AN INTERVIEW WITH TOMASZ "KINAI" LIMPENS
By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee and Tomasz "Kinai" Limpens on July 15, 2020
Playing games as a job. For many of us this sounds like the ultimate dream; working in the game business or joining an eSports team and getting paid for something you love to do. But is it really as dreamy as we all think it is? To get to the bottom of this, we have the opportunity to talk with Tomasz Limpens a.k.a Kinai about his life as an eSporter!
Hi Tomasz, thank you for taking the time to talk with us. We want to ask you a plethora of questions, so we'll start right away. Which game is your eSport game?
Rocket league, simply said: Hitting a ball at supersonic speed with a flying rocket-powered car!
Is that a game you actually like or are you just good at it?
It's a game that has a special place in my heart. I started playing it when it came out, and gradually got better at it. I never really quit playing because I had so much fun. But of course when I got better I felt 'forced' to keep playing because I felt that if I didn't, I would have been wasting potential.
Why did you choose Kinai as your nickname? Where does it come from?
The name has been with me for a very long time, ever since when I created my steam account in 2012 (if I remember correctly). I was looking for a unique name, but also one that fits me as a human being. So I chose Kinai. back then I was young and thought that the Hawaiian was an interesting culture, so I started Googling. When I came across Kinai this popped up; "To continue, persist." It immediately caught my attention, because I did not have it easy at a young age, but I kept going. Also, the name was short, easy to remember and rolled across the lips easily, so naturally I chose it and have stuck with it for about 8 years now.
How many hours per day do you have to play this game to keep your skills at your current level?
That is a complicated question, it varies from day to day. Some days my team and I play for fun, and we could sit there playing the game for hours and hours. But on the other hand when we're actually practicing on certain strategies or mechanics, we might only play for an hour or two, since it's really exhausting. so generally I play about 5-6 hours a day, 1-2 hours of dedicated training, and 3-4 hours of just playing and getting those game time hours in. I'm currently at around 6000 hours game time.
You are a member of an official eSports team, how did you join them? Or did they find you? How do these things work?
To be honest, it's a tricky world. There is a finite amount of room inside of the RL (Rocket League) eSports scene, and getting in can be tricky. There are of course existing pro players, and people that try and get there.
In my personal experience a lot of the communication goes through Twitter and big Rocket League Discord servers. In my case, a coach from my current organization came across my twitter account by using certain hashtags, and saw that I was 'LFT' (looking for team). He then sent me a message asking if I would be interested in trying out for his team, since they recently let go of their third man. I said yes and the rest, as they say, is history.
Is the life of an eSporter as glamorous as we all imagine it would be?
The short answer is no, there is a lot to it. Of course there are the glamour and famous moments that certainly stand out, but it has it's downsides. To be honest it's very hard work, in a world of eSports where there are always other players, you are replaceable, and that's just a fact. So you're almost forced to play daily, get better every day and step up when people assume you're gonna step up. There is a lot of pressure.
What was the best eSports event you participated in and why?
That is an interesting question because every event has its own feeling to it. The biggest I've been to will be the RLRS playoffs, where I got top 64. But the most fun one will have to be TheReality in the Netherlands. TheReality is a small, yearly LAN Party that I go to with my friends every year to compete but also have fun. There are cosplay contests, beer pong matches, drinks, food, and most importantly, games!
Did you ever get to meet the developers of Rocket League?
Yes! I did meet one of the developers, his name is Devin Connors. I met him online on the Rocket League subreddit, where I had an idea on how to improve a certain element in the game. He later contacted my via a DM and we talked and he actually implemented the idea! We kept in touch through steam and I've even seen him in person once.
Funny side story, we we're actually playing together on my birthday in 2018 and I told him it was my birthday. He then proceeded to add a custom title in Rocket League called: Birthday Boy. I'll never forget that.
Do you also play Rocket League for fun with friends (or do they not want to play this game with you, because you're too good at it)?
Of course! I started playing this game with friends, and I've made new friends on the game itself. Currently I am at a rank where some of my friends can't keep up, but when that's the case I just switch to an alternate account that has a lower rank.
Are there any other games you really like?
Dota 2. My brother showed me this game in 2013, and even now in 2020 I'm still playing it. I love the competitive nature of the game and I'm not too bad at it either.
Single Player or Multi Player, which one do you prefer and why?
Multiplayer all the way, I have to be able to compete with others! There are of course some singleplayer gems that I personally love, but those are exceptions, like "Hellblade, Senua's Sacrifice" or "Layers of Fear".
Do you still have enough of a personal life, so you get to hang out with friends and family?
Sometimes it's hard to do these things, but I always seem to find a balance between the two. My girlfriend whom I live with finds it hard sometimes though, which is understandable. I don't know though, some people like my mom for example, never saw the upside and benefit to gaming on a high level. That made it really hard when I was a kid.
And last but not least, we always ask this question to everyone we interview: What are your thoughts on garden gnomes?
My best memory of garden gnomes is back in 2016 when we crossed the border from Germany to the Czech Republic. There was one shop there, old and abandoned, and about 2000 garden gnomes of all varieties. It was horrifying. The image will haunt me forever.
Tomasz, it was awesome to meet you, thanks for answering our questions and of course we wish you all the best with your future matches. Kinai, Kinai!
If you would like to follow Tomasz, why not visit one of his social media pages. You can find them listed below