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In the Fray of the Inner Circle: Competitive Gaming Club Throws Weekly Smash Ultimate Tournaments St

Get ready for a fight as UIC’s very own Competitive Gaming Club (CGC) begins to throw weekly Super Smash Bros Ultimate and Melee tournaments in the Inner Circle for the Spring 2020 Semester. They are held every Friday from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm starting on February 7th. The weekly “Fight Nights” have been ongoing since last semester and the turnout and competition are increasing every week. Here at UIC Radio, I interviewed CGC Fight Night Organizer Fernando Mendez (who also blogs for UIC Radio) and Fight Night winner and competitor Parth Kansara about the Fight Night event as well as the Competitive Gaming Club and its history at UIC.

Matt Cuartero: Tell me about the Fight Night event as a whole, as well as a quick summary of the Competitive Gaming Club.

Fernando Mendez: We’re basically a community of gamers, not just competitive but casual as well. We have a Discord where gamers can connect and play together. When I first joined CGC, there weren’t very many Smash Bros events or tournaments in general. I love fighting games, so I wanted to change that and make new events on campus to host gaming nights for fighting games. When I joined last year, we had three [Fight Nights] and our highest turnout was 33 people. I really wanted tournaments to happen, and not a lot of people have had exposure to it but want to play, so I wanted to give that experience to anyone on campus.

Cuartero: The last competition [October 11th] looked like a pretty good turnout. In comparison to last year, how did the numbers compare?

Mendez: Yes, it was definitely a good turnout. We had 81 attendants. 75 for Ultimate, and 22 for Melee. It was one of the biggest events for a Smash tournament [at UIC], or one of the biggest events for CGC in general, really. The number was at 49 the day before, but it just blew up to 80 because of walk-ins. We almost didn’t finish the tournament in time because there were so many people coming to play. In the future, since this group is getting pretty big, we were looking to invest in an E-Sports lounge in the future.

C: That sounds amazing. Where do you think the E-Sports lounge will be located on campus?

M: They wanted to locate the lounge in the Bowling Alley, but I think the location is a bit too small. We will see where there might be a better location.

C: Sounds great. Next question: can you tell me a little bit about your position in the CGC?

M: I’m a Community Coordinator, which entails making events for the club. That was me and Nick’s idea to start the weekly Fight Nights and tournaments. We will have things like a Halloween party and other events of course. However, Fight Nights is the biggest priority for me. There were a lot of struggles for us to make this event happen. We originally wanted Taft Hall, but the Inner Circle actually worked really well.

C: Let’s get more into the last event just last Friday (October 11, 2019). I wanted to get into the actual competitors and matches that occurred during Fight Night. Parth (Flavortown) is the one who won, right?

M: Yes, he was. He is one of the best players here at UIC, one of the best Links that I’ve seen. There is this player Panda Bear who didn’t show up, but he’s one of the best in Chicago. One of the opponents Parth faced, her name was Carmen, and I think her tag was Solscast I believe? But she was very good. She actually played him last tournament during grand finals as well. So it’s kind of a rivalry between them two. I wouldn’t be surprised if that happened again. However, there were a few others who surprised me, like this one “Mega Man” called Kanto who defeated Parth. Amoria won Melee and got fifth in Ultimate as well.

C: Anything else about Friday?

M: I just wanted to thank everyone who helped make it work. This is a community event, so it wouldn’t have happened without the help from everyone. They attended and played, but also helped move chairs and tables, brought monitors and switches, just everything really. I really appreciate that support and I love that the community is supporting our Fight Night here on campus.

C: What do you want to see in the future with CGC or with these competitions?

M: I really want people at UIC to know about CGC and that tournaments go on. I want it to be a place where people can compete or relax with events going on regularly. I want us to be the example for how a tournament should run. Monitors, rulesets followed by the community, and stream everything. I just want the Fight Nights and other CGC events to be something that people can look forward to and just have a good time. 

Matt Cuartero: I actually wanted to start off with the seeding of this event. I heard you were the organizer for the bracket organization. Can you tell me a little bit more about how that works?

Parth Kansara: The seeding in this, I couldn’t seed everyone because there wasn’t much to go on since we only had three Fight Nights last year, so I had to base a lot of the seeding just on those competitions. I actually messed up the seeding placing Carmen lower on the list, and she started taking out a lot of good players at the beginning. For seeding to be good and exciting, you want the good players to play each other at the end, because people want to see those crazy fights. Besides that, I just seeded people based on if I thought they were really good or not just on some of their fights they have been in.

Cuartero: Anything else about the seeding and this competition specifically?

Kansara: This tournament is to see who gets seeded in the next one. You have the losers bracket to do well in. And there’s a lot of new guys who are great that will be seeded higher for the next tournament, such as Carmen. She’s really good at messing with your head and your landings, so that’s someone everyone needs to be looking out for. There’s a Banjo player, Lemonwalker I think his name is, is really good. The Sheik player I played, in the beginning, was good, but he lost so I don’t know how good he is now that he’s in the losers bracket.

C: Now tell me about your main? Why do you like Link?

K: Well, I love all of the Zelda games of course. I used to be a Cloud main in Smash 4, but he sucks in this game compared to the last. He’s still good, but he isn’t as fun or good as he used to be. You only start out with eight characters so I used Link. He’s really good actually. I try to play pretty aggressively with him, but I sometimes have to play campy or zoner with him. A lot of bomb, nair, and boomerang techniques is what you need to learn to set up with. People say that my Link is sick, so I keep playing him and keep practicing with him.

C: What’s the best part about playing on the competitive level?

K: When it comes to Link, he’s a momentum-based character, so you have to go in, be aggressive while still zoning and approaching. That’s the most fun I have with this game. To go crazy, input a bunch of buttons and look cool while doing it, you know what I mean? Link is a cool character with a lot of unique setups and situations. That’s the whole point and fun of playing Smash. My friends are watching me play on stream, and they always want to watch me. They love watching me play, so I give them the stream link. I love that they love watching me play so having friends like that is amazing. 

Shoutout to Competitive Gaming Club here at UIC! You can follow the community announcements and the Fight Nights at the following:

– Matt Cuartero

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