Nathanael "Confz" Asubonteng is one to watch in the UK Fighting Game Community (FGC).
He has gone from practicing at London's old Trocadero arcade to playing in the Gfinity Elite Series for ASUS RoG Army. We ask him about his background, his time in esports and juggling it with his passion for making music.
Esports News UK: Please tell us about your background in esports and how your career has developed so far.
Confz: My close friend (basically brother) Packz used to play Street Fighter 4 at a local tournament at the old Trocadero in London around 2010, and at times I would go down to watch him play and get a glimpse of community and scene.
I liked it but never played a lot, or not as serious as Packz did. A few years down the line when a different version of the game came out I started to play more seriously and actually went to my first local tournament.
After practicing more and more and attending weeklies, I took it upon myself to start travelling with friends further out to participate in tournaments abroad. Through this I gained experience and bettered myself mentally and technically. As that game came to an end, Street Fighter 5 was starting and as a scene we jumped into it straight away, taking it serious from the get go. We started travelling to tournaments off our own money and backs, and then Gfinity began and gave us all an opportunity on its platform to showcase the UK FGC's talent.
What are your thoughts on the current state of competitive Street Fighter?
Currently it is probably at the best it's ever been as high level has a fair and broad representative of players from around the world - and the results at the top are relative to those who are high level. Competition is very healthy and rivalries are forming, making things even better and more fun to watch.
"If you're trying to breakthrough in esports in the UK you must support your local communities and invest time and your own money for local tournaments to test yourself."
How are you finding the Elite Series so far? How well do you think ASUS ROG Army can do?
The Elite Series so far is very interesting. In terms of who will take it, it's up for grabs for anyone. I personally feel if tactically played right, ASUS ROG Army can at least make playoffs.
I watched your YouTube video recently with Gfinity, talking about your life, and I'm told you are half-blind due to a football accident at school. How does this affect your playing ability?
I'm partially blind in my right eye yes, to be honest I've been visually impaired for so long I don't even know if it affects me or not. I just do what I do and try not to let it even be a factor!
You're also a music artist, having made some music videos in the past. How did that come about, and what made you choose esports over that? Or do you still do both?
Music is my main passion and I'm looking to pursue a career with it and make more videos and projects in the future. I juggle this with gaming along with working part time as a technician at Apple.
What do you think of the likes of ProblemX winning EVO earlier this year, and how that helped put the UK FGC more on the map?
Problem X is my bro! The amount of work he puts in to this game is unreal, along with his mental and tactical approach to the game, it's inspiring. Him winning is bigger than a lot of people realise. In history he is the second European to win Evo ever and the first to win from UK.
He also beat the best in the world one after another to achieve it. That alone puts this region on the map of formidable opponents, you have the likes of Luffy and Phenom who are considered greats in this region, but Problem just solidified it!
"I'm partially blind in my right eye, to be honest I've been visually impaired for so long I don't even know if it affects me or not. I just do what I do and try not to let it even be a factor!"
What would you say to others looking to break into the UK esports scene?
If you're trying to breakthrough in esports in the UK you MUST support your local communities and invest time and your own money for local tournaments - and maybe even neighbouring countries - to test yourself. And also to show people that you're serious about competing and want to level up.