Webster University’s Super Smash Bros. team received a stern test April 8, as they competed in the Webster Fighting Game Community’s (WFGC) second intercollegiate crew battle invitational.
Crews, or teams of five members each, participated in matches of the Nintendo fighting games Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. for WiiU.
Following the first event in November, WFGC President Danny Cohen invited representatives from Saint Louis University (SLU) and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville (SIUE) to compete in another round, along with a new competitor, the University of Missouri-Columbia (Mizzou). Mizzou’s crews were among the strongest in the field, finishing first in Melee and second in WiiU.
“We were really excited to be able to invite Mizzou this time around,” Cohen said. “Given their performance it seems fair to say they added some good competitive depth, and I think it was really great for our guys to be exposed to some new people who they haven’t been able to play a lot before, which is what these events are all about.”
Webster’s WiiU crew struggled to replicate the success of its second-place finish at the previous event, coming in fourth, while the Melee crew finished third again. Cohen, however, sees the experience as a positive one for the club’s development.
“We had some strong members of our club who didn’t participate this time around,” Cohen said. “So we saw this as more of an opportunity to get some learning experiences in and see what the rest of us were made of. On an individual level we had a lot of close matches, and maybe on another day some things would have gone differently, so we’re all looking forward to the next opportunity.”
One newcomer to Webster’s WiiU crew was Ty O’Guinn, whose character, Rosalina, is known for being difficult to eliminate rather than for offensive power. This durability puts him in a uniquely valuable position to the team despite his relative inexperience in crew battles.
“She’s definitely more of a stock tank,” O’Guinn said. “So my games tend to be battles of attrition, and it means I need a lot of endurance. I didn’t take out two players on my own or anything, but I feel like I did okay. I definitely have some ideas about things to do differently for next time.”
Cohen said these crew battle events give the often light hearted WFGC members an opportunity to express their competitive spirit, a sentiment O’Guinn echoes.
“On a daily basis, the club is definitely focused on having fun and it’s a pretty low pressure environment,” O’Guinn said. “But we also take a lot of pride in what we’re doing, and if we’re investing a lot of time in this game, we want to see a return on that effort. So if we struggle, it’s natural to want to work even harder and change things for next time.”
In addition to improvement from a competitive standpoint, Cohen said he is also targeting some administrative improvements for the next event in the fall semester.
“We didn’t really take into account this time around that the spring semester is so difficult for some people that some of the crews had to cancel, and ideally we would’ve cast a bit of a wider net earlier on when we were sending out invitations,” Cohen said. “Next time will be the biggest event yet, and we can’t wait for that to come around.”