Alex Kim talks Proleague, casting, and playing with his CMU CSL team.
By: Chris Baldacci
|Supernovamaniac in Korea in 2012.
With the end of the spring CSL season in sight and many teams still in the hunt for a place in the play-offs, Alex ‘Supernovamaniac’ Kim, ex-caster and current member of the Carnegie Mellon University Starcraft 2 team made some time between a busy schedule of classes to talk to us about his time in the CSL and what life was like as part of the Proleague casting team in Korea.
Supernovamaniac has been a fan of Starcraft for a while now, before the meteoric rise of popularity that came with the release of Wings Of Liberty. When asked how he initially became interested in the scene and what made him want to get involved he said: “I watched my first Brood War game in 2010 and after watching Proleague live few times, I started my contribution to the scene by translating in the Proleague re-stream chat.” Fortunately for the scene, Supernovamaniac’s involvement didn’t stop with just translating the chat “Although it was time consuming, I loved translating for the fans who stayed up just to watch StarCraft live. Since then, I always wanted to get involved more in e-sports. I casted games, made intro videos, and kept translating for the scene.”
In the summer of 2012 the big break he had been waiting for came, and Supernovamaniac flew out to South Korea to join the Proleague casting team with Noah ‘Moletrap’ Kalb: “When I initially talked to Moletrap at OGN, he and I shared the same dream: providing many interviews to the foreign fans and officially casting last BroodWar OSL in English.” But it was not all roses working for such a prestigious organisation. The pressure can get intense as Supernovamaniac disclosed: “I have mixed feelings about my participation in Proleague. When you're casting, you have to be 100% confident. Once you start feeling nervous, you forget what you already know about the game and start stumbling. It was a weird, as I have always felt confident speaking/presenting in front of others, and had no trouble performing magic tricks in front of hundreds of people. This was the first time I felt this way.”
After the summer in Korea it was back to school, and this is where Supernovamaniac developed a deep and endearing love of the CSL: “My career in Starcraft 2 started with playing in CSL. After getting accepted to CMU, I wanted to make new friends who shared the same interest as me.”
Which brings us to the present and Carnegie-Mellon University's run in the CSL so far. With a current record of 2-5 things have not been going as well as expected: “Since every ace player from CMU graduated last year, we didn't have a team that could compete against the best colleges in NA.” He explains and then went on to say: “We're still playing because we have number of players who are good enough to play against other schools.Our current goal is to make it into playoffs. It seems that everyone is having fun.” Which is, frankly, the entire point of the CSL.
The CMU squad hanging out.
Part of the beauty of the CSL is its emulation of the Proleague format, resulting in more intense team-on-team action and the joyful chaos that comes with 2v2 matches, all of which Supernovamanic appreciates this year as a player: “I like it a lot better than the last year's spring format [editor's note: March Madness Spring 2013 was a shortened version of regular season play]. I like to think of the CSL as an e-sports community for the school. Tournaments such as CSL allows people to come together and play/enjoy the game they love the most. When team is still competing in CSL, they will communicate with each other and keep playing and practicing until they are out of the league.” However, Alex wishes it was longer: “It is important to have the players play in a year-long tournament. If they have less games to play or if the season stays too short, it does not allow the CSL communities to hold weekly meetings and other events, as there's no reason for them to stay involved until the next season.”
Supernovamaniac ended the interview with a few final words that our players and fans should always remember: “I do understand that every team wants to win. However, please remember that you are also bringing many players together through CSL. Although it is nice to focus on competitive side of CSL, do not forget the non-competitive players who are also part of your community. Always remember to have some fun while playing.”
From one fan to many, a reminder that while this tournament is mostly about kicking ass and takin’ names it is also about forging connections between schools, players and most importantly, Starcraft 2 fanatics.
By Theresa Gaffney
Thu Feb 27, 2014 7:39 PM