By Salmaan Farooqui
Thought you knew how to play Super Smash Bros? Think again.
A group of Ryerson students got together at the SCC last Sunday for the first Ryerson-only Super Smash tournament – with the aim to crown Ryerson’s best Super Smash player.
Set up in the SCC’s basement with four old school 4:3 TV’s -HDTV’s lag out the gameplay because of conversion- and four gamecubes running Super Smash Bros Melee, the gaggles of couches, chips and soda make it a nostalgically comforting spot.
Chris Kowalski and Daniel Platnick, two competitors in the 21-man competition explain to me why they play Melee on the Gamecube, as opposed to the newer versions of the game.
“(Super Smash) Brawl is good for casual gaming with a large group of people,” explains Platnick in the midst of mashing at his controller.
Melee has a whole seperate following of the game that exploits different gaps in the game’s dynamics. as a result, players movements are intensely quick. A lot of moves that weren’t originally intended to be in the game by developers, but were found by players, require to be done perfectly, with players having to mash three buttons in sequence in perfect timing – which can be about 1/60th of a frame.
As a result, gameplay ends up looking like a ridiculous mashing, while in reality, it’s a lot of precise movements all placed together to form a strategy.
During practice, Kowalski and Platnick’s bodies are quivering with every move, as they mention that there are well over 200 inputs a minute.
As the event itself starts, only seven of the players end up being no-show’s, including a man that the group calls “Hammertime,” a player rated at Top 10 in Ontario for Super Smash
That’s another thing about super smash players,” Chris adds.
As the semi-finals run down, Platnick is neck and neck with his friend Kowalski. After two rounds that have the entire room yelling in excitement, Kowalski comes out victorious.
In the final, hands and fingers jump across the players’ controllers violently, but the end of two straight hours playing gamecube in a basement has Kowalski as the winner of the unofficial club’s first tournament.
“Super Smash Melee is blowing up right now,” says Sean Lannon, another tournament member only half-jokingly. “It came out in 2001, and people are still picking it up, and with all the experts, the skill cap is basically infinite, it’s such a precise game.”
For Junile Olazo, the organizer of the event, the tournament is the first of many. He hopes that the group can turn into an official Ryerson club with its own allocated space.
“What happens now is that all of our TV’s and setups, we have to bring them from home or leave them out here at the SCC basement,” Olazo explains. “For us to have a room would be so great because we could store all our setups and we could come all the time.”
The tournament is the first step in creating what Olazo calls a PR system, a way of ranking Ryerson’s best Super Smash players.
With their first competition at a close, they’re already on the way to planning more tournaments during the summer.