On Saturday, September 13, the RPI Smash Club hosted the Pastimes Legends Final Battle tournament in the McNeil Room of the Rensselaer Union. From as early as 9 am until 10 pm, the common area was transformed into a battle hall with almost 100 TVs lining the tables around the room. With registration opening at 10 am, the tournament offered singles and doubles competitions in Melee, Brawl and the competitive Brawl mod Project M. Games played at station one were live streamed throughout the day on Twitch, reaching 2,500 views with an average of 120 people watching at any given time. The player pool of over 160 individual people was incredibly diverse and consisted of players from all over the Northeast, with players from Connecticut, Vermont, New York, and more. Professional players, including Mew2King, DJ Nintendo, PB&J and The Moon, among others, showed up to fight against other Smash enthusiasts for the top spots in the competition, as well as the cash prizes paid to the top five in singles and the top three in doubles.
The three different Smash games at the tournament were Melee, Brawl and Project M. Super Smash Bros. Melee was first released in 2001 by Nintendo and rose to game fame with its dedicated fan base and huge level of support. The game is a classic and a favorite among Smash aficionados and regularly claimed to be the best one made. One of the best smashers in the world who participated in the tournament, Mew2King, prefers Melee and says that, “the best thing about Melee is that there are multiple possibilities.” The second game, offered only in 1v1 play, was Super Smash Bros. Brawl. As the third Smash game released, it was the first to be offered on the Nintendo Wii. Popular for its smoother graphics and varied gameplay, Brawl has recently lost much of its popularity with the rise of the third game offered at the tournament, Project M. Project M is a modified version of Super Smash Bros. Brawl that, although does not have official backing with Nintendo, is popular among the Smash community for being an improved version of Brawl as it returned the game to a fast gameplay paired with clean graphics. Project M was offered as both a 1v1 and 2v2 option at the tournament.
One of the unique aspects of the tournament was the availability of the newest Super Smash Bros game, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. This new game, known among the Smash community as “Smash Four”, was released on September 13 in Japan and will officially be released in North America on October 3rd. However, the tournament offered several 3DSes that had the Japanese version of the game loaded onto them for anyone to test out and play. This new Smash game has garnered much praise for its stunning graphics, fun gameplay, variety in characters, and the ease of playing with others. Many of the top players who attended the Nintendo Invitational that were used to test the 3DS and Wii U gameplay have already found the game extremely promising. Professional Smash player and founder of Smash Studios PB&J believes that the game is going to sweep the Smash world and cites its ability to be played quickly and easily both at tournaments and with friends as a definite advantage. He predicts that eventually people could play the 3DS game between rounds of the classic platform games such as Melee and Brawl at other tournaments. DJ Nintendo added that Smash Four
will be a great addition to the Smash family and that the game is a genuinely fun game to play. Other fans of Smash Four were excited that the tournament offered the chance for players to test out the new game and to experience it.
The tournament kicked off with a 2v2 Project M match, with many of the players simply warming up on the many TVs around the room or playing through their own matches. The winners of PM doubles were M2K and PB&J. As the day progressed, the matches for Melee 2v2 ended up in a rematch of the Project M Grand Finals, however, this time The Moon and DJ Nintendo beat M2K and PB&J. As the smallest pool of players in the tournament, the 1v1 Brawl competition ran shorter than rest and M2K emerged victorious. As the day wore on, the main 1v1 competitions started up with pool play in both Project M and Melee. M2K once again took first place in the Project M round. The 1v1 Melee tournament was the largest of the day and was the most intense, with large crowds of players observing the final matches of the day. Ultimately, M2K wrapped up his spectacular night with a win in the main event after a hard fought match against The Moon.
After the Smash tournament wrapped up, the first event of this year’s Melee Games were between Binghamton University and RPI. The event consisted of junior varsity and varsity crews with five players each. With a total of 50 colleges in the tournament, the Melee Games have grown from 20 New England teams to include the tristate area. The showdown between RPI and Binghamton marked the start of the season this fall. After a tough few rounds, RPI eventually pulled ahead and held on to win the match. RPI will be playing in the future against more opponents and can be viewed live through the video game streaming website Twitch.
This year’s Smash tournament was the first time for many of the professional players to visit RPI and allowed the casual players to have a chance to practice against stronger players. It also gave them the opportunity for some to meet the players that they may follow in the competitive tournament scene. With such a smashing success, hopefully the tournament returns for years to come, especially with such a strong turnout by the RPI community. As the Smash community here at RPI continues to improve and attracts high profile players, DJ Nintendo, professional player since 2002, encourages players to “just go to tournaments.” The self-proclaimed Smash sensei urges players to play at tournaments as much as possible, even if they may feel overwhelmed by going to larger tournaments to begin with. He maintains that the Smash community is incredibly friendly and going to tournaments would be a great way to meet other new players and to build friendships all while improving as a player.
The Final Battle tournament was a huge success and has many hoping that it will return to RPI. Organizers of the tournament are optimistic with the success of this first tournament and hope they will be able to turn it into a more frequent and higher profile tournament. Many of the tournament participants are excited for the tournament to continue after its strong start. The live stream announcers complimented the site of the tournament and the openness of the venue. One of the livestream commentators, TM37, expressed his hope that the tournament returns to RPI and gave advice that everyone should take, “Don’t miss it next time it happens.”