William and Mary Smash Club provides gamers with a venue for making friends while smashing opponents

In the depths of Tazewell Hall, a group gathers around a few old CRT televisions. What follows is an experience that causes sweat to flow and hands to become sore. This is Smash.

Many students at the College of William and Mary have either played, or at least come across, Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. at some point in their life. Super Smash Bros., or “Smash” as it is moer commonly known, is a 2D fighting game franchise first created by Nintendo in 1999. Since then, it has become one of Nintendo’s bestselling video game series.

Smash involves characters from a variety of other Nintendo franchises that players can choose to fight with. The game’s objective is to knock your opponent out of the arena and to achieve the most damage possible in the shortest amount of time, without suffering damage yourself.

The members of the College’s Smash club have varying levels of skill and experience.

“I was the best player in my high school,” Jigglypuff player Will Siegmund ’19 said. “I was a big fish in a tiny pond, whereas now I am a little fish in a big pond.”

I thought I would win easy… He crushed me. People don’t realize how hardcore this game can get.

This is the Smash club’s first semester as an official campus organization, though it existed unofficially last semester. The Smash club unofficially began when members of the discontinued Competitive Gaming Club decided that they wanted to form a club dedicated specifically to playing Super Smash Bros.

Now it has roughly 100 members, with a core of around 30 dedicated players who run the day-to-day business of the club. Seigmund said he decided to join the club when he challenged club president and Princess Peach player Arjun Malhotra ’17 to a one handed match.

“I thought I would win easy,” Seigmund said. “He crushed me. People don’t realize how hardcore this game can get.”

The club has weekly sessions on Friday in the basement of Tazewell that last from 2 p.m. until 2 a.m., and club members will drop in when convenient to play. There are also impromptu sessions during the week that usually are organized through the club’s Facebook page.

… Smash club members bond over the competitive drive and the love of the game.

Every Saturday during the semester, members attend a regional Smash tournament. As Super Smash is geared toward one-on-one gameplay, attendants in the tournament compete as individuals, coming from around the area.

According to Malhotra, these tournaments are a key part of the Smash club.

“The whole point of the club is to teach players how to play competitively,” Malhotra said. “We teach our new members terms and techniques necessary for playing Smash on a competitive level.”

Whether a member is a Fox player who utilizes hit and run tactics or a Captain Falcon player who uses powerful attacks and excellent combo ability to punish their opponents, Smash club members said they bond over the competitive drive and the love of the game.

“Smash has a very big social component because there is no online gameplay, meaning you have to play against other people in person,” Falco player Ciaran Lowell ’19 said. “My favorite thing about Smash club is hanging out with the guys.”



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