KONMAI is one of those dudes who are always there when needed, always helping out to the people and community. He made SCVI being @WNF; he was a commentator on WNF, NLBC, DxC, and more; he is editing SCVI wiki on SRK… Don’t tell me you didn’t hear his name yet, will ya?!
If you had to introduce yourself in three sentences to some SoulCalibur player who didn’t know you, what would you say?
Hi, I’m a SoCal SCVI player, TO, and commentator. I specialize in losing my mind and I help organize some of the western efforts of SCVI, ranging from home turf with WNF to as wide as SOULCALIBUR Without Borders. You might know me as the McDonalds shirt.
What is the origin or meaning of your nickname?
KONMAI is actually a rhythm game joke, and I, uh, play a lot of rhythm games. Been playing DDR forever, but I’m learning IIDX and DJMax right now. I used to go by Futabot, but I legit had aspirations to become “eSports” and figured I should take a less horny name.
I regret it. It is a name that holds great power and eSports is wack.
How did it happen that you ended up playing fighting games?
There are two constants with me: I’m a scrub and I love SOULCALIBUR.
I’ve always been surrounded by FGs since college. There was a SCII cab at my school and it wrecked my academics. I got swept up with the rest of the 09ers when Street Fighter 4 was producing great storyline after storyline. I’d watch a lot of tournaments and intellectualize all over the place, but never actually played anything. You know, standard FG youtube comment status.
SCVI gets rumored by Vergeben in 2016. I start fantasizing about the game existing. At that time, I have a pretty big life change where I’m traveling to see a sick loved one every day. It puts my life completely on hold, but I have so much time to think about how it would feel to experience a new SC game and I needed a refuge to hide from the existential gloom that family illness brings. I start hanging out in 8WR, watching tons of vods of SCV and notice that it’s just the east coast hanging on. There, I think to myself maybe I can change that.
TheGameAwards happens. Okubo happens. I actually can’t think of a happier day. Holy. The catharsis of finally knowing the game wasn’t just a practical joke was unbelievable. I still watch the reveal every couple of months just to remember how alive I felt at that moment.
I run to Alex Valle at WNF and immediately volunteer to TO, run, whatever. I know absolutely NOTHING about FGs, TOing, anything, but I want SCVI to have a strong start. I’m given to the guy who is running GG Rev2 at the time, RS, for a year and probably learned more about fighting games when I was attached to anime fighters than the blur that followed after SCVI launched. Stuff like marketing a game that isn’t Street Fighter, what it means to be there as a community guy vs a strong player, how much of a volunteer gig all of eSports is at its core, the list goes on. I owe an insane amount to him for teaching me a lot.
And that’s when I started playing FGs. SCVI comes after that!
Who do you main in SC6 and why?
I’m an Azwel main because I’m a product of my SoCal environment. Hexfactor mained him and he was my bracket demon, plus Deluxium and BenWithVees both had pocket Azwels to deal with the prime Azwel himself, Bluegod, so I naturally just tried to copy all four of them in hopes I would just stop sucking. Obviously, didn’t work; I’m still bootycheeks in year 3.
I think the character is beyond sick personality-wise and I know he’s underplayed, so it makes me feel special. His kit is shockingly buff but flawed in interesting ways. You can play him super dumb or super brainy (and lose). I pretty much just play for the highlight reel at this point. Thanks Savior’s Power!
What is your opinion regarding SC6?
I’m honestly too bad at the game to have a real opinion on balance. I’m literally learning how to get up off the ground, what cue to look for when anticipating lows/throws, and the value of unpredictable timing. I don’t know what changes would facilitate any of those things.
As far as SC6’s community is concerned, I think the biggest problem is CaS, but not in the way you might be thinking: I think vilifying CaS players is the single worst thing I’ve done as a player in this game. It lets my ego hijack the game, fixates my attention on something that probably isn’t intentional, and makes excuses for being a jerk when it’s my gameplan that’s trash. If I could detach myself from that thought, the game would be a lot better by a huge margin.
If you could change one single thing about SC6 what would that be?
I would love perfect miracle netcode and perfect miracle lobbies, but realistically I yearn for:
AIs defined previous series very well. I still think about how buff some of the Broken Destiny AIs are and how they ran their gameplans was so cool. It’s a shame they’re not in SCVI in any capacity.
What do you consider to be your greatest SC6 achievement and why?
Just being a part of the game’s community despite my obvious lack of skill, discipline, and charm is a pretty fat W.
Please answer a single question that you were not asked but you would like to answer!
I want to get into commentary. How do I do it?
Step one: Be available. Almost every SCVI commentary gig online is forged out of raw necessity rather than hounding for perfect talent. Yeah, sure, majors get to be selective, but that road is paved by just being there.
Step two: EGP|Wonderchef said it best when he said he made it by being nobody’s favorite. Detaching your worth from player input is fundamental. You can’t be confident if you’re tailoring your experience to someone who probably knows more about their character than you do. There’s just always going to be a high probability that your performance is disappointing to someone.
Step three: Learn to pass. I listen to a lot of commentary and the most consistent trait of all the greats is their ability to engage their co-commentator rather than highlight the game state. In many ways, spotting the good stuff is the easy part, explaining why it’s nice is harder, and getting your co-commentator to share in that excitement is the hardest. Why is the last part the hardest? If it’s awkward to talk with someone, it’s even more difficult to affect them positively. If they get the impression you’re not listening, there’s no flow.
Thank you for the interview!