My introduction to the concept of Battle Royale was the Hunger Games movie.
14-year-old me thought: “Wow…they should make a video game based on this movie”
Turns out I didn’t have to wait very long because Minecraft: Hunger Games came out. I spent the entire Summer playing it day-and-night. That was when I fell in love with Battle Royale.
But that wasn’t my first love.
As a normal Canadian kid from Toronto with a normal Canadian family, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that by the time I could walk I was already starting my love affair with Ice Hockey.
And like most kids, I eventually grew out of it.
I was probably around 13 when I decided to quit. I just didn’t love it that much, and competing without drive and passion is very difficult.
Since Ice Hockey had taken up so much of my free time, I didn’t really think about what I would do to fill that now-empty time. But it turns out that the answer was video games.
As the middle brother in the family, my education on video games began by watching my older brother – Dylan – on Call of Duty. When it eventually became my turn to play, he almost acted as my coach.
Modern Warfare 2 is where I really started to show some skill. I remember seeing that I had gotten 200 nukes – which is a 25 kill-streak per nuke – and realizing that I was pretty good at video games.
When Black Ops 2 came out I decided to dip into the competitive scene by getting involved in GameBattles. It wasn’t anything serious, but that’s how my “esports” journey began, technically.
It wasn’t until high school that I switched to PC though.
Counter-Strike, League of Legends, and Minecraft of all the games became my go-to’s. It was the CS:GO pro scene that drew me in more than anything though. I really wanted to be those guys. It became my dream job, and I put hours and hours into the game.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it to that level in Counter-Strike.
I still had my love for survival games in the background and had been playing a few different ones here and there. I never really played H1Z1: King of the Kill, but I was into H1Z1: Just Survive for a while.
When PUBG was announced I actually thought I’d hate it. It looked just like King of the Kill to me.
I was so against it that I actively ignored it when it released. I was too busy on Just Survive. It was my older brother, again, that convinced me to give the new game a shot. He told me: “You know, I think you’d be pretty good at this game”
I knew that PUBG was going to be my game from the very first game I played on it. I just got that feeling that I’d be at the top level if I put enough time into it.
Players started getting signed up to organizations pretty soon after the first tournaments started. Guys that I had been playing with were getting signed to Team SoloMid, Cloud9, and Tempo Storm.
I thought that I’d eventually get my big move too, but rather than wait for the opportunity, I decided to join up with some players and form the first iteration of Shoot To Kill.
I was still in school at this point, but things started ramping up pretty quickly.
My parents have always been fine with me playing the game and pursuing my own dreams, but now I had to make the decision: School, or PUBG?
As you can tell, I chose PUBG.
Thankfully, my decision was justified when we signed with Team Dignitas. That’s when my parents realized that it wasn’t just for fun, but that I could really turn games into a career.
Before Dignitas, we’d never had a salary, just small amounts of prize money every few weeks.
Outside of justifying my choice to go full-time on the game, it was also surreal in general because I’d been dreaming about a prestigious esports organization picking me up.
We played a few events under the Team Dignitas banner, but after we received our invite to the National PUBG League, we were told that the lineup was being dropped from the organization. Something to do with logistics.
We could have wallowed in self-pity, but I think most of us took it as motivating.
We didn’t need an organization behind us to win matches.
Moving to Los Angeles for the league was a pretty big step in my life, simply because I’d never lived anywhere besides Toronto. But it was just another obstacle to overcome.
Thankfully, OGN did a phenomenal job with the first phase. Obviously, OGN has a lot of experience in esports, and it showed. They took incredible care of us.
Considering the circumstances, I think we had a really good season.
Like every team, there were ups and downs, but every day we reviewed our performance and worked out as many of the issues as we could.
In the final week of the league, we were close to qualifying for the FACEIT Global Summit: PUBG Classic. The first big global event of the season.
The spot basically came down to the very last game. Between us and Why Tempt Fate.
They had to pass us to get the last qualifier spot and we got caught in a pinch between them and Cloud9.
Possibly the most nerve-wracking moment of my career so far was trying to figure out how many points Why Tempt Fate needed while three of us were down on the ground.
At the time I noticed that Cloud9 “stole” a couple of the kills on us, but I wouldn’t find out until later that those “steals” would be the difference between us making it, and Why Tempt Fate making it.
Call it luck, but we got ourselves in that position in the first place, and we’re going to make it count.
Making the global event is a big, fat checkmark ticked off of our list. But the next goal right after that is to win a global event.
There are a lot of great teams in attendance – including some Asian teams that we’ve never played against before – but we’re a great team that knows how to adapt.
We can win this thing.