Everyone was crammed into the dimly lit room. Around them were several projectors, each of them playing a game. Game consoles varied from old classics like the Sega Dreamcast to the latest generation such as the Wii U.
One crowd of gamers were playing Marvel Vs. Capcom 2. Another were playing Dead or Alive 5. Others were playing Killer Instinct. Two projectors were playing Super Smash Brothers.
No doubt, everyone was having a good time. Club president Chris Mason Hale noted in particular the popularity of Super Smash Brothers, “We try to change it up, but…it’s what [people] come for.” Vice President Linda Brainerd added, “We have such a high volume of club participation, Smash Brothers seems to be the best choice because you have the capability of playing [with] up to eight people at one time. Nevertheless, they also voiced their enthusiasm for other games such as Super Street Fighter and Pokken Tournament.
Brainerd went on to describe her favorite parts of video game club. “It is the aspect of bringing people together that are like-minded and see them make friends.” Hale agreed, “A lot of people who come to club, I don’t think would be in the same groups without the club. I think we introduce a lot of people who normally wouldn’t cross paths…”
Secretary Quentin Stefano said “My favorite aspect is the community itself. We are a very big organization on the campus, one of the biggest. We are also one of the friendliest. We welcome anyone and everyone to our club.”
The star of the show was definitely Super Smash Brothers. The colorful, quirky fighter was the biggest draw by far, and many were lined up to play it. Whether it was competitive or casual play, Smash Brothers was at the top of the list.
Super Smash Brothers was first introduced on the Nintendo 64. Designed as a budget game, it quickly became popular with gamers around the world. While the first game was not well-known for its competitive scene, it did find an audience.
Unlike most fighting games, which rely on depleting your opponent’s health through attacks, the main goal of Super Smash Brothers is to knock your opponents out of the ring. As a character takes damage, they are launched further and further away from the attack. This act of “launching” a character offscreen is the main way that players deplete a set stock of lives. Once the stock is depleted, the player is considered defeated.
The competitive scene really came into its own upon the release of the game’s sequel, Super Smash Brothers Melee. Improved game mechanics, new characters, and a tournament-friendly style of play made it a go-to favorite for tournament players. Even to this day, Super Smash Brothers Melee is being played competitively.
Melee’s popularity with the community has resulted in tournament communities cropping up around the world. At anime conventions, Melee is often one of the top games played competitively. People line up with their old Nintendo Gamecube controllers just to play the fabled game.
Upon the release of the Nintendo Wii, fans were greeted with teases for a new game. The game, Super Smash Brothers Brawl, was the third and most controversial edition of the game. Support within the tournament community was not as strong as it is for Melee.
There are several reasons for this. The addition of a “tripping” mechanic in Brawl felt that power was being taken away from the players. Additionally, the physics were changed to a “floatier” style, making people fight more defensively. The addition of “Meta Knight” has been widely scorned by the community and most tournaments explicitly ban the character from use.
However, when the Wii U came out, another Super Smash Brothers looked quite promising. Super Smash Brothers for Wii U, colloquially called “Smash 4” was well-received by critics and fans alike. This version also came out with a companion version for the Nintendo 3DS. Several of the fans’ biggest gripes were officially dealt with in Smash 4. The tripping mechanic was removed and several characters were altered or “nerfed”.
This edition of Smash Brothers also had downloadable content or “DLC”, characters and stages that were added into the game after launch. One example is the popular Cloud Strife from the video game Final Fantasy VII, as well as the sultry Bayonetta who has graced the console with Bayonetta 2.
Regardless of whether it was Smash, Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, or any of the other games at the club – it was clear that everyone was having fun and getting to know each other. With such an enjoyable pastime, it’s clear that the club has a bright future ahead of it.