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Discourse communities are a prevalent part of human social structures, stemming from either conscious or subconscious means. Discourse communities are defined as a group of people who has a certain goal, the same values, and uses a certain vocabulary that, for the most part, only others in that discourse community would understand. A very strong example of a discourse community is the video gaming community; more specifically, the game Super Smash Bros. Melee is a huge discourse community. Super Smash Bros. Melee is a great example of a discourse community that needs to have more recognition of its great community and great ways to bring other people closer and create long lasting friendships. Super Smash Bros. Melee is a great example of a discourse community due to three factors: everyone in the community shares the same goal of getting better at the game and winning, there is a distinct vocabulary that only people in this discourse community would understand, as well as having a huge emphasis on the social aspect outside of the game.
In the community of Super Smash Bros. Melee, everyone has the same goal of getting better and winning as many games as possible. Unlike most other gaming communities, this community actually thrives on motivating other players to get better at the game in an attempt to garner better competition. Many of the ways the players of this community helps others reach their goals is through a wide variety of ways including individual training sessions, writing manuals used to improve performance, and many more. In contrast to other gaming communities where the only goal is to win, there is a distinct presence of motivation from peers to improve and to help others improve. In fact, many of the veteran players of this game welcome new players to compete and get better for simply, “the love of the game.”
In Super Smash Bros. Melee, the community members share a distinct vocabulary that, for the most part, only others in this group would understand. For example, Wavedashing is an action in the game performed by swiftly pressing the X button, Right Trigger, and pressing the Directional stick down diagonally to allow the character to perform a slide on the stage to move faster. Another example is a shortening of the word technique to just “tech.” Shortening the word allows easier usage of the word in conversation and understanding. Another important concept of vocabulary in the discourse community of Super Smash Bros. Melee is the use of “tags” or nicknames that are used in place of the player’s real name. For example, Kevin Nanney is a successful psychologist in the real world; in the Super Smash Bros. Melee community, he is no longer just Kevin Nanney, but is instead “PPMD,” who is considered one of the best players of the community. It may seem strange to hear this form of dialect, but to a member of this community, it becomes second nature to use this vocabulary.
In this community, there is a huge emphasis on the social aspect of the game. Super Smash Bros. Melee was developed in 2001 and cannot be played online, so to play with others, players have to meet with others in person and play. In fact, many players travel to other states just to compete against other players in the hopes of winning tournaments. Since its inception in 2001, this game has only gotten more popular and has continued to rise. Super Smash Bros. Melee’s rising popularity may be due to a combination of the Internet exposing this competitive community to others, and forcing people to interact face to face, creating deeper connections. Compared to other gaming communities that only interact via Internet connections, having more face to face interactions creates a closer knit community.
In conclusion, due to this community’s shared goals of improving and winning at this game, their unique vocabulary that, for the most part, only their community would understand, or their great emphasis on social interactions outside of the game, Super Smash Bros. Melee is a great example of a discourse community. To reiterate the previous statement, Super Smash Bros. Melee is a discourse community that brings others closer and creates long lasting relationships that supercede the game itself. The social aspect of Super Smash Bros. Melee also teaches how to network effectively, which transitions over to real world skills. Uniquely, this game has one of the only gaming communities to continue to grow at a steady pace, compared to other gaming communities created around its inception, 2001. Super Smash Bros. is a fantastic example of what it means to have a discourse community and its community is here to stay.
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