The scores of televisions, boisterous roar of the crowd, and the simple joy playing video games with random people. These are just a few of the superb factors that made the experience at Shuffle VIII something to remember.
Competing in an event with almost 400 other competitors vying for the winnings across four games can certainly be a daunting task, especially when the majority of the opposition has been playing for several years. However, not everyone can win a tournament of that stature. For the lion’s share of the competitors, they have to determine their own goals. These goals can range from taking the winning title, to avoid getting absolutely mullered in pools.
Overall, everyone has the same goal- to improve and have fun. Kyler “XYK” Curtis, An Ohio Super Smash Bros. Player said, “These [The Community] are the people who will become your friend, encourage you, teach you, and make you a better player.”
(Photo Credit: Ryan Mayle)
Playing video games and competing in events is an easy way to meet and connect with other people with similar interests. These are people you may meet every once in awhile in passing, hang out with on occasion, or become some of the best friends you’ll ever have. Curtis elaborated by saying, “I always look forward to seeing all of the friends I have made over the years I have been playing Smash. These majors are a great way to bring the whole family together and they create great memories. I have made so many friends in my Smash travels and it really is one of my favorite aspects of going to tournaments.” Dylan “LiveWireWarrior” Fraley, head of eSports Initiative and Tournament Operator said, “I’ve been playing video games my whole life, made numerous lifelong friends playing Halo, Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, online text games, you name it I’ve probably made a friend playing it. There is something so special about playing games competitively and pushing yourself to clutch out against your opponent and I think it helps build confidence and can be a great way of developing discipline.”
For high level players, the goal is to place highly in the tournament. Curtis said, “This was the first major doubles tournament I have ever won for Project M and teaming with Hyperflame was a blast.” Curtis followed up by saying, “I am very thankful that he teamed with me and was ecstatic that we were able to beat teams like Fizzle and Drephen as well as Thunderzreignz and RedX.”
(Photo Credit: Ryan Mayle)
An event of this caliber needs a leader at the helm to lead the project as well as considerable amount others to help accommodate these needs. Fraley said, “I try to break down event planning into the simplest ideas possible, people tend to overthink things like floor plans, registration, schedule by breaking down those problems into their simplest forms it becomes much easier to create a streamlined event.” Along with all of the physical planning that is required, there is also a challenge to get the word out about the event. When it comes to hosting an event, it’s no longer just putting up posters around the city, it’s a whole social media campaign. Fraley explained, “Event promotion is something that gets easier the more followers you gain on social media but Facebook is the most powerful tool right now for Smash promotion. There are so many Smash groups and I currently have a list of the total members and every group I’m a member of that is Smash related.”
Tournament Organizers have the job to make sure everyone is satisfied. This means making sure there are enough set ups to run at an optimal level, make sure that pools and brackets are seeded properly. This also entails that everyone can find their pools and matches. Fraley said, “At the most basic level Round Robin Pools are used for Smash so players all across the country can come together and have the opportunity to play between 4-7 matches against players they would otherwise never get to play against.”
(Photo Credit: Ryan Mayle)
When it came down to top eight, that was extremely memorable. Watching amazing high level matches with one of the best players in the history of Super Smash Bros. Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman was simply fantastic. He was the favorite to win the tournament, but there were other sets that were closer than his grand finals versus Drephen. Personally my favorite was TheRealThing versus Fizzle. It started off with two close matches where Fizzle’s Jigglypuff clutched it out against TheRealThing’s Fox, When the third match of the set came up TheRealThing promptly switched to his main, Falco. This match-up is way more in favor of Jigglypuff, however TheRealThing’s comfort with Falco proved beneficial versus the seasoned puff player. TheRealThing made a two match comeback and tied the set back up at 2-2. The last match was a breathtaking display of proper spacing and well thought out maneuvers. The whole set came down to one moment, it only took one hit by Fizzle to push TheRealThing off the stage, once TheRealThing recovered, it was clear what Fizzle needed to do. He then rested TheRealThing while he was in his recovery frames and won the match and was able to advance to his next set.
Overall I loved every moment of the tournament, whether it be watching players on stage, random people, or competing myself, there was never a dull moment. It was ran extremely well, the venue was superb, all of the staff was helpful, and all the players felt friendly and welcoming, as it was my first tournament ever. This was a great first impression of the competitive Smash Bros. Community. Even though I got knocked out of the tournament there was enough space to play friendlies with people or just sit down from players way better than myself. I will certainly go to more tournaments in the future to learn, compete, and improve.
Charlie Savidge is a competitive Smash player and an associate writer for middle of nowhere gaming and you can follow him on Twitter and Twitch. Also Check out Ryan Mayle’s photo’s from Shuffle VIII here.