Workplace Smash Bros Tournament
Last week, I participated in a Super Smash Bros Melee tournament at work. As a growing marketing professional, I believe that events like these help foster a fun and collaborative environment.
However, as someone who never wins anything in his life, I wanted to win this with every waking fiber of my being.
It’d be funny if I said I just left during the middle of business hours when I heard about the event to practice, but unfortunately I cared about not getting fired.
But as soon as the email hit my outlook about the details of the tournament, my mind started racing.
Who was I gonna play? What are the top tier characters? Is there a cash price? Are we just gonna forget about this client email?
Back in the day when I used to play this Gamecube game all the time, I would always play the following characters for the following reasons:
Peach - because I’m a feminist
Ness - he has a bat
Jigglypuff - the name describes my body type
Zelda - her alter ego is an androgynous blonde ninja
Ice Climbers - I’ve always dreamed of being an eskimo
I came back home from work and practiced on the 3DS. I lost to a Level 9 CPU so maybe I set the bar too high on myself. Artificial Intelligence is going to ruin us all.
Screw that, I thought. I’ll just practice the day before the tournament during work hours. The week was slow anyways since the majority of the team were at a totally huge conference.
No big deal, just changing the landscape of marketing and stuff.
The tournament would be taking place at the floor above our office, since their break room had a Wii with Gamecube capabilities, along with functional controllers and the actual game itself.
However, there was a Wii remote that had white chunks inside its battery back, so it took a village (one data scientist) to fix it.
People on that floor were probably just eating Parmesan cheese over the remote, but who knows; I’m not a numbers guy.
I went through rounds of practice against CPUs and covert co-workers who wanted to practice beforehand. I felt the win within arms reach, ready to be clenched by its rightful champion.
We got free Mediterranean food which was awesome-sauce. The thought of slipping a bit of the eight week old yogurt in the back of the company fridge on someone’s tzatziki sauce did come into my mind.
But then I realized that my morals and integrity were more important than this tournament. And also someone threw the yogurt away.
Once free lunch was over with, we headed upstairs where the all the games were located.
These were the rules for the game:
Each round had four players, three stock and will be at a neutral stage.
The rounds are battle royale, so the last two standing of the four players make it to the final match for the win.
The winner is determined by whoever has the most wins at the end.
In order for the matches to be even, the overall skill levels of each match should balance each other.
So it has to be two sucky players and two good players, which is not the PC way to say it.
During the first round, I was faced against an engineer from our sister company and two coworkers in our ad dev team.
I picked Zelda and my opponents chose Falcon, Link and Fox, respectively.
Fox jumped out the stage with less than a minute into the game. Falcon the Engineer obliterated the rest of Link and Fox’s stock as I tried to avoid any damage, like a flakey Switzerland during WW2.
With both of us at over 100% damage, it was too close to call.
We were blocking and dodging and throwing and kicking.
In a slip, I got pushed out the stage downward.
I pressed up-B to use Zelda’s teleport and to save myself, but it was to no avail.
I hit the bottom of the fucking Final Destination platform.
And thus the blonde, bottom-tiered thottie fell to her demise.
This loss continued a never-ending prophecy made by my great-grandmother in the mountainous regions of southern China in the city of Taishan.
I sat in the kitchen where my father would eat porridge with his six siblings for breakfast, before walking to the school near his village about five miles away.
He would tell me that he’d always be late to class because he would be shooting the shit with his friends in the schoolyard while they talked about girls and volleyball.
Sometimes I think that he longs for those times... My mom too. Whenever my parents referenced China in their native tongue, they would call it home.
“Liping, back home I was really good at volleyball.”
“I was the best singer back home! I even won a competition… Liping, stop eating so much.”
So as I sat in the kitchen, eating porridge with quarters of thousand year egg and pork slices, my great-grandma says to me in Toisan, a dialect of Cantonese:
“Liping, you will never win a Super Smash Bros Melee tournament.”
I was shocked by this statement. I had to know more.
“Great-grandma Huang, what do mean? What about other Smash Bros titles like on the 3DS and Switch?”
She slurped on the pork bone broth that slowly simmered the night before.
“No, my child, those do not count. Our family name will never touch the victory of the popular Gamecube console game Smash Bros Melee. It is in the name of fate and our lineage.”
I wanted to ask more questions. What if I played it on an Emulator? Did the prophecy state any stock limits or banned stages? Surely Hyrule Castle would be banned right?
But I couldn’t ask anymore. Because soon after, she got really bored with me and went out to feed the chickens.
My mind comes back to the present at the office Smash tournament. I still get to move to the next round because I was in the top two.
Rounds continued, finishing with a winners and losers bracket. We felt bad for the sucky people so we let them play more rounds. At the end, the engineer won the tournament. Friggin’ nerd!
Lunch time was over, and we scuttled out of the 14th floor to our office. Some went to the bathroom to take a longer break by taking a dump. The others grabbed some snacks and sat in their designated open space desks, tapping away on the Dell keyboards.
Still, it was a really fun day and week at the office. It culminated my first month at my first big boy job after college. I know that my Smash skills need rehoning, in addition to my creative writing.
But I can say that I’m learning and doing new things and challenging myself, which is all we can really try to do.