“I have too much free time,” competitive Super Smash Bros Ultimate player and junior Aron Rei De Guzman said.
Since freshman year, he and a group of friends met every Friday after school until five to practice competitive gaming for the Intersocial Gaming League (IGL) . Rei de Guzman practices at least three times a week with other competitively ranked players online. He also joined the High School ESports League, an online varsity esports league, in which he is undefeated.
Rei de Guzman enjoys Smash Bros because it is a unique game, and because he loves experimenting with all the available characters, which are taken from the various other games. Out of the 74 playable characters, Rei de Guzman was especially drawn to Kirby and Inkling, being top 50 in the world in one and incredibly competitive in the other. “I chose Inkling because I just really liked Splatoon” he said. “The character choices I make is more of personal preference than how they actually play.”
Rei de Guzman has also cultivated respect for others in the professional gaming community, gaining traits like humility and identifying areas of growth in the process. “The hardest thing to do is to acknowledge that your opponent is good, and not that your character is bad or that your opponent is playing unfavorably” he said.
He describes the community as unique and very supportive. “Competitive gaming is like a whole new language; there’s a lot of new terminology,” he said. Rei de Guzman recounted many instances when he lost track of time while talking about Smash with friends, even meeting one of his closest friends online.
According to Rei de Guzman, Smash is different from other fighting games, taking much more practice, preparation and knowledge about matchups and combos. “Smash Bros is much more multi-dimensional; there are a lot more things you need to be aware of,” he says. “You always want to play against someone better than you to get better”.
Rei de Guzman’s journey can be summed up in one sentence: “I wanted to get better, and then I did.”