Interview with KeNKa

Posted by Patrik "Raistlin" Hellstrand 10 years, 16 weeks ago

He was called the StarCraft badboy, and participated in WCG 2001, and was in Korea for three months during 2002 playing StarCraft. For a long while he has been inactive, but now he's back. KeNKa is the leader of a new sponsored Swedish clan - G064, sponsored by AMD.

I think more people than myself have noticed that you've been playing actively again, after a big break. Tell us about your comeback; why now?
uhm, I started playing like some games again a few weeks back and I just got stuck again and wanted to be good again. A big reason is probably since the comunity is still going strong and I really wanna play in some tournament like OptiHack in the future so what the heck. And I mean this is the greatest game ever and it's not hard to be addicted ;)

kenkaface.jpgYeah, OptiHack, that's interesting. We'll talk more about that later on. Why did you stop playing? What have you been up to these days when you've been inactive?
A big reason was a big lack of interest but also alot happend in my life wich made it very hard for me to keep up my play. And if I'm gonna play this game I wanna be able to play my best and I just did not have the time for it.

But now you feel that you are able to play wholeheartedly?
Yes otherwise I would not started playing since I hate lossing I wouldnt start unless I thought I could be really good again.

What do you think of the current skill level at WGTour? How is the resistance compared to what you used to play against before?
oh man it can't be compared when I quit this game the skill level was very high, if u were gonna be top 30 u'd have to be a very good gamer. Now I see people at the top 10 not being more skilled than above average.

Do you play anywhere else than at WGTour?
No not atm, since I'm still improving my play wgtour is a good way to start but as I get better i'll start playing at west and stuff again.

Do you still intend to play as all Terran, or do you mix a bit with the races?
my goal is to be all terran again of course, but right now I'm having a bit fun randoming around since my terran aint at 100%.

Your last offline tournament was the WCG Nordic 2004. Comments on your achievement and play there?
haha I just went there for fun, for my love of the game.. My skill level was really poor I hadnt played active in like atleast 1 year. So I mostly participated for fun. to be honest it went really terrible.

What do you think of the new Swedish "elite", without the old guys that were around during "your" time?
uhm I of course think its sad that all theese great players quit but its a part of the game, people come and people go. Now I see alot of good players in sweden actually and I think with some new clans like go64 e can be the best country outside korea once again!!

Yes, tell us more about that new clan GO64. Does it have anything to do with 64AMD?
Yes it's got everything to do with AMD 64. It's a new clan with a sponsorship from AMD. I've taken the responsability to form a new pro clan in sweden and it's really going great with players like GO64.Gurram GO64.Fox and Go64.Whiz.

KeNKa at GameOnline, during WCG 2003 qualifications

Sounds great. What kind of sponsorship is it? Do you any have other players on the way? Are you intending to play in clanleagues?
We are definatly gonna play in some clanleague. The sponsorship is still being formed so right now we're aiming for OH2005, trying to get one of our members to win! :) I have some other players on my list but I'll let them now soon. ;)

Sounds good. Let's talk a bit more about OptiHack, which obviously will be the biggest Swedish StarCraft tournament for a long while (apart from WCG Nordic 2004); what do you think of your own chances? Do you estimate to reach up to your previous skill level once the tournament starts?
my goal is to be close to my previous skill level, but it's gonna be hard. But I think ill have a very good chance of winning.

Which player in the Swedish and the international scene do you see as the best right now?
oh I'm really not the person to ask that. Ive just been too focused on my own play. But I guess in sweden Gurram truely is one of the best. And if DaZe starts playing again hes very good aswell. in the international scene I have no clue. Maybe iloveoov?

What about Team Sweden? If you reach your previous skill level, would you be interested in joining Team SWE once again?
definatly... no questions asked there. I'm a born team swe member ...

Haha, I believe Mazor and I would gladly welcome you to our team once again. =)
Sounds great!

KeNKa (in the background) in Korea playing at a PC bang

Tell us more about your trip to Korea during 2002. How were you discovered, and what team did you play for?
Actually I didn't play for any team I just kinda hang out with koreans like V-gundam and artofhan and the took me to random tournaments. And we had alot of fun. of course I was alot with elky grrr smuft and supercondomuser (my room mate) aswell

Did your sponsors (which ones?) pay for your trip?
I had a payed ticket since I participated in wcg so I guess the sponsor would be samsung ;)

Okay. How was the Korean StarCraft culture like? Did you play any matches on TV?
i played one game vs intotherain on tv and that game went realyl well. but unfortunatly I had already schedualed my trip home before that game. And man the korean culture is sick ... Truly a progamers heaven. During my stay there I prolly played 10h a day for 3 months :D

Name: Mats Kleredal
SG.com account:» KeNKa
Age: 21
Height: 194 cm
Weight: 94 kg
Location: Sweden Stockholm, Sweden
Marital status: Recently seperated
Clan: GO64
Race: Terran
Average APM: Now 120, normal 160
Merits: 3rd place Swedish Cup 2001
Top 16th WCG 2001
1st Swedish Gaming Open 2002
A lot of tournament play in korea 2002 (JAN-MAR)
If you would get a invitation to go there again to play for a professional team, would you take it?
no I would not since my skill level will never be even close to what it takes to be a progamer. And if it in some strange odd mixed up way ever would be I still wouldnt go play for a pro team. But i'd love to visit korea again.

How familiar are you with the Korean progaming scene these days?
Not at all, you can say. But I'm trying to pick up.

When you look back on your StarCraft career, what was the best thing you've ever done? What do you remember the most?
winning the games against daaman in swedish wcg qualify 2001. That was truely amazing I remember going in -attila-'s car and just screaming all the way home!

kenkaweird.jpgIn the Nordic WCG 2004, TreK won against Daaman in the finals - Do you think TreK was worth the win?
yah he was the best gamer in sweden at the time by far. And I was truely happy for him. daaman had been in korea and stuff so trek was worth the trip to sf. To be honest TreK should've won 2003 qualify.

But SaFT managed to sweep the win in the finals. Speaking of SaFT, you don't think that other oldschool Swedish players will do a comeback, like you? Have you talked to any of the "old guys"?
Yah I speak to them occationly but they are all addicted to poker so no they wont come back for active play. They do sweep by now and then players like saft, starglenn and some others but that's it.

How about yourself? Have you played poker professionally as well?
No, not professionally but I've played alot.

Do you watch a lot of replays to get in the same shape you were before?
Yes I am. I'm doing it to get inspiration its actually really good. Since I haven't played for some time I'm trying to catch up, even tho I'm trying to watch alot old replays since I think ppl played more fun back in the days

Do you watch a lot of your own old replays then, or is it of other players?
... A LOT of my own ... but of course others also .. but I can relate to my own play since I know I can do that again.

Do you feel that you have missed out on a lot during your break?
No not really, I've had a great time doing other things so I don't regret it in anyway. You know been playing this game since I was like 15, so I needed a break! ;)

Since you've been in Korea and participated in other professional tournaments, it must have had some influence on your life aside. What has StarCraft given you, as a person? What has it meant for you?
Yeah it has given me alot of fun time, but this game truely takes away alot form your real life, look at me I never even finished school. But I dont regret that at all since I got a chance to see korea and meet alot of great people.

What do you do nowadays? What do you work with?
I'm currently working on a project with AMD64. So I'm in the computer business ;)

Will you participate in our new upcoming league - GosuGamers Nordic League?
No doubt what so ever! That's really great of u guys still pulling of stuff like this ... Very good!!

All for you! Well, the interview is coming to an end, so I'm gonna let you do some shoutouts and/or last words!
I just wanna send out a big <3 to all the GO64 members such a WHIZ <3 Gurram !!!! <3 (protoss pro yo) Fox!!! ... and so on ... and one last word... Daze come back!! we need miniKeNKa ....
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