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Gamers Unite! Introducing Eastern’s Smash Club

     It is 11:31 p.m. The whole room hums with the sound of seven TVs, but all eyes are on one of them. Two opponents passionately mash buttons as their onscreen fighters, Marth and Dr. Mario, furiously trade blows. Marth lands a sword strike at the exact instant it will knock Dr. Mario off the stage, but Dr. Mario recovers by shooting his fist into the air and clobbering Marth right in the face. Marth zooms into the air, spiraling out of control. He looks for an edge to cling to and makes his way back onto the stage. He swings his sword into the sky to claim the edge’s salvation, but at the last second Dr. Mario leans over and grabs the edge. Marth reaches for safety, but the edge is occupied by his opponent. Marth plummets into the dark, off the screen, and loses his last stock. The TV shouts the winner, the crowd cheers and the two opponents shake hands and exchange the phrase “good game.” This match is over, but the next one is about to begin. This is EU’s Smash Bros. Club.

     The main focus of Eastern’s new club is to bring students together to play the Nintendo Gamecube game “Super Smash Bros. Melee,” a fighting game featuring 26 playable characters from Nintendo’s franchises. It is the only game series where Mario, Link and Pikachu can fight head-on and prove who is best. The game was originally created to be a friendly party game amongst families, but over time people discovered it had the potential to be played as a competitive tournament game. What emerged from a beautiful accident has become a worldwide phenomenon, stretching onto our own campus.

     EU’s Smash Bros. Club was born about a year ago, but it wasn’t until Sept. 2 that it became an official club. The club is mainly run by its president, Andrew Barbin. Barbin has been playing Smash since it came out. Like most others, he was attracted to the game because it was a fighting game featuring one of his favorite video game characters, Mario. According to Barbin, “the appeal to the game is that I could prove to my friends that Mario would win in a fight against their favorite characters.”

     Smash is not only a hobby but also a stress-reliever for Barbin. He created the club as a place where others could experience competitive gaming in a stress-free atmosphere.

     “I started the club for EU students who share my love for this old Nintendo game, and for those who love to play video games competitively,” Barbin says.

     Besides allowing students to relieve stress while playing as their favorite characters, Barbin says the club also connects people who would not usually hang out together.

     “Never would I have imagined that music majors, youth ministry majors or THC kids [sic] would end up being good friends, developing sportsmanship and making connections they would otherwise not make staying in their own social circles,” Barbin says. “With all of the clubs preaching diversity on campus, I would say that our Smash Club is by far the most diverse, and we do it without even trying.”

     The club hosts tournaments every Friday. There is no pressure to be the best, or even great for that matter; with this in mind, EU’s Smash Bros. Club is sure to attract a wide variety of students, just as Barbin and his team have intended. It is the only official club on campus for gamers, and Barbin is proud being the explorer of this new territory.

     “EU Smash Bros is a very important club for many people on campus, and I’m proud of the hard work my team and I have put in to make this club into what it is now.”

     For more information on EU’s Smash Bros. Club, join their Facebook group at: www.facebook.com/groups/eu.smashbros/, or contact Andrew Barbin at abarbin@eastern.edu.

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