Sophomore, Biology major
Sophomore, Biology major
The UF Smash Bros Community
Most of us have played Super Smash Bros at least once. In fact, a group of players liked the game so much that they started a Smash Bros community on campus. At 7:00 PM every Friday, these UF students bring in their CRT TVs, GameCubes and Wiis to Turlington Room L011 to play Super Smash Bros Melee. They play other versions of the game called “Project M” (a mod of Smash Bros Brawl) and Super Smash Bros 4, but focus mainly on Melee.
Gator Gaming hosts Smash Conferences every Friday. Their main goal is to “host upscale gaming events and unify the community by doing so.” Twins Dominique and Diamond Overstreet set up Twitch streams for tournaments and also work with a team to organize the brackets for Melee competitions. Senior Alani Ilori, who works for the advertising department of Gator Gaming, helped the community grow through social media by placing their logo in strategic places, which allowed them to host events. “We’re trying to be the largest gaming organization and are working to legitimize our community, scene, and culture.” said Ilori. She added how “By bringing this community together we can break the video gamer stereotype and show the social and unifying side of gaming.” The community began in summer 2013 with only nine people in the group. There was no live stream or crowd but as the Melee community grew, it started to gain student recognition.
I’ve played a little bit of Melee with my roommate so I borrowed his GameCube controller and signed up to play in the tournament. Turns out the tournament for that week was actually Smash 4 instead of Melee so I was in for a surprise.
While waiting for the tournament to begin, I noticed how diverse the community was. People from various majors and background gathered because of a common interest. Juan Debiedma, a senior chemical engineering major, is a nationally ranked Melee player who has won numerous competitions. Debiedma, who goes by the gamer tag “Hungry Box,” told me how “There’s always a competitive scene in Melee. In the local Melee community, there is less pressure on me even though the competition is live streamed on Twitch.” Debiedma noted how being away from tournaments with high stakes was a nice contrast and how he could wind down with his fellow Gators.
I was called up to play in the first streamed match for that Friday and faced a player named “Blue.” Blue was a polite guy with bright blue hair. After chatting and shaking hands, we began the match. Seeing that it was the first time I ever played Smash 4, I quickly lost to the more experienced Blue.
Despite losing, I had a ton of fun talking with Blue and the other players. In my opinion, the best experience I had that Friday was just playing friendly battles with people I didn’t know and cracking jokes at each other’s crazy moves in the game. The UF Smash Bros community is a fun and laid-back organization that grows every semester. Despite the times when someone loses in a close match, the people are cordial and eager to chat. The crowd in this gaming community is more diverse than one would think and, when unified with a common interest in Smash Bros, it is easy to see why the people here can wind down after a long week of classes and exams, having some fun playing video games with each other.