Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournaments return to the Riverside Game Lab

Many relieved to compete in person again after 16 months of pandemic lock down

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By Jesus Coronel

I attended a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament at the Riverside Game Lab after over a year of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic forced all tournament play online, and so it was a very frustrating era for many players. But there were some players who broke into the scene as top-level players.

For those who have no idea how Smash Ultimate works, it is a platform-fighting game where the goal is to take three of your opponent’s stocks of lives before they can take yours.

There are various iconic video game characters you can play as, including Mario, Link, Pikachu and even some from third-party games such as Cloud from Final Fantasy 7, Kazuya from the Tekken series, as well as Steve from Minecraft.

“We started small because COVID,” said a tournament organizer who only wished to go by Geo. “We made a league to start and it was a success.”

Over 250 people have attended throughout the season.

Players like Sparg0, Sonix and NaitoSharp weren’t well known until the online era began. At the same time, veterans like Leonardo “MKLeo” Perez, Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey, Eric “ESAM” Lew and Enrique “Maister” Hernandez maintained their skills despite the scene switching to online format for that long.

“Offline is the best at the moment because everyone is at an even level,” Raymond “G00mba” Diaz said. “This summer will be very exciting.”

I have been playing since the game’s release in December 2018.

The online era helped me get to the next level, as my results have been pivotal enough to get people to notice my talent. I play for Arcana Esports (RCNA) under the tag “Supernova.”

Many players enjoyed the tournament, though, as it was a much-needed break from playing in isolation.

Danny “Viewtiful” Meza said that it was amazing to be in-person again, saying, “you get to socialize, encourage and support one another.”

My experience went very well as I had a ton of fun playing with so many good people. I finished 25th out of 62 people participating with two wins and two losses. 

As COVID restrictions are beginning to lift, now couldn’t be a better time to begin playing Smash again.

Tournaments are held every Friday at 7 p.m. in the Game Lab near the Fox Performing Arts Center, just a short distance from Riverside City College.

For those unable to attend, you can support the community by tuning in to their Twitch channel.

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