By David Moore
At the beginning of the 2023 Spring semester, the eSports community at William Peace University added another game to be played for fun and for glory with other colleges in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, also known as SSBU.
The eSports games that were already in WPU’s program when it started in 2021 included Rocket League, Valorant, and League of Legends. While all of these games are played on computer, SSBU is played exclusively on console, which has the SSBU players playing in a different way than the other teams.
Nathan Hawxwell, a sophomore simulation and game design major and the current captain of the SSBU team, put in a strong effort over the 2021-2022 school year to make SSBU an official eSports team at WPU.
“I’ve been playing Smash Bros ever since I was a kid, and as I got older, I started to realize that this game had a lot of depth, and so I started playing competitive,” Hawxwell said. “Lots of other colleges around the area have Smash Bros. stuff going on, but this school never had any.”
The first practice for the Smash Bros. team took place Jan. 18.
“We had a lot of new people show up and a lot of people showed interest,” Hawxwell said. “And over the course of this past week, we’ve gained a lot of new members, so it’s been really exciting.”
As this team grows, they plan on doing several competitive matches with other colleges and eSports teams. They were invited to an invitational on Jan. 29, which included many different players from many different colleges, including High Point University, University of North Carolina Charlotte, and University of Tennessee Knoxville.
WPU’s newly formed team lost to the teams at other colleges that have been playing the game for years. However, they have said that they are determined to practice more, and get better over time.
Hawxwell says the team is trying to meet once a month to compete among WPU students “to help build community, recruit new members, and … have some friendly competition and help us grow our skills into practice. Because the only way to get better is to practice and I feel like practicing with a group of like minded individuals that have a similar goal is the best way to improve.”