Club brings Super Smash Bros. and Fighting Game Tournaments to UMD

Panoramic shot of recent club event, courtesy of Nathan Johnson

Panoramic shot of recent club event, courtesy of Nathan Johnson

Anyone raised around the early 2000’s video game antics of Nintendo will likely know the now famous call of “SUPER SMASH BROTHERS!”

The Super Smash Bros. series, consisting of fighting games involving crossovers between mostly Nintendo characters like Mario, Link, and various Pokemon, has indeed become one of the companies best known creations.

The first iteration of the series was released in 1999 on the Nintendo 64, but new editions have been released with every major Nintendo console since, including the most recent Nintendo Switch.

The most recent release, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, was, “the most preordered game for the Switch and in the series,” according to Ryan Craddock of Nintendo Life and beat several of its predecessors in overall sales.

It is that wave of popularity and fan support that has helped a club form at UMD that dedicates itself to the Super Smash Bros. series.

Club members playing Smash, courtesy of Nathan Johnson

Club members playing Smash, courtesy of Nathan Johnson

Known officially as the Super Smash Bros. Club, though also known by names like Duluth Smash, UMD is indeed home to a club dedicated to the series. Members of Super Smash Bros. Club play the game in many different settings and socialize as a community in other ways, but the organizations core tradition is the holding of a monthly Super Smash Bros. Club tournament on-campus.

The club’s Bulldoglink page describes them as thus, “The Super Smash Bros. Club provides an opportunity for both casual and competitive players to enjoy the game through frequent Smashfests and monthly tournaments. Our goal is create and develop the Smash Bros. scene throughout the University of Minnesota”

The club was formed several years ago, coming to form from 2013 through 2014, but did not receive funding as a campus organization until 2018. Prior to that, the club was financed by its members, who paid for any and all technology, food, and other expenses related to their events.

The club has two formats for events, one being their weekly meetings every Wednesday from 6 to 11 pm, and the other being their monthly tournaments, usually played on a Saturday from 11 am to 5 pm. Both include members playing smash against one other, with the Wednesday meetings a more casual setup while the monthly tournaments are a bracketed tournament with a double knockout layout.

The club’s weekly meetings are held in LSBE 225. The club’s most recent monthly tournament was held in LSBE 135 on March 23rd.

Club President Nathan Johnson explained that the club has a core set up of games but also often expands to other party games.

Club members playing Smash, courtesy of Nathan Johnson

Club members playing Smash, courtesy of Nathan Johnson

“Mainly the two games we play are Smash Bros. Ultimate and Smash Bros. Melee,” said Johnson. “Those are the main two we cycle through. We definitely switch it up sometimes and play different games. Sometimes people bring an old Mario Kart set up or Mario Party.”

Johnson said that most events have a core 20 to 30 participants, but also often include an addition five to ten members who can only make a portion of the event, which often runs five to six hours.

“Influx we get something like 40 people, coming in and out, people can’t always play from 6 to 11,” Johnson said.

Johnson said “Smash provides a big stress relief, and video games in general, and a sort of escape from stress and school. People can just come and hang out. There’s even people that come and don’t play much. They just come to talk… We just provide a good welcoming environment for everyone. We have the theory of just come hang out… it’s just a relief from your week and a big group of friends.”

The club can be found and contacted via their Facebook page and the club also uploads streams of their events on to Youtube.

CultureDominic Bisogno