Tallahassee Super Smash Bros. community comes together to celebrate pair of anniversaries

Spectators celebrate following a win by local Melee player Will “Wevans” Evans at CEO 2019. Photo courtesy Joao Ferreira

Mere weeks shy of one year after the worldwide release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for the Nintendo Switch, over 50 competitors from FSU, FAMU and TCC alike flocked to the Askew Student Life Center to participate in the semester’s final installment of Thursday Throwdown. 

Thursday Throwdown is a biweekly event which hosts tournaments for Ultimate and other popular fighting games. The game has been a smash hit among fans since its release on Dec. 7, 2018, uniting newcomers and long-time fans of the iconic crossover fighting game series. 

Mauricio “Uub” Lopez Trejo, a local tournament organizer, called the new game a “fresh start” for the veterans of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (also known as Smash 4), the series’ previous installment, who he claimed had grown tired of the game.

Lopez Trejo took the organizer position towards the end of the competitive lifespan of Smash 4 and noticed a spike in attendance at local tournaments once Ultimate released.

Weekly tournaments—which are held at Midtown Kava Lounge on Monroe Street and UrBowl on Tennessee Street—amass roughly 30 entrants, with Thursday Throwdown tournaments typically doubling that total.

Trejo added that “There’s a small number of entrants that have left, but the ones we have retained are really dedicated, to the point where we’re getting more and more people willing to travel to compete.”

A year removed from the game’s release, numbers and morale have stayed high in Tallahassee’s competitive Ultimate scene. However, it isn’t just the newest sect of the Smash Bros. community celebrating a birthday this week.

Super Smash Bros. Melee, the series’ second installment released on the Nintendo Gamecube in late 2001, turns 18 in North America on Dec. 3. Over its lifetime, the grassroots competitive scene for the game has continued to flourish. That is no different in Tallahassee, where a smaller yet passionate community of players have kept the game alive through their weekly tournaments at Burrito Boarder on Pensacola Street, in addition to Thursday Throwdown events.

Trammell “Sniz” Evans, a newcomer to the local scene, explained that “Melee is one of those games that will live forever.”

Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallett, an eight-year Melee veteran and the game’s current #2 ranked player worldwide, explained that the game began its peak in 2013 and remains there in 2019, while also leaving the possibility for coming years to maintain that position.

He further said that Melee’s ability to hold up for 18 years “is a testament to not only how crazy good the game is, but also how dedicated the community is to the game.”

The long history of the series’ Gamecube entry has attracted a large group of passionate players over the years, but in the single year since its release, Ultimate has developed a loyal player base that has shown no signs of going anywhere anytime soon.

Lopez Trejo has faith in Ultimate’s potential to match the lifespan of its older counterpart, saying that because Ultimate’s upper echelon has yet to be firmly established, the potential for high-ranked players to be upset can still positively impact its longevity. An example of this occurred at the Florida State Invitational tournament held in early November, where FSU student Connor “iTheta” Dooley upset Robert “Myran” Herrin, who is currently ranked #13 in the world.

Both communities come together every other Thursday to celebrate their games, but it doesn’t stop there. The memories made by Smash players in Tallahassee and beyond through competing, communicating in online forums and plenty more have contributed to a collective community that takes pride in the games they love.