My First Tournament Experience
July 22, 2013

My First Tournament Experience

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in a tournament at my local Play N Trade, so I’d like to share my awesome experience with the internet.

About a month ago, I got a Facebook invitation from Play N Trade calling me to participate in a Super Smash Bros. Brawl tournament. Naturally, being the Super Smash Bros. pro (read “mediocre”) that I am, I had to accept and show up at the tournament.

Of course, since I hadn’t played the game in over a year, I went out and bought a used copy of the game for my Wii U and took it to my friend Oscar’s for practice the day before the tournament. We played Smash Bros. for about five hours straight, and we weren’t feeling so hot.

When you lose to Level 7 COMs in Brawl, you know there’s a problem.

So, when I left that day I left the Wii at Oscar’s house for him to practice overnight, since he barely knew how to play the game. The day of the tournament I came back and we played for about another three or four hours. Suddenly we felt like professionals, easily acing Level 9 COMs. We were ready for this tournament.

That same day my friend Melvin happened to be coming to Tennessee from Alabama to stay with me for a week. Coincidentally, Melvin is a pretty amazing Smash Bros. player, probably the best one I know personally. Unluckily, his Wii had been broken for the past few months and he hadn’t played in forever either. He didn’t even know we were going to a tournament until we pulled into the parking lot where Play N Trade was.

We walk into an already packed Play N Trade, and head to the counter to register for the tournament, put our names down, all that good jazz. All the while we’re staring at like 15 guys standing around two TVs playing Brawl. All of them use Gamecube controllers.

In case you didn’t know, Gamecube controllers are the first sign of a pro Smash Bros. player. Since they were so good in Melee, almost all players just transferred the controller to the Wii for Brawl. I, having a Wii U, couldn’t practice with a Gamecube controller.

After signing in for the tournament, we mix and mingle a little bit, learn a few names, crack jokes about video games, play some Super Mario Bros. 3 on another TV. Then we decide it’s time to practice before this thing starts.

We get a few practice rounds in and I’m feeling pretty good. Melvin owned in his fights, except for this one Sheik player named AJAX. Oscar isn’t doing too well. The host comes around and announces that this will be a 24-player bracket. So, that meant round one will consist of six four-player matches, round two will have two three-player matches, and the final will be a one-on-one match.

We start up the tournament bracket, everyone inputs their character, color, and name, and we start up the tournament. Of course, the first round was me (Mario), Melvin (also Mario), and two other guys playing Ike and Pit. It was a five-life stock match on one of the sample custom stages since they forgot to turn custom stages off.

After about seven minutes of bouncing off of the walls and bad commentary from the host, I eliminated the Pit and Ike player, and put Melvin down to one life. As he was spawning, I realized that I had 66% and he had 0%, and so we started to duel, both with one life left. We went back and forth for about two minutes until I used Mario’s up-B to land on a platform, missed, and was sent flying by Melvin with a fully charged up-smash.

That was the end of the tournament for me, but Melvin proceeded to the Semi-final round. The next round featured AJAX who easily defeated his competition. Oscar was in the fourth round and, unfortunately, was the first one to be eliminated.

The rest of the night was filled with jokes and laughs, banter, and geeky internet references until it was Melvin’s turn in the semi-final round. After getting knocked around for a while, he shaped up and started competing. At the end of the match, it was him vs. AJAX, both with two lives. With a sliding up-smash, AJAX knocked Melvin out once, and after another minute or so AJAX hit him with Sheik’s exploding up-B, eliminating Melvin from the tournament.

We stuck around for another 15 minutes as the tournament came to a close. The final round was AJAX as Sheik vs. a player named ASLAN as Mr. Game & Watch. I swear, this was the most intense game of Smash I’ve ever seen. These guys were sweating, and pulling out tricks and techniques I had never seen. In the end, AJAX came out on top, winning a $50 gift card to the store.

I had an awesome time at this tournament, and honestly it will be one of my most cherished memories for a while. It was just awesome to meet so many people that are so enthusiastic about a video game like this. I can’t wait for my next tournament.

What’s your favorite gaming memory? Leave a comment below!

Image Credit: Nintendo

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