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Bassmage and the Deus Ex Machinas

Last updated on June 22nd, 2022

The Aftermath (+ Addressing Criticisms)

Well, to put all into context, it’s best covered by the whole entire post-campaign interview:

I know I toot my own here with contributing around $7,000+ or so to keep him alive to the final round, but credit is where credit due: Bassmage would also not be in Summit if not for Bassmage himself, Hungrybox, Eganist, Draconic Magic, Shaxxam, Blstar, Kyan, Zaaqinator, and hundreds of donators to the spirit bombs that both Bassmage and Hungrybox were running. All I did was put in financial support and run the numbers with Blstar to see where we were at.

But, geez, Lavish was an omega-Tilde situation that I just did not expect at all. Congratulations to Lavish as well. Lui$ and Marss each ran great campaigns as well.

Now, to address many questions you may have…

$7,000? What the hell do you do? Why give that much?

Bassmage is a friend. When you’re a friend of mine, I care about your happiness and well-being. To someone like Bassmage, someone that sets him up for the future, and it’s something that he’ll remember for the rest of his life. Even after he may or may not retire from competitive Smash. Like I mentioned in the interview above, my main philosophy is to be kind and uplift others, and that’s a philosophy I’ve held since I was 5 years old. The reasons are weirdly spiritual (no, not religious) and not really something outside of two of my closest friends will understand, but it is something that I hope you, dear reader, will consider doing. Because we need more altruism in the world.

In case you are wondering – while I did carry Bassmage to the final round monetarily, I did next to nothing after he got there except put together numbers. The rest of it was on everyone else. We also made an agreement that he would pay me back:

BassMage — 02/16/2022
don’t worry about spending
@isatis
I will pay back anything possible
isatis — 02/16/2022
thanks ❤️
BassMage — 02/16/2022
ALOT more people will be putting stuff in
This is a huge gamble
but I truly think it’ll work

What do I do? I’m a hacker. I work as a software security consultant for a big company, and have been in the software security (erm, cybersecurity) field for about 7 years now. I’ve spoken at a couple hacker conferences in the past. I’ve taught myself software since I was the age of 10, and had been programming for that long.

(Side-note: If you do decide to follow me on Twitter and keep up with this blog, I will go into continuing to deconstruct various vulnerabilities and security-related information for the common person.)

Sticker of Isatis with balaclava on holding a laptop, symbolizing a cybercriminal

The $7,000 was supposed to be toward my moving funds to move back to the PNW that I had saved up over the past year, but the opportunity to make a friend’s year or even decade was something I couldn’t pass up. There’s also the fact that over the past 13 years, I’ve put so much time and effort into growing the Smash scene, that people referencing me as being one of the rich have no idea how impactful some of what I did back in the early Brawl days really grew things while being dirt poor. I wouldn’t have even been able to go to tournaments, if not for my sympathetic mother, who regularly went to science fiction and fantasy conventions herself.

Also… we furries are known for spending extravagant sums on things that nobody expects, because a lot of us work in the STEM field, and thus have a high amount of income as a result. If you think spending $7,000 on one person is a lot… well, art commission slots from popular artists, as well as fully decked out fursuits, cost way more. Some makers’ costumes are probably 3-4x that. Even then, you’ve probably been familiar with someone like SonicFox, the person who wears their fursuit costume while playing fighting games. (And how they pull it off, I don’t even know.) Or, even Roflfox, the Ultimate T.O. for VGBC events out in Maryland that frequently wears his suit to tournaments.

There are other communities out there that spend a lot of money… Warhammer comes to mind, but same with TF2 and the hats!

Art is always controlled by wealthy people Suspiciously wealthy furries Eccentric Millionaires Monarchs

(Bassmage did promise me he’d pull me into a Summit skit. Hey, if they go through the hacker fox line, I’ll gladly bring my own costume for the occasion.)

So essentially you’re proving Smash Twitter’s point about the rich gaming Summit.

See above, literally several sections. Both because yes, it can become a zero-sum game to some businessman with a free $500,000, and/or any sponsors with a chunk of change that want free publicity for their players. In fact, there might be other loopholes to breaking the process because it relies on money, that I don’t know about.

There’s also a double standard that dismayed the campaign staff, seeing how there were so many players and content creators supporting their own, but the moment that Hungrybox decides to help out Bassmage, suddenly there’s a big outrage about the rich helping out an underdog.

Don’t like it? Either don’t support Summit (we live in a capitalist society, it only takes a few top 15 players to speak out against the process, and then the lack of people voting means BTS loses money, as well as top players deciding not to attend!), or turn your complaints into constructive criticism, outline what the issue is, and suggest fixes and alternatives. The BTS staff putting on the tournament are more than happy to hear feedback on what you think should change for the players being voted on, any rule changes to campaigning, and so on. They go all out, because the voting process is to ensure the prize pool is so gigantic, that being voted on to play the world’s best on the biggest stage is its own entertainment.

I’ve been in the Smash community since 2008, and been hovering around or involved in nationals or majors back then, so I’ve been familiar with tournaments and events that went slightly sideways or had things happen unbeknownst to the tournament organizer, with complaints pouring in after the event happened, not during.

Lui$ had so much support from probably about 10 different top players (a few already voted in to Summit 4, too), had a huge sum of money, was ahead in votes, and was much beloved in his region. Marss was backed by Alpharad. Nakat backed by Nairo. I had only noticed this type of talk happening after Hungrybox had gotten involved, as I’d pretty much guessed when I sent that initial DM to him wanting him to remain neutral, but never for other players in either this Summit or past ones.

The reason why I call this out, and why I don’t ignore it like I normally do & what others are telling me to do, is that I’ve been on the receiving end of criticism over how unfair things have gone when I’ve staffed conventions, conferences, and events over my years. My parents ran conventions as well, and they had brought me to conventions about every year until I turned 18. There would be panels put on after the conventions ended that would be called the “gripe sessions”, expressing displeasure at how elements and aspects of the convention went. The convention staff and organizers would listen to every word and take the feedback into consideration to make next year’s event even better. Whether SF&F, furry, or what have you.

I’ve seen so much criticism about the Summit process since the very first Summit, and yet the prize pool keeps growing, and there’s more and more players that opt in. People literally forget about this starting about 24 hours after voting ends. The absolute best thread on this that proposes actual solutions is this:

But toward other tweets… the big reason is that, as someone who was on the campaign staff for Bassmage, it is very disheartening to hear that your efforts to ensure your favorite player got in, no matter from monetary or from planning and strategic initiatives, were due to “the rich” (Hungrybox) instead of the massive amount of manpower behind the scenes. You are also putting your anger and rage toward the wrong place, and it is hurtful, and I kind of felt horrible after reading a few of the replies (below) because I secretly felt like I ruined Summit 4. All of the sleepless nights that me, Blstar, Bassmage, and several others had decided to do, were to make sure that a kid who had grinded it out with a mid-tier character and put up results ranging from Glutonny to Larry Lurr, could fulfill his dream to be shown on the big stage.

All of the above is understandable salt, but it’s still something that you will see on Twitter and, when the event time comes, on BTSsmash chat for weeks to come. I don’t even see a lot of hate going toward Lavish – who raised huge sums of money to be voted in, with virtually no top player support, just the backing of many passionate people from his region of the Midwest. Just Bassmage because of the Hungrybox help at the final round.

The worst part about the anger toward one player and the fact that they didn’t deserve it, is that it kind of boils down to a continued hero vs. villain, where the player who got unexpectedly voted in is now cast as the villain. Now, we all love a good villain, and as a writer, well-executed conflict is what makes a great storyline. But this isn’t that Bassmage found the Infinity Stones and snapped away every other Summit contender… this is the person who decided to work with completely random people to realize their dream, not putting it solely on their shoulders.

I’ve joked in the Twitter thread about, if anyone thinks that this is now a tainted event due to “the rich’s” involvement, well… there’s something other than hero vs. villain, Man vs. Man, etc. One of my favorite authors is Ursula K. Le Guin, who wrote The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction essay (and I’ll probably be covering her works and why they’re GOATed in a separate post) which outlined that conflict wasn’t the whole ideal. In her novels, there’s a collection of stories that jumble together to form a whole cohesive narrative, one that has shades of grey, rather than black or white. And that’s what everyone’s Summit campaigns boiled down to – a collection of stories, excitement, rivalries, Smashers wearing maid costumes, heartbreak, determination, and much, much more.

If you think I’m at fault for all of this and think I’m rich, well… I’m happy to debate Marxist theory, Kropotkin’s works, Democratic socialism, Medicare for All, the labor union movement in the early 1900s, setting up mutual aid networks and contributing funds toward people who need them, and many other things. The latter you should also start doing. I’m a disabled individual that most times has to spend $100+ per month for their hormone replacement therapy injections or the dysphoria will eat me, not to mention ~$150 worth of supplements to keep me alive per month, so I am only kept alive by working. Hell, if you hate the rich as much as I do, get involved in politics, turn your anger into electing leftists!

As Lui$ pointed out (below), he’s happy that Lavish and Bassmage did so well in their campaigns, and is hopeful they’ll pull some ridiculous upsets. Many of the entrants in Summit are wanting to take down each other. Bassmage is practicing and grinding offline as I type this. What Lui$ expressed below is what we should all strive to do, because at the end of the day, emotions run raw, we love entertainment, but we’re only people.

Hungrybox solely got Bassmage into Summit.

No, no he didn’t, re-read this whole blog post!

Sticker of Isatis raging

He didn’t put in much, if any, of his own money into the campaign. On stream, Hbox had mentioned he would cover the PayPal fees, but that’s it. He staked his reputation onto helping someone who had helped him out all throughout the lockdown period of the pandemic in 2020-2021, and while he would livestream with a spirit bomb widget where people could donate to it, that was all individual people. Whether it was people watching his performance at the Online Wi-Fi tournament Coinbox, being familiar with him coaching during the lockdown period, or any reason, it was hundreds and hundreds of people donating during that final 48-hour stretch to ensure that he would get in.

Puff is so boring! And besides, Bassmage will get last. Why even help Bassmage get in?

Jigglypuff in Ultimate is unique. I’m not talking about Hungrybox popoff after getting a Rest kill unique, but because she’s mid tier. Ultimate is a pretty balanced platform fighter, and even mid-tiers can be a threat in the current meta.

In Super Smash Bros. Melee, Jigglypuff is arguably top (or high) tier, with a lot of options and a kill move that can kill anyone at 12%. There’s also been videos where you see Puff camp in Melee with ledge stalling, spamming one move (back-air) so many times, and so much more. Many have this conceived notion that what applied to a prior game, also applies to this game.

But this is Ultimate… maybe there’s a reason why people think Puff is campy?

Something like that was an anomaly – Hungrybox couldn’t figure out what to do vs. Peanut, and so I put up a poll asking if Hungrybox should camp out Peanut as a meme during Game 2. After the poll said yes, he decided to do so. This was also a meme and for content, not because he was being serious, and because he’d never faced a good Little Mac before.

Compare one video to any of these sets:

That argument begins to lose a bit of steam. And as I see every time I moderate Hungrybox’s Twitch channel, about 90% of the characters in this game can be considered “lame to watch”. Everyone’s views will always vary.

Closing Thoughts

mrsaturncares: I will never talk bad abbout the furry crowd EVER again. GGWP Isatis
Sticker of Isatis grinning, holding out a peace symbol (index and middle finger up, V shape)

This Summit campaign was a wild ride. There was a lot of planning going into it. Incentives that still need to be done. Sleepless nights. Days where I barely got work done. I’ll need to budget for the next 6 months because I overspent myself. But in the end, it was worth it. I’m a lot closer to the people in Bassmage’s moderator community.

Friday was the best day of my life, because I felt like I mattered. I felt like every time I felt I had reason to kill myself, this is an event I can point to and go… hey, I made an impact in someone’s life! Hundreds of people love the action that I did! Look at that Twitch comment above! It feels great. After spending my time in so many communities over the past 15 years, this really is the first community I’d spent a lot of money in, but also got so much back in love and support. With me having issues making friends with furries due to cliquish tendencies, Smash felt easier to make friends in, and make an impression in.

I also retired from spending any more money in the Smash community after Summit is over, though. Whether to any one streamer, to any tournament, or anything. If there’s one thing I’ve learned the past 2 years, trying to claw my way back from a you-can-lose-it-all-in-an-instant mindstate that I was in in 2019, is that I still need to spend my money better. 😀

I got to talking with a friend about 4 days ago, whom we both spent a great deal of time reflecting on events in our lives, and how we kind of had a shared understanding about how we viewed things that would fall apart unless we got involved. Hungrybox himself admits his stream would not be as good without me contributing a lot, in the form of gift subs or automatic programs. But for both my friend and I, we both didn’t want to be the person viewed as someone who kept gifting subscriptions, and have that be the reason we were popular or known. It made a huge impact on me, too, since he felt like he didn’t have a lot of friends he could have shared experiences he can relate with, he could thankfully see that in me.

So, back to doing things I feel like fulfill me. Azeriabot being one.

The folks in the Bassmage campaign were awesome, and still are. I’ll be seeing a few of them at Summit. Some of my favorite experiences have been going out to lunch/dinner with folks I’ve worked so closely with, or have always wanted to meet, and even if I spent a lot, it was all worth it.

And there’s one more thing.

Good luck at Summit, [randomly generated Xbox username], and see you there.

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