This week we catch up with fighting game enthusiast Frank Monze – aka RagnaXBL – to find out more about what makes him tick. Or kick. With a rich history of fighting games in South Africa, there’s a community larger than most expect, and next week we will delve more into that with his JHB Beatdown tournaments. So join us again next week, but stay for now to find out more about Frank.
Then, if you’re looking to join in on the action, there’s an event at the Nexus this Saturday. Details can be found here.
Go ahead. Introduce yourself. Don’t be shy.
My name is Frank Monze. To the gaming community I’m known as RagnaXBL. I guess you could call me a fighting game player. I organise, manage and stream fighting game tournaments and events for the local fighting game community in Johannesburg. I’ve been actively competing for just under 10 years and event/tournament organising for the past two years.
What’s you platform of choice? Why?
Mostly PS4. Only because it’s the tournament standard for most major fighting games but in reality I play on most major platforms.
Can you remember the first time you ‘gamed’?
Barely. It was at a friend’s place. I was very young. We played some Streets of Rage and Street Fighter II on a Sega console. I was instantly hooked.
How long have you been gaming?
For about 20 years now. My parents bought me a PlayStation 1 for my birthday when I entered primary school. I’ve been gaming ever since. I started competing in fighting game tournaments around 2008 when Street Fighter IV released and I’ve been competing to this day.
When do you think you’ll stop gaming?
When it stops being fun. So hopefully not any time soon.
Are you a serious gamer? Or do you enjoy a laugh?
I’m not entirely sure but I think I’m more on the serious side. I’m very competitive.
Singleplayer or multiplayer?
Both. I appreciate a good single player experience but there’s nothing quite like testing your skills against another skilled opponent.
Is playing online important to you?
Yes and No. Since I mostly play fighters and them being such a niche genre, online connectivity is very important in bringing players together. However in today’s fighters, online is far from a smooth experience. In games that require lightning fast reactions and perfect execution even the slightest delay can result in dropped combos, a failed sequence and ultimately a loss. Even with the best connections available I feel playing offline is the best way to hone your skills.
Are you a member of a clan? Who are they and why?
The South African FGC is still in its growing stages so we don’t really have any teams or clans yet but there are a handful community groups that we use to share info, organise and promote events, matches and tournaments. When it comes to South Africa or Even Africa as whole, most gamers assume there is no active community or competitive scene for their fighting game of choice but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m part of JHBFGC (Johannesburg Fighting Game Community) which is a community of local players here in Johannesburg for a variety of fighting games. We’re sitting at around 300 members right now so Johannesburg in particular definitely has a large number of avid fighting game players. There is also SAFGC, is a large community consisting of players from all across South Africa and even a few international players from across Africa. They’re sitting at around 800 members right now. They’re the biggest SA-based fighting game group I know of so they’ve definitely done a great job of organising and getting everyone together and they’re still growing. They’re also active fighting game communities in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Pretoria and probably more we haven’t heard of.
Favourite game currently?
As far as fighters go I’ve put a lot of time into Street Fighter V, Guilty Gear, and Blazblue and Smash Brothers. When I’m not playing fighters I like to play a lot of RPG and action games. Currently I’m playing a lot of Monster Hunter.
Do you have any hobbies outside of gaming? What?
…No? Sorry if that’s boring but it’s the truth. XD
You’re stranded on a desert island and a genie grants you five items. Name them:
A game:Monster Hunter
A CD:Don’t need one
A movie or TV series:The Walking Dead, all nine seasons
An organic life form:Don’t need one
Something edible or drinkable:Red Bull
What’s the most embarrassing or worst game you’ve ever bought or received as a gift?
Dead or Alive Extreme 2. Hands down. I had no idea what I was getting into…
If you were a game designer, describe your ultimate game design.
It would probably be an overly flashy 3D hack and slash, action game like Devil May Cry. It would have an amazing upbeat hard rock soundtrack and only sell a couple hundred copies but also be praised as one of the great action games of all time.
The zombie apocalypse has happened. You’re facing down a ravenous zombie horde (which may or may not include members of ZG in bikinis). What weapon do you grab?
The biggest, sharpest object I can find within reach. Probably a butter knife or a pencil. Depending on how good a zombie looks in a bikini I might just skip the weapons and meet my end right then and there.
In the aforementioned zombie apocalypse you humans are all toast. Become a turncoat and assist the superior zombies or stay with the soon to be wiped out human resistance?
Definitely siding with the zombies. I’m not fighting for a lost cause. Besides if they’re in bikinis. It’s an easy choice. [YES! This feels like a real victory for us. Shh. We’re entitled to it every now and then. – Undead Ed]
Thanks for taking the time to answer our silly questions. What game are you off to play now that you’re done?
If you are keen to feature in this column in the future (as a gamer, clan or industry person or company), please feel free to contact us at email@example.com and we’ll think about – after you’ve sent us a sample of your braaaaaaiiiiinnnnsss.