Kashan ‘Chillindude’ Khan has seen it all. A core of the competitive Super Smash Bros. Melee old guard, Chillindude duelled with Ken in the early days of competition, helped define a new style of Fox play, and watched the rise of Mango, Hungrybox and the Five Gods. He’s been through the highs and the salty, salty lows, but even as new stars reach their peak he remains a prominent face, competing, commentating and keeping Melee alive.
We had the opportunity to throw thirteen questions to one of the longest-running Melee stars and pick his brain about his hobbies, the current state of Melee, and how he’d really like another shot at Leffen in a best of five set.
What is your passion outside of gaming?
I really enjoy sports, both watching and playing, although these days I do a lot more watching than playing.
What were you planning to do with your life before you became an esports star?
I went to school for computer science, so most likely becoming a programmer. I still might do that later on in life after my esports journey.
Who do you most want to go a best-of-5 with in the entire world?
I would love to get a runback with Leffen once I’m back in top form, I think it would be really exciting even if he was the heavy favorite to win.
In your career, what’s been your favorite fighting game to play? And how about watch?
Definitely Melee for both playing and watching, but aside from that I was really into Street Fighter 4 when it was popular. I got decently good at it and loved watching major tournaments for it, but I don’t like SF5 as much sadly.
Why do you think Melee is so enduring? What does it have that no other fighter or Smash game has?
I think the dynamic engine creates fresh situations constantly so it’s very difficult for the game to get stale. Something new can happen every single match.
The top spot for Melee is hotly contested right now. Who do you think is the number one player right now, and is that likely to change in the near future?
At the moment it’s definitely Hungrybox, and based on his consistency it seems unlikely to change anytime soon, even though a few people have managed to get wins on him this year.
How has Armada’s retirement affected the top level of Smash. Has that opened the way for other players to win majors, or were they likely to make it anyway?
I do think it has allowed certain players, like Axe, to break through to top level since Armada was many top players’ demon, and very rarely lost to anyone outside of the top 6.
Do you ever see Melee returning to EVO in the future?
I think it’s possible but unlikely. It doesn’t seem like Mr Wizard is a fan of Smash in general.
So with Melee out of EVO (at least for now) and prize pools for Ultimate at Smash events usually outweighing Melee, How do you feel about the game’s future?
I think Melee still has a bright future, but financially it doesn’t look too promising because of lack of support from many potential investors. Regardless, I think the game will endure because of people’s passion for it.
What are your favorite Melee tournaments throughout the year?
Genesis, Pound, Big House.
Even after 18 years, we’re still seeing players discover new things in Melee and surprise us with characters. Do you think the game can keep evolving?
I absolutely think it can and will keep evolving for many years to come. I could see it eventually hitting a wall, but that won’t be for a long time.
Wizzrobe won Smash ‘n’ Splash with Falcon, Axe won Summit with Pikachu. Which character do you think the community and players are underestimating right now?
I think both Doc and Mario have decent potential, and Franz demonstrated that by placing 9th at Mainstage recently with Doc. In the right hands and with the right bracket I think it’s even possible for them to win a major.
How did you decide on your main? Is there a character you wish you could play at the top level?
I’ve been playing Fox since 2003, but back then I decided I needed a quicker, more creative character to play (my previous main was Sheik). I would love to be top level with Marth, because he’s a very flashy and graceful character when played well.
This interview is part of a series of quick chats with the superstars of competitive Smash. Check out the previous interviews with Mango, Hungrybox, and Ken for more insight. Stay tuned for more interviews to come in the next few weeks!