Smash the dam

Jessie Shirley, Practicum Contributor

A symphony of low murmurs, analogue control clicks and the buzz from CRT TVs envelop the room as players take their seats and begin the fight.

“Split Screen,” KBVR-TV’s resident gaming show, hosted its first “Super Smash Bros. Melee” tournament this week. “Super Smash Bros. Melee” is a crossover fighting game published by Nintendo for the Gamecube in 2001, as part of the Super Smash Bros. series. The game features characters from numerous Nintendo games, accommodating for numerous play styles.

The event operated in the standard, best two out of three, double elimination competitive format. Each player or team is allotted four stock, or “lives,” and eight minutes to defeat their opponents.   

The tournament was a longtime dream of OSU junior and “Split Screen” producer Quin Meihoff, who orchestrated the event in conjunction with Corvallis Melee, a locally organized group of Melee players.

“I’ve wanted to do a tournament like this since I was a freshman. I used to live with a guy who used to play a ton of Smash competitively,” Meihoff said. “I’m not even that good at Smash Bros. myself…I just think we have a really good community around here and thought they deserved a really great tournament.”  

Meihoff was all smiles as he discussed the event that was months in the making.

“I think the Melee community is really unique, there’s no other game really like it,” Meihoff said. “Honestly, I just wanted to have a fun experience where a lot of people could come together and just play video games and have a great time,”

With over 50 people in attendance, the event hosted players of all different levels, from casual walk-ins to veteran competitors like Nathan Young, Corvallis Melee member.

“I’ve been playing since 2006…my first tournament was in 2008, but it was a Brawl tournament with a Melee side event,” Young said.

Many players, like Young, began competing in “Super Smash Bros. Brawl” tournaments, a sequel to Melee that gained major popularity after its release in 2013. However, many players within the community have returned to Melee and consider it the tournament standard, due to its fast pace and technical depth.

“Nobody plays it anymore. It’s hard to find tournaments, let alone friendlies,” Young said. “There’s like two guys in Corvallis who occasionally play Brawl for like half an hour, then say ‘let’s go back to Melee.’”

Several other Corvallis Melee members competed, and among them was the notorious Alex Potter. Known for his strong online presence and aggressive play style, Potter has since been dubbed “The Melee Menace,” or ”Menace” for short.

“I’ve beat a lot of really good people and I’ve lost to a lot of good people…I’m not really consistent, I just like hanging out and playing with friends,” Potter said.

The element of friendship appeared to be a large motivation for many players, including Potter, involved in the competitive community.

“If it wasn’t for the people, I probably wouldn’t be coming…we’re just a bunch of friends and most people are cool,” Potter said.

The feeling of camaraderie was evident, as every set ended in fist bumps and high-fives.

Young and Potter competed in both the singles and doubles competitions and, despite their end rankings, remained to watch their friends and fellow competitors compete in the finals.

James Smith and Eli Weber took first place in the doubles competition and went on to compete in the singles event, where Weber engaged Shane Johns in the live finale.

Weber took the first two sets and Johns the third and fourth, forcing the draw to the final fifth set. With a 1-2 stock count and epic final KO, Johns claimed the victory.

“We both played it well; it was a pretty fun set and I’m glad neither of us really dominated the other because nobody has fun seeing that,” Johns said.

All things considered, Weber was not disappointed with his performance.

 “I thought I did pretty good; he’s ranked number two in Oregon and I’m not ranked at all so it feels good to compete against someone like that,” Weber said. “I’ve never taken a set off him, so getting two was nice.”

Both players received donated gift card prize packs for their efforts, and Weber is set to guest in this week’s live episode of “Split Screen.”

For more information on future events presented by “Split Screen” as well as their channel please visit http://www.orangemedianetwork.com/kbvr_tv/shows/split_screen/, or tune in to KBVR-TV Channel 26 for live shows every Wednesday at 6 p.m.

To connect via social media use #SmashtheDam or visit https://www.facebook.com/OSUSplitScreen/.

To get involved with Corvallis Melee request to join their page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/SmashAny/.