Everybody loves Smash Bros. And everybody's group has "that guy" who's just way better than everyone else. You know, the guy that turns all the items off and wouldn't be caught dead in Hyrule Temple. Sure, he may seem unbeatable, but how does he really stack up against Champaign's finest?
Enter Show Me Your Moves 16, Champaign's premiere of the Super Smash Bros tournament. Entrants could compete in one of four Smash games (64, Melee, Project M, and Wii U) for a shot at the prize money. Over 300 unique players came to show off their skills, including nationally renowned players such as Lucky, Junebug, and Duck. Most tournaments are run through the student-run organization, The Smashing Illini. The organization was started last year by Alexander Merza, and is a tight-knit and diverse group of students who are united through their passion for Smash. I spoke to Merza about the organization's smashing popularity.
"The Scene went from having zero consistent tournaments to having a regional monthly, and bi-weeklies for Melee, PM and Smash 4. The scene has absolutely exploded since I started The Smashing Illini a year ago. We had 550 people sign up on Quad Day. House of Paign VI is on Halloween, and we have Bi-weeklies for each game as well," Merza said.
Merza and the rest of The Smashing Illini hope that even more new players join the scene. He knows that incoming players might experience tournament nerves, but says that they're a vital part of the competitive process.
"My piece of advice as a Ganondorf man is that you're going to start off going 2 and out at each tournament. For a while. Everyone does and the people that you see winning everything are the people that stuck around no matter how much or how badly they lost."
He's not wrong. I've always considered myself to be a good player, but at my first few tournaments, I got stomped hard. Even though I didn't make it very far into the bracket, the atmosphere was always friendly and accepting. Experienced players are usually willing to play friendly matches and offer advice. I kept practicing and attending tournaments, and eventually I made it into top 30 out of 100!
The Smashing Illini tournaments provide players of all skill levels a place to hone and test their skills. Still think "that guy" can stand up to the competition? Bring him along and settle it in Smash!