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Challengers approaching: a new Dougherty club “Smashes” expectations

Josh Santiago, A&E Editor

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Dougherty successfully launched its own “Super Smash Bros.” club this year, but large numbers and an unforeseen demographic gave the club some obstacles to overcome.

“Super Smash Bros.” is a series of fighting games that joins all of Nintendo’s most iconic heroes into one game. Unlike most traditional fighting games, “Smash Bros.” does not have a traditional health bar. To win, players must use their skills and attacks to knock opponents off the stage.  

Dougherty’s Smash Bros. Club consistently fills their room on their Wednesday meetings. Club figureheads were baffled by the participation. One of the biggest concerns was a lack of equipment for the expansive list of members.

Club figurehead Kobe Robsahm stated, “We didn’t really expect it to be this big, but we’re trying to get as many set ups as possible .”   

Club meetings are appropriately chaotic, ranging from intense 1v1s, to uncontrollable eight-player battles on the projector screen. “Super Smash Bros. for 3DS” has sold over seven million copies worldwide, so it’s no surprise that the majority of the club keeps to themselves on their handheld systems. Clusters of students stay together through wireless communication, facing their own personal battles in their own groups. Even if the main projector gets crowded, it’s relatively easy to find a match.

“The average meeting consists of people who are either curious about the game or love the game, coming together and having a blast. It’s an environment where even if you don’t know anybody, you’ll walk out having made a new friend,” explains senior Ahsan Rahman.

In true Dougherty nature, club meetings get extremely competitive.

Jason Lee states that there’s a  “huge competition; if you’re, like ‘well I’m not THAT good’, you’re gonna get destroyed.”

The majority of club members play on a competitive level, with advanced techniques such as “wavedashing” and “L-Canceling” mastered to a tee. But everything is all in good fun, as an anonymous member stated that the whole environment is “only a little salty.”  

The Smash Bros. franchise in general comes with its own set of inside jokes and memes, so everyone feels at home. There’s a certain sense of togetherness that can only be experienced by joining the collective scream of “WE TECH THOSE.”

Sophomore Shatayu Kulkarni described the experience, saying, “Occasionally, someone will pull off an amazing combo and people will cheer, causing the advisor to shake his head slightly while the president of the club gives him a rueful look.”

The reactions are deafening once someone lands falcon punch, so it’s no surprise that club advisor and statistics teacher Mr. Robert Jackson is shaken, to say the least.

The transition that they make from club members back to students is astounding.

“In the last couple of minutes the students take down and unplug until the classroom is returned back to normal,” sophomore Noelle Tagupa states.

Before the meeting ends, all laptops and Nintendo 3DSes get shut down, controllers are neatly wrapped up and Wii U’s are disconnected from the ceilings. The desks return to their spots and the hyped, excited audience walks out as normal Dougherty students. For many, the Smash Bros. Club is an outlet for whatever stress and pressure is upon them. There are no expectations to uphold in Smash Bros. club, other than perhaps the universal expectation to not get hit.  

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Challengers approaching: a new Dougherty club “Smashes” expectations