Joe Schmoes and Super Smash Bros.
By: Jackie Orchard
Is making friends hard for you? Are you more of a “stay home and play video games” kind of person? If so, boy do I have an idea for you!
The Super Smash Bros Club on campus meets every Thursday night at 7:30 in room 021 in the education building. The President is Jack Vignone, gamertag “Tarzan,” and he wants you to come play a few rounds on the big screen for bragging rights, or cash.
Anywhere from five to twenty people show up to each Super Smash Thursday and they divide themselves into twos and play on each of the four walls of the room.
You can bring your own system or wait for a turn on one of the three that are already there.
On the main wall is a projector setup with a pull-down screen. Against the other walls are TVs brought from home. Simply walk in, say hi, and pull up a desk.
For some students, especially those new to UAlbany, the Super Smash Club is a way to make friends, when otherwise they might just stay home.
“I wouldn’t have a past time. I wouldn’t have an area to enjoy myself in,” said Kevin Viera, a UAlbany freshman.
The members don’t always hang out outside of the club, they each have different majors and live in different areas. But Viera says that for those few hours on Thursday nights, they are definitely friends while they’re playing.
“It would be weird to say actual every-day friends, but we are friends at the moment when we come and meet and sit down for the game… just enjoying the game,” Viera explained. “You just settle in and everyone knows what’s up.”
Super Smash players have something like a secret society in Albany.
“There is a general community of people that play this game in the whole capital region. So whenever something’s going on, people show up.” Jack Vignone, “Tarzan”, explained.
Immortal Fight Night at Crossgates mall, for example, is the “premier” tournament. Vignone’s are less expensive, with a one dollar buy-in vs. Immortal Fight Night’s five dollar buy-in.
“College students are poor,” said Vignone.
Not every Thursday is a tournament, but when there is one, it’s affordable. It’s mostly about bragging rights.
“Whenever a tournament is run there’s a small fee to enter the bracket, usually a dollar to enter, it keeps a competitive kind of feel towards it,” Vignone explained.
All the money is put toward the winnings: 50% for first place, 30% for second, and 20% for third. The more people, the more money in the pot.
Despite many of the members describing themselves as the “stay in” type, they come out for this club. It’s special.
“I mean, it’s one thing to play the game by yourself. But it’s just way more fun when you have people to play with. Like, ‘how did you learn this move?’ The more you play them and see them, friendships come out of it,” Viera said.
The Thursday night Smash club is a standing appointment, but this crew plays spontaneously as well. It can start anywhere, any day.
“Honestly what it usually is is we’re studying and then someone starts talking trash so then we turn the game on,” Vignone laughed.
Room 021 has a decent setup now, but Vignone hopes to expand the club and, one day, upgrade to a larger room with more projectors.
“We’re doing what we can for now,” Vignone said.
You can join the club’s public group on Facebook: UAlbany Smash Bros. Club.
Or, stop by any Thursday.
You might leave with some bragging rights and, maybe, a few new friends.