Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Video Game Nerdament

So, this last weekend three good friends of mine and I decided to participate in a video game tournament here at FSU's Student Life Center. The name of the game was Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Nintendo Wii, a game that takes an impressive roster of Nintendo game characters and allows players to finally settle their age-old debates as to who would win in a fight. Everything from Mario to Captain Olimar (from the Pikmin series) are available to choose from. My character of choice was Ness (pictured above), a psychic boy hailing from the old Super Nintendo role-playing game, Earthbound.

I've been "training" Ness ever since I got the first iteration of Super Smash Bros. on Nintendo 64 in 1999, and have not let up on playing the game since then (2 generations later: Melee was released on the Gamecube, and Brawl, which is the most recent). This was back in elementary school, and I'm still playing this game regularly with my friends in college. We all figured it was about time to see how our skills compared to the rest of the world (or at least a 70 person pool in Tallahassee), and felt quite confident. We practiced hard for 2 weeks, meeting between classes for quick matches, reading up on techniques and suggestions on line, the whole 9-yards.

Saturday came, and we were excited, feeling prepared, confident, and somewhat arrogant. We arrived at the SLC, signed up, and began to watch other players practicing on 4 different screens (2 televisions, a projector, and of course, the large, full sized theater itself which sadly, I didn't ever get a chance to play on). We joked around, and pointed out the techniques that others were using, as well as the many faults we found with them, especially if they were using a character we were playing as. I had not seen another Ness user. The time came, and I was the first person assigned to a game. Nervous that I would make I stupid mistake, I made my way to "tv 2", a standard tv in a cubicle. The match was a breeze, and I destroyed my opponent, filling his eyes with tears, and his heart with disappointment (Maybe I exaggerate a tad). Relief washed over me. My friends had breezed through their first rounds as well. Arrogance grew.

I played my second match, which was not nearly as easy at the first. Things were getting serious and my nervousness returned full force. I made some sloppy mistakes, but ultimately came out victorious again by a hair. My opponent was playing as Solid Snake from the Metal Gear Solid series. After I won the match, one of the observers saw me sigh in relief, and proceeded to say something that filled me with dread: "I've seen Snake players far worse than the one you just played here". My heart dropped, and I could only hope that either all the Snakes were eliminated before I had to play them, or that the guy was exaggerating.

Nintendiclēs, God of all video games, mercilessly shattered these hopes. As I sat beside my next opponent, we exchanged pleasantries, and I felt my soul sink as I saw him select none other than Snake. "Ah, Snake. The guy I last fought against used him", I told him. He looked into my eyes and, without cracking anything resembling a smile, said "that last guy you beat was a friend of mine". Wonderful.

Needless to say, I was obliterated. As were my friends within the same round. It didn't really phase us though. We laughed it off, and actually felt quite proud of ourselves (we did manage to get somewhat far in the tournament, and turned a few heads during the games) as we left the tournament, wondering as to whether or not we'd return for a rematch.

Video Game Nerdament

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