Sunday, 15 February 2015

SPUK Smash Final, Birmingham - 24/01/2015

Having run our qualifier in early December, our three representatives were raring to go down at the Custard Factory in Birmingham.
Dyl & I had gone down for the weekend in order to help with set up and the running of the event itself. Drn chose to join us with his girlfriend too, which was maybe one of the best choice he's ever made ;)

The four of us arrived in time to help SPUK set up on Friday evening. There were 11 of us plus the promotional people, so between us all we set up stools, beanbags, TVs and consoles. We made sure that the Smash wii U games were all unlocked, and that the right paperwork was by each table along with their clipboards.

Once everything was tidy and working we realised we couldn't book a table anywhere because it was the same day, so four of us went to the Bullring Pizza hut first and tried to get a table. With 11 of us the staff were a bit unsure, but after opening the previously closed area at the back they were able to accommodate us, and even better, it was like we had our own little private mini party! Shame some of us weren't used to eating so late, but we all managed a pizza of some sort before going our separate ways for the night :)

Early start on Saturday, with the SPUK guys getting there for 8am and the rest of us slowly appearing from 9am. We were ready quite early on which was nice as it gave some of the early birds a chance to chat to each other while it was still quiet.

The coaches of those further afield started arriving from 10am, and I had the opportunity to be on the reception desk with Chris of StreetPass Birmingham, so it was nice to be able to meet and greet everyone, seeing some familiar old faces as well as some brand new ones.

As far as SPUK goes, this was the best attended event to date, with coaches from as far as Aberdeen and Portsmouth!

The beginning of the tournament started with pools across the 8 screens. Unfortunately both North AND South Wales' participants got knocked out in the pools which meant none of them made it to the top 16. The competition was tough though, and the favourite to win was JMiller, who had only recently won another Smash tournament over in Sweden! Being on the desk I heard a few mumblings from the people who had found out they were in this guy's pools at the beginning... we all knew it would be a tense one!

The food came out - sandwiches and crisps for everyone!
Just as the first round of food was over, Towny himself showed up! He'd just left his job as Nintendo Community Manager, so this occasion he was there purely as a spectator.
Whilst at the desk there ended up being a discussion about how fantastic the game "Paper Plane" was, to which everyone involved agreed to see if they could beat Towny's high score.

During the top 16, Drn got a chance to commentate for the Smash rounds, which was fantastic for experience, especially as he'd been teamed up with a well-known commentator for Smash.

Check out this video for the overview (Drn is commentating about half way through.)

JMiller's Luigi was always going to be the favourite in the final, but the Pikachu he was up against certainly put up a good fight!

Massive cheers followed from the crowd and JMiller was presented with a special Smash Bros trophy made by Newcastle's Chompworks.
He also did a really nice speech, exmphasising on the community of Smash and how the events like this help bring the community together and encourage the friendly environment too.

As soon as the tournament was over I tried to round up all the Founders for a photograph. Unfortunately Aberdeen's Founder was too quick and had nipped out for food, so we had to carry on without her!

Everyone else (mainly in their green StreetPass shirts) managed to make it into the "other" room for a photo, including Towny right in the middle. I swore to the SPUK admin that every big event they did we would have a "Founders" photo :)

Some hang around to chat, but most had coaches to catch and long distances to travel, so most went fairly soon after. 16 of us left, we started to clear up all the stuff, and due to our experiences the night before, I suggested a few of us went ahead to reserve a table as we'd already mutually agreed that we wanted to go to Wagamamas.

Trying to accommodate 16 people with no notice was always going to be a challenge, even more so when I accidentally said 14 to the waiter! (There were only 6 of us to start with.)
Surprisingly, once we'd waited 30 minutes or so, the waiter was able to accommodate ALL of us! :o

It was a fantastic way to end an epic event! 16 of us on one bench, and a fairwell meal for Towny too, as he goes off to start new adventures :)

A few of us stayed another night so we weren't as tired for the long distance driving. We met some others for a McDonalds breakfast before heading our separate ways through the Bullring.

Here's to more national events under the SPUK umbrella!

(photographs courtesy of K McGroarty)

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