because it has Super Mario World in the title.

Miyamoto and the game’s director Tezuka both consider it a Mario game. But later Yoshi games, when they drop the Mario World prefix – they consider those to be a separate franchise.
A Yoshi game.

Yes, so, just to give you some background.
Hey! I better go work at Nintendo right now.

[Laughs] I get the sense that you really love specifically Nintendo games. Do you play non-Nintendo games?
As far as that, I don’t really play that many. I play 2D fighters on Xbox 360. I play Ultra Street Fighter IV, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and Skullgirls. At one point or another, I would actually enter tournaments for all three, and I did pretty well. I beat basically everyone who was not a known name, but eventually I got beaten by people who knew what they are doing.

Okay.
But the fact that I am better than the randoms is pretty nice.

[Laughs] So mostly fighters and stuff like that is your genre?
I also have Sonic ’06 and Generations, and that’s my whole 360 library.

Sonic ’06 huh? [Laughs]
Yeah.

This is actually a question I should’ve asked you earlier, but what kind of preparation did you do? When you knew you were going to be in the tournament after winning the Best Buy tournament and going to Los Angeles, how did you prepare? Did you play a bunch of classic games?
I get this question a lot. I didn’t do anything special to prepare, honestly. Except for when they mentioned Zelda would be a game, then obviously I started practicing Zelda because I have no experience with Zelda games. We didn’t know what the challenge would be so I found an any percent run guide with the fastest route possible without the screen scrolling trick and I practiced it a little bit. I had beat it once or twice and then they said, “You just have to beat the first boss.” I was so mad when that happened. So, I looked up the route for that. And the Mexican runner actually gave me tips on it, you know, during the event.

Okay.
You know, like how to manipulate the item drops in your favor to get a bomb to get through the dungeon faster.

Oh, okay. And had you already been playing Splatoon a little bit?
I played Splatoon, too, but I didn’t do that because I was practicing. I did that because I enjoy playing Splatoon. I love that game.

Sure.
I love that game.

I like the game too. Well, that’s all I have for you in terms of questions. Is there anything you feel like I missed or wanted to bring up? Weird stories from behind the scenes at the tournament or anything like that?
Ask me about my amiibo collection.

Tell me about your amiibo collection.
I’m kidding, I’m kidding. I don’t have anything. [Laughs] I’ve got, like, a whole bunch of like Unicorn Wares up there. But I’ve won them from events instead of buying them, so that’s pretty nice.

Gotcha. Cool.
Um, there was something. Backstage, it was really nice, I guess I mentioned this already, it was really awesome to meet Egoraptor, Cosmo, and Trihex. They’re three of the people I love watching. You know. I love their content, and I love watching their stuff. And after the event, we actually, I actually met Cosmo at the airport, so we hung around for a little while until my plane had to leave.

Did you get to explore E3 at all? Did you guys get to go into the show?
No. They said they would give us a free ticket, but the plane ride back and hotel would be on us to stay a few extra days.

Oh, so if you wanted, you would’ve had to stay a little longer.
That was the only disappointment of this event – that I didn’t get to hang around for E3.

Well that’s too bad.
It’s not a big deal, though.

Actually, one more question I just thought about.
Yeah, go nuts.

Have you seen The Wizard?
No actually. I’m going to watch it.

So you never saw it, never watched it before the tournament or anything like that?
I saw the Super Mario Bros. movie.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry you watched that. [Laughs]
Hey! Hey! I like that movie. It’s a bad Mario movie, but it’s a really good movie in my opinion.

The fact that that movie exists is insane. What it is is sort of mind-blowing.
It was hilarious, honestly. It’s like how Paper Mario Sticker Star is a really bad Paper Mario game, but it’s still a really good game.

Yeah, yeah [laughs] that’s a pretty good comparison.
[Laughs]