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Super Smash Bros. ultimate tournament sees smashing success

Courtesy Fernando Tamames

By Shreya Challa     4/17/24 12:00am

The Super Smash Bros. Club held their second annual ultimate tournament Friday, April 12. Club president Jashun Paluru said all Smash players were welcome, regardless of ability, experience or involvement in the club. The event was held in collaboration with Owls After Dark, a late-night activity series headed by the Rice Student Center, at the Rice Memorial Center’s Grand Hall.

Paluru said that the goal of the tournament was to get more people to play Smash.

“I think people have tried and played, but a lot are like, ‘I’m not that good.’”

Paluru, a Sid Richardson College sophomore, said. “We want to foster a beginner-friendly environment where people can come and feel comfortable playing Smash and hanging out.”

According to Paluru, the club usually hosts smaller tournaments every other week and tournament watch parties. He said planning for the event started before spring break. 

“I’ve never planned a tournament of this scale before, so it’s super helpful having notes from last [year’s event] … It’s been super seamless,” Paluru said. “In terms of communication, [Owls After Dark] is great to work with whenever we’ve had difficulties come up or issues that we need to resolve. Other people in the club are always super willing to help out, which makes it really easy to plan.”

According to Paluru, the tournament had over 70 participants, starkly higher than the club’s usual attendance of 20 at regular club tournaments and meetings. Paluru said that the most challenging part of planning the tournament was the advertising, which included flyers and GroupMe announcements. 

“My favorite part has just been seeing it come along into a fully cohesive event,” Paluru said. “[We’d have] spaces for people to hang out, eat food and mingle, so it [was] a pretty social event, atypical of Smash players.”

Participant Ashton Lee said that the tournament was run professionally and that despite his lack of skill, he enjoyed casually playing.

“I would say I’m a regular, but not good, Smash player,” Lee, a Martel College sophomore, said. “It was cool to see the games and see my friends do pretty well. I was there for the experience … and man, did I learn that Rice has some really skilled, top-tier players.” 

Justin Kim, a club board member, said that he played Super Smash Bros. in high school but wanted to get more involved in college, even going beyond Rice to play in collegiate tournaments. 

“We’re just a bunch of people wanting to play video games with a weird ambition to run a big tournament without any prior experience,” Kim, a Baker College senior, said. “It’s pretty exciting to play new people and also see friends who I didn't know play the game come out.”

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