Last Friday, TU Smash held its first ever event as an SA chartered club, but it is by no means a new organization to its members.
The University of Tulsa Smash Bros. was created first as a Facebook page in February of last year for TU students to organize meet-ups and coordinated tournaments around the various Smash Bros. games. Starting sometime last April, juniors William Moore and James Whisenhunt (now the club’s president and vice president) began working with their advisor, Josh Hulgan (Residence Director of John Mabee Hall) to make the group an official club with SA.
As Whisenhunt explained it, the process started with writing a constitution last summer. By October and November, the group moved to holding “pilot events” in John Mabee Hall’s Club Mabee to demonstrate that there was significant interest in the club, as well as to hold officer elections. From there, the club’s largest setback was a wait on the approval for its financial account, lasting several weeks as the proposal coincided with the start of their approver’s vacation. After gaining financial approval, the club established its OrgSpace account, met with SA’s Student Organization Committee and went before SA Senate. Now, after ten long months, TU Smash is officially SA sanctioned.
Relatively speaking, the culture surrounding the Super Smash Bros. series at TU is fairly new. Although Smash Bros. has long been a popular series of party games, two events in particular helped to form its more extensive and dedicated following. The first was the release of a comprehensive documentary in 2013 which chronicled the competitive history of the series’ most established title: Super Smash Bros. Melee, released in 2001 for the Nintendo Gamecube. Since then, large, international Melee tournaments like EVO 2015 and GENESIS 3 have attracted hundreds of thousands of viewers. Additionally, the series recently released its newest iteration, Super Smash Brothers for Wii U/3DS, which built more on the series’ already rapidly expanding fanbase, and now includes its own competitive scene that rivals that of Melee in popularity.
The event last Friday provided a good example of what Whisenhunt described as a “less committed” experience for players of “both a casual and competitive level.” Typically, the community at TU tends to segregate into different events by game and play style—Melee is usually the more fast-paced, competitive game while Smash for Wii U/3DS lends itself to more casual play. At the event, however, students played friendlies in both iterations: one-on-one and group matches. More experienced players like Josniff (gamertag), who is ranked the 14th best Melee player in Oklahoma, were even helping newer players with constructive criticism.
In the future, Whisenhunt expressed his and Moore’s plan for larger events in more varied event spaces, as well as his hope to expand the club’s reach to play and compete in regional tournaments.