Competitive gaming is an international phenomena that encompasses millions of competitors across the globe. At the local level, weekly tournaments at local game shops or computer cafes is the everyman’s opening to competition.
Every Wednesday night, people from all across southern Louisiana meet at Dibbz PC Cafe to hone their skills and compete for cash prizes in Super Smash Brothers for the Wii U.
The Super Smash Brothers series has always been marketed by Nintendo as a party game, intended for family friendly fun. The cartoonish art style of the game and recognizable characters like Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog create an image of a casual experience. But when some players decide to push the game to its limit, a unique and interesting fighting game emerges from the party game facade. “Some weeks we pull quite the crowd,” said tournament organizer ‘Jimbo’. “We have had tournaments with over 60 people coming in from all over the state. When you have that many people competing, you are looking at a prize pool close to $500. That’s a lot of money for a weekly event.”
For some players, the trip to New Orleans isn’t about the money at all. Steven Taff, a Southeastern Louisiana University sophomore, tries to make it out to Dibbz every Wednesday he can. Taff said, “I’ve been playing Super Smash Brothers for almost two years now, and I’ve never made money at the weekly. The reason I go is to get better at the game. There is no better way to get good at this game than to play in a competitive environment.” Taff explained that newcomers shouldn’t expect to make easy money. The payout only goes to the top three finishers and there are globally ranked people showing up sometimes.
The most recent power rankings for the New Orleans area placed Craig Schayot as the third best player in the city. above him on the rankings are Cody Vangola Falcon and Zack Lauth, who is ranked as the 18th best player in the world according to the Panda Global Power Rankings. Schayot said, “The Dibbz weekly is a great way to get familiar with Super Smash Brothers in Louisiana. there is a good mixture of people with little experience to people with tons of experience to learn off of. Schayot explained that he has a good chance of making money each weak but that is not why he goes. He goes to improve and get better at the game, so he can stand a chance at major tournaments where thousands of dollars are up for grabs.
Even people with no competitive experience at all can learn from the tournament environment. Hanna Magoun a sophomore at LSU, has been to Dibbz only a couple of times with friends. Magoun said, “I’ve only ever played Smash as just a way to have fun. I was kinda nervous when my friend asked me to come to a tournament but, it’s a very welcoming environment. The people I played against in bracket were very helpful after the matches, and seeing top talent playing the game is a great way to learn. It’s a lot of fun!”