Written by: Jonathan Clayton
On Sunday, February 17, Daniel “D-Lo” Lopez, Alex Young, Sam Hurley, Liam Watts, and Reagan Terral took a trip to Tulsa to compete in a Super Smash Bros Tournament, with many players from all over the metro area. This was the first off campus tournament students have played in since local tournaments have started taking place every other week on campus. I interviewed the group to find out what they enjoyed the most about the tournament and what the future holds for tournaments they will compete in.
I first asked each participant how they heard about the tournament. D-Lo told me “I joined a group on facebook called the Oklahoma Smash Scene, and tournament operators and businesses post opportunities to have tournaments in their venues and invite players with open invitations. This was an open invitation, anyone could play, with no age limit. It was a mix of people who wanted to show up. It was advertised and we jumped on board. No one directly told us about it, we sought it out.” The rest of the group heard about the tournament in the same way, through D-Lo.
My second question was what their favorite part of the tournament was, and each of them enjoyed different aspects of the event. D-Lo told me that both his favorite and least favorite part was the competition, playing against someone who you have not played against before, because you do not know what they can do, and they do not know what you can do. He also said it is nerve racking until you figure each other out, and the game comes down to whoever shows up. Alex Young told me that he enjoyed “how easy it was to connect with people and how the competitive atmosphere made this easier.” Sam Hurley enjoyed talking with the other competitors, and Liam Watts said he enjoyed hanging out with the boys.
Third, I asked the group if they performed as they expected to, and each one felt their performance was good, but could have been better. D-Lo got fourth and said that he did not expect to finish that high but that his original expectations were to win at least one game. He did not know what to expect or who would show up, so he had low expectations to avoid disappointment. Alex said, “I was hoping to do better but there were a lot of really good people.” Sam told me that he did not perform as well as he had hoped. Liam also felt that he could have done better. Reagan could not comment on his performance, as he was not able to play.
My fourth question was whether anything special happened at the tournament. D-Lo said, “For me, I feel like something special was my placement. I got top four at my first tournament ever, which is special for me, because there were some very good players there. More than that, it was special to me because it told me that I easily could have won the whole thing”. Alex told me that he thought it was special making new friends and getting excited for the future. Sam said that “The connections that I saw at the tournament were pretty special”. Liam also thought the friendships the group made were special.
Fifth, I was curious about the future of the group’s attendance at tournaments, and each member was excited to continue playing in them. D-Lo told me that there are upcoming tournaments, one in Kansas, another at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, and they would like to host a tournament on the OKWU campus. The rest of the group is looking forward to future tournaments and is actively seeking out even more to compete in.
Last, I asked for advice for fellow players, and each one had similar things to say. D-Lo’s advice was “Keep playing. My number one piece of advice for anyone who has the desire to improve at this game or any game—or anything that they feel passionate about—is to get uncomfortable. Play in an environment that doesn’t normally fit you, because there is nothing like being uncomfortable in the middle of a smash game. That is the true test of your abilities that allows them to show themselves.” He also said to “Play as many people as you can, especially those you would consider better than you, but if the gap between the two players is too wide you may not learn as much. Pick someone who challenges you but is someone you know you could possibly beat. Once you beat them, move on to someone harder and keep pushing.” He also said that recording your games can be helpful in seeing how you play so you can improve.
Alex said to “Go out and have fun. Play characters you are comfortable with.” Sam said to simply go after what you want, and try to move past the nervousness of it, and that it is completely worth your effort. Liam said to pick a main character to play with and believe in it and continue to practice; attitude is everything.
This tournament was the beginning of something exciting that will continue to develop on campus. The possibility for growth is there, and D-Lo told me that anyone is invited to join in future tournaments. He said they would love to take more than four people next time, and that people should try it to see if they have something good that they can do with the game. In the coming weeks, I hope to see more about this and continue to follow this exciting story.