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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Tackling the Tucson ‘Super Smash’ tourney

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    Alex McIntyre
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    A large part of life entails learning how to lose, but “losing” and “fun” don’t go hand-in-hand. “Losing” and “anger” or “frustration” are much more common binaries. Some of the more colorful fights in my life came as a result of losing to my brothers in video games, from “Madden” to “Halo.” The “Super Smash Bros.” video game series transcends winners and losers.

    Perhaps this is because the creators of “Super Smash Bros.” never intended it to be played competitively, but it could simply be a result of the “Smash” community absorbing all the positive byproducts of video games and rejecting the unsavory bits. (See: throwing controllers in frustration, language-not-acceptable-for-print, gloating over a defeated opponent, etc.) Make no mistake, though: This weekend, I got my ass kicked.

    Every Sunday, The Retro Room on Fort Lowell Road hosts a “Super Smash Bros. 4” tournament, and this past week, I decided to enter. After arriving at 1:30 p.m., I entered The Retro Room and meandered back to the dimly lit tournament room with curiosity and apprehension. Once my eyes adjusted to the darkness, a gamer’s paradise revealed itself: the walls covered with old game systems, arcade games and the setup for the “Smash Bros.” tournament. Two TVs and a projector played host to the “Smash” matches. Roughly 15 contestants littered the room.

    I’ve been playing “Smash” since the second grade when “Smash” on the Nintendo 64 proved to be the game of choice for all-nighters. This seemed to be common among the competitors. Cameron Solem, an optical science graduate student, has also been playing since the Nintendo 64 days, and enjoys the game “for the unique fighting — the free flowing combat allows for more options and mobility.”

    After all the players entered their names and those in charge configured the brackets, the matches began. Each matchup consisted of a best of three under-two-stock games. Each stock in “Smash” is a “life.” In a head-to-head matchup, the first player to take two stocks from their opponent (either by knocking them so far off the stage they cannot recover, or by “smashing” them off the stage completely) wins. Best two-out-of-three games moves on, and, in the double elimination setup, the defeated moves to the losers’ bracket for a chance at redemption.

    The “Smash” competitors went out of their way to accommodate beginners, making sure no one felt out of place.

    My first match took place up on the projector, and I was up against a player whose username was SFA_JA3. I should’ve known I was in trouble as SFA_JA3 was sporting a Yoshi T-shirt and some Beats headphones that help him reach what I assume was “full-on Smash Zen”. I chose to play as Marth, an easy character to play, and my opponent went with Yoshi. After a furious ballet of swords and egg bombs, Yoshi came out on top. I managed to put up a decent fight and managed to take a stock off of SFA_JA3.

    In the losers’ bracket, I faced my next opponent: a quiet assassin who went by the name of Mr. Quentin (real name: Quentin). Quentin was rocking Pikachu, while I chose Marth again. Mr. Quentin didn’t have much trouble with me, although in the first match, he managed to fall off the stage and lose a stock; I told him I was definitely taking credit for that.

    In the second game, Mr. Quentin eviscerated me in a surgical beat-down that I have since scrubbed from my mind. After my defeat, my friend, Cameron, came over and gave me some tips on playing Marth. Yet another instance of a “Smash” player looking out for newer players. What were Cameron’s tips? I would tell you, but everyone knows you don’t share trade secrets in public.

    Final score: Smash Gone Retro 2, Alex 0. I managed to lose eight stocks while taking two, and one of those was the other player falling, but hey, that just means I have plenty of room for improvement. In the end, Andrew Ryan, tournament organizer and Arizona’s No. 2-ranked player, took the title of Smash Gone Retro champion for the 12th consecutive time. Winners and losers appear to be so black-and-white, but that’s not what “Smash” is about. The real takeaway was just how fun and encouraging the entire community at Smash Gone Retro was. I can honestly say I’ve never had so much fun getting destroyed.

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    Follow Alex Furrier on Twitter.

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