Smash the Record raises more than $50,000 for St. Jude
Smash the Record 2015 is a 72-hour video game tournament for charity where competitors competed in the video game, Super Smash Brothers. The tournament was held at the International Palms Resort & Conference Center from October 23 to October 26. Video by: Eric Gutierrez, Central Florida Future
Hundreds of gamers came together for the Smash the Record 2015 video game tournament to raise more than $50,000 to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Organized and hosted by UCF alumnus Alex Chiricosta and UCF’s Gaming Knights and Versus Gaming Center, the three-day long charity tournament brought together gamers from around the world to compete in the popular Nintendo fighting game, Super Smash Brothers.
“We just wanted to focus on making this a fun event,” Chiricosta said. “The event has gone super well the whole weekend. ... Fans have been expressing a whole bunch of joy for the event,” he said.
The tournament ran nonstop from Oct. 23 to Oct. 26 at the International Palms Resort & Conference Center and brought out many of the top 100 Super Smash Brothers competitors from around the country, Chiricosta said.
“A lot of [the competitors] said that this is one of the top five tournaments that they have gone to,” Chiricosta said. “Hearing people [say] that this is one of the top five Smash tournaments that they’ve been to when there are so many [other tournaments] is super humbling to hear.”
Participants competed in tournaments for Super Smash Brothers games for each of the Nintendo’s consoles: Nintendo 64, GameCube, Wii and WiiU.
Organizers established a donation goal of $50,000, and held stretch goal events for every $5,000 raised. Stretch goals revolved around the game. For example, the $15,000 stretch goal called for an 8-person bracket of competitors to play a game using oven mitts. To reach this goal, the entire tournament was on stream via Twitch.tv, a popular video platform and forum community for gamers. Spectators at the tournament and on Twitch sent in donations throughout the tournament. By the end of the tournament, organizers exceeded their goal and raised $50,672.
John Torrico, a senior majoring in digital media, volunteered for the event and competed in the tournament, although he said he only managed to beat one player before being beaten himself.
“I play Smash for fun. I don’t play to compete,” Torrico said. “I think Smash the Record is something that is not going to stop for a long time as long as it continues to help people [and] as long as it continues to bring together a tight-knit community…[to] have fun and serve a great cause,” he said. “We are just going to see this get bigger and bigger."
The inaugural Smash the Record tournament was held in 2014 and featured a world record aspect: the record for Longest Video Game Marathon Playing a Fighting Game.
“We had this idea to host this event that would be super awesome, fun for everybody and stand out and we wanted to break a world record while doing it,” Chiricosta said. “At the same time, we found that there was a few different things we can do for charity while making the event happen,” he said.
From there, Chiricosta discovered St. Jude Play Live, and the Smash the Record tournament was born. At the time, their goal was $5,000, which they were able to raise after the first day. By the end of the tournament, Smash the Record 2014 raised just under $14,000. The tournament received so much positive feedback and so many requests for when the next tournament was going to be held that organizers decided to make it an annual event for October each year, Chiricosta said.
“[We’re] aiming it to fall on Halloween [next year] and we’re possibly going to theme the event,” Chiricosta said.
Eric Gutierrez is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter at @atticus_adrift or email him at EricG@CentralFloridaFuture.com.