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The State of 64 in Upstate: The Rise of Rochester

With each year, more and more eyes in the 64 world have turned their sights to Rochester.

With one of, if not the largest local in the world for Smash 64, Upstate New York has one of the highest concentrations of active players for the now 23 year old game. Given an average of 18 entrants, a record high of 45 entrants at ‘The Prowling Grounds’ 64, and with players like Bobakanoosh, Jello, and etab making waves at larger tournaments across the nation and online, many top players have been looking to make the trip up to see what we’ve got!

Now top 10 player Robert was hauling CRTs and Nintendo 64s to RIT running unnamed 6 man round robin brackets long before Rochester’s modern Smash scene and primary weekly ‘The Prowling Grounds’ began. Since then, the scene in Rochester has steadily grown, pulling in players from all walks of life. In recent years, the Upstate 64 scene has grown exponentially, mostly due to the recruitment efforts from 64 T.O. Bobakanoosh (that’s me!). 

When I started attending RIT, I was instantly drawn towards the 64 scene – it was the first video game I had ever played, and had always been one of my favorites. It took no time from there to get hooked. The players in Rochester were thrilled to have new players, and I was thrilled to be there!  I’ve truly never been a part of a more welcoming community and they were more than happy to teach me everything they could about the game. I consider each and every one of them a good friend of mine to this day.
If you’re reading this article and you’re in Upstate, I implore you to give 64 a chance! I bring multiple setups to every RIT weekly and monthly, along with a dozen rental controllers / adapters for anyone looking to try it out. You can even try out playing online! Anyone here would be happy to show you the ropes, and judging by everyone else who’s given it a shot, I really believe you might like it more than you’d think! 

Now, regarding the outlook of the Fall 2022 season, we’re looking at what should be the greatest span of tournaments in our region to date. As we gear up for the return of weeklies, here’s a look at the landscape of the scene, who to look out for, and what to look forward to!

The PR

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#1 | Bobakanoosh

Leading the pack of Spring PR players is Bobakanoosh! Head T.O., #1 player, PR’d in Melee, incredibly handsome – what can’t he do? Really humble too. Winning 7 of the 10 tournaments he attended in the last season (and getting 2nd at everything else), Bobakanoosh is poised for another great season. However, holding on to the #1 spot will be no easy task. With the continued influx of top players since the Fall 2021 season, the cracks are starting to show – dropping the occasional sets to Jello, Elu, and Schickler, the top spot is no longer guaranteed. Compounding this, out of town top players may prove further challenge, but we’ll get to them in the next section. Regardless, Bobakanoosh is looking at an exciting season defending his title, and it will be interesting to see how things shake out.

#2 | Jello

Up next is Jello, Rochester’s premier multi-character main. With a fairly dominant performance over everyone below him, there’s no doubt Jello is in the top echelon of Rochester players. Even against Bobakanoosh, he is the only player to take sets off of him in multiple different tournaments, winning 4 of their 16 sets last season. Further, he was one of three people able to win a tournament with Bobakanoosh in attendance.  Showing proficiency with about the entire cast in tournament, you can never be too sure as to what matchup you might be in for when playing him. As Jello continues to experiment with different characters for different players, he continues to provide new challenges to all of his opponents, new and old. 

#3 | Etab

Rochester’s fastest improving player Etab comes in at #3. Prior to last year, he had never touched the game. In just a year’s time, Etab managed grinded his way to the top. In my opinion, Etab is one of the more interesting players to look at going into this season. Having surpassed most of the field, he’s now looking to chip away at the ‘old guard’ of 64. Splitting sets with Schickler (2-2) and taking a few off of Jello (4-7), he’s making great progress towards that. With that in mind, he has not yet taken a set from Bobakanoosh, and has not yet had a chance to play against Elu. Aside from the errant set dropped to Toby, Etab has displayed complete dominance against the field below him, and I have no doubt he will remain towards the top – with that all but guaranteed, I’m interested to see whether he’ll surpass the wall that faces him.

#4 | Schickler

While Schickler prepares to sign up for AARP benefits, he continues to surprise at every tournament he appears at. While his attendance dropped a bit due to external factors, he still made it out to 4 tournaments this season, putting up great results. Across these brackets, he split sets with Etab (2-2) and Christian (1-1), and took sets off of Bobakanoosh (1-2) and Jello (1-2). Schickler has continued to demonstrate his ability to take sets off of anybody, and always comes back with a new game plan after a loss. While Schickler’s attendance may remain low this season, I have no doubt that he will continue to be a wildcard in the scene.

#5 | Christian

In what is undeniably the biggest blow to our scene in its entire history, Christian will not be returning for the Fall 2022 season, having graduated college and moved back to New Jersey. Whether he went 1-2 or 5-2, whether he beat Rochester’s best or threw to Rochester’s worst, whether he brought the heavy techskill Fox or went all Samus, you truly never knew which Christian was showing up each week. He truly brought an indescribable amount of wonder to every Rochester tournament, and both our brackets and our commentary will not be the same in his absence. Comment “We’ll miss you Christian <3” on this article to pay respects to a real one. We hope we can get him to return for a ‘Frame’ or some other large Rochester tournament in the future.

#6 | Toby

Topping the list of Ultimate player cross-game talents is Toby, our best solo Kirby main. With his great instinctual understanding of platform fighters as a whole, Toby has excelled at gatekeeping everyone below him at getting a crack at the top tier. Toby had an exciting upset over Etab at TPG59, in which he clinched a game 5 last stock set with a down smash on top platform. He has also been the model of consistency – of the 19 sets he played against players ranked below him, he won 18, dropping just 1 to Jboss’ debuting counterpick Pika. Headed into next season, I’ll be intrigued to see where Toby falls – whether he’s able to continue his stranglehold over the lower half of PR, or if he makes the push to move into the next tier of players.

#7 | X0v3r

Right next to our best Ultimate player, we’ve got our best Melee player cross-game talent, X0v3r. He interestingly shares an exceptional amount with Toby, both being blue Kirby mains that play other smash titles, losing to everyone above them, and beating everyone below them, save for a single errant set loss to Jboss at TPG65. Bizarre. X0v3r too uses his understanding of platform fighter fundamentals to carry him through sets, and seems to have a good grasp on the tools Kirby provides him. Not to show too much bias here, but I think X0v3r shows some of the most potential for growth across the field, and I look forward to seeing what he can put together this season.

#8 | Jboss

Jboss left off last season on a total cliffhanger with his performance at the final bracket of last season. Previously a solo Falcon main, Jboss busted out a surprise Pika counter pick for all Kirbys in his bracket, and finished at an impressive 4th place for the event. This bracket took him through Toby and X0v3r, who both sported undefeated records against him up to this point. Jboss’ ability to pick up Pikachu so quickly stems back to his cross-game fundamentals, being a locally PR’d Ultimate player. I firmly believe Jboss could have changed those head to heads from losing to even or winning with his new Pika over a longer stretch of time, which he may just do in the upcoming tournaments.

#9 | Playstyle

The only solo 64 player outside of the top 4, and one of the only remaining falcon solo mains, Playstyle comes in at #9. I don’t have much of a read on how Playstyle will do this season – I’m cautiously optimistic about his chances of climbing the ranks. If he can get a handle on the Kirby matchup and work on a little bit of tech skill, I think he can move up quite a bit. However, with the influx of Kirbys coming this season – if he doesn’t, he may have some troubles. We know Playstyle is capable of success – especially after his impressive set win over Jboss – we just need to see if he steps up and makes the changes he needs to thrive.

#10 | Conceit

Conceit was poised to climb the ranks in the upcoming season – between being one of the only players to play online in the offseason, and with a nice showing at Smash Con 2022, escaping D5 pools. Unfortunately, Conceit will not be present in Upstate in the coming year. Had he been here, I believe we could have seen his practice pay off a bit. Conceit expects to make it out to a few larger Rochester tournaments, so perhaps we’ll see some of this come to fruition, but we’ll have to wait and see.

HM | Ryan “ArStar” Allen

Unfortunately, Ryan “Ryan ‘ArStar’ Allen” Allen is yet another player that will not be returning to Upstate this season. Thankfully, ArStar fans can rest easy, as he is expected to be back in Rochester starting next season, in the Spring of 2023. Formerly a box player, ArStar has switched to Derek Stick (a stick closer to resembling a gamecube controller) for tournaments. He has also bounced between Kirby and Falcon, but seems to mostly lean towards Kirby. ArStar is yet another player who can fall back on solid fundamentals from other fighting games and pick up solid wins. While we will not be able to see him much against the field this season, we will see him make the journey out for larger tournaments like Frame. Hopefully we can see him make some waves when he appears.

Hidden Boss | Elu

Even more so than Shickler, Elu is the true wildcard headed into this season. Largely absent from tournaments, Elu took a break from competition last year. However, he appeared once at Frame 10, Rochester’s premier regional. Here, he put on an exhibition, sweeping through the bracket without dropping a set, taking down Father_Nature, Frogman, Jello, and Bobakanoosh twice. Elu is undeniably a top 5 player in Upstate, but it’s impossible to know where he falls without more data. Rumor on the streets is that we may see Elu’s return to competition this season, and if that’s the case, it’s just one more thing to look forward to!

Along with these players, I’ve also got my eye on a few people who got a late start last season or didn’t quite make PR. Namely, I believe Sled could make huge waves this season, as he demonstrated a ton of potential towards the end of the last one. Further, players like Koda and HenArten had a handful of good showings and have shown great promise. Lastly, I believe certain Ultimate players like Jay and Castelia could make an impact if they find the time to enter 64 more frequently. Keep your eyes on these players moving forward!

The Incoming Pros

Aside from Rochester’s regulars, a few big names from out of town are looking to make an appearance! Here’s a look at some top talent that may crash the Rochester tournaments this season.


Recently ranked 61st worldwide, we have confirmation that Waxy:Joe will be a regular attendee of Rochester 64 tournaments. A puff main with an impressive resume, Rochester will have their work cut out for them if they want to keep up with him this season. 


Veteran of the Maryland 64 scene – now in Buffalo – icactusdog will also be making appearances this season. Bringing some much needed Pikachu presence to upstate (a rare problem to have), it will be very interesting where he falls amongst our regulars. It looks to be a big season for Pika, not only with icactusdog’s presence, but also with the continued rise of Etab, and the aforementioned new Jboss Pika.


While I’m not sure just how much we’ll see of Raychu this season, any appearance made by him will be sure to be interesting. Ranked 23rd worldwide, he will pose a daunting challenge to anyone looking to defeat him. If nothing else, I certainly look forward to the display he is sure to put on, no matter the outcome.

The Newbies

Also joining our regular Rochester crowd, some incoming freshmen are entering the mix! With the recent RIT Freshman Tournament, we got a glimpse at what potential talent we may be in store for! Here’s a quick shoutout to a few people of interest coming into the community.

Green Princess

Handily sweeping his way to grands, Green Princess showed some solid fundamental understanding of 64 Kirby. Abusing up tilt to the best of his ability, he left his opponent perplexed as they struggled to figure out how to approach, or really any sort of counterplay on the fly. Even if Green Princess just learns how to pivot up tilt, I have a feeling they’ll put up a good fight against the field. 


After being signed up for the tournament accidentally, Jesterbound fought his way to Grand Finals off of pure fundamentals. Having never played or really seen the game, it was more than an impressive showing. If he’s willing to learn the game’s mechanics, I believe he could be a formidable opponent.


After dropping to losers Round 1, a switch flipped for KevinM. He figured out a game plan and it carried him all the way through losers, resulting in an impressive 3rd place finish after an insane losers run. If he sticks with 64 and continues to show this level of adaptation, he could rise the ranks pretty quickly.

King Elisgio

Perhaps the most passionate attendee to the Freshman tournament, King Elisgio took a quick liking to Smash 64. Perhaps a bit hindered by his choice of Ness for the tournament, he still made an impressive run through the tournament, and put up some great moments on stream. I hope he translates that enthusiasm into a drive for improvement!


SnomMan. What more is there to say? An instant fan favorite with thousands of fans in every tournament stream chat. I can’t see anything stopping this man on his path of destruction. God help anyone looking to take down the man, the myth, the legend – SnomMan.

All in all…

I think we can expect this season to be the best we’ve seen in Upstate to date. We’re headed for record breaking entrant counts, and tougher competition than ever before. I couldn’t be happier with the community we continue to grow, and I can’t wait for another year of exciting tournaments.

If you read all of the way through this article, thank you! I appreciate your interest, and I hope you stay engaged with our community. If you have any questions about our scene, reach out to me on Discord at Bobakanoosh#6505. If you’d like updates on our scene, follow my twitter @BobakanooshG. If you’d like to watch our tournaments, you can watch them live here on my twitch channel, bobakanoosh55555!

Email jayrbradley10@gmail.com or message HitchHikr#5860 on Discord if you have any article pitches or feedback for the site.

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