Driving through the cornfields of Sandusky, Ohio lulls attendees into a state of old America, no internet, no city-life, no Smash. Seemingly out of nowhere off Route 250 the Kalahari Resort appears. Immediately, Riptide hopefuls are transported to a place more like Africa than America. The juxtaposition of an African Safari Water Park and a Super Smash Major is an interesting one. As attendees check in they are met with a sight not seen in over 18-months – other Smashers and gamers alike. Ratty outfits, crocs with Pikachu charms and Nintendo branded apparel galore. It may be the most rewarding sight of the weekend, a reminder that society is moving forward and onward beyond COVID-19.
That said, attendees have a false sense of security over the future. Nearly all at Kalahari are wearing masks – bandana, surgical, cone-style, N95 and neck gaiters all provide their own representation.
Further, each attendee must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within the last 72 hours to gain admission. Upon every entry, each person is temperature checked. Masks and vaccination/negative test do not dissuade this crowd. When watching the participants and crowd, the masks have a way of taking away the emotion of the event. The small smirks of success and grimaces of defeat are no longer readily available.
Even still, this crowd of competitors and attendees alike have waited for 18-months for a Super Major Super Smash event to take place. Time after time events have been canceled but not this event.
When asked about what it’s like to be at a live event now and into the future a few competitors had varying thoughts.
Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey had a few positive sentiments stating, “when you play the game for a living there’s basically a tournament every week it’s hard for me to sit down and do something new” in reference to picking up Diddy Kong as a new character and pushing his boundaries to have “the most fun with the game he has had.” When referencing the live event itself he said, “I thought I was ready for it because I’ve been to a few… Summit and invitational type stuff but nothing like this where there is like a million people.” When asked if he thinks this type of live event will happen again he said “I am not sure with everything going on with COVID… but all these tournaments are so set in motion so they’re probably going to keep happening.” Gavin continually always keeps his vaccination proof with him.
Juan “HungryBox” DeBiedma had stronger feelings when asked about attending a live event, “It’s awesome and hopefully people get their head out of their asses and get vaccinated so we can have more of them.” Hungrybox will be playing at all four events and commented “I like staying busy” when asked about his strenuous weekend schedule. Hungrybox is confident going into the weekend that he will win the events.
Riptide is proving to be a success going into Saturday’s pool play as attendees and competitors alike are excited for the weekend. Be on the lookout for coverage throughout the weekend from The Game Haus Writers, Jeff Clippinger and Jack Rohrer.