Gaming Challenge a Smashing Success | Thomas Nelson Community College

Gaming Challenge a Smashing Success

In a move to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 amid a surging new variant, Thomas Nelson (becoming Virginia Peninsula Community College) is switching most of its classes from in-person to virtual for the first two weeks of spring semester. Read more.

December 2, 2021
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Jaden Kanai and his girlfriend's dog, Reesee

Jaden Kanai entered the Thomas Nelson gaming challenge to test his skills and see how far he could advance. Although his favorite game Super Smash Bros. was involved, he didn't expect to win.

“I honestly wasn’t too sure if I was going to win because the other guy I was playing at the very end, he was really good,” said Kanai, who is in his first semester at the College. “I was just playing for fun.”

Kadisia Archer, the College's Student Life and Leadership coordinator, said it was the first gaming competition for the College in four or five years. She called it a success.

“The students enjoyed it. It was something different,” she said.

Almost 40 Thomas Nelson students participated in the event as either a competitor or spectator. It lasted more than three hours, with multiple rounds.

“I was surprised at how many good players there were,” Kanai said.

He has participated in two other tournaments, both also involving Smash Bros., but never finished better than fourth. Those events, though, had 80 to 100 players.

He’s not a member of the College’s gaming club, and he wasn’t familiar with any of his competitors. As he progressed through the competition, he said he noticed a few players he thought could pose problems for him.

“I had to turn off all the noise and just focus on the game, no distractions,” he said of those match ups.

As a reward for winning, Kanai was able to select a video game of his choice ($100 limit). He decided on New Super Mario Bros. U, a game his older brother used to play.

“One day, we will just sit down and play it,” Kanai said.

Archer watched the competition online and was impressed with the event’s shout master, similar to a play-by-play announcer in sports.

“It made it more interesting for people like myself, who aren’t gamers,”
 she said.

She has been in contact with the Thomas Nelson gaming club co-advisers (Tom Rockson and Jason Vance), and the goal is to have another competition in the spring. However, they are thinking of opening it up to high school students.

“Almost using it like a recruiting tool; to invite game clubs from high schools to participate in competitions with us,” Archer said.

Kanai would participate in another Thomas Nelson event.

“It was really good. It was run pretty well,” he said.