Abandoned Television Earns Smash Competition a Bomb Squad Visit

By Ian Walker on at

It’s an unfortunate truth of our imperfect world that security concerns arise whenever a significant group of people gather in a centralised area. Competitive gaming tournaments are no different, but a uniquely Super Smash Bros. situation arose at a major event last weekend thanks to a piece of dated hardware that continues to be necessary to high-level play.

As some of The Big House 7’s most explosive matches were happening inside Detroit’s Cobo Center on Friday 6 October, a lonely CRT television was earning considerable attention outside. While these old-school monitors are a familiar sight at Smash events due to the reduction in input delay they provide the community’s most popular game, Super Smash Bros. Melee on GameCube, the abandoned television worried venue security.

“Cobo Center personnel came to the organisers’ desk and told me there was a situation I was needed for, and they pulled me out of the venue,” the event’s chief organiser Robin “Juggleguy” Harn told Compete. “There was a CRT standing out next to the street, on the kerb, like someone had abandoned it.”

When asked if he knew anything about the television, Harn told security that he was 99% sure it belonged to one of the event’s attendees, who often bring their own monitors for casual matches. But, without a 100% guarantee that the CRT was supposed to be there, measures needed to be taken to protect tournament-goers from a potential bomb. According to Harn, police officers ended up closing off the surrounding block and instructing passersby to keep a safe distance from the television.

A member of the Detroit Police Department bomb squad checks out an abandoned CRT at Cobo Center, via Reddit

The photo above was shared on Reddit after the tournament ended. It shows the television surrounded by security, as well as a member of the police department’s bomb squad and a German shepherd. The post claims the CRT was detonated with a controlled explosion, but Harn could only confirm that it was “dismantled,” as he returned to the venue after providing security with the information they needed and didn’t personally see it destroyed.

“This has never happened at one of my tournaments before,” Harn added. “It could look kinda suspicious from an outsider’s point of view, especially with recent events. You can never be too careful, from their perspective.”

The owner of the CRT was never found, but at the very least this situation saved them from having to lug the monstrosity back to their car at the tournament’s conclusion.

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