By Kevin Fornari, Published 2/12/2018
On Friday, Maverick Mayhem returned to once again foster friendly competition and cater to one of gaming’s earliest communities: the fighting game community. The free event peaked at 50 attendees and featured Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. 4 and Rivals of Aether buy-in tournaments.
Generally, there are four types of people attending the event, said Ryan Flowers, event director and information systems senior.
On one side, there are casual players who know they aren’t great, but enjoy the event regardless, Flowers said. They come to hang out with friends and find their own way of having a good time, sometimes playing games other than those featured in the tournament lineup.
Following them, the normal players. These are average people who attend Maverick Mayhem, Flowers said. They generally understand their skill level and may enter competitions. Their self-awareness allows them to enjoy games regardless of results.
Flowers jokingly referred to the next group as “the normies.” He said this group is characterized by being about as good as an average player, but grossly overestimating its skill level. These players usually end up losing the earliest and getting the most frustrated.
Flowers advised against this mindset, as it dampens the enjoyment of video games.
The next group is what makes the event for some people; what draws in competitors and inspires them to try their best.
This group is the hardcore players, Flowers said.
Flowers said this group isn’t defined by skill level, but mindset. The players in this group are trying their hardest to win and improve. Some abuse unbalanced game mechanics, some play controversial characters and others attend countless tournaments to learn every aspect of the game.
I enjoy beating players who have a reputation the most, said Marcel “DankDDD” Hayek, Richland High School junior.
Hayek has attended Maverick Mayhem for two months straight. He usually comes adorned in Super Smash Bros. 4 swag, wearing a necklace of the Smash Bros. logo and a shirt with the Nintendo 64 logo, while placing his phone next to him encased by one of his favorite characters: King DeDeDe, who’s also the background of his smart watch.
When he goes to pay for his tournament entry, he pulls out his brown wallet with the Smash Bros. 4 logo on it.
“When I play something, I play it obsessively,” Hayek said.
A friend told him about Super Smash Bros. 4 for the Nintendo 3DS and Hayek decided to go to the midnight release.
A month after getting the game, he became better than all his friends who’d been playing Super Smash Bros. games for years, Hayek said.
He attended his first tournament and lost early on, getting “absolutely sauced.”
Despite this, Hayek continued competing in as many tournaments as he could and has found results he’s happy with. He said he doesn’t regret not getting into Super Smash Bros. sooner and is excited for how much there is to learn and how much his reactions can improve.
“Almost every time I play, I learn something new,” Hayek said.
Some can tire of playing against competitive opponents as they usually play more defensively, which is less fun for most players, said West “Solio” Meyers, accounting and finance sophomore.
Meyers said being a competitive Super Smash Bros. player is uniquely stressful as competitors have to drive to all their competitions, costing money and time while adding to their fatigue.
He said he’s recently stopped attending most tournaments so he can rest and recover.
Meyers said he came into this Maverick Mayhem with a less serious mindset, which allowed him to maintain composure by keeping his heart-rate low and his appearance calm.
“[I wanted to] knock off the rust and try to win,” Meyers said.
He said this mindset gave him an edge by allowing him to focus on his mistakes and improve while his opponents are concerned with staying calm.
Meyers ended up winning the Super Smash Bros. 4 and Rivals of Aether tournament. He said it was good practice for his upcoming tournament with other UT Arlington Esports teammates at the Southwest Regional Qualifier in Amarillo on Saturday, Feb. 17.
While many attend Maverick Mayhem for the competitive thrill, others are there to fool around by throwing out silly moves and juicy banter.
Information Systems junior Peyton Hunter found his passion for cheesy strategies when Flowers brought him to play a Super Smash Bros. 4 doubles tournament.
He said the tournament only allowed the character Little Mac to be played. He never used Little Mac before and only played two hours of Super Smash Bros. 4 prior to the tournament.
Despite this lack of experience, Flowers gave Hunter a crash-course on Little Mac the day of the tournament and they ended up taking first.
Now, Hunter enjoys throwing out “janky” moves which shouldn’t hit, but sometimes do.
One of his favorite memories is when he was telling his opponent that Hunter’s character could kill his opponent early by grabbing him and throwing him off-stage. Hunter said in the middle of saying this, he executed the exact move he was telling his opponent about and got the kill.
During Friday’s Maverick Mayhem, Hunter said he played a very unique game of Super Smash Bros. Melee.
“I played the dumbest game of Melee in my life,” Hunter said.
He said all he did was walk forward slowly and throw a heavy attack, which ended up winning him the game.
Regardless of playstyle or player, Maverick Mayhem is open to everyone.
Flowers said the event faced difficulties as they had to use a different room, use less equipment and cancel the free doubles tournament. Despite this, the event ran smoothly and people enjoyed their time.
Flowers said free doubles tournaments will return and Maverick Mayhem will once again run at 100%.