Gonzalo Raúl Barrios Castro
(born April 17, 1995),
known by his gamertag ZeRo
, is a Chilean
former professional Super Smash Bros.
player and streamer
. He was considered the best Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
player in the world throughout his career, with a record-breaking 56 consecutive tournament wins in the game from November 2014 to October 2015, including high-profile tournaments such as EVO 2015
and The Big House 5
. Prior to the release of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
, he was a top ranked Super Smash Bros. Brawl
and Project M
player. His best known characters are Diddy Kong
in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
in Project M
, Meta Knight
, and Fox
. He is the only player to have earned more than US$100,000 playing Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
Barrios retired from professional competition in July 2020 following allegations of sexting
two minors in 2014, which also led to Barrios' sponsors cutting ties with him. Barrios later publicly admitted to the allegations.
Life and career
2005–2011: Early life and Super Smash Bros.
Barrios was born in Chillán, Chile
As a child, Barrios was bullied and placed into a special needs program in school. Due to his family's financial issues and his own anxiety, he dropped out of school for three years. During this time, Barrios received a Nintendo GameCube
and would play speedruns
on Super Mario Sunshine
, as well as Super Smash Bros. Melee
with his older sister.
In 2006, Barrios began competing in Melee
tournaments in his Chilean hometown at a local game store.
In the following years, ZeRo regularly traveled between Chile, Argentina, and the United States to compete in regional and international Smash
tournaments and events.
In 2011, Barrios' sister died at age 27 due to complications from a brain aneurysm.
2011–2018: vVv Gaming and rise to professional Smash
Between 2011 and 2012, after competing in various local and regional Melee
tournaments, ZeRo was sponsored by Los Angeles-based vVv Gaming. In 2012, he began competing in professional esports
events including Apex
By early 2014, it was estimated that ZeRo was earning approximately US$40,000 a year from a combination of prize money, sponsorships
, and Twitch
ZeRo then qualified for the MLG Anaheim 2014
championship bracket and finished in 17th place. During this time, he was ranked by Melee it on Me
as the 35th best Melee
player in the world.
In June 2014, he won the Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
invitational at E3
, moving up through the winner's bracket and defeating Hungrybox
in the game's first-ever official tournament.
In November 2014, ZeRo criticized Diddy Kong's repetitive play style in Smash Bros. for Wii U
, claiming that Diddy was "killing the game".
However, ZeRo later retracted the statement and stated that Diddy Kong was his favorite character to play with, which eventually led to Diddy being his main character in tournaments.
At EVO 2015
, ZeRo defeated Mr. R in the largest Smash for Wii U
tournament to date. In the following month, Team SoloMid
announced ZeRo as the second player in their Super Smash Bros.
At The Big House
5, ZeRo faced off in the grand finals against Team Liquid's
Nairo. Despite a narrow escape from losses in the early tournament and a loss during the first set versus Nairo, ZeRo ended with a 3–2 win in the second set.
In MLG World Finals 2015
, ZeRo defeated Nakat, StaticManny, Ally, and ESAM, moving on to challenge Nairo
for the winner's bracket grand finals. There, Nairo took two sets off of ZeRo, ending ZeRo's reign at 56 consecutive victories.
ZeRo suffered from a growth on his middle finger in early 2016 that required surgical removal, and prevented him from playing Smash
for several months.
2018–2020: Partnerships, sexual misconduct allegations and cut ties
In January 2018, hours after ZeRo was once again ranked 1st on the Panda Global Rankings v4, ZeRo announced his hiatus from the Smash
competitive scene, citing a need for variation in his life and goals.
However, during this time he continued to be active in the Super Smash Bros.
community and continued streaming on his Twitch channel.
On November 7, 2018, ZeRo simultaneously announced his return to competitive tournaments for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,
as well as his signing to the Tempo Storm
On December 2, 2019, ZeRo announced that he has signed an exclusive streaming rights deal with Facebook
On July 3, 2020, ZeRo announced via Twitter
that he would be retiring from professional competition following allegations of sending sexual messages to minors when he was 19, and that he would also be ending all of his sponsorships.
This includes the incident in 2014, where ZeRo asked a 14-year-old girl to masturbate with ice and to take pictures. He later confessed that the incident was true and that he knew her age, but claims the second victim he spoke to earlier in 2014 lied about her age. ZeRo later made a statement on YouTube, saying he's sorry and is seeking therapy.
The following day, on July 4, 2020, Tempo Storm announced that they will be severing ties with ZeRo,
with Facebook following suit on July 5, and Twitch on July 23.
When Inven Global asked the team's CEO, Andrey "Reynad" Yanyuk, if he saw "a world in which ZeRo is able to rehabilitate himself and potentially re-join Tempo Storm in some capacity", he responded:
"I don't know, I don't like to speculate about the future. I just take things one day at a time, you know? I think ZeRo is a very different person today than he was when he wrote some Skype messages at 19 years old. I think he's had a lot of personal growth over the past few years that I've personally seen, so I'm optimistic about his ability to recover." 
2021–present: Post-scandal era
After months of silence, on March 23, 2021, ZeRo's girlfriend Vanessa announced on Twitter that he had attempted suicide and was sent in for further care after being treated in a hospital.
The Super Smash Bros.
community, while largely supporting his ban from the scene, was outpouring support to have him move on to the best of his ability as a human. On April 26, 2021, Barrios updated to the community that he successfully recovered from the hospital and has no intention to attempt suicide again.
However, on April 28, 2021, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
commentator Phil "EE" Visu posted an interview to Barrios about his life after the scandal came to light. Barrios mentioned that he received an injury that resulted in an inability to walk from motocross
for months. In addition, Barrios had a difficult time finding a job due to his scandal being revealed to the public, and in one instance was retracted an offer after a background check. While the reactions of the interview was largely positive based on Instagram and YouTube in the beginning, Twitter was largely negative while Reddit was mixed later in the day. Much of the criticism largely comes from the fact that Barrios did not own up to the scandal, did not give any indications of growth even with months of therapy, and talked about his personal unique circumstances throughout life much more. In addition, people believed that giving Barrios a platform in the Super Smash Bros. community defeats the purpose of the scandal being revealed to the public, even though Barrios mentioned he has no intention of returning ever. The interview has been taken down at the request of several people, including one of the victims of the scandal. 
Barrios truly moving on from the Super Smash Bros. community and growing as a person in a different industry remains to be seen, though with consideration of the added relative difficulty of being prevented to do so.
Awards and honors
ZeRo was considered the third best Brawl
player in the world by Clash Tournaments in the 2014 SSBBRank.
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Super Smash Bros. Wii U
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
- ^ Barrios, Gonzalo (May 18, 2011). "El Momento Smash de la Semana, con ZeRo - Episodio #3 Spacing". El Blog de ZeRo (in Spanish). Retrieved January 3, 2021. Guia hecha, escrita e ideada por ZeRo, Copyright © Gonzalo Raul Barrios Castro
- ^ Certificado de Nacimiento [Birth Certificate]. Chile: Civil Registry and Identification Service of Chile. 1995.
- ^ a b c Ocal, Arda (July 4, 2020). "Former Smash pro ZeRo admits to sending suggestive messages to minors". ESPN. Retrieved July 6, 2020.
- ^ Weaver, Jackson (July 9, 2020). "How one video game community is trying to 'police itself' amid sexual assault allegations". CBC. Retrieved May 2, 2021.
- ^ Brown, Desmond (March 26, 2021). "Former Super Smash Bros. Pro ZeRo Hospitalized". Screen Rant. Retrieved May 2, 2021.
- ^ a b D'Anastasio, Cecilia (October 19, 2017). "World's Best Smash 4 Player Is Worn Down By Haters And Harassment". Kotaku. Archived from the original on October 20, 2017. Retrieved July 6, 2020.
- ^ Torres, Juan Angel (June 18, 2014). "Gonzalo "ZeRo" Barrios: "Comencé a estudiar Smash en un ciber"". El Nortero. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
- ^ "Mediocridad: Ganas reales de mejorar" (in Spanish). Retrieved December 31, 2018.
- ^ "The Brawl of a Lifetime – Alongside vVv ZeRo at Apex 2012". VentureBeat. February 27, 2012. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
- ^ Lopez, Alan (May 16, 2015). "Feature: The Poor Career Choice of Super Smash Bros. Professionals". Nintendo Life. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
- ^ Lee, Daniel. "SSBM Rank 2014 (40-31)". Melee it on Me. Retrieved April 8, 2015.
- ^ TachyonXYZ, Super Smash Bros Wii U Invitational Tournament at E3!, retrieved December 31, 2018
- ^ LeJacq, Yannick (December 30, 2014). "Why Hardcore Smash Bros. Players Can't Stand Diddy Kong Right Now". Kotaku. Retrieved March 24, 2015.
- ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 30, 2015. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
- ^ Wolf, Jacob. "ZeRo joins Team SoloMid". dailydot.com. Daily Dot. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
- ^ https://smash.gg/tournament/the-big-house-5/bracketfvs/10302/2722/8091[permanent dead link]
- ^ "MLG | MLG World Finals 2015 Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Bracket". www.majorleaguegaming.com. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
- ^ "ZeRo Reveals the Finger Injury Preventing Him from Playing Super Smash Bros". Shoryuken. May 14, 2016. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
- ^ Guerrero, John (January 13, 2018). "'I'm not competing anymore, for now' - ZeRo announces his hiatus from competitive Smash 4". EventHubs.
- ^ "ZeRo returns to Smash, signs with Tempo Storm". ESPN.com. November 7, 2018. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
- ^ "ZeRo latest to leave Twitch; will stream for Facebook". ESPN.com. December 2, 2019. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
- ^ Michael, Cale; Byers, Preston (July 4, 2020). "ZeRo self-imposes ban from Smash events after allegations of sexual misconduct with minors". Dot Esports. Retrieved July 6, 2020.
- ^ "ZeRo - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
- ^ Michael, Cale (July 4, 2020). "Tempo Storm severs ties with ZeRo following admission of sexual misconduct". Dot Esports. Retrieved July 6, 2020.
- ^ "Twitch severs ties with Super Smash Bros. streamer ZeRo". July 29, 2020.
- ^ "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Tempo Storm CEO Reynad breaks down organization's approach to allegations surrounding ZeRo". InvenGlobal. July 21, 2020. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
- ^ "Former Smash Bros pro ZeRo reportedly in hospital after suicide attempt". Dexerto. March 25, 2021. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
- ^ "ZeRo's Update Post-suicide". Instagram. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
- ^ ""Take it down..."". Twitter. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
- ^ "Wayback Machine of "Take it down..." Tweet". Wayback Machine. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
- ^ "Exclusive ZERO Interview: Life & Wellness Update". YouTube. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
- ^ ""Can't tweet back at you all so here is a vid about the interview..."". Twitter. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
- ^ Chibo. "#SSBBRank 1 – 3: The Grand Finale". Clash Tournaments. Archived from the original on December 30, 2014. Retrieved March 24, 2015.
- ^ "ZeRo to be in Guinness Book of World Records". ESPN.com. September 9, 2016. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
Last edited on 18 May 2021, at 00:47
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