Why I Play Smash
posted to the public
at 4:28 PM on Tuesday Jun 19, 2012
After I completely tanked at PS4 last weekend in perhaps my most embarrassing tournament performance of my life, I felt compelled to take a long, hard look at why I'm still playing Smash. I can't say I've ever seriously considered quitting, but I have often wondered what keeps me so passionate about the game.
I used to attribute it to the community. Getting the chance to meet so many different people and travelling all over the country because of a video game has been an experience that few people will ever experience, or even understand.
Now, however, I realize that this is only partly true. Sure, I can travel to new places and meet new smashers, but what is it that makes me want to defeat all of these people in tournament so badly?
The answer came to me while I was watching a video interview of Bruce Lee on youtube. I've seen the video before, but it never really spoke to me until now. In the interview, Bruce Lee talks about how martial arts was the most important part of his life because of how purely he could express himself through it. Sure, he can put on an exhibition and be flashy for the spectators. But it was in the heart of battle that he felt was his purest form of self-expression.
It might seem silly to compare physical combat to a video game. But it makes sense if you think about it. At high level play, both types of tournament matches involve two people who have devoted a sizeable chunk of their life to mastering a craft, and challenging each other to determine who has better mastery of that craft.
Smash means so much more to most of us than we realize. We don't play it just because it's fun; Connect Four is fun too, but I don't see people holding Connect Four tournaments. We play Smash because, due to how much of our lives we've devoted to it, Smash has become a veritable part of us. Just like our upbringing, or our education.
There is a raw truth behind the way each of us plays Smash. I say "raw" because it's the most basic form of truth: it is what it is, and it doesn't mean anything else. If someone has a campy playstyle, that in no way means that s/he has a patient personality. If someone plays aggro, it doesn't mean they're a reckless person. All it means is that this is how they choose to express themselves when they play Smash. This is who they are; at least, the part of themselves that has been shaped by Smash.
And we go to tournaments to express this part of ourselves, the only way we know how: by beating the crap out of each other in a video game.
It's because if this reason that I'm upset with how I did at PS4 last weekend. I ****ed around in the bracket and got knocked out way earlier than I should have. I didn't get to properly "express myself" against tough players late in the bracket like I usually do--and believe me, I wanted to "express myself" ALL OVER that bracket.
Now it's clear to me how much this game really means to me. Maybe now I'll be motivated to put some work in, so that I can make the community see in me what I see in myself.