New Challenger Approaching: Students put their dukes up for Super Smash Bros. tournament


Two competitors “settle it in Smash.” A staple among e-sports circles, the Super Smash Bros. series is all about who can knock their opponent off the stage the hardest; a premise tailor-made for tournaments like the one held in Harper College’s Recreation Center, pictured here. (Photo by Alexis De Ocampo)

There’s nothing better than beating the absolute $#&% out of your peers… well, at least in video games, that is. Students came to battle against each other in a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament held in the Health and Recreation Center on Thursday, February 23.

The E-gaming room was filled with at least 22 people who attended the event, with 14 of them being tournament entrants. As people signed up, most set up their Nintendo Switches and controllers to television screens. Others talked to their peers and friends about the characters they are going to play as or who they will go up against.

Once the brackets were set, the competition went underway as people gathered around the couches. Student Ryan Zedak both hosted the tournament and was responsible for organizing the tournament’s brackets.

“It’s just a small tournament where others not only can show off their skills but have fun with each other and cheer people on,” Zedak said. “It’s also a drop-in tournament where anyone who drops by wants to participate can enter.”

But tournaments aren’t just for competitors: it’s also for people who want to support their friends, spectate the matches for entertainment, or both. 

Take, for instance, Harper student Jessica Hernandez: as a relatively new player when it comes to Smash Bros., throwing her hat into the ring wasn’t her primary motive for attending. Instead, she was cheering on a friend from the sidelines – and taking some mental notes while doing so.  

“I watched the people in the tournament use multiple combos, timing specific moves, and fully using their characters,” Hernandez said. “Not only was it helpful for me to watch these people play the game, I also had a good time and some fun watching my friend and the others compete.”. 

Since the game doesn’t use the traditional “health bar” system used in other popular fighting games like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, victory in Smash is achieved by being the last person standing via knocking out opponents off-stage or off-screen. According to many Smash aficionados, this creates more flexibility and variety in winning. 

The tournament was filled with cheers, screams, and gasps from the crowd during the matches: characters in the game were sent flying with every hit, bombarding the screen with flashy and colorful moves as battle music blasted its way out through the speakers. All the while, the competitors remained quiet, with eyes concentrated on the screen and fingers precisely tapping buttons and flicking joysticks. 

Those who were knocked out stayed to spectate the rest of the tournament, some even commentated some matches when certain plays were made.

The final match was a close tie with two wins each. But Chris Gonzalez won in the fifth round with Lucas, a character from the series Earthbound.

“It feels good to win. This is my first in-person tournament in a while: I competed in some online, I even got some money out of them,” Gonzalez said. “However, in those tournaments I didn’t get first place. The highest I placed was second. Winning the tournament really felt good since I’ve been getting back into the game after a year and half of not playing.” 

Initially, there was only meant to be one tournament. However, over the course of the first couple sets of matches, other students dropped by and wanted to join in.

Due to this sudden wave of new interest, Zadek decided to hold another one for anyone who dropped in during the first tournament: amongst the 10 competitors in this new bracket, it was Gonzalez who smashed his way to the top yet again to claim first place, this time while playing as Ness (who happens to be from the same series as Lucas). 

There aren’t any plans in place yet for when the next Super Smash Bros. tournament will take place: however, there is another drop-in tournament happening for Mario Kart on April 20. For more information, check out the campus recreation page.