For the love of the game: MSU’s Super Smash Bros club

For the love of the game: MSU’s Super Smash Bros club

SuperSmashLarge

While many MSU students were busy watching the Super Bowl the first weekend in February, members of the MSU Super Smash Bros. Club were watching an entirely different competition: the Apex 2015 Super Smash Bros. Tournament.

Competitive Super Smash Bros. tournaments have been growing substantially in popularity in recent years. Over 1,600 people registered to play in the Apex 2015 tournament, which was held in New Jersey from Jan 30 to Feb 1.

Super Smash Bros. Melee, a game many might remember playing on their Nintendo GameCube back in the early 2000s, was the most popular game at the tournament, with 1,037 registering in to compete in the bracket. The Melee tournament was structured as a double elimination bracket, meaning that players who lost their first match were sent to the “losers bracket”. The winner of the losers bracket then played the winner of the regular bracket, determining the overall winner of the tournament.

But what draws people to tournaments like Apex? In some cases, it’s the money.
The grand prize for the Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament was $7,228. Also during Apex 2015, two of the most famous Smash competitors—who go by the names Mango and Leffen—competed in a money match game where the loser had to give the winner $1,000. Some spectators were thrilled to see something new at the tournament.

“That was just a cool added narrative to the game that you normally don’t have,” said sophomore Travis Conte, the MSU Smash Club President. “That was exciting, because Leffen, he’s a villain at this point, to be honest. It’s kind of great. It’s almost like an anime in real life. I mean, we’re taking something way more seriously than we should. You’ve got Yu-Gi-Oh and stuff where these kids are insane, and now it’s kind of like that in real life. Leffen even has the hair.”

Other fans were a little disappointed with the game’s outcome.

“It was heartbreaking watching Mango lose a thousand dollar money match,” said graduate student Justin Lietz. “It was heartbreaking. But I thought the top three all played really well.”

But not everyone who plays Super Smash Bros. has the chance to compete for $1,000. So why do so many players enjoy the game?

“I know the draw for a lot of people is that in traditional fighting games, you’re mostly memorizing series of inputs,” said Conte. “But in Smash Brothers, it’s more like a platformer, so you have all these different movement options that no fighting game really offers.”

Serious Super Smash Bros. fans, or “Smashers,” are especially interested in testing the limits of the game.

“There’s a ridiculous skill cap,” said senior James Brennan. “You can just get so good at it compared to other games. I actually play Starcraft 2, which is pretty similar, but Smash is the only other game that can match [real-time strategies] and how good you can get.”

But the big question when it comes to Super Smash Bros. is: where is it headed? Could Apex 2016 be broadcast on television like the World Poker Tournament? Or will fans have to be content with watching tournaments on websites like Twitch that live stream video game tournaments like Apex?

“Looking at League of Legends, they pull in a quarter million views just on a weekly basis on Twitch, but I actually don’t think Smash would ever get to quite that level just because it’s an older game,” Lietz said. “I think to get that kind of mass appeal you need something flashier—better graphics, a little bit newer. But I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing.”

Despite the lack of attention Smash receives outside of the fan base, the community is strong—and it’s growing. The MSU Smash Club meets every Tuesday at eight in the basement of Case Hall, and draws roughly 20 Smash enthusiasts.

And for many, that seems to be the biggest draw to playing Smash Bros.: the people.
“I mean, you play Wii or you play online, but I don’t think you get the same experience as going to tournament where you get to chill with [other players] like Smash does,” Senior Adontae Walter said. “And Smash has always been that way. From the beginning.”

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Traveling over Christmas break on a college budget

Traveling over Christmas break on a college budget

Travel

Christmas break is on its way, and if you’re stuck in Michigan and wondering what to do during over the four-week winter vacation, here are some cheap ideas to check out with a group of friends or family.

Michigan

Michigan may not have as much going as some of us would like, there’s plenty of fun stuff in the area to do, even on a college budget.

East Lansing

Although it means travelling back on campus, it’s completely free to view MSU’s collection of brains, featuring 156 different brain specimens, in Room 3 of the Natural Science Building. The room is open daily from 10 am to 5:30 pm, but anyone interested in looking at the collection must make an appointment with John Irwin Johnson (517-353-3852). Still, it’s totally worth it to look at a bunch of brains.

Hell

A town called Hell can’t be anything but a blast. Driving through is free, and grabbing an ice cream cone from the local ice cream store is only few dollars. But if you want to go all out, you can pay $100 to be the mayor of Hell for a day complete with a key to the city of the Hell. Besides, what better place is there to spend to holidays than in Hell?

Midland

Founded nearly 80 years ago, Midland’s Santa School teaches men from all over the world how to be Santa Claus. The classes are usually in October, but “Santa’s Workshop” is open to everyone during the Christmas season and is an absolute blast, especially for children. If you have a younger family member around for the holidays, definitely consider taking them here.

Farmington Hills

Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum is one of the World Almanac’s 100 most unusual museums. Its founder, Marvin, collects various mechanical oddities including pinball machines that guests are welcome to play (if you have a quarter or two on you). The museum is open 365 days a year, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Kalamazoo

The bar Kalamazoo Beer Exchange experienced a surge in popularity after someone posted a picture of it’s menu on Reddit. The menu works like a stock market, where the prices go up or down depending on how many people are ordering the item. If you’re willing to make the drive to Kalamazoo and pay for dinner, it would certainly be a unique dining experience.

Chicago

It’s only about a three and half-hour drive from East Lansing to the windy city. If you’re willing pay for gas or a train ticket and plan out your stay in the city down to the letter, there’s plenty to check out in Chicago on a short day trip.

Millennium Park

Millennium Park might be a bit chilly in December and January, but if you don’t mind the cold, the Bean and the Crown Fountain are both worth checking out. The Bean is hard to miss – it’s a giant, steel, bean-shaped structure that reflects the city’s high-rise buildings. The inside is just as remarkable as out, with a dome shape that’s reminiscent of fun house mirrors and makes for a perfect new Facebook profile picture. The Crown Fountain is worth seeing if you’re in the area, as there’s nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world. It features two giant walls in a pool of water with screens on both that turn the walls into faces. Every once and while, the person on the wall will “spit” water into the pool that is between the screens. Weird, but definitely worth checking out, since the park is always open and always free.

Tiffany Dome

At 38 feet in diameter, the recently restored dome in the Chicago Cultural Center building is the largest Tiffany glass dome in the world. The dome was originally built in 1897, but had been covered with concrete in the 1930s. The Chicago Cultural Center dismantled the dome and restored each of the 30,000 pieces of glass individually. Entry to the Chicago Cultural Center is free of charge.

Money Museum

Chicago’s Money Museum is a quirky site that features displays of currency without charging guests a penny. Some of the museum’s most popular attractions include a shredder that shreds over $10 million of old currency every day, a suitcase of a million dollars that guests can take pictures with and a stack of a million one dollar bills that weighs over 2,000 pounds. The Money Museum is located in the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and is open Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., but keep in mind the museum is closed on bank holidays.

International Museum of Surgical Science

If blood, 3-D models of anatomy and ancient medicine don’t creep you out, you might be interested in checking out the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago. The museum features everything from a 3-D printed model of an actual patient’s heart to paintings depicting artists’ struggles with various medical conditions. The museum is open 10 am to 4 pm Tuesday through Friday and 10 am to 5 pm Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $10 for students, but Tuesdays are free for everyone.

Championship Vinyl

Before you head out on your trip to Chicago, you may want to watch (or re-watch) “High Fidelity”. That way, you can drive by Rob Gordon’s record store, Championship Vinyl, at 1514 N. Milwaukee Ave. Today, it’s just a boarded up abandoned building, but just imagine how smart you’ll feel pointing it out to all your friends.

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2014 Album Previews

2014 Album Previews

Album Infographic

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Understanding the rush process

Understanding the rush process

Fitting in at MSU often means knowing words like “Shy-Phi” and “D2L”.

But one word—“rush”—the process of joining a sorority or a fraternity, remains a mystery to many students.

“Rushing is when a potential member new member goes through the recruitment process in the hopes of receiving an invitation [bid] to a house,” said senior Alyssa Fritz, President of the Panhellenic Council and member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority.

For aspiring sorority members at Michigan State, rushing begins the first week of September. The process, which follows a system of days with a specific focus, kicks off with two spirit days where those rushing mingled with one another and wear t-shirts to represent the Greek life.

Philanthropy day gives girls the opportunity to learn about each sorority’s respective philanthropy and sometimes even participate. On values day, prospective and current sorority members get to know each other better by sharing their values and beliefs.

For potential Greek life members, it’s all about finding a chapter that fits their personality and hoping the members of that chapter think they fit in, too.

“Recruitment is based on mutual selection – not only must the chapter believe the potential new member (PNM) will be a good fit in their house but the PNM must also find the house conducive to her personality as well,” Fritz said. “Though all houses share similar core values like scholarship, philanthropy, good character, etc., each has a distinct personality that distinguishes them from one other. A PNM may stand out more to one house than she will to another because her personality better complements that of their organization.”

Values day is followed by preference day and bid day, where those rushing write down their top sorority picks and are ultimately chosen or denied by a sorority. Fraternity rushing begins the next week and follows a similar pattern.

Bid Day can be a stressful day for some, but for freshman Emily Walsh, the entire week was an exhilarating experience.

“The recruitment process is exciting because you get to meet so many people through the process,” Walsh said. “I now see so many familiar faces when I’m walking around campus. Although it is a long process, the moment when I opened my bid card and saw that I was member of Pi Beta Phi made it all worth it.

Fritz said she is proud of the work the Panhellenic community has put forth in recruiting new members.

“This was our most successful fall recruitment to date,” Fritz said. “Since 2009 we have had a 100% increase in women registering for fall recruitment while the number of female students enrolled at MSU has not increased that much.”

Fritz went on to say a record 1216 women signed up to participate in fall sorority recruitment, with about 700 accepting bids.

For many sororities and fraternities, the rushing process has come to an end.

“All sororities participate in Formal Recruitment in the fall, which is organized by Panhellenic Council in conjunction with each of the chapters,” Fritz said. “This recruitment is much more structured than that which occurs in the spring. The number of active members each house is permitted to have is regulated to ensure that all have about the same number of women and those numbers are systematically set following fall recruitment.

But for other sororities and fraternities, the process will begin again in the spring.

“After fall recruitment ends, if chapters have not reached campus total then they are eligible to hold COB—or continuous open bidding—events,” said senior Camaryn Self, Vice President of Recruitment Logistics on the Panhellenic Council said. “Similarly, if in the spring semester chapters have not reached campus total, then they can hold COB events as well.”

With Greek recruitment coming to an end, the process of integrating new members into their chapters, once called “pledging”, begins.

“Once recruitment is over and a woman receives a bid from a chapter, then she becomes a new member and begins her new member term,” Self said. “During this term, she attends weekly new member meetings where she learns about the history of the sorority and prepares for initiation of membership into that sorority.”

Although this year’s Greek recruitment process has come to an end, the process will begin anew next year, and the best thing for hopeful members to do turns out to be pretty simple.

“The best advice I have for anyone going through recruitment is to be themselves and have conversations about what they value and what truly matters to them,” Fritz said. “This is the best way for them to figure out which house will be the perfect fit for them.”

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