Monday, April 28, 2014

Game On!: Super Smash Brothers Tournament

One of my more successful teen programs has been my Super Smash Brothers Brawl Tournament. I usually get between 20 and 30 teens (mostly boys) who aren't my regular attendees. It's also a relatively low-prep/low cost program.

You'll need:

  • A Nintendo Wii, preferrably 2. I use 1 Wii from our teen room and I also bring in mine from home.
  • 2 - 4 Wii motes/nun-chucks per console
    • Note: Most of the teens like to play Smash Brothers with Game Cube controllers. I don't own any, so I let them bring their own from home.
  • 1 copy of Super Smash Brothers Brawl per console
  • Board games/other activity for the teens to play while they wait for their turn
  • Snacks! I set out soda, chips, and pretzels. I make sure to tell them that the food/drink has to stay away from the Wii's though.
  • Brackets
    • You can use an online bracket generator or draw your own. I print mine off onto large paper because the teens really love gathering around the bracket board to see who's playing who.

How it's done:

  • For this program, I find it best to have me and 2 volunteers (preferably ones who are familiar with the game). This way, I can have one volunteer monitoring each of the matches in case there are arguments about fairness and such and I can work on the brackets and announcing the matches.
  • As the teens arrive, I check off their names and ask them if they want a "handle" (or gamer nickname) for the tournament. Most do. I write their handle down next to their real name and have them also write their handle on a sticky name tag to wear. I also write their handles on a small piece of paper and put it into a box. I will then draw their names out of the box to randomly determine who will play who in the first round.
  • Then they can go warm up on the game while the other teens arrive.
  • Next I gather all of the teens together to go over The Rules (see below). While I am doing that, one of my volunteers can draw the names for the first round of matches and fill in the brackets.
  • Then we announce the first four players and begin!

The Rules:

  • Registration and warm-up begins a half hour before the tournament. 
  • All participants must  be registered
  • Brawls will have 2 competitors per match-up (1 vs. 1)
  • Rules of the game:
    • Time limit = 5 minute brawls
    • Stock limit = 3
    • Handicap = Off
    • Stage Choice = Decided the day of the tournament (Note: I usually choose Smashville for the tourney stage. It's small and works well for 1 on 1.)
    • No items or Smash Ball
  • This will be a DOUBLE ELIMINATION tournament
    • Winner will move on to the next round of the tournament
    • Losers of each match will get to play in the "Loser's Bracket"
    • The winners of the winner and loser’s bracket will play head to head to determine the tournament winner, but the loser’s bracket winner must beat their opponent twice in a row
  • Participants may bring their own Game Cube controllers, but NOT memory cards.
  • Meta Knight is banned.
  • Stalling is banned.
  • Trash-talking is a disqualifier.
  • No do-overs! Check your controller, etc. BEFORE you start the match.
  • Any ruling by the judges is FINAL.
With these rules/time limits in place, I was able to get through the matches for 24 participants in about 2.5 hours. You could possibly have shorter matches to let more teens play, but I think with more than 24 teens it begins to get a little crazy and everything gets more difficult to keep organized.

Have you ever done a video game tournament? What worked? What didn't?

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