Fighting game brings students together

In Features, Gaming and Tech
( Katie Albertson / Daily Titan )
Jeffrey Quon (left) defeated Frank Cheng (right) in the first “Super Smash Bros.” tournament of the semester. Their game of choice was the fourth iteration of the “Super Smash Bros.” franchsie.
( Katie Albertson / Daily Titan )

More than 50 people filled the back corner of the Titan Student Union Underground last Tuesday. Other than a few side conversations, all eyes were focused on the six TVs, two “Super Smash Bros.” competitors at work on each screen.

The competitors, with hands moving at the speed of light, were impervious to distraction. The only sound was the audio from the game and the furious button mashing from the players.

“It is sort of a beauty in simplicity thing. The only thing on the screen you see is just two characters fighting,” said Bradley Heckman, a freshman majoring in biological sciences.

Starting this semester, the TSU Underground will host “Super Smash Bros.” tournaments every Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. The event includes two simultaneous tournaments: one for “Super Smash Bros. Melee” and another for “Super Smash Bros. for Wii U,” commonly referred to as “Smash 4.”

Joseph Badal, who has been a member of the CSUF Smash club for over a year, was one of the tournament organizers for this event.

“We weren’t expecting this many people to enter for the newest ‘Smash’ game,” Badal said.

The fighting game series began in 1999 with “Super Smash Bros.” on the Nintendo 64. Since then, three more games have spawned from the series: “Melee,” “Brawl” and “4.” Part of the series’ success is due to its roster of characters, which is primarily composed of characters from renowned Nintendo games such as Mario, Donkey Kong, Link, Kirby and Pikachu.

Heckman started playing casually with friends but began playing more competitively in 2015.

“It has kind of gone against the norm and done these really unique things that people are attracted to,” Heckman said. The game uses damage percentages instead of a traditional fighting game health bar.

Tournament participants shared their passion for the game through the thrill of competition. For most of the competitors, it was all business once the game started. Some of the players went so far as to wear headphones during their matches to eliminate any outside noise interference.

Despite the game’s competitive nature, players gave each other a handshake or fist bump before and after every match, talked strategy between matches and got excited about matches even after they had been eliminated.

Mina Varsoum, a freshman biological sciences major, has played since the series was first introduced. Varsoum joined the CSUF Smash Club on campus because he wanted to play more competitively.

“Most people I used to play were a bit too low on skill,” Varsoum said. “Now that I’m here, I get wrecked on a lot but it’s still fun.”

The “Smash” tournaments are open to anyone who wants to test their skill at the series.

Lonnie Hansen, a sophomore computer science major, saw the event notice the day of the tournament and decided to show up for the “Melee” portion. Hansen said as long as the tournaments continue to have “Melee,” he will be there.

“It’s nice because everyone here is going to the school right now so you have other things to talk about other than ‘Smash,’” Hansen said. “You can talk about your classes or talk about your major.”

The finals of the “Smash 4” tournament ended with little fanfare. There was no announcement that the finals were starting as both finalists picked the same character and the winner was nonchalantly announced as such.

Once the finals ended, two other players picked up the controllers and started playing for fun. For the CSUF “Smash” community, it’s not about who wins or loses. They do it for the love of the game.

Darylese Shook contributed to this article.

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