Original Published on Aug 19, 2022 at 11:27

By Eric Shih, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Local fans of the popular video game Super Smash Bros. get a chance to compete in an in-person tournament in Dryden on Saturday, August 20, 2022 for the first time since the pandemic started.

Dylan MacKinnon the tournament organizer said he’s been a part of the Super Smash Bros. community in Dryden for many years, but this is the first time he’s organizing the event. “So we’re starting off small, but we’re hoping to get back to having people from out of town come in to compete with us,” he said. “In the past, we’ve had people from places like Kenora, Fort Frances, and Thunder Bay come down to participate.”

Super Smash Bros. is a popular video game where players choose a character from many popular Nintendo franchises like Super Mario, Legend of Zelda, and Pokemon in order to fight one another in a closed setting. The competitive version used for tournaments are set up so each player has the same advantages said MacKinnon. “There are items in most of these games, hammers, guns, the smash ball, we disabled all that and just have purely…skill-based matches with no items or stages that move.”

Since the pandemic started, no in-person tournaments have been held in Dryden said MacKinnon, adding the only option to play a Super Smash Bros tournament was to practice online.

Playing in a Super Smash Bros. tournament is actually big business, said MacKinnon, with big tournaments, sponsorship and prize pools into the tens of thousands of dollars. He added, many have thousands of people in attendance and more watching on the popular video game streaming service, Twitch. “The last one I watched, I think, they peaked at like 30,000 viewers,” he said.

The tournament relies on an old technology, cathode ray tube or CRT televisions, to run properly. “The reason for that, for one, the lack of what’s called input lag, the hardware running from your controller to the screen is almost instantaneous, We don’t quite get that with the new flat screens,” said MacKinnon. “And the other reason is because all CRT’s run at a certain frame rate and for really skilled players they can count the frames and make their inputs based on that which is pretty crazy. These are very like, high paced kind of games.”

MacKinnon said they will have six stations set up, which can let up to 12 people play singles matches or 24 play doubles.

“The thing about these games is that people are really passionate about them. And that’s why… It doesn’t really matter what the prize is or you know where it is, people will travel,” he said. “My friends have travelled to and they places like Wisconsin to play. And they knew they probably weren’t going to win and they wouldn’t get any money, but they knew they would be playing against really good players and that’s what it’s all about, is the competition. So doesn’t matter where you’re from you can practice this game and become just as good as everyone else it just requires some discipline.”

MacKinnon said he hopes people will start coming from other parts the Northwest to compete. “Even though we aren’t that big, the level of skill here is really good,” he said.

The Dryden Smash Bros. tournament takes place in Dryden on Saturday at the Dryden Bestwestern Hotel & Conference Centre.

This item reprinted with permission from the Source, Thunder Bay, Ontario