Students get social during Super Smash Bros. tournament

Students+Justin+Hughes+and+Jamie+Pu+participate+in+a+Super+Smash+Brothers+Brawl+Tournament+this+past+Saturday+afternoon+in+the+Unions+basement.

Students Justin Hughes and Jamie Pu participate in a Super Smash Brothers Brawl Tournament this past Saturday afternoon in the Union’s basement.

By Annabeth Carlson

On Saturday afternoon, the basement of the Illini Union was quiet. The only sound to be heard was the light tapping of keys on laptops and the occasional person ordering in the food court.

However, a few steps over in the Illini Union Rec Room, a group of about 20 students crowded around a large television set, talking among themselves. Two boys sat on couches in the front, quickly pressing game controller buttons with their eyes fixed on the screen in front of them.

This was the Super Smash Bros. Brawl gaming tournament, the second in the series of gaming tournaments hosted by the Rec Room this spring. Donna Wargo, manager of the Illini Union Rec Room, said these gaming tournaments began three years ago when the facility started offering Wii and Xbox consoles.

“We realized there was a call for having some competitions, and it became a way to introduce the Rec Room,” Wargo said.

Alex Duh, junior in LAS, competed in Saturday’s tournament and many others since his freshman year.

“It is a lot of fun to come see new people I wouldn’t usually play,” he said.

Duh explained that he met many of the people he is friends with now through the Rec Room’s gaming tournaments.

David McKay, freshman in Engineering, had similar hopes for the day. He said he found out about the event the day before and decided to try it out and make some friends.

“(Super Smash Bros. Brawl) is a fun game, and I thought it would be a good way to spend a midday Saturday,” McKay added.

Wargo said there are some students who always come out for certain tournaments, which is why a variety of games are offered. Because of this, the turnout ranges depending on the tournament’s chosen game.

“There might be some crossover, but we are trying to hit different types of interests as we go through our tournaments,” Wargo said. “There are certain people I can count on always participating in a Brawl tournament.”

The first tournament on Feb. 8 was for the game FIFA 14. The rest of the spring schedule includes NBA 2K14 on March 1, Mortal Kombat on April 12 and Super Smash Bros. Melee on April 26.

All gaming tournaments start at 3 p.m. and students must pay a $5 registration fee. Wargo said students can register online through the Illini Union website or at the Rec Room no later than a half hour before the tournament.

The tournament director, Kathleen Stark, sophomore in Media, then places registered students on a bracket. The amount of people that show up determines the format. Stark said she usually does double elimination because people prefer to have a second chance.

Prizes, in the form of Illini Union Bookstore gift certificates, are also given out at the tournament.

“It’s competitive but fun, and it’s getting out and doing something other than just playing the games in your room,” Wargo said.

Annabeth can be reached at [email protected]