Every week on Friday, members of Texas Tech's Super Smash Bros club gather for exhibitions and friendly competition, furthering their skills and having fun.
In addition to weekly meetings, the club also hosts monthly tournaments for cash prizes.
Simon Woldemichael, a senior computer science major from Houston, is treasurer of the Super Smash Bros Club. He first heard about the club in Fall 2015, he said, when he first started at Tech and was looking for other people who also played Super Smash Bros Melee (SSBM) for the Nintendo GameCube.
Woldemichael has been an active member since then, he said, and his favorite part of the club has been doing something he enjoys with other like-minded students.
“We’re all in the club to have fun, learn and improve as players,” he said. “We push one another and test our limits.”
The club is focused on the Super Smash Bros. video game video franchise.
“The Super Smash Bros. video game franchise, created by Masahiro Sakurai and published by Nintendo, first began in 1999 with the first iteration of the game Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64,” he said.
The second game, released in 2001, is Super Smash Bros. Melee for the Nintendo GameCube, he said. It is this second game that a smaller portion of the Super Smash Bros Club still plays and has tournaments for.
The common goal of all the games is to damage one's opponent and knock them off the game’s stage. How this is done is where skill gaps, learning curves and creativity come in, he said.
The difficulty of the games ranges from casual play to inputs which require 1/60th of a second to execute correctly, Woldemichael said.
In his time playing, Woldemichael said he has improved as a gamer and made many friends and memories along the way.
“I would say that the most challenging part of being a part of the club is, as with many things, finding time to make it to everything,” he said. “Tournament organizers and club officers work very hard to hold events and bring people together at meetings, but sometimes my schedule conflicts.”
Thinking of ways to keep meeting attendance high is also always a challenge, he said.
“Outside of that, there are not many challenges; it’s a very relaxed and easy-going atmosphere,” he said.
Jon Martinez, a graduate student in counselor education from Laredo and president of the Super Smash Bros Club, said during meetings they mostly have free play.
“During club meetings, we mostly do free play that are called “friendlies” where many players play with one another and give tips in order to improve for tournaments,” he said.
Additionally, they host a tournament series called StayFree, he said. During those events, the players can test their skills to see who the best is.
Martinez’s favorite part about being part of the club is contributing to the organization. He said the purpose of the club is to provide an amazing space where individuals are able to relate with one another and be themselves.
Chuck Gilliard, a graduate student in sports management from Abilene and Leader/Smash Ultimate Rep of the Super Smash Bros club, originally entered the club for an Esports tournament hosted by the former Esports club.
“There was about 40 something entrants and that's where I found out about the Lubbock Smash Scene,” he said. “From there I joined the Facebook page and we just continued to grow.”
Gilliard has always been a fan of Super Smash Bros, he said. One of his friends in Abilene forced him to go to a tournament, and he fell in love.
“I played high school basketball and I missed having something to compete and train for,” he said. “Smash Bros helped me fill that void.”
The club is talking about upcoming tournaments that are out of city, he said. They organize carpools to try to bring in the most Lubbock players.
“Smash is a grassroots series,” he said. “It relies on all the members of the scene to bring setups (their home consoles as well as a TV) to function.”
The club also operates on trust, he said. Everybody looks out for each others and makes sure everyone is doing well in school.
Gilliard’s favorite part about being part of the club is the community, he said. They are one big family.
“Even though we are all competing against each other we are always trying to give each other advice so that we can improve,” he said.
Gilliard said he wouldn't trade his time in the club for the world. They want a place for people to improve, as well as take a break from life.
“We host tournaments for people in Lubbock and out of city,” he said. “We are always looking for new members, and we want to strive for greatness and prove to Texas that Lubbock is good at smash.”