First off, thanks very much for sitting down with us. It’s always good to catch up with the famous Swoozinator. How have you been?
Things are good; I’m still in the position to do the stuff I really love so thank God for that! I actually just got myself a personal assistant who is sadly on the verge of getting fired. I tell him NO GREEN M&M’S… yet at the bottom of the bowl, guess what I find? Every single day. But other than that, life is awesome- just not looking forward to delivering the bad news to him; haha j/k no assistant… yet.
While last year’s demise of the CGS saw many famous gamers fade into the history books, you were able to open up a new chapter in your story by participating in WCG’s Ultimate Gamer. How did the experience affect your career and your view on professional gaming? What were some of the things you did for WCG post-UG?
Well with UG season 2 announced, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those CGS faces resurfaced very soon. I was very fortunate that my contract with DIRECTV didn’t conflict with WCG at all– I had co-hosted an event for WCG before UG. As for my view on pro gaming; I love that WCG went in the reality show direction. I had been trying to pitch this kind of thing to the powers that be over at DIRECTV for a long time so when I heard WCG was attempting it, I was like FINALLY! If they keep this sort of thing up, it could definitely turn into something really massive if orchestrated right. Post-UG I’ve been shoutcasting events like their Fighter Club over at Samsung Experience in NYC, and also helped out at National Finals and a handful of other events; but they’ve dropped TV’s on me, cell phones and other swag. I <3 it!
How did Ultimate Gamer change your personal life? Are you recognized more often? Are the pretty ladies flooding your inbox?
Compared to MySpace, I used to find Facebook painfully boring but I think I’m disliking Facebook less and less each day partly because of some of the love letters that have been coming in. Some emails just have me thinking to myself “I love this site”. I thought emails from Australia and UK were cool (which they are) but they’re starting to come from Taiwan now. Being of African decent, it’s hard for me to turn red but it happens when I get emails from girls who don’t speak english, and they try in their emails to me. Super cute! As for getting noticed… it actually happens more when I’m in other cities (usually airports) as opposed to Orlando. In the corner of my eye sometimes I’ll see someone and they sort of squint and you can see the gears turning like “where do I know him from?”. Then when I turn toward them they say… “Hey… aren’t… you… the guy who went for the pizza and cookies on that reality show?”. I’ve actually been at tournaments and girls will randomly walk up to me with pizza in one plate and cookies in the other and I just smile from ear to ear (Thanks Rachel and Neha).
Recently you were in Las Vegas to announce Season 2 of Ultimate Gamer. What can you tell us about the upcoming show? What advice can you give to aspiring gamers who would like to participate? Any word on what type of gamers they’re looking for? (Will there be more PC gamers in this season?)
I CAN say that it’s probably gonna blow Season 1 out the water; I’m pretty excited for it. I don’t talk to the writers for the show but they really deserve more credit. More twists, more turns. I’ve been told a few things in confidence and responded with “those writers are geniuses!”. As far as advice, you never quite know what the casting peeps are looking for but if you plan on auditioning, bring personality. Eye contact and confidence are good. You don’t have to dress up like Darth Vader or make a song about “Pants on the Ground” but if you get the casting people laughing- that can’t hurt either. If you’re not shy, play video games and you’re at least 18… once those audition dates and locations get announced, go. If you can show them that you’re passionate about gaming in a non creepy way, you stand a very good chance of moving on to phase two of auditions. By the way… PC gamers should DEFINITELY audition… jus sayin’.
On a side note, while you were at CES to announce the new season, what were some of your favorite new gadgets? Anything revolutionary for gaming?
3D gaming definitely is a lot of fun. The PC gamers can get their hands on the 3D NVIDIA cards now if they like however what blew my mind was, you know how on console FPS you have to do split screens if there is multiple people playing on a single TV? Imagine if you could have four people sitting at the same 55 inch TV and they only see their individual view but full screen. Samsung has this TV for gamers that throws four images over each other and when each player wears the glasses, they only see their view and full screen. No more screen peeking!
Over the years you have become a YouTube sensation with throngs of gamers. Why do you think that is? Recently your “How to turn your Girlfriend into a Girl Gamer” video crossed the million view mark. Why do you think that video resonated with the mainstream more than other videos you’ve done?
I try my best to give people want to see, especially gamers. The gaming culture is into everything. All walks of music, all walks of entertainment as well as life. I think the response to my YouTube videos are just a (gradually building) crowd of people who just “get it” you know? As for the ‘gamer girlfriend vid’ being the first to go more mainstream– One word: Wendy. Well more than just Wendy actually cuz we’ve done about 6 or 7 videos together but that video is just so easy to pass along. I mean it’s a fun video. It was fun to shoot, it was fun to edit, it’s fun to watch and has one of those catchy YouTube titles like “How to turn your Girlfriend into a girl gamer” ^_^.
What is your personal favorite vlog you’ve ever released?
That used to be a question that I couldn’t answer but I’d definitely say “Neighborhood Girls on New Years”. It involves girls and has awesome God and gaming overtones. I told myself for a long time that I would never tell the New Years story and then one day the story just kept bugging me to tell it- the only part that really urks me is that during playback on YouTube, the video lags for some reason (even after multiple re-uploads) so the viewer has to pause the video at the beginning for a good minute and then play it for it to play properly.
To compLexity fans, you’ll always be best remembered as the DOA pro who brought a big coL win home, with Jason Lake tackling you afterwards. How is the DOA community these days? Have Street Fighter 4 and other games made it irrelevant on the professional scene? DOA5 has been rumored for years but still hasn’t come to life. Do you think it ever will?
That coL win still comes up in convo to this day and I love it! Ya know, the DOA community likes to think they’re for the most part “in the shadows.” The next DOA installment hasn’t been officially announced but my contact in Japan says the next one is definitely in production. When we see it and what system it will be on is another story. The community definitely is not what it was back in the CGS days but I don’t think DOA has sang it’s swan song just yet. A lot of people’s attention is definitely pointed in SF4’s (Street Fighter 4) and Tekken’s direction and I’m glad. I myself want the fighting game community to stay active regardless of the game. We’re smaller in numbers when compared to shooters and RPG crowds but the boys and girls in this community are among the most animated/talented I’ve ever met.
Professional gaming endured a pretty slow year in 2009, especially in North America. What do you feel is the future of eSports? What does North America need to do to recapture the glory days?
URG! Good question and there’s so much I want to say here but can’t for different reasons. I will say this- when you have 4.3 million units of Modern Warfare 2 being sold in ONE DAY, that should tell you something. When the gaming industry is doing better than the film industry, that should also tell you something. In Asia they fill soccer stadiums with just spectators for pro gaming events- in North America, we’re not there yet. I think if/when we get there here in the states, it’ll be a lot easier for more of us gamers to quit our day jobs and just make it rain. I believe if gaming was being delivered in a certain way on certain (television) networks, it would work in North America. It’s the easiest way to make the mainstream public aware. Mainstream public = more sponsors. More sponsors = more tournaments. More tournaments = more opportunities to go pro.
What does 2010 have in store for Swoozie? What top secret plans can you share? TV shows? Pro gaming? New girlfriend? Do tell.
As far as girlfriends, there was this one girl that I met who really impressed me but she ran off and married some random. Adriana Lima… not sure if you’ve heard of her. So still technically single. Haven’t been able to get over her yet. As far as any TV shows or any pro gaming news goes, there are definitely pots on the stove involving the two but it’s a ‘which one of these pots will start to boil first’ kind of situation because I can’t toss noodles into this pot until I’m absolutely sure it’s boiling.
Thanks again for taking the time to chat with us. Any final shoutouts or comments?
I’ll switch it up and keep the shoutouts nice and short this time around. The whole coL fam but especially those who have kept up with me over the passing years from CGS till now: my main man J-Lake, Jordan, DetonatoR, JetBlk, Alex G, and TUG. Also Cupcheck, KozEffect and KrypticFate as well as my new YouTube and Twitter friends/followers you guys and girls never cease to amaze me with your level of awesomeness!