Smash Club members share love of game, competition


Adrienne Oliva / Clarion

Members of Madison College’s Smash Club compete in “Super Mario Smash” in the WolfPack Den late on a Friday afternoon.

Adrienne Oliva, Editor in Chief

Dan Janto, the President of Madison College’s Smash Club, compares the game “Super Mario Smash” to a game of chess.

“It’s competitive and it’s constructive, and you use your head,” Janto explained.

Michael Thony, the Vice President of the club agrees, but describes it just a little differently.
“I think it would be like chess, but every time you move a piece, you have to press 100 buttons in exactly the right order or your piece kills itself,” said Thony.

Though most people at the Truax campus have seen the Smash club in action in the WolfPack Den, many might not realize the amount of skill that the players are putting into their gameplay.

The Smash community expands well past Madison College. It began when players of Super Mario Smash found a way to make the beloved game a competitive affair.

“We realized that there is a different way to play, there is more technique, there’s more mental game and psychology. And then because of that, there’s a specific community that was built from it. And it started spreading from the U.S., to Japan, to Sweden, and different parts of the world,” Janto explained.

Madison College’s Smash Club is important to the Wisconsin Smash community because they are the first to bring back tournaments in two years. “We’re the first to pick it back up,” said Janto. Their tournaments often draw people from all around Wisconsin, including Milwaukee and The Dells.

There is also an inherent social aspect to the Smash community. Since the versions of the game used for competition are not online compatible, players who want to partake in the community must meet in person to play.

“There’s no way to get better or play with anybody without seeing them in person,” said Janto. “We bring our big TV’s around as we travel with our game systems.”

As they play in person, they also are able to show each other respect from player to player. It is really important for many players to begin a competition with a handshake for fist bump as a sign of respect.

“You’re already connecting with someone, because you respect them enough to play them,” said Janto.

“I always feel bad when somebody doesn’t fist bump me,” said Janto. “Start with a fist bump, end with a fist bump. Otherwise it’s disrespectful. It’s like bowing for Karate.”

The competitive yet respectful nature of the community often means that there is a strong sense of trust between the players.

“I think it’s really crazy that sometimes we can leave the cabinets unlocked to our property for so long, sometimes unattended, and we can trust other Smash players to not futz, or steal, or damage anything,” said Janto

According to Janto, there is more to Smash club than just the game. Smash club often acts as an important social resource for many of the players, as they are able to make connections with people who have the same passion they do.

“I want (Madison College) to know that it’s actually not just Smash.” said Janto. “There’s been so many people who have joined and come to me and said ‘I’m glad that Smash club is here, I’ve made so many friends’.”

“I know a lot of people now because of playing the game,” explained Smash club member Matt Mehus. “I had a birthday recently, most of the people I invited, I met through this game.”
Anyone interested in joining Smash club is welcome to do so. Even though there are several nationally ranked players that attend Smash club and their tournaments, new players shouldn’t be intimidated to play.

“I believe anyone can be good at this game- it just takes time and effort,” said Smash club member Henry Moser. “You’re welcome any time.”