Smash Bros. Tournament Draws Interest in Animation

With 40 boxes of pizza, a handful of TVs and game consoles, and one hand-drawn bracket, Regent University’s animation club kicked off its annual Super Smash Brothers tournament.

“The Regent community is a huge fan of Super Smash Brothers,” said Jacob Schools ’17 (College of Arts & Sciences), president of the animation club. “It wasn’t hard to find people who wanted this event to happen.”

Schools partnered with Regent’s College Student Leadership Board and Student Activities Board. Dozens of students crowded Regent’s Ordinary Friday evening to battle it out to determine who would become the 2015 Super Smash Brothers champion. After emerging from the losing bracket, Peter Venoit challenged and defeated Jeremy Thorton to take home a first-place $60 GameStop gift card. The tournament was a way to bring out those who enjoy playing video games and learn more about a club that creates and animates video games.

“It’s definitely good advertising for the club,” said Cowhen Olson ’19 (College of Arts & Sciences). “We’re talking with other people and seeing if they’re interested in animation. Do you like games? This is what you can do in animation, the same thing you see right here. I think it’s inspiring to show people what they can do, because they already have a passion for the games, so why not push them a step further?”

Olson found out about the club at Regent’s student activities fair earlier this fall. He enjoys writing and was an English major. His experience with the club convinced him to switch his major to Cinema-Television. The club’s projects give him experience writing for animated film or game story lines. Last year, the team put together its own video game, Toy Box Showdown.

“There were these two characters in an arena-style of gameplay,” said Schools. “They went back and forth, and it was just a bare-bones of a game, and it was a huge learning experience.”

That learning experience went beyond animating and included programming in C Sharp. These sorts of projects demand several skill-sets, including writing and coding.

“There are a lot of jobs. It’s very diverse. Even for the project we’re working on, we’re still seeking out more people who can help with the project to represent Regent,” said Olson.

Representing Regent, club members say they share a common bond that goes deeper than just being motivated to entertain.

“Being a storyteller is how you get directly into somebody’s heart,” said Schools. “You can get there a lot quicker by telling a story than just telling them what they’re doing wrong or what they need to be doing. I think it’s very important. It’s the reason Jesus used parables to explain why something exists, or why it’s morally wrong to do something else. Jesus used parables, and I think animators need to use that as a reference.”