Super Smash Bros: Bringing the Community Together


Aarav Julka

SSBU Tournament Victor Colin Mattson.

Out of all of the activities included in the Christmas Drive over the past two weeks, one event, in particular, has stood out amongst the rest in terms of its direct impact on the Benet community: the school-wide Super Smash Brothers Ultimate tournament. 

Super Smash Brothers Ultimate (SSBU) is a game where two or more players engage in a friendly fight with one another on a television display connected to a Nintendo Switch console. After collecting a $5 entry fee for donation to the Christmas Drive, each player gets to choose their fighter from an 82-character roster of video game legends, including Mario and Pac-Man. The battle occurs on one of over 100 stages. Each player attempts to knock the other off the stage three times, with the last one standing victorious. This sparring provides a bonding experience between the two players, each with a common goal of coming out on top. 

Mr. Blaney, who jointly runs the tournament with Seniors Griffin Sullivan and Will Telford, spoke to the camaraderie and appeal of the SSBU tournament, “It’s annual. I really love that it brings together a wide breadth of kids, whether or not they’re in sports, gaming club or other activities. I love how it brings them all together for one common goal, taking the cup in Super Smash Bros.”

The tournament was set up in T118 with several large TVs from the computer lab casting the games being played to the audience. With the competition at the tournament this year being so fierce, the pressure and anticipation were palpable not only for the players but the spectators as well. Every time a competitor neared the edge of the stage or was sent flying across the map, the audience cried and screamed in excitement, releasing the tension and propagating the hype throughout the room.

The annual SSBU tournament has come a long way since its humble beginning with just a small group of kids. Since then, it has grown into a large-scale event. This year, the tournament had one of the largest growth spikes in its history, totaling close to 30 spectators and 25 entrants. This marks a new high for the tournament’s size and is a sure sign of consistent growth and audience engagement. As founding member Will Telford put it, “Seeing it come from having just six people and seeing it go from six entrants to 25 plus spectators is truly inspiring.”

The SSBU tournament is the perfect melting pot for students with different interests and relationships with Smash Brothers to come together and form one great event for all to enjoy. Not only did avid players of SSBU show up to the tournament, but so did students who did not play Smash Bros. As Sophomore Noelle Osborne said, “I really enjoyed the tournament! I watch my brother play Smash, to the point where I know a lot about the game, even though I don’t play a lot of it myself.” 

Although the main event is centered around SSBU, the most recent installment in the franchise, it also attracts a small but passionate group of students who play the 21-year-old precursor to SSBU, Super Smash Brothers Melee (“Melee”). These students also come together to enjoy their preferred version of the game by congregating in the back of the room at the tournament and playing Melee on laptop computers. This has also become an unofficial tradition in the past few years. As Senior Tommy Walsh, an avid Melee enthusiast, proclaimed,  “With Melee, you can customize your gameplay to a much higher level. This can lead to faster-paced games and requires a higher level of skill to pull off the movement. I’m talking about Melee.” 

As the matches progressed toward their ends, only one student could claim the title of Super Smash Brothers Champion, which ended up being Junior Colin Mattson, who defeated four other students to claim his title. To the victor, the spoils: he not only won the title of Benet Smash Bros. Champion but had also received a limited edition popcornopolis bag of treats to enjoy for Christmas.  

The SSBU tournament raised over $125 for charity and gave Benet students a spectacle. It brought together students from all walks of life to bond and become closer, divided in whom they were rooting for but united for the cause of donating to charity.