Getting involved in a competitive gaming scene can seem extremely daunting. Even good players can feel discouraged with the knowledge and elite skill many competitive players possess, but this is not how a group of competitive gamers at Kansas State want new players to feel.
Super Smash Bros., a beloved Nintendo series where characters from various game franchises duke it out in battle, has a competitive scene that spans all over the world.
K-State’s group of competitive Smash players is just what you would expect any group would be at this campus: friendly and inviting to any newcomers. Many of the group’s members have been playing since they were young, but the group is open to anyone who wants to play casually or competitively.
The Smash group meets on Fridays at 7:30 p.m. to play Super Smash Bros. 4. It costs $2 to enter a tournament, but players are welcome to come and play casually for free.
The group is primarily run by a few players who go by Paladin, Very Freezer and Volegase.
Volegase, also known as Forrest Jenkins, graduated from Witchita State with a teaching degree and was asked to help run the group once he moved to Manhattan. Volegase had a reputation as a tournament organizer that ran the Witchita scene while he was in school.
Paladin is Kyle Ingram, senior in mathmatics. He sets up the tournament brackets and handles entry fees. Paladin announces the schedule of games once the brackets are complete and the players get to work.
This group uses the same rules used in professional tournaments. For Super Smash Bros. Melee, each player has four lives, also known as stocks, with an eight-minute game clock. Players in Smash 4 have two stocks with a six-minute game clock. It’s okay if you lose once because the tournaments are double elimination.
You can play in a solo tournament or play doubles with a teammate. Players who get first and second place win money from the entry fees while third place earns their $2 back.
Many players in the group talked extensively about tournament experiences that served as a moment of learning, moment of triumph and even moments of silliness. Winning a tournament is always great, but these players are here for more than just being the best.
“I love how this group comes together regardless of any kind of status,” Paladin said. “Freshman or senior, English or biology major, conservative or liberal, girl or boy, competitive or casual—we’re just here to play some Smash Bros. and forget about everything else.”
Other universities have similar Smash groups to K-State’s. The University of Kansas has the largest group with the best skill, according to Volegase. Paladin argues this is because KU is closer to Kansas City, which serves as the “central hub” for Smash in Kansas.
In true K-State fashion, the players in this group had a lot to say about its kindness and welcoming vibe.
“We are definitely the friendliest, I can assure that,” Volegase said.
Now might be the best time ever to join the group since Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the newest game in the franchise, was released Friday.
If you want to get better at the game, show your moves in a tournament or just play for fun, show up to room 1118 in the Engineering Complex every Friday at 7:30 p.m. Try to bring your controller, but it’s no sweat if you can’t—someone can always lend you one.