Super Smash Bros, Catan, and Battlefield: A Look at Gaming on Campus

The Mural Room bustled with activity last Friday as over 45 students participated in a Super Smash Bros tournament. Super Smash Bros, a multi-player fighting game created by Nintendo, is a widely enjoyed video game on campus, according to Quintin Moss ’21, the tournament’s facilitator. Moss hoped that the tournament would be a bonding activity for all students interested in playing.

Moss said, “Super Smash Bros was a game I played with some of my friends when I came to Andover, but not being able to hang out recently, we decided to host a tournament for all people to play, enjoy, and bond during this time. I had often heard people playing the game in the dorms or hanging out with other people to play it and I just thought we have so many people scattered around campus doing this in their own little individual groups.”

During the event, Moss was surprised by the number of students who were passionate about playing Super Smash Bros. Moss finds that the presence of the students made the event more entertaining and meaningful.

Moss said, “I was expecting less people than there actually were, so me and a bunch of other people were running around trying to plan things because we got a really big turnout. We had 35 sign up but there were 45-ish people. Everyone was very excited, there were people running around trying to sign up, and there were couple of people who wanted to enter that hadn’t signed up previously. It was really intense; there was a lot of cheering, there was a lot of noise, there was a lot of running around in effort to manage everybody.”

Brian Ko ’19, another organizer of the tournament, attributes this spread of Super Smash Bros and all other games to the high stress level that students have from schoolwork. Ko also finds that gaming brings a healthy sense of competition between close friends.

“I think playing games are really nice ways for people to relax after classes. Because we have couple of hours of homework every night plus a sport, it’s nice to sit down and play Smash or other games with friends and have a good time. The other is that a lot of people are super competitive at Andover, which I find to be true. Since most games are in some form of competition between users, you instantly get to see who is the better player, which is a lot of fun,” said Ko.

Moss agreed with this idea, adding that the students’ will to be challenged serves as a reason for difficult games, such as Catan, to be popular on campus.

“Catan is a board game that is less popular among other people than it is among Andover students. I don’t know if it is because it’s in [Susie’s] and most dorms have it, but I’ve noticed that freshman dorms will go out and have days dedicated to playing Catan. I think it’s partly because it’s more of a difficult game than other popular board games and Andover students are up for the challenge, and also because it supports a lot of players so a lot of people can play at once,” said Moss.

Other students such as Kion Young ’20, however, enjoy games that they have been playing from a young age and do not require as many challenges.

Young said, “I play first person shooters like Call of Duty, Battlefield. Growing up in Japan, such online games were natural to me. I just play it regularly as part of my weekly schedule, and I do not like to put any extra effort when playing games.”

Alicia Chu ’22 also noted that the games enjoyed by students vary by genders and grade levels.

Chu said, “Freshman girl dorms, especially Nathan Hale, are not as interested in Smash or online games. Instead, Wii games are a good source of entertainment for my friends and I to enjoy during weekends. Although I don’t know the reasons for these differences, it seems to be the case.”

Despite the differences in games played by students, Ko is still surprised by how different students all consider gaming as a fun source of entertainment. He hopes that gaming continues to be an integral part of student life at Andover.

“There are students from across the spectrum who love playing games of any type. It just makes me feel good that we have a diverse spectrum of people that find common things to get together and enjoy, and this really is striking to me. I hope that gaming continues to be popular in the future,” said Ko.