The action. Timeless characters. Eternal glory. Nostalgia for the days when you’d race home on a Friday afternoon, switch on that chunky old television and fight with your brother over who got the best Gamecube controller. All of this and more is available on Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. in Euler 130, as friends and rivals alike gather for competitive Super Smash Bros. Melee Tournaments.
All skill levels are welcome at these weekly tournaments. The nearly 18-year old game is set up on old box-like TVs called CRTs, and the event always starts with about 30 minutes of socializing and playing a few non-tournament matches called "friendlies.”
The actual tournament follows, as everyone is assigned a seed to determine their place in the bracket. Students play their sets against each other until one victor remains.
“If you enjoy Super Smash Bros., then you won’t regret coming to this event,” said senior Andrew Wulf, who has enjoyed the tournaments. “It’s a chill environment with great people.”
Silas Vinson set up the tournaments in the spring of 2018, along with Indiana Wesleyan student body president Aaron Scott. The pair met at a tournament in Indianapolis two summers ago and later decided to host their own tournaments on Taylor's campus. Vinson knew some other students who played Melee, so he knew there would be some interest.
Vinson and Scott decided to aim high with their first tournament, so they reserved the Euler atrium on the first Saturday of spring semester last year. They were encouraged by the turnout as the event drew players from all over Indiana and surrounding states, totalling to approximately 80 entrants, about ten of which were from Taylor.
From there, they began hosting smaller tournaments every Monday night in Euler 130, which averaged about 15 attendees from Taylor and the surrounding area. They changed the time to Saturday afternoons to make it easier for people to fit into their schedules.
“I started these tournaments as a way for people with a shared interest to connect,” Vinson said. “It's a time to step away from the busyness of life and just have a good time . . . What I want people to take away from these tournaments is that there are so many different ways to fellowship with others on campus, and any hobby can be an opportunity to connect with others.”
Senior Ryan Houck’s favorite part of the Melee tournaments is hanging out with other guys around campus who also play Melee. He played competitively in high school and thought nobody else at Taylor played for the first two and a half years of his attendance.
He loves watching people’s playstyles evolve by adapting to other players' tendencies and improving their skills. Since the tournaments only started a semester ago, the Melee scene is certainly still developing at Taylor, but he is interested in already seeing some placement shifts within the TU Smash rankings.
“These tournaments are for everybody who's a fan of Smash Bros.,” Houck said. “We have a pretty wide range of skills, from people who have recently started playing the game seriously to Top 10 Indiana players that frequent our tournaments. Plus (stylized as "+") and Phrigid have come to our weeklies frequently, and we've also seen Rik (best player in the state; 82nd in the world) and Toast come to our tournies . . . Even if you haven't ever gone to a Smash tournament, you're welcome to come and play with us! Just bring a controller, a dollar, and a willingness to learn about the game!”
For more information, please contact Silas Vinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.