Louie Limas created the Smash at IU club and now leaves it better than he found it


The members of Smash at IUB, a club dedicated to IU students playing Super Smash Bros. together, pose for a photo. Courtesy Photo

Louie Limas got the idea for it back in 2013.

As a second-year doctoral student, Limas saw a video of “The Smash Brothers” documentary on one of his social media accounts at the time.

The documentary, which is over four hours long, and details the "Super Smash Bros. Melee" competitive landscape and follows seven of the greatest players to date.

After watching the documentary, Limas instantly thought about growing the Smash community on the IU campus.

“Oh my god,” Limas recalled thinking. “People still play this game, what a great way to meet people again.”

Limas then logged onto "Super Smash Bros." message boards online and found someone at Teter Quadrangle who was making posts about wanting to play against other people.

As the group started to grow and found more and more people to play in tournaments, Limas decided to start a Facebook group. From there, they started hosting biweekly tournaments with around 30 people in friends’ houses around campus.

As it continued to grow, Limas decided to register it as an official club at IU so it could use the university's resources.

That was almost six years ago. Now, Smash at IUB has 1,175 members in the Facebook group and hosts well known "Super Smash Bros." tournaments within the gaming community including "Kill Roy" and "Full Bloom."

“I don’t think I could’ve imagined it would reach this scale, but I know with the people I was in the club with, we knew it had the potential and we were just trying to figure out how do we get there,” Limas said.

In 2015, the first "Full Bloom Super Smash Bros." tournament took place.

It was 12 hours long with roughly 100 players participated in the singles and doubles matches for a cash prize. As a Midwest regional "Super Smash Bros. Melee" tournament and conference, it was IU’s first official Smash tournament was one of the largest in Indiana at the time.

Limas has overseen "Full Bloom" since the beginning, and it’s only grown with him at the helm. He’s been playing video games competitively since 2004 but saw this as an opportunity to bring non-IU students to the campus as Smash at IUB began to grow into more than just another club.

Just two years later, the tournament had roughly 450 people in attendance and was the sixth-biggest Smash tournament in Midwestern history.

“The club wouldn’t be as big for sure,” said Craig Sullivan, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Tournament Organizer. “He more so brought us all together and then decided to expand it. If it wasn’t without him, we’d probably just be a couple of dudes playing video games on occasion, not necessarily running events throughout the year.”

The Full Bloom tournament has grown each year, and it continues to attract some of the top players in the Smash community to compete against each other

This year marked the fifth "Full Bloom" tournament and had 605 players in attendance.

With "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" also releasing on Dec. 7, 2018, it was a part of the tournament despite not being out for long and players still being up in the air about who the best characters were.

The four winners from the Melee and Ultimate singles and doubles brackets won a combined $3,452. This was the fifth anniversary of the tournament and the largest one to date, and it was also the final event that Limas had helped put together.

Limas graduated with his doctorate in psychology in 2018 but has helped the club remotely for the past two years as it transitioned to new leadership.

“He’s the heart and soul of the club,” Smash at IU advisor Alex Myers said. “He’s the one who led it from the very beginning and built up Full Bloom over the past five years to what is now. It’s a huge loss that he’s completely stepping away from us, but we’re pretty confident that our oncoming people are going to be great.”

Despite having a Ph.D. in counseling psychology, at the end of the day, Limas said he still sees himself as a gamer.

That’s where he came up with the idea to start an esports mental health coaching organization called Metagame. He said he figured it was the best way to merge his love for gaming and his knowledge of psychology.

He saw these players performing at the highest stages in front of crowds for thousands to millions of dollars in prizes. Limas thought the players needed to be more aware of how their mental skills needed to be cared and homed in on.

“What Metagame brings is not therapy, but we talk about how you can talk about overcoming mental blocks that are intervening with your experiences,” Limas said. “Being in that environment through tournament organizing, through being around college students, I’ve seen the need. The club has helped me see that.”

As Limas officially now has stepped back completely from the Smash club, he said he believes that he’s left it better than he found it.

He handed the keys to Full Bloom and the club over to Austin Fletcher, who was the interim president for eight months but is now the official president.

Limas isn’t a part of the club he founded anymore, but he said he’s excited to see it continue to grow with the rest of the Smash community in general.

“It’s sad to let it go and not have the role because I take a lot of pride and joy in seeing people come together playing a game we love and get to be friends and have great experiences, but I’m excited to see it continue,” Limas said. “It makes me happy that I can be at home, watch it on Twitch and see something that is still going because people love it.”

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