Nintendo Canada invited us to interview Allister Singh, winner of the Pokkén Tournament DX invitational tournament at E3 last year. Theo, our Nintendo specialist who lives and breathes anything from Nintendo had the chance to speak with Allister.
Theo: Tell me about your first ever experience with a Pokémon video game. How old were you, what game was it and how did you get it?
Allister: When I was in kindergarten my neighbors used to babysit me and they also had a kid my age that had a game boy with a Pokémon red version. We would take turns playing that game. I didn’t really understand what was going on because I was still pretty young but I understood what Pokémon was and that you had to catch them and train them. I was still very young but I got a general concept of it but we didn’t really get too far but it was still fun. When gold and silver came out I was a bit older and I understood what was going on with Pokémon and I started to play that and that’s my first time when I fully played through a Pokémon game on my own all the way through. It was just those two versions when I was much younger.
Theo: Tell me about your first ever experience with a fighting video game. How old were you, what game was it and how did you get it?
Allister: The first fighting game I played was Virtual Fighter for the Sega Saturn. My Dad was a big gamer himself when I was a kid and he collected a lot of consoles and a lot of games and he mainly played them. I wasn’t really allowed to play them but I got to watch him. Eventually, he was like “I will let you play one of my games so what would you like to play”. I was like “the guys that knew karate and kung fu that fight each other”. He was like “virtual fighter”. I was like “ya I want to play that” as that seemed like the coolest one as you were pretty much just beating up the other guy. I do know what I was doing, I was so young, I was bashing buttons and stuff and it was really cool to see you controlling one guy and you’re pressing a button and in response, your input gets eaten up and then you get to fight your opponent one on one. That was my first fighting game.
Theo: Talk to me about Pokkén Tournament and what makes it so special and unique from other fighting games?
Allister: Pokkén is extremely unique, it is a great IP and great franchise, everyone loves Pokémon. It is unique because of the two faces, in traditional fighting games like Tekken and Street Fighter it is usually a 2D aspect, you walk left and right and jump up and that is about it. In Pokkén there is free face and dual face, dual face is the traditional 2D left and right and then you can switch back between free face and dual face. So free face has the 3D aspect to it and you can move around freely in the area. It is incredibly awesome switching back and forth between the two faces and you have unique move sets to each face and you really have to strategize and really think about what you are doing. What is also great about it is the assists and the support Pokémon. In Marvel Vs Capcom, for example, you can have the other characters that you pick as an assist and same with Dragon Ball FighterZ, but with Pokkén you only have your one character and then you can call other little Pokémon to help you out.
Theo: Who is your go-to Pokémon to play with and why?
Allister: My main Pokémon is Suicune. When the game got announced I was wondering which characters are in it and obviously, there was Pikachu and Machamp and I did see Pikachu and Machamp and cool Pokémon like Lucario and Blaziken but then I saw Suicune and that hit me in my soft spot because Suicune was my favorite legendary Pokémon. You know how Gold and Silver was the first Pokémon that I played through Suicune was my favorite because he was the coolest legendary Pokémon to me and he was my favorite ever since then and seeing him in Pokkén I was like I have to play as this character. It was meant to be.
Theo: What are you most looking forward to with the next DLC coming out on March 23?
Allister: I am looking forward to it because when the DX was announced for the Nintendo Switch it was really awesome news because I also played the Wii U version competitively. When they announced the DX for the Switch I was ecstatic because they added five new characters we were going to have. In fighting games, it is pretty hard to make new characters because you have to balance it with the rest of the roster. You don’t want to make it too bad of a character but you don’t want to make it too good. When the announced the DLC I was jumping for joy I was super happy I popped up. Aegslash, what a unique Pokémon that is a really cool Pokémon, switching back between blade form and shield form. It is very unique. That dropped the end of January and I have been having plenty of fun with. But now with the one we are waiting for is Blastoise and Blastoise is definitely a fan favorite and now we finally have Charizard and Blastoise, the original rivalry. That is what I am most excited about because not only am I excited about the Pokémon itself but am excited to see the many new players to come Pokkén or come back to Pokkén because of Blastoise. Blastoise is a really popular Pokémon and going to hit a lot of people with the nostalgic feeling and everyone is going to have a blast with him. I am really looking forward to Blastoise. Along with the new supports they are including Mew and Celebi.
Theo: Tell me about your experience when you won the Nintendo Pokkén Tournament DX invitational tournament at E3 last year. What did it feel like?
Allister: When I won it was amazing. I felt like I was on top of the world. I was at an official Nintendo event, there were some famous YouTubers there and some famous Pro Fighting game players as well. There was a huge live audience and it was on a grand stage, it was absolutely amazing and something that can’t be replicated. I had a huge adrenaline rush. It was more for the game gaining huge exposure. I am glad I won the tournament and everything, I won with MatPat, but just having Pokkén up there on the big stage with everyone watching and everyone was like whoa Pokkén is cool I didn’t know high-level Pokkén existed. We have a Pokkén tournament pro right in front of us demonstrating. Everyone was just super excited about Pokkén Tournament DX after that. It was trending, it was buzzing and everyone was talking about it, it was really great. That is what made me the happiest.
Theo: Do you feel any pressure for being the champion?
Allister: Not at all, honestly. I play mostly to have fun and meet people and have a good time and play the games I like to play. Pokkén was a great game and I am so glad it came to the switch because the switch is such a fantastic console. When I think of all these things all that pressure just releases and now it is not existent.
Theo: What are some tips and tricks to becoming the ultimate Pokkén Tournament fight?
Allister: Something common that I see a lot, cause I help a lot of people out, a lot of these new players will come from games like Splatoon, Smash or Arms, and they will often say “huh here is a game I am not really used to, it is different, it is more of like a traditional fighter not like smash”. And it is a completely different game. That is the first thing you have to accept. The second thing is that players really have to develop that discipline. That to me is the most important thing. Discipline as in, you are not going to become super good right away. It is not like it is going to be a free gift to you, you have to practice, you have to make sacrifice, you have to learn from your mistakes and admit your faults. You have to be willing to learn. In fighting games, it is really easy to get impatient, blame the mechanics of the game or something but sometimes you have to admit defeat and try to grow as a player. If you want to get good at Pokkén you really need that discipline.
Theo: What are you most looking forward to at EGLX this weekend?
Allister: I am mostly looking forward to everyone taking a look at Pokkén Tournament DX. Everyone knows it exists but I don’t think everyone knows how highly competitive the level is. I am excited to see people watch Pokkén and I am excited for people to see the YouTubers exhibition. I am excited for people to come watch me play and many people can even come challenge me. When it comes to e-sports and competitive gaming what inspires people the most is when they see people push the game to its limits and playing at such a high level. I am looking forward to doing that for people.
Theo: Where do you see yourself in the next few years, does it include continuing with playing Pokkén Tournament or moving on to other fighting games?
Allister: I do see myself sticking with Pokkén, on a professional level as well as on a community level, and I hope to help lead Pokkén Tournament to the great game it is. Helping set-up tournaments, helping everyone improve and leave with a positive attitude. In terms of other fighting games, I would like to try other fighting games. What is also really awesome is the news that we received yesterday with the very big title drop that will be happening. I am looking forward to that game and give it a try (referring to the new Super Smash Brothers game).
Rapid Fire Questions:
Theo: What is your favorite fighting game?
Allister: Super Smash Brothers Melee
Theo: What is your favorite Pokémon game?
Allister: Pokémon Crystal
Theo: Who is your favorite Pokémon?
Theo: Did you ever get involved with the Pokémon GO craze?
Allister: Yes I was involved with the craze and I was at the point where I would walk down my park at 2:00 am with other strangers playing the same game
Theo: What is the last game you played on your Nintendo Switch?
Theo: Zelda or Mario?
Theo: Favourite Super Smash Brothers fighter?
Allister: Falco from Super Smash Brothers Melee
Theo: Charmander, Squirtle or Bulbasaur?
Theo: Snapchat or Instagram?
Allister: I don’t use either
Theo: What was the last movie that you watched?
Allister: I am not a movie guy.
Theo: What is the last TV show that you watched?
Allister: Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special
Theo: Do you like fidget spinners?
Allister: I don’t personally enjoy them but I acknowledge them and people are free to enjoy them
Theo: Poutine or Beaver Tail?
Allister: I don’t know what Beaver Tail is but I tried poutine today and it is one of the most amazing things I have ever had in my life and that is coming from an American!
Theo: Lastly, If you could have any Pokémon as a pet what would it be?