Marshall Smashers offers friendly competition, community for gamers


Ryan Fischer

Club members play rounds of competitive doubles at at Marshall Smashers in Corbly Hall, April 7, 2016.

A flurry of clicks and snaps controls the bracket on the second floor of Corbly Hall each Thursday as the Marshall Smashers gather for an evening of intensive button mashing and super smashing.

Thirty-seven members brawled between Wii U and GameCube setups Thursday across displays ranging from sleek, flat widescreen sets to a 13-inch pink box television.

Austin Davis, club president, said the two original students who started the club kept the organization close knit and between friends, but Davis sought to organize the game into something more open to the Marshall community.

“I’m definitely not taking credit for anything,” Davis said, “but we started passing out flyers, and getting a legitimate room, getting recognized by the University itself and getting funding and everything has just happened in the past semester, so its cool to see us transition.”

Nintendo’s Super Smash Brothers is at the heart of this gaming community, giving its members the chance to skillfully duke it out while in the skin of their preferred Nintendo character, from king Bowser to queen Zelda.

DeVan Sample, club officer, said the organization has faced little trouble becoming an official club through the university.

“This year when we got our officers in place we decided that we wanted to try and get funding so that we could get a broader audience to come in,” Sample said.

The club has achieved the third largest membership among the groups affiliated with WV Smash, the state-level organization, despite having just seen its success take root in the past two years.

“We are a baby compared to a lot of people’s,” Cory McAtee, club officer, said. “What’s been really cool about us is that we’re super duper grassroots, like we built this basically up from nothing, but we’re super late to the party.”

Since Smash clubs have been popping up in larger cities since the early 2000s, WV Smash has just gained its footing in membership since initial meetings in 2014.

The atmosphere is intense for people awaiting their match between the setups, with clear expressions of tense concentration, calculated rapid finger movements, and a small crowd of onlookers garnishing every available surface.

Freshman Chad Hargadon awaited his matches between the lines of people at Thursday’s gathering as a semester-long veteran of the club’s meetings.

“I’d first heard of it at like a tournament happening in Twin Towers West, with four and melee,” Hargadon said.

Hargadon said that this was one of the first nights where the club leaders had not ran friendly matches alongside the tournament style setups.

Friendly matches are non-consequential games in which the players can brawl at no stakes, with no ties to the bracket.

“This is like the first week I saw them not do that, they’re doing melee and doubles and just singles and four,” Hargadon said.

Friendly matches also take place during the first 30 minutes while members gather and pair up and toward the end of each Thursday night when fewer and fewer setups are needed to sustain the remaining brackets.

“I prefer to do more friendlies just because I’m not that good at it, but if there’s a bracket I’ll play on it sure,” Hargadon said.

Van said those apprehensive of the competition can take comfort in the community aspect of the group, and that the club offers friendly support to those who want to get better or individuals who are just jumping into the pit for fun.

“We don’t bite,” Van said. “You can come, you can play; you will not have to lose all of your money or anything. Honestly, we just enjoy talking to new people, meeting new people, making new friends, and trying to see another possible way to play a video game.”

Ryan Fischer can be contacted at [email protected].