When the obnoxious bell had rung its final ring by 1:49 in the afternoon, students piled back into another classroom; not to learn, but to play video games. Lincoln High School students in different areas of the school, involved with several contrasting activities, filled into room 213, and were ready to raise money for cancer studies in children. The admission cost to enter the event was eight dollars. Payment into the event allows you to participate in the Super Smash Bros tournament, or watch and support the tournament, while also donating to an imperative cause. While attending the event, concessions were offered, and a losers’ bracket was being played at the same time as the main bracket.
Gamers of all skill levels entered the room either with the purpose to win, or just to hang out with friends and have fun. Prizes will be awarded to the gamers that come in third; second; and first place. The official prize lineup was as follows: the third place winner would claim a twenty-five dollar gift card to Newbury Comics; the second place winner would acquire a PowerA Wireless GameCube controller; and the first place winner would take home a Nintendo Switch Pro controller.
As the winners’ bracket began, two gamers stepped up to the two chairs located closest to the projector screen. The two gamers shaked hands, and then selected their characters. Character choice was dependent on either who the gamer played best as, or what character they wanted to play as for fun. At the end of each match, the audience clapped for both of the gamers, and the two then would shake hands again. The inclusive environment presented at the tournament evoked a sense of togetherness and camaraderie, even though we faced off against one another.
As prior mentioned, a losers’ bracket was also in effect. If a gamer lost one of his or her rounds, they would be added into a losers’ bracket; in which the person has one more chance to play in the tournament. The losers’ bracket would occur sporadically through the duration of the main tournament. The reason why this decision was made was not only for students to continue playing, but to give these players a chance to improve. Overall, students didn’t care about what place they got in, but they cared about spending time with another, and contributing to the greater good.
The student behind this event was Sean Parks; a junior at Lincoln High School with a passion for gaming, especially playing Nintendo games, such as Super Smash Bros Ultimate. For the application of learning to supplement his exhibition, he was told to think of something he enjoyed doing, and how he could contribute that to a substantial cause. The first step he took was to ponder on anything he enjoyed doing (he thought instantly of something with Nintendo.) He then formulated a way in which he could take a hobby he relishes, and synthesizing it to a cause so suffering and detrimental as cancer.
Parks shares himself that he chose video games as the focus for his exhibition not only because he enjoys playing them, but he wanted to show that video games could be used for a “good cause amongst a bad cause--retaliating against the bad reputation video games get in schools. Parks chose cancer research because “it is a universal cause that many people have dealt with, or are dealing with.”
He chose the game Super Smash Brothers Ultimate because of “its accessibility”--with the Nintendo Switch console being portable--”as well as having characters that anyone could recognize”; such as Mario and Pikachu. In his opinion, Smash is a game that any player can become good at as long as they practice the game enough, and the tournament would be fit for all skill levels of players: from a novice, to an advanced player.
The tournament ended up being a success! Parks states that “$166 dollars were raised for cancer studies at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Providence.” Fourteen people played in the tournament, and the rest of the funds came from student donations. Eric Clauson, a junior who participated in the tournament, says that the event was a good time. “It was a nice get-together of good people in order to support a great cause.” At the conclusion of the tournament, Parks organized an event where Lincoln High School students could spend some time together, do something they enjoy, and have it benefit a larger cause.