Do you want to smash?

E-Sports and the competitive video gaming community are becoming more and more prevalent in our lives. Recently, a Norwegian high school in Bergen has announced that it will start to offer e-sports as a part of the curriculum starting August 2016. Link, our first official E-Sports association, is already organizing some video gaming tournaments. I attended an E-Sports tournament and got to talk with some of those fans that often travel long distances just so their Peach can punish Captain Falcon in Super Smash Bros Melee. The UFC, for the video game literate.What fascinates me about this gaming community is the passion these folks have, the dedication to learn the ‘moves’ and climb the ladder in the competitions.

This game has caught my eye due to its die-hard fans traveling all over the country (and outside of the country), standing on the railway stations with their old CRT televisions, always ready to provide explanations on why this game is the gem in which you can never stop improving and why it has so much ‘depth’ and complexity, even though it is already 14 years old.



When I first played it, I almost had an epileptic seizure due to the speed and colorful graphics it has. I didn’t pursue the path of the game myself, but having gamer friends has led to attending one of their tournaments, on Sunday the 24th in a gaming center in Eindhoven. It was an official event which drew on more than 120 people, mostly students. Packed room, sweating gamers squinting at the small screens and playing ‘friendlies’ before the real thing starts. I managed to talk to some of them about what makes this game so special.

Yin, a student from Maastricht, has come here for his first tournament: “I don’t expect to win, there are much better players here; the Number One and Number Two of Netherlands are here as well.” When asked about the game itself, Yin explains: “To be really good, you also need to have talent. It’s similar to athletics, some people are simply born better at this sport, and somehow, I think I am in between talent and hard work.”


Rob, a student from our university, has already attended some major Smash tournaments in Sweden and Germany and is now playing on home soil: “A good friend decided a while back he wanted to do a recurring tournament in Eindhoven, as there really weren’t any tournaments close-by up to that point. He befriended a couple of top players and TO’s (Tournament Organizers), and set up his own tournament. It’s growing quite steadily and there is always a good and friendly atmosphere. What’s fun is that at the same time there are always these friendly rivalries which usually get settled with low- or high-stake money matches, with often one-sided “salt” (see it as frustration paired with disappointment) as a result. We’re all good friends here, but sometimes… you gotta be put in your place.”

Leaving that venue filled with the sounds of frantic controllers and some loud enthusiastic yells, I start to think just how great it is to be passionate about something, be it sports, men, glory or passing those re-sits this month.

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