By Martin Paredes/south news editor
Juan Artiles won the first South Campus Super Smash Bros. gaming tournament April 1.
In this bracket-style tournament, 31 participants were grouped into heats of three or four who played a five-minute free-for-all game that saw the top two finishers advance. In the semifinals, the top four faced off one on one.
Artiles matched up against Steve Rodriguez in the final, but neither player had a perfect record on the road to the final.
Artiles faced tough competition on his side of the bracket with the likes of Da’Ron Samson, who got a first-place win over Artiles, and Abbey Taiclet, the only female competitor who inspired a few “Girl Power!” chants from the spectators.
The story on the bracket’s other side was the rivalry between Rodriguez and Azeem Iqbal. The quarterfinal match, which Iqbal won, was so close that sudden death was required.
The match finished via an epic double K.O., where Rodriguez’s Mega Man exploded off screen slightly before Iqbal’s Captain Falcon, setting the room of players and spectators into pandemonium.
The final was a best two-out-of-three contest as both players had three lives and eight minutes on the clock per game to decide a winner. Despite Rodriguez’s best efforts, Artiles did not lose three lives in total as he won two games in a row to become South’s Super Smash Bros. champion.
Artiles credited the title to logging in many hours of SSB at home and not being a stranger to gaming tournaments.
“I recently participated in another tournament that had 126 people, and I came out third,” he said.
Artiles explained his strategy of choosing Shulk for the free-for-all part of the tournament was because he is “very versatile” and provides good speed and range.
“I figured that I am not really good with [my preferred] Olimar in free-for-all because it’s hard to keep track of my Pikmin, and if they die, I don’t have any means of attack,” he said.
From the semifinals on, Artiles switched to his strongest fighter Olimar because the rounds were a one-on-one format.
“I know how to play Olimar a lot because I know how to manage my Pikmin and can still keep track of my opponent at the same time,” he said.
Rodriguez used Mega Man throughout despite admitting to previously hating the character because he could not punch or kick. Instead, he relied mainly on the use of projectile attacks.
“Once I got a hold of him, I was reminded that you can’t judge a book by its cover,” he said. “I was like, ‘Man, I could really cook up some good combos with him.’ And next thing you know, me and this guy are like bread and butter.”
Rodriguez sang very high praises of Artiles as a player.
“Oh man … that dude is a monster,” he said. “I only took like at least one or two lives from him in the final.”
Video Game Club vice president Anthony Hill was satisfied with the tournament especially after all the recruiting he and club president Jordan Pierce did.
“I was very passionate about the club and this tournament being successful, so I pushed hard to make today happen,” he said. “I mostly just connected with the gamers in the club, talked with them about [the tournament] and got them on board. Me and Jordan also went outside the club to recruit more people for it who had a mutual love for the game.”