Daycia Harley’s been a competitive Smash Bros player since 2009, and she’s recently been getting more involved in streaming her gaming. Having just got back from Genesis 3 in Northern California–the largest Super Smash Bros tournament in the country, with 3,500 registered players–Daycia had plenty to say when it came to how she got into competitive playing.
“I’ve been playing games competitively in a serious matter since late 2009,” she explains. “I had entered small Smash Bros. tournaments at conventions, but didn’t take Smash serious until then. A friend told me about a website called Smashboards where I discovered tournaments being ran by people from all over the world.”
That was what really hooked Daycia. “I attended my first serious Smash tournament here in Cincinnati, OH and never looked back since. The community was so fun I loved everything about it.”
Her enthusiasm is infectious. As demonstrated on her Twitter account and Youtube channel, seemingly nothing gets Daycia down–she remains positive about her experiences throughout. Having organized tournaments in the past as well as competed in them, Daycia is particularly keen on ensuring that gaming can also be a power for good as well as a fun hobby. She has raised money for AbleGamers in the past, and backed numerous other charity streams. One of her recent plans is to build two schools in Ghana, as she explained on Twitter this month.
It’s not all smooth sailing, though–Daycia has encountered a fair amount of sexism from other players. “When you’re a woman, people assume you’re bad at the game. Guys want to help you get better or teach you how to hold a controller. Things that are obvious. It stinks because I feel like I’m constantly trying to prove myself in the scene, no matter how well I generally do. When if I beat players it’s always a ‘fluke’.”
Daycia is vocal about how video game tournaments can be more inclusive to women. She recently made a video examining what the eSporting community can do to be more accepting to different types of players, and suggests a code of conduct could help ensure that gamers feel more welcomed at tournaments, regardless of their gender, race, or sexual orientation.
A lot has changed in eSports since Daycia started competing in 2009, and she’s found herself getting more involved in streaming through Twitch. “When I first started, streaming wasn’t nearly as big,” she recounts. “People recorded matches but there wasn’t Twitch. Now we have giant tournaments with official commentators, official equipment, thousands of spectators, and sponsored players. It’s amazing how much it’s grown! The tournament I went to called Genesis had over 111,000 people watching on Twitch–you did not see that in 2009.”
As a veteran of the competitive gaming field, Daycia had some important advice to give to anyone interested in eSports.
“Get involved!” she urges. “It’s awesome to be involved in a community that loves video games. You get to meet so many amazing people that you can eventually call your friends. It allows you to connect and network as well. You can meet different players to get better and find something you love about eSports, whether that’s running tournaments, being a commentator, or even starting your own eSports Sponsorship Company.”
And if you’re a struggling but keen Smash Bros player like myself? “Travel to tournaments!” she advises. “Smash is huge, and there are tournaments all over the place. Smashboards.com is a great way to see when there are tournaments, there is also a subreddit dedicated to Smash. Never be afraid to ask anyone online or in person at a tournament, they will be glad to help you. YouTube also has so many videos about competitive Smash and how to grow as a player, and people are constantly streaming Smash on Twitch.”
Daycia’s been dabbling in Splatoon recently, but it’s clear that her true love remains as Smash Bros. Don’t be surprised if her enthusiasm for the franchise entices you into improving your own skills. It’s the kind of positive attitude that gaming should always offer.