Super Smash Brothers, a game that has enjoyed a tremendous amount of popularity since its release in 1999. Since then, however, the game has seen new installments and with each new addition its acclaim among gamers has risen and it is now considered by many a staple to the fighting video game genre. While Super Smash Bros. has been very successful worldwide, its reach has touched Bellarmine for many years. At breaks, before school and even during passing periods, handfuls of students can be seen battling each other in sometimes heated games. One of the most successful clubs on campus, The Smash Club, which consistently saw fifty or more students playing each week has been a predominant part of Bellarmine ever since the creation of the club. Last year the club hosted their first-ever Charity tournament dedicated to late would be senior Dylan Arnold who lost a battle with cancer in the summer of 2018. The tournament was a huge success with the majority of the matches played in the Bellarmine theatre with large spectator crowds. The tournament raised over $1,000 dollars for charity and was a huge success. There was little doubt that a second tournament would be held this year, but this all was put into jeopardy when Bellarmine’s campus closed.
When I sat down with The Smash Club moderator, Tyler Walker ‘20, I first asked how important it was to still have the tournament even with the school shut down, he replied, “It was really important to at least try to have it, and a lot of people really enjoyed the last one. Believe it or not, I have been asked when the charity stream would happen since October of 2019. So the school being shut down didn’t change much, I knew we still had to at least try and have it.” That trial proved to be a big success. The Smash Club hosted its first-ever online tournament with the proceeds raised donated to the financial aid office to help students continue to attend Bellarmine. However, it was not smooth sailing for the online tournament. Typically with an in-person tournament, there is minimal lag and any issues that arise are solved quickly. Once the tournament switched online a multitude of new variables complicated the event, ranging from internet issues, server delay, controller malfunctions, and communicating through emails. When asked about some of these issues Tyler said, “Obviously relying on home internet isn’t ideal but that wasn’t the main issue. The main problem was that a lot of people got disqualified because they did not show up for their matches. My first match Mason was not able to play which was sad but it allowed me to solve some internet issues which was a plus. But a bunch of other people didn’t show up and I was really looking forward to seeing them play so that was sad. It’s hard when you can’t talk to them in person and you don’t have their number so you have to rely on email.”
When the tournament was first announced there were many questions as to how and where the tournament would be hosted. Many streaming sites exist such as Twitch, Mixer, and even YouTube, but hosting a multi-hour broadcast like that requires several people on hand to monitor the stream and commentators to provide an extra dimension to the matches. Luckily Mr. Lum, Mr. DeLateur, and our very own Luke Wilhelm ‘20 were able to fill these positions and provide Bells with a brilliant stream. When asked about the decision to use Twitch Tyler said, “Originally we weren’t actually thinking about streaming it. We just thought of how we’re going to actually do it online. We used this website called Smash. GG which I was going to use no matter what because I thought it was a reliable site and perfectly suited what we wanted to do for a competitive tournament. It gave us a rule set to what people usually use in an actual tournament and at the same time, the website was simple enough to allow for someone who had never used it, to not get confused. We were always going to go with that and as far as streaming we were thinking of using Microsoft Teams but then the Bellarmine Minecraft charity stream happened and it worked really well, so we said oh cool let’s use Twitch, which ended up working out great.”
For many of us, school has not felt like regular school. Some reasons include not seeing one’s friends, teachers, and unable to participate in normal daily activities can seem monotonous. Along with stay at home orders which have turned our daily routines upside down, these past few months have truly tested the Bellarmine community. Nonetheless, a tournament like this can serve to provide a sense of routine, and getting to hear friendly voices and observe a video game can provide some much-needed positivity to a reality that seems to be so negative. When asked if the tournament provided a sense of normalcy, Tyler replied, “I hope it did, it was definitely really fun for me at least to talk with everyone. I got to play with people that I wouldn’t necessarily have been able to talk with outside of school because I don’t have their number, but when I passed them in the halls we would chat and catch up. I really hope the charity stream did what I think it did because we had casual games going on between teachers in between games, Mr. D even hopped on and played which was really cool. But I hope that it accomplished at least part of that, that was my main goal going in.”
All in all, the tournament was a huge success, it raised over $650 for Bellarmine financial aid and had 70 people tuned in to watch the final match. Even though they weren’t able to have the tournament in person, through the power of video games, competition, and the Bellarmine community, we were able to come together and host something special for one of our friends. Even though unprecedented times and several speed-bumps along the way the Smash Club was able to preserve and highlight the true spirit of the Bellarmine brotherhood.
Alex Clark editor and Chief, signing off.
A brief recap of the tournament.
The championship final saw Henry Lissner ‘20 take on reigning champion Anik Singh ‘20, with Henry upsetting Anik 3-1 and sending him to the loser’s bracket. However, Anik battled back and made his way through the loser’s bracket and claimed his rematch against Henry. The grand finals were highly contested with many of the games being decided by 1 stock (life) but Anik proved why he was the champion beating Henry 3-0 in the first set and then doing it again in the second set winning 3-0. For the back half of the tournament, Anik primarily used Ryu, his favorite character, and Henry used Pichu, and then switched to Zero Suit Samus for the last two matches.