Full Bloom 4 Was The Event You Missed This Weekend
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Full Bloom 4 Was The Event You Missed This Weekend

Smashers come from near and far.

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Full Bloom 4 Was The Event You Missed This Weekend
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In the high arching walls of Alumni Hall, two gods of Melee sit and stare. Joseph “Mang0” Marquez and William “Leffen” Hjelte prepare their hands for a runback of their previous set, a 3-0 drubbing by Leffen. The crowd, anxious and yelping, barks out battle cries for either side.

“Get ‘em Mang0!” A man in a backwards hat shouts.

“Come on, Big Leff!” A child in Leffen’s jersey replies.

When the handwarmers are done, the set is upon us. A loud metallic ping echoes across, signaling the beginning of something magical.

Full Bloom 4 was this past weekend in Bloomington, Indiana. And boy, was it the event of the Melee season. On Saturday, 40 of the top 100 Super Smash Brothers Melee players in the world, accompanied by throngs of other players and fans, came together to celebrate, and more importantly, to beat the crap out of each other. In video games, of course. It was the event to watch this weekend in Indiana. In the midst of a huge snowfall, hundreds of us flooded into Alumni Hall and surrounded CRT TVs and Gamecubes with controllers in hand. Booths filled with artwork and buttons were placed next to large scale controller repair shops, little outposts with controller casings, knobs and buttons, for when something inevitably broke.

For an event with Bloom in the title, the Indiana weather reminded us all that it has no gods, no masters. It follows its own rules.

Online, as many as 34 thousand people at a time tuned into the MeleeEveryday stream to watch some of the most high-octane, over-the-top sets of Smash ever recorded. Offline, the crowd was rowdy, jawing at the top players, screaming at the top of their lungs. The atmosphere was electric and every single sound was amplified by the sheer size of Alumni Hall. The echo was almost overwhelming. When the crowd pops off for Mang0 at the end of his set with Leffen, the whole building shook with applause.

Away from the game itself, everyone relaxes. Top players mingle with fans. They sign autographs but also have real conversations. The victor of the tournament, Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma, came down from the stage to thank a local players for all the practice he had given him over the span of two days. When the whole tournament was gone and over with, everyone got their payouts from the tournament organizers, everyone went out to eat together.

If you’ve never watched a Melee tournament before, all of this must sound like complete nonsense, watching people play a video game for fun. The rush of watching someone land a flashy combo really only makes sense if you understand how difficult it is to pull off. Someone who has never attempted to play the game at a high level could never understand the strain it puts on your mind and body. It’s like when people cheer for their football team, because they are really putting it all out there for the fans. The Full Bloom staff did an amazing job of showcasing the community in a way that even other tournaments didn’t.

I don’t expect this to make sense to most. It’s the community aspect, the feeling of everyone coming together to put on this wonderful show for us all, that makes it so enticing to come and be a part of. I received a rubber bracelet and a lanyard with the Full Bloom logo on it, little memories of the time I spent being a part of something much bigger than myself.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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