I was the man, in more ways than one. Of course, everyone knows that MC was the man; I’m the Bosstoss who fears no opponent, who will go all-in against anyone. But I had bigger concerns beyond StarCraft.
Since my dad died not too long after I was born, my mom raised me by herself. She worked so hard to provide for both of us. We weren’t rich, but I knew she was doing the very best that she could.
She told me that she wanted to kill herself. Because she knew that if she did, I would get a lot of money from her life insurance policy. She asked me if I would be okay with the money. Of course, I told her no.
She was the only family I had. There was no way I could lose her. I told her I would support her, she just needed to give me some time. I made good on my promise and have been able to buy her a house and a car. Since she took care of me when I was a child, it was my responsibility to take care of her once I was capable, and I definitely was capable.
As a player I won, a lot. At the time I retired I had won the most prize money of any StarCraft 2 player. I won so much that I got lazy. I began thinking about what I would do after retirement before the time had come to quit playing.
I knew I wanted to be an entertainer. I think I am an entertainer. I have always acted like one, either virtually or in-person. I tried to make sure the crowd and the fans had fun. I had my first big break as the star of a documentary, Gamechangers: Dreams of BlizzCon. Honestly, I didn’t really think too much about being chosen at first, but after it was all said and done I felt honoured.
I know what led to my retirement. After living in a team house in Germany, I was finally able to live by myself. I wasn’t as dedicated to playing as I should have been; I needed to practice more if I was going to stay competitive. I was overconfident in my skills and became complacent.
I have been asked if I regret living alone – I don’t. I feel satisfied with all I have been able to accomplish playing StarCraft. Many players win once and can never win again, or they retire. I enjoyed great success while playing.
Retirement was strange. I cried a lot. StarCraft was who I was. From a young boy, I can remember playing in PC Bangs. It was a part of me, it was who I was. I got over it eventually, but at first it was difficult.
I wasn’t sure what I was going to do at first. I eventually began to stream for Kongdoo, since it was another chance for me to be an entertainer, but I could only stay away from competing for so long.
I eventually came back to StarCraft because I wanted to compete again. My first game back I played against Zest, a very talented player, and I was able to win. Out of all the victories in my career, this one stuck out the most. It’s the best moment of my career.
Coming out of retirement was a big moment. Not just for me, but for the StarCraft community as well. The talk about me was more negative than positive. I didn’t let it bother me though, I thought it was better than not being talked about at all. I used that hate as fuel to motivate me to become better and compete at a high level.
My second run as a pro was short-lived, so I had to find a new job. I didn’t want to leave the world of pro gaming, so I became a League of Legends coach. It was weird, I was involved in pro gaming, but not in the way I was used to. I would ideally love to get into casting. I have a little experience with it from when I was a player and it seems really fun.
After not competing in StarCraft for two years, I can see that things have changed. The game is not as popular as it used to be. It is strange to see. StarCraft is the original esport; no other game has the history of StarCraft and no one can deny that.
I don’t like seeing StarCraft on the decline. Hopefully, it can grow in popularity again. I think that the players need to be paid more; right now, there isn’t an incentive for other players to get into StarCraft like there used to be.
Also, more international players need to come and play. Since the Koreans’ have their mandatory military service, it hurts the talent of the player base. Overall, I am not worried though.
I don’t think that StarCraft will ever completely disappear though. It is too legendary to go away, and so is Bosstoss.
Image/Video Credit: Cameron Baird for Red Bull/ Gamechangers: Dreams of BlizzCon/ Rikard Soderberg