Esports draws competitors in the Pacific Northwest

A deep dive into Super Smash Bros. and the people who attend esports events, including a student from Rogers.


Photo by @TO_Meeps on twitter

A picture of players. Rogers student Quincy Graham in the front left in grey playing the game.

The rain pouring on the roofs of buildings, many walking in the rain with their umbrellas as they roam the streets of Seattle. But within the University of Washington, In the union building on the second floor, people are gathered, cheering, laughing, the clicks of controllers, the camera’s taking photos, the commentators yelling their hearts out, the games themselves being shown on projectors, that feeling of a wide-open room, the huge group of people, sometimes up to 300, all enjoying a similar genre of game: Fighting games. Ranging from Super Smash Brothers ultimate to Guilty Gear strive, there is a game for all who enjoy the genre.  

Esports have become a staple in the current world, with things likes Twitch, YouTube, tournaments, sponsors, etc. The media has become more of an interest to many younger people who play games, because who wouldn’t want to make thousands playing a video game and having fun? Well, a big esports type is fighting games.  

Photo by @TO_Meeps on twitter. The venue full of players.

When it comes to fighting games, there is a wide variety of games to pick up if the idea interests you. Games like Street Fighter, Super Smash Bros., Multiversus, Guilty Gear, and more. 

And even if gaming isn’t why a person is there, the place has a lot more to do. Artists sell their stuff, hang out with friends and watch the event or eat some food brought in by the great baker team.  

Smash Bros. Ultimate is the main game of these events, being the biggest game out of the entire roster, while Smash Bros. Melee is a bit behind it. When it comes to Smash Ultimate, there are two events within the game.  

You have singles, the classic 1v1 between players, going through a bracket until the winner is decided. A very standard format. 

Then you have doubles. 2v2s, a player and a picked teammate play other teams, going through a bracket. It’s like singles, just more players playing during the set.  

Photo by TO_Meeps on twitter. 2 teams playing a set of doubles

Both singles and doubles bracket are double elimination, meaning you must lose twice to get out, even in grand finals. The winner of winners and losers bracket play for the trophy of first, sometimes leading to game 10 sets. 

The format of these brackets is usually the players/teams play a best of 3 or best of 5 set (depending on where in bracket this takes place, player count, etc.) and the winner(s) of the set move on in winners and the losers play through losers. 

When it comes to these events, Tournament Organizers, or TOs, help run these events. The main TO of Domino Effect 22 was Max Perkins, a man who has done a lot for the PNW smash scene.

Hosting events, getting a team together and getting places like UW to let these events use rooms on the campus, he has really been a help in building a community here and luckily, Perkins was willing to answer some questions. Starting back in Spring of 2017, Perkins has been both a Melee Player and TO for events.  

“I helped run the Smash club at my high school and co-founded DE as a house tournament between our friend group,” Perkins said. “This was in fall 2017. I became a TO because I wanted to get involved in a leadership activity, learn transferable skills, and create a welcoming environment for our community.”

Perkins continued: “My main TO goal is to create positive experiences and shared memories for attendees. I want every event to feel unique and special. It’s never been about the game for me – I really just care about the friends we make and the memories we share.”

Photo by @TO_Meeps on twitter. People cheering for a player in a set.

Now you may be thinking “this sounds fun, where can I sign up?” Well slow your jets for a moment. When getting into competitive gaming of any kind, it’s important to understand social media is going to be important. 

For events in the pacific northwest, mainly near Rogers, we have Games Unlimited. This is a small local in Tacoma. Usually 12-14 people attend, sometimes 20. 

Of course, for the knowledge for everyone because some may think “Ew,  going to smell bad” or “maybe they won’t like putting up with me” or any negative, a Rogers student gave his perspective on the matter.

Rogers student Quincy Graham, student, leader and band player, has been to a few of these events. 

Photo by @TridentSkrt on twitter. Quincy Graham at the event

Graham first experienced a smaller one down in Tacoma. He even played in bracket himself, getting 5th that day out of 15 players. His own take on the whole place is pretty positive.  

Graham said, “The place was a lot better smelling and positive then I was expecting. Everyone was chill and kind to me. Really had a fun time, wish I could do more.”

After going to Domino Effect 22 a while back, he had remarkably similar thoughts. He enjoyed the day, playing with different players and what not. 

There are also players to take into account when it comes to perspective. Syross “Smores” Bendico is a Smash Ultimate player, and he has a lot of friends in the scene.  

Photo by @TridentSkrt on twitter. Syross “Smores” Bendico at the event.

“DE was another amazing time at a tournament… I was really excited to go to one this time and this was also a great chance to see my friends again,” Bendico said.

As a part of the community, Bendico took a group to go eat after our bracket runs.  

“Me and a couple friends decided to grab food and we had talks along the way and overall was a blast hanging out with my friends because you never know what can happen in this day and age,” Bendico said. “It was really fun being able to play and meet new people.”  

The community is very open and to many players this is the experience when they go to a event. They play, see how far they get then hang out with friends, whether it be getting food, playing for fun or spectating the event til the very end. 

At the end of the day, no matter if you play the game on a casual, competitive or have never touched it. Experiencing an event like this is a once in a lifetime thing. 

If you enjoy a game like Fortnite, Overwatch 2, Apex, Valorant, or anything that has a competitive scene. If you think you would want to be part of that scene, go for it. 

Shoot for your dream and push to that goal. Even if your goal is to just make friends or to become a recognizable player in the scene just go for it. It’s better to push to a goal you want than to let it slip by. 

And to those who maybe don’t play video games or similar things, give them a shot. They can be a magical experience with the right people. 

Photo by @TridentSkrt on twitter. A group picture taken at the end of the day.