After the success of Road to Valhalla, a successful Melee circuit that ran in The Netherlands and flew in the circuit champion to Valhalla II in Denmark past winter, head tournament organizer(TO) of the circuit, Jimmy, is taking the next step with an intercontinental collaboration. Together with Aiden, head TO of Don’t Park On The Grass in Seattle, they are introducing The Road to Don’t Park on the Grass, a European Melee circuit in which the top players on the leaderboard can earn a flight to the popular super major in Seattle.
High time for an interview with the both of them to learn more!
Aiden ‘Calvin‘ Mccaig – Head TO of Don’t Park On The Grass, co-owner of EndgameTV
“I’m Aiden, some people know me by my tag Calvin. I’ve been a TO and player in the Smash community since November 2013, perhaps more well known now for being one of the co-owners of EndGameTV and the head TO of Don’t Park On The Grass. Almost six years have past and I still have a burning passion for event creation and competition. I play Sheik in Melee and Lucina in Smash Ultimate.”
Jemayel ‘JMYL‘ Frans – Head TO of Sector Z, Head TO of Road 2.. circuits “Most people know me as JMYL or Jimmy, but my real name is Jemayel. I’m the head TO of Sector Z, in the Netherlands. I play Melee competitively (Falco), but I have great passion for organizing events as well. I’ve been playing since 2010, so I know my way around the Smash scene.”
What is ‘Road to Don’t Park on the Grass’ ?
Jimmy: “The road to Don’t Park on the Grass is a series of Melee tournaments, running approx. 6 months. Players will not only compete for regular prize money, but also for special circuit points. The higher you place, the more points you’ll receive! The top 4 players who’ve accumulated the most points during this circuit will win a flight+entrance to Don’t Park on the Grass 2019!
Why should players be interested?
Aiden: “Don’t Park On The Grass has historically supported a lot of international players with flights to the event. In the past this has allowed players from often overlooked regions to find a spotlight that they never had before, such as Spud from New Zealand and Twin from Mexico. This year we’re allowing players in Europe to earn those flights through their tournament performances, so that they can hopefully have the breakout US performance that is often necessary to get on the global SSBM Rank.”
Jimmy: “The main goal of this circuit is to stimulate top players to travel more. More travelling top players means more entrants at events, which means a boost in Melee. This way we’ll enhance the competitive spirit at these events.”
Which events are part of the circuit?
Why did you chose this lineup?
Jimmy: “The reason why I choose these tournaments is because they will be running NTSC, except for Murked, which is still up for debate.
The reason why NTSC is so important, is because naturally, NTSC is the standard for the Seattle-based tournament. It would be useless for European players to play a different version here while competing for a spot. “
Aiden: “We also chose this list of events because they are expected to be the largest events in EU in 2019. I’ve been a big fan of many of these events and their prior iterations for awhile, so I look forward to having them incorporated into a circuit like this.
Can additional events still apply?
Jimmy: “There’s a chance that some other tournaments will be added to the circuit. However, this is very much dependent on their country and the PAL/NTSC debate. It goes without saying that we’d like to run this circuit playing NTSC.”
How did you form this collaboration?
Jimmy: “It was actually a very natural thing, I just reached out to Aiden and he was very excited to be a part of it! Because we both feel the need to bridge the gap between Europe and the USA when it comes to Melee, we were fully motivated to make this happen. We communicated for a few months back & forth until everything was clear for both sides.”
Aiden: “I echo all of Jimmy’s thoughts here. It seemed like a natural progression given EndGameTV’s history of supporting European players come out to US tournaments.”
Can you elaborate on the prize, what does it contain and how is the prize made possible?
Jimmy: “Well, by the end of the circuit top 10 will receive prizes. The prizes are an investment by Aiden and me.
Aiden: “Prizes are fulfilled between Jimmy, EndGameTV, and myself.
Full information about prizes to the top 10 of the circuit will be available on the circuit League page on smash.gg/ROAD2DPOTG.”
Several countries in Europe haven’t yet made their decision about a potential switch to NTSC. Why did you choose to only focus on NTSC for the circuit?
Aiden: “My perspective is that the general movement in Europe, following the path set by Australia and New Zealand, is to switch to NTSC. With that in mind, it makes sense to support that version switch.”
Jimmy: “To be honest I thought we would make the switch faster as Europe or even start the trial period. My main reason is that DPoTG is an NTSC tournament. So to keep the players warmed up, these tournaments should be played in NTSC as well.”
Will other games than Melee get added to a next edition if the circuit proves successful?
Aiden: “There’s always potential to include Ultimate down the line, but for this initial iteration it seems good to start out with Melee.”
Jimmy: “I certainly see possibilities of running a crossover event with Melee & Ultimate, but as far as running a circuit with both games, I’m not sure.”
What are the benefits of running a circuit vs isolated events?
Aiden: “A circuit gives structure to normally isolated events. It helps develop a narrative around players that would not otherwise exist; it’s a reason to keep up with results and tournaments that you wouldn’t have otherwise. It also incentivizes competition in a way that is unique from one off events, there’s more on the line.”
Jimmy: “Because there is so much more at stake, players will be motivated to score some points at the other events, thus increasing the amount of entrants at these tournaments. Also, we’re bringing these events a bit closer, and making them feel a lot more connected. How cool would it be to meet some players in Spain for example, knowing that you’ll see those exact players next month in another country? We definitely aim to connect these tournaments more, as it will undoubtedly increase the event experience.”
How can players participate in the circuit and track their progress?
Jimmy: “Players will earn points based on their placing. After every event, we will update the leaderboard, which will be visible to every player on smash.gg.”
Aiden: “Performance across circuit events will fill out a leaderboard, available on the official League page for the circuit on smash.gg.”
How should the European scene develop over the upcoming years?
Jimmy: “I sincerely hope that one day we’ll unite, playing the same version. Right now NTSC is likely to become the standard. After a tumultuous period of discussion, surveys, trial periods etc. I really hope we’ll continue to play Melee and compete. It is a beautiful community that we get to be a part of and I hope it will stay that way.”
Aiden: “With the standardization of NTSC and more opportunities to compete in the US like this circuit, I think a lot of up and comers in Europe are going to be able to make a splash in the global scene in the coming years.”
What impact do you hope the circuit will have on the development of the European Melee scene?
Jimmy: “Personally, I would like to see more European talent perform in the USA. Hopefully this circuit will inspire and motivate more players to make that happen. Not only will they then get the chance to play with the players they’ve been watching on stream for years, but they will also get to put Europe on the map again. There are so many potential players here who don’t get the chance to perform overseas, and that’s sad, to say the least.
On top of this, the circuit is a great way for TO’s in Europe to connect with each other more. I’m sure we’ll improve the scene here in Europe if we start working together more. A circuit like this is certainly a great place to start.”
Aiden: “I personally hope it reinvigorates competition within Europe. Like a lot of other communities, numbers at smaller events are dwindling, and I hope this circuit can be something that motivates attendance across events.”
Thanks for taking the time for this interview. Anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Aiden: “Nothing other than my excitement for how this circuit turns out! I appreciate the opportunity to work with a bunch of great TOs.”
Jimmy: “Keep an eye out for more ‘Road 2 ..’ concepts. This will not be the last one. I will try to keep working with as many TO’s as possible.”
Aiden’s picture is from It’s a Wizard Hat Photography. Jimmy’s picture was taken by Daniel. Seattle Skyline is from Wenkan Zhu, used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic licence. Thanks to Exile for peer reviewing the questions.