Tag Archives: Commentating

Protector of the swamp and Goro gains, DecayNRS

Hey community!

 

It feels like forever since I got to post here even though it hasn’t been.

I hope everyone enjoyed the first creative post on this blog with Badge3d! I thought it might be a cool way to introduce different art mediums into this so that those outside looking in might find some creative inspiration here as well.  Speaking of creative, we have a very special guest for you this week.

It probably seems like an obvious to put NRS’ own Decay in here (Thanks Ragnarok).
So, we are putting him on First to Ten this week.

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Some of you may know Decay from back in the days of Injustice: Gods Among Us.  He was known by quite a large amount of people for his Lobo back then.  Many of you may know him for his artwork he posts online or when he does a freelance project.

Regardless of how you know him, he’s an interesting and all around nice guy.  He’s been living out some of his dreams by having gone from competitive player to QA analyst over the last 2 years. He is still a humble person and someone who isn’t shy to play games at home with members of the community or attend tournaments for fun.  This man got a big heart for the FGC and the people he’s come to know from it.

That’s enough from me, I’d rather him tell you the best parts about himself.

1.  Eric thanks for being on First to Ten. Please tell everyone tuning in who you are and where you are from originally.  Feel free to include your background about you as well such as any degrees or awards you’ve achieved also.

Thanks for having me.  As mentioned before, I’m Eric Tran, or Decay. I am a competitive player who got started in Injustice: Gods Among Us and ended up using my artwork to get my foot in the door at Netherrealm Studio.  While being at the studio, I have not only been able to input gameplay knowledge but also have done some really cool artwork for Injustice 2.

Lots of people ask me about my art background so I’d love to explain it a bit in detail here.  I started drawing at about age 4, and continued drawing throughout the years and I eventually got my bachelors degree in Art and Illustration.  I didn’t quite know exactly what I wanted to do with my art until my dad bought me a book called “Spectrum”, in which I saw amazing digital concept illustrations.  I decided at that point that I wanted to draw for games and that I would teach myself how to draw and paint digitally.  I invested in a Wacom Tablet and taught myself the rest, with the help of online tutorials.

2.  When did you first start competing? What is the best placement you’ve ever gotten and what tournament?

I first started competing about half a year after the launch of Injustice: Gods Among Us’ release.  At first I was just an online warrior using Lobo until people online noticed my Lobo was getting pretty damn good and suggested that I go to Eight on The Break arcade and compete locally.  I went there almost every week, and then eventually started to compete in major tournaments.  My first major was Summer Jam 8, which I got 9th place. The best placement I have gotten is 4th at WinterBrawl and I also have won Eight on The Break a few times.

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Eric competing at Salty Sundays, a local Jersey tournament that he used to attend.

3. What is Eight on the Break? What was a favorite memory there and how did this impact your life?

“The Break” is an amazing arcade in New Jersey which runs local fighting game tournaments on a weekly basis.  EVO champion KDZ ran a lot of these tournaments and the streaming was typically done by Shock and 8 Way Run.

My favorite memory had to be getting bodied for the first time there.  If it wasn’t for that, and for Zyphox saying “just keep coming here and you’ll level up super fast”, I don’t think I would have wanted to train so hard and become one of the best at that game.

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Arma and Decay commentating together at the Break.

4.  What was King of the Bill?  What do you miss most about it? Why do you think Podcasts are important to the community?

King of the Bill was a Podcast that I created with Mr. Aquaman, Honeybee and Forever King.  Our idea was unique, because we would host a player in a King of the Hill game match, and fight each other for a prize at the end of the podcast.  We would intentionally ask difficult questions during the matches to have players screw up!  It was a blast.

I really miss it because not only was it just a great time, but it was a way to get top players to show off their skills but also joke around and let loose.  I think it’s important to have that kind of outlet in a community, especially since the rise of Esports.  Esports are amazing, but are so big budget and so serious, that sometimes I feel like we forget what it is that brought us here.

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King of the Bill art by Decay for the podcast. From left: Mr. Aquaman, Decay, ForeverKing, Honeybee.

5.  Since it’s no mystery where you are working now, what got you there?

My artwork and my competition background got me into Netherrealm Studios.  A concept artist who was working at the studio stumbled upon my work on Instagram who then noticed we both share a lot of passions (art, gaming, bodybuilding) and he extended his hand to help me out.  After meeting him and other studio members at Evo, we all became friends and they recommended that I look at working there as well.  Since I’ve already been competing in their games, it was very obvious that I knew my stuff when it comes to frame data and gameplay mechanics as well, and I got my start in QA because of it.

6.  You are known by many for your artwork.  Are there any upcoming freelance projects you’re working on you can talk about?  Also, who is an artist that inspires you?

I have a bunch of cool smaller freelance projects that include clothing design and whatnot.  I just recently got the word that I am going to have a booth at C2E2 artist alley, so a clothing brand by the name of Sukeban NYC and I will have a joint booth, where I will be selling prints, clothing, and also hopefully sketchbooks (compilation of my sketches in a bound book). I also am working with a tournament organizer on a big project which will be announced soon!

It’s way too hard to pick just one artist who inspires me.  I would say that I have a few artists who regularly inspire me, and those are: Karl Kopinsky, Dave Rapoza, Kim Jung Gi, Carlos Huante, Justin Sweet, Anthony Jones.

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Eric giving his childhood Mortal Kombat drawing as a gift to Ed Boon.

7.  In Mortal Kombat X you were known for your Goro.  What made you choose Goro and what did you love about him most?

Honestly I wasn’t really big into MKX at first, and after going through a character crisis, I selected Goro as a joke because I heard he was really a low tier character.  After learning him, I realized he’s the perfect character for me because he had good damage, good footsies, and amazing armored moves.  He was a struggle character but after a few patches and buffs, he ended up pretty decent.   I also thought that he was awesome because he was swole as hell, and has two extra arms to get gains with.

8.  You love to workout from your posts online.  Were you always this fit?  What advice would you give to others looking in wanting to get into fitness?

I wasn’t always fit, no.  Growing up I was overweight and got picked on quite frequently.  At age 16 I decided I no longer wanted to be like that, and put myself on a diet and went for jogs after school.  When I was light enough to skateboard, I did that religiously and that served as my main source of cardio activity. I managed to get down to 170 from 245 after all that.

After a tragic skateboarding accident where I shattered my ankle and dislocated it, I decided that I should no longer look at skateboarding as my only source of exercise since I can’t risk getting hurt that badly again.  My college roommate brought me to the campus gym and, even though I was nervous since I was the smallest person there, I fell in love with it and continued with it a decade later.

My advice would be to just get started no matter what. Don’t wait for a specific date, don’t look for the perfect gym, don’t wait on a gym partner.  If you want to get in shape, you will.  You can work wonders in a basement gym with $100 worth of equipment from Target, or even shred weight off by going on regular walks and jogs.

9.  Here’s a fun one.  Who was your favorite action hero growing up and why?

Favorite action hero was either Jackie Chan or Tony Jaa.  I always loved martial arts growing up in a house with a sensei for a dad.  My dad owned every single Jackie Chan movie and I ended up hearing about Tony Jaa later on after Ong Bak came out.

10.  What games outside of fighting games are you playing right now?  Anything you are looking forward to?

Mostly just Fortnite Battle Royale.  I love shooting games, but a lot of them just get really boring or don’t have a high skill gap.  What I love about Fortnite is that Epic Games is constantly updating the gameplay and taking advice from pros.

The upcoming games I’m looking forward to the most would have to be The Last of Us 2, and God of War.  I really wish they would announce a new Bloodborne though!

 

If you would like to stay up to date with Decay you can at the following:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/decayNRS
Instagram: http://instagram.com/sketchbrah
Twitch:  http://twitch.com/lord_decay

And to watch old episodes of King of the Bill:
Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4

That’s all for this week everyone.  I will have a mini art feature with some fan art at some point.  If you are someone who loves to draw NRS related content please let me know and I would love to add it in with credit to you.  Other than that, I will have another new interview Sunday.  The interviewee will be announced mid week.

Hope you all enjoyed this installment of First to Ten.

 

 

 

 

Interview written and published by Romanova.

One of the UK’s Finest Condiments: PND Ketchup

Greetings everyone! Welcome back!

This week I would like to start off with a big thank you to everyone who read, shared, or commented on my previous article.  The first goal was for everyone reading to learn facts about a community member that you maybe didn’t know prior.  The second goal was for everyone to experience good feelings while reading the article.  After reading everyone’s feedback, I believe those two goals were met.  I can only hope to keep that momentum going.

(This week’s guest Ketchup in his signature red tie!)

This week I wanted to include another member of our community who is not just someone who plays our games, but a top comentator in the scene.  Ryan Neal, also known as PND Ketchup, is a long time NRS fan all the way from the UK.  Ryan and his twin brother Jake Neal, or Mustard (who we also love and adore), can almost always be seen together working at tournaments. The energy they both give when commentating together is inspiring and entertainment at its finest.

Though both condiment twins are extremely talented, I would like to give each of them individual time to shine on who they are as themselves as well.

I first met Ryan at the ESL Mortal Kombat X Season 2 finals in January of 2016.  His brother and him were doing vlog interviews for their YouTube and were kind enough to ask me about myself.  I had told them I was new to all of this but had always been an MK fan since the klassics.  When asking them about who they are I was told how they are big Sektor and Cyrax fans.   I didn’t realize what fantastic friends I had just made then, or did I?  Either way, the two of them are absolute joys to be around and each interaction is pleasant regardless of talking tech or life. That’s enough backstory from me though.  Let us dive into our ten questions with Ryan!

 

1. Ryan! You know I’ve looked forward to this so thank you for taking the time to do a First to Ten with me!  The first question I would just like to answer some basics in one.  Who are you, what are your handles, where are you from?

Thanks for having me!

My name is Ryan Neal. I’m known in the competitive gaming world as PND Ketchup and I come from the United Kingdom.

 

2. Now that we’ve established the basics. What got you into gaming? Specifically, what got you into the competitive NRS scene?

I owe my entire passion that I have for gaming to Mortal Kombat. The franchise started it all for Mustard and myself back in our younger days. Our first ever MK game was Mortal Kombat 3 on Snes and it stayed with us forever, not even 5 minutes in. We knew it was going to be something special.

On a competitive side, we started playing Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 online at a decent level back in the Xbox Live arcade days. Didn’t really compete as such, but played every day for a couple of years. Once Mortal Kombat 9 came out however, we both went in very very hard and played non stop. Got involved in UK tournaments after some promotional events from Warner Brothers and the rest is history.

 

3. When did you start commentating and what period did you decide you enjoyed this more than just being a competitive player?

The commentary side of things came into play before MKX came out. We were approached to work with the Pro League for season 1 but obviously were unaware of any future plans after that. We’ve always been a lot more career minded over competitive minded, as working in the games industry was a dream of ours since childhood. The choice to commentate over compete was an easy one.

This was made a lot easier to get into due to our content creation background as well. Streaming and making content for youtube was a huge part of us being naturally comfortable talking over gameplay once the pro league began.

Once the Pro League was in full swing, I think we both just realized that we’d truly found our niche in commentary. It’s something we happily do as a fulltime career now.

 

4. I know you commentate games other than MK and Injustice.  As a Quake fan I’ve been watching your commentary when I can for the different broadcasts such as Quake Con and Dreamhack Denver.  What do you love most about commentating for Quake and what other games do you commentate as well?

I’ve had a deep love for ID games for a very very long time. I’d just missed the prime of Quake competitive as a kid because I didn’t actually have a PC. My first Quake was on the N64 and my love of ID originated from Doom 64. I would always enjoy watching Quakecon and seeing players destroy the game in a way I never thought imaginable, the skill displayed between the two players was impossible to not notice straight away. I’d put hundreds of hours into Doom (2016)’s Multiplayer and got heavily involved in the PC community tournaments that community clans would host. Once Quake Champions was announced at E3, I knew it was finally my chance to learn Quake properly and get involved any way I could. The experience has been unforgettable and the ID community across the board is passionate, old school, respectful and very welcoming to new blood. We were terrified to enter the fray as we had big shoes to fill, but the feedback so far has been super positive. We just hope to keep moving forward!

The reason I love Quake is simple. Pure 1v1 and a fast pace. Not unlike Fighting Games in any way. The games lend a lot of basic 1v1 fundamentals to one another actually. There is also the massive grass roots feel that is the bread and butter of what made Quake such a landmark title in the world of competitive gaming to begin with. Another similarity that it shares with the world of Fighting Games. Community is everything.

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(K&M looking sleek in their red and golden suits commentating for Quake Champions)

 

5. Normally you are commentating with your brother, Jake.  I know you were by yourself with another commentator for Dreamhack.  How often do you commentate without Jake?  Does it affect the way you commentate when you both aren’t together?

Dreamhack Denver was certainly a new experience. I’d spent so long commentating with JUST Mustard specifically, that I feel it was almost a necessity that I had all of this experience refreshing my experience working with individual people again. It’s important as a commentator to make sure you have your own style, and that you’re able to work with whoever is with you at the time. being flexible for a show is vital and just makes everybody’s life a lot easier.

That said, I did thoroughly enjoy it. I’ve fanboyed over Zoot for a while before Quake Champions even got announced, so it’s kind of surreal to have worked with him so many times at this stage. Jehar and Makaveli are always class acts as well and are very easy to work with. Their experience and knowledge of the scene is legendary.

 

6. What has been one of your favorite moments in NRS game history while commentating? Please explain as much as possible for everyone tuning in!

During the Pro League days, Madzin and Sakron had some ridiculous matches. I think some of our absolute hypest moments have historically come from when those guys clash heads. It was a combination between how slow Sakron was prepared to play vs how explosive and off the wire Madzin would approach the game with Blood God.

That said, I feel like some of my fondest memories came from the ESL Season 3 finals. It truly was a collection of the world’s greatest players in one place. It was insane match one after the other. A blast from start to finish.

 

7. When you aren’t commentating what is everyday life like for you?  What is work like?

Work is a blast. Although our primary role is to work broadcasts/shows when they’re taking place, on a 9/5 basis we’re in the ESL UK studio working behind the scenes. I make a lot of content and videos due to my background in video making on a personal level. We’ve just been insanely busy during the second half of this year because it’s genuinely been an event almost every weekend for 6 months. Insanity!

 

8. Back to Mortal Kombat talk, why Sektor? What do you love most about him? Have you ever dressed up as him?

I just remember as a kid finding him very easy to pick up and play. Visually he was the coolest looking character and the rockets from the chest took to my liking instantly.

His special moves were all forward forward with the exception of the homing missile (that took me over a year to discover admittedly), so naturally I thought I was godlike because I could do all the moves without question. Even though in hindsight, I was terrible.

In the spirit of halloween coming up, yes, I have 100% dressed up as Sektor on multiple occasions for conventions. Both the MK3 version and the MK9 Human Variant. We actually used to make a lot of costumes for cons back in the day. Was a lot of fun and I still miss not having time to do it anymore. Before I’m an esports commentator, I’m still a massive dork. That will never change.

(Ryan and his brother Jake as Sektor and Cyrax. Photo by Event Horizon Photography)

 

9. Now we all know you are very busy person!  But are there any games coming out in the future you are looking forward to?

When working with games as much as I do, it’s important to make sure you’re not burning out or taking them too seriously all the time. Playing games casually is very very important.

Right now when it isn’t Injustice or Quake, it’s Destiny 2 where I’m just switching my brain off and grinding, whilst chatting to friends online. I enjoy classic games as well and have been getting muchos playtime out of my snes mini. Taking time to yourself and zoning out with something easy has been crucial with the busy workflow I have as of late.

 

10. Before we wrap up, I would like to thank you for your time answering these questions.  I hope you had as much fun telling these bits as everyone will have reading your responses to them.

As your final question, I would like this to be for the fans hoping to catch you at an event.  What other events are you going to (NRS related or not) in the next 6 months?

With Injustice finishing up in a couple of weeks along with the Tekken World Tour, our workload is looking kind of light going into the end of this year. Dreamhack Winter is around the Corner for Quake Champions, although the commentary lineup for that event is not confirmed just yet of course.

The year is set to end soon for Mustard and myself, and what a wild ride it’s been. This has easily been the most hectic year we have ever faced in our lives, and I can’t believe I’m even saying that over how insane last year was before it. Life is full of surprises and we are forever grateful to have this opportunity to do what we truly love for a living.

Thank you for having me!

(Joshua Gray, myself, Ketchup, and Mustard at Combo Breaker this year)

Thank you for letting us have you Ryan!

If you would like to keep up with Ketchup here are his social media links:
Twitch:  https://go.twitch.tv/pndketchup
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/pndketchup

This concludes this week’s #FirstToTen.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed. I know this was a little delayed but it was worth it for Ketchup’s epic responses.

I appreciate you all.

As always, feel free to comment any feedback or comments you have. Next week’s interview will be with Florida’s own BeyondToxin. I hope you’ll all join me in hearing his tales from the FGC and how he came to be a part of it. Feel free also to comment any questions you may want to see him answer on Sunday.

Article published by Rose Romanova