The Salt Miners Climb the Mountain!

LBSU’s finest Super Smashers enter the fray

By Alejandro Ramos Editor-in-Chief

Somewhere on an empty field, a pair of figures appeared out of the shadows. They stood at the far ends of the field sized each other up. Then, without saying a word, they rushed at each other and began to exchange blows. After throwing a flurry of kicks and punches, one drew a gun and began firing lasers. The other backed up and responded by throwing fireballs. Their dance ended with a single fiery punch that sent one of the figures flying out of sight.

“GAME,” yelled a voice, announcing the end of the battle. 

This was obviously not a battle that could take place in the real world. This fantastical display of skill and strength could only happen in the world of Super Smash Bros, the popular fighting game featuring Nintendo characters . Since its initial release almost 20 years ago, Super Smash Bros. has gone from being seen as a casual party affair to being seen as an intense fighting simulator with a global competitive scene. The hype behind it has never been higher and the Salt Miners are getting in on the action. 

Why are the Salt Miners, you ask? They’re the resident group for fighting games in conjunction with the CSULB eSports Association. Their name is a play on Prospector Pete, our school’s mascot, and the concept of “salt”, which is the general feeling of anger and frustration Smash Bros. players feel after a bad loss. 

It’s not all salt when the group gets together though. According to their Facebook page, their goal is “to challenge ourselves in competitive and casual play.” It gives both experienced and beginning players a chance to be a part of the scene.

“Freshman year of college, when Smash 4 came out, there was a tournament here at CSULB that I competed at, and through that I learned how there was a larger competitive scene,” said Keith “Tempo” Kono, captain of the Salt Miners. 

As captain, Kono does what he can to organize opportunities for the group’s members to play against other people. He’s talked to other players from colleges around Southern California to set up a collegiate circuit. So far a few events have been planned, including an event at Santiago County College and a crew battle at UC Irvine. 

For the time being, much of the action takes place at the CSULB eSports Association meetings on Wednesdays and Salt Miner casuals on Thursdays. These small-scale meetups are where group members practice and improve their game before taking it beyond our campus. 

“In Smash, you are never truly defeated until the game is called,” said Kono. “And you can always run it back so long as you don’t die and don’t give up.”

Despite how much the competitive circuit and metagame have developed, the appeal of Super Smash Bros remains the same. It’s a game that can easily be picked up and enjoyed by anyone, as opposed to other fighting games. 

“Even if you don’t play it competitively you can still have a great time with friends by doing stupid things,” said Kono.

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