Smash

Super Smash Bros. Melee God Hungrybox almost retired due to community toxicity

by Michael Gwilliam

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In the first of a five part documentary series into the life of Super Smash Bros Melee God Juan ‘Hungrybox’ Debiedma, Dexerto digs into the pro’s rise to stardom and the villainy that accompanied it.

En route to Super Smash Con 2019, we got to go inside of Hungrybox’s mind and history. How he got his tag, got into Smash grew as a player, and came back from quitting the game to absolutely dominating it.

To begin, the Smash God revealed how he nearly quit the game for good one year ago at Super Smash Con after being 3-0'd by Mew2King and the community attacked him afterward for looking at his watch, as he was almost late for a flight back to Florida to go to work the following morning. After that, he vanished from the internet.

"The response from the community afterward was almost unanimously attacking me for looking at my watch. It was the crappiest feeling of all time.  I sat at the airport and just cried and said "what's the point anymore?". After that, I made a big statement on Twitter, and I logged off, just clicked off for two weeks. Two weeks radio silent. And that really got my head back in the game," Hungrybox said. And when he came back, he was seemingly better than ever.

Hungrybox is seen as the best Jigglypuff player in the world.

Hungrybox was born in Argentina and moved to the United States when he was two or three. He found that video games in particular were a fantastic way to meet new friends integrate into a new culture. 

“When we got the N64, that’s when I first played Smash Bros,” he said. “Nintendo was very, very close to what my interests were.”

“I used to enter as Juan or Juan the Fatty or Fat Chick,” the Jigglypuff main revealed regarding his past tournament entries. “But then, I entered as Hungrybox one day because I kept drawing this doodle on my middle school folders.” 

That doodle would become immortalized as his official logo and he kept the name, because it was under that tag that Debiedma finally made it out of pools at a tournament.

He would go on to say that when a fateful day in 2013 changed history forever. “In 2013, Evo picked up Smash again,” he said. “So it’s like by the way, this hobby is now a recognized esport. You are a top esports player. And that was really bonkers.” 

Hungrybox is considered one of the five "Gods" of Melee for his incredible skill and tournament results.

Eventually, Melee tournaments kept getting bigger and more high stakes and Hungrybox went from a part time gamer and part time student to one of the top three players in the world. It reached a point where he was able to become a full-time esports player. 

However, when he was still developing, he reentered the workforce briefly because he wasn’t “mentally prepared” at the time. When he returned, he was doing commentary, competing and hosting tournaments.

“It’s more about being a brand,” the Team Liquid star said.

To end the episode, Debiedma digs into what it takes to be a good Smash player nowadays and how the advent of netplay has completely changed the game.

Looking back, he wondered "what if this was where I grew up? Or this was where my scene was?" Without proper consistent practice against other good players, you're not going to improve.  

Keep it locked to Dexerto as our series on Hungrybox's Smash career continues.