Students crowd excitedly around a table in the dimly lit Upper Dining Hall. As senior Manga Club officer Shannon Sheu calls off pairs of names, some kids shout in joy and race off with their remotes to one of the many cathode ray tube TVs stationed around the room. On November 5, the Manga Club hosted its first ever Super Smash Bros. tournament, entertaining an audience of more than 50 students, as well as a couple of teachers.
The tournament consisted of two separate video games: Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Each tournament feature a winner’s and a loser’s brackets. The management of the competitions was difficult: some players forgot to report scores after a game, some used banned characters, and some played unauthorized matches in place of their scheduled match. “There’s nothing to hide since there were 50 other people bearing witness—the first hour was a mess,” Sheu said. “I hadn’t anticipated the difficulties that came with having nine TVs and 50 sign-ups.”
As the night progressed, however, the officers grew accustomed to the rhythm of the tournaments. “The tournament was surprisingly successful for a high school Smash tournament,” said freshman Michael Knox, who placed third in the Melee tournament. “[Sophomore] Santiago [Pinto] winning the tournament was a given due to his top 50 ranking in the state, but I usually do not get beaten that badly by him.” Knox entered the final round of his bracket, and according to senior officer Michelle Xu, “It was intense. A huge mass of people congregated around one TV to watch, and they erupted in loud cheers and applause when the winner was decided.”
On a couple of open TVs, students played “friendlies,” or non-competitive matches. Japanese Anime and Movie (JAM) club officer Ryan Lin, who helped organize the event with the Manga Club’s officers, brought his Nintendo 64 console to play the original Smash game as a “blast from the past.” Tovi Spero, the JAM advisor and a physics teacher at North, said, “I enjoyed being able to play classic Super Smash and demolishing students with it!”
The Manga Club hopes to resolve its logistical problems in future tournaments. “We should be able to clean up the organizational flaws that we experienced and present a more improved event to everyone. We also now have a better idea of how to price the tickets and the food,” Xu said. “Additionally, we learned that next time we should get more chicken ramen than shrimp ramen. Nobody seems to like shrimp ramen.”
For the Manga Club’s first fundraiser, the turnout was great. “It is important to note that a large amount of the people that participated were underclassmen, and so the demand for the next SSB tournament would be just as high, if not higher, than this year’s demand,” Lin said. According to Nishan Patel, Manga Club’s advisor, the $400 raised during the event will be used to purchase art supplies and to rent a booth at AnimeNext in June 2015, an annual anime convention held in Somerset, NJ.