Radical Recreation: All fun and games

Melee players gather around to watch a match at Tier 1 Cards and Games. Photo credit: Jordan Campbell

The Super Smash Bros. Melee scene in Alaska has been becoming popular over the years, beginning with only 10 individuals in a tournament to as many as 50 entrants. Jordan Campbell, history major, has been playing Melee competitively for three years and is in the top five best active players in Alaska.

Melee, created by Nintendo for the GameCube, is a multiplayer game that draws in players with its competitiveness and unlimited techniques.

“Melee is different from other games because it is a game anyone can pick up and play and have fun with, yet has so much depth to it that you can spend years practicing and learning about the game, [and] there will still be even more things to learn,” Campbell said.

Choosing a main and secondary character on Melee, depending on the technique and style a player uses is crucial for highlighting their strengths. Campbell’s main is Samus because they are a defensive character with high survivability. His secondary is Marth, because of the fun combinations.

“What makes Jordan’s technique different is how he chooses to approach his matches, the character he plays is typically played in a very defensive style where you are more waiting to capitalize on your opponent’s mistakes as opposed to trying to rush them down,” Brandon Meiners, a close friend of Campbell, said.” Jordan doesn’t play like that, he decides to play his character aggressively, relying heavily on [predictions based on player habits and conditioning].”

This complex game has many options and characters to choose from depending on a player’s style. Campbell is described to put his own personal play style on the character he chooses, leading him to be very successful.

“Every match with [Jordan] feels like an uphill mental battle because of how many steps he’s already thought ahead,” Patrick Sauve-Brown, a close friend and competitor, said.

The Alaska Smash scene is welcoming, while also containing trash talking and money matches, often leading to lifelong friendships.

“Without Melee, I never would have met many of my closest friends and life would be a lot more boring without them. Melee has also given me a hobby I have a lot of passion for and something I know I will always enjoy,” Campbell said.

Through Melee matches and tournaments, Campbell has been able to travel the country, meeting new people with the same interests.

“Melee is an incredible game that has helped me meet a bunch of awesome people locally and across the country,” Campbell said. “I have traveled to many events across the U.S. and have had wonderful experiences at these events meeting new people and playing against them.”

Campbell’s positive outlook differentiates his sportsmanship from others. When most Melee players tend to become frustrated after being defeated, Campbell finds something positive to joke about.

“Melee is an incredible game, and if you have any interest in it, it is never too late to start and I think you would have a ton of fun playing it,” Campbell said.

Players meet up on Wednesdays at the local card shop, Tier 1 Cards and Games, where tournaments are also hosted once a month. They hope to form a club at UAA in the near future.