We’ve been north of South African borders before with Kenyan gamer James Karanu but today we stay a little closer to home with Zimbabwean gamer Thomas Phiri. He is also the man working on giving Zimbabwean competitive players a place to start (and ultimately continue) their journey into the world of esports. He founded Esports Zimbabwe (also known as Zimbabwe Mind Sports Union) a few years back and they have ensured Zimbabwe esports has their own voice.
So who is this fellow gamer and what keeps him gaming? Well, we asked him and he answered. So get to know him a little bit more below.
Introduce yourself. Go on.
My name is Thomas Arnold Phiri. Some gamers call me taundertaker773. I am the founder of Zimbabwe Mind Sports (eSports Zimbabwe) – our organization is responsible for promoting electronic sports as true sports in Zimbabwe, and become IeSF official member in charge of maintaining, promoting and supporting it.
What’s you platform of choice? Why?
PC gaming is better in my opinion. Why? I love building my own gaming rig. It is cheap, the hardware is awesome, and I love reading about new technology. Using a mouse/keyboard and having the ability to use just about any input device is great too. I hate playing on the couch. I am hardcore, and I want the hardcore PC action right in my face. 10″ away from my retinas. However, you can play on your couch if you wish. It is an option with PC gaming.
Can you remember the first time you ‘gamed’?
I was about 3 years old. I can’t recall the exact year but I remember the actual game. My dad brought it home the other night when he was fixing a client’s machine.
How long have you been gaming?
14 years and still counting.
When do you think you’ll stop gaming?
I will not stop gaming because it helps to develop problem-solving skills.
Are you a serious gamer? Or do you enjoy a laugh?
I am a pro gamer; I play competitively.
Single player or multiplayer?
Single player is the best. However multiplayer at times when I’m bored I play with friends.
Is playing online important to you?
I could do without online entirely, although I still get my fix of it every now and again. But I’ll rarely spend more than 20 hours or so on one game’s online multiplayer anymore. Early into the previous generation I was hooked on multiplayer and spent over 100-200 hours on multiple games. However, I think single player is where the real quality is, even as addictive as multiplayer can be when you are not burned out from it. They are just completely different experiences I guess. Online is more of a rush but also a lot of frustration and repetition. In offline I can relax and enjoy the game at my own leisure and get immersed into the game’s world. So I’ll always prefer offline. It’s unfortunate that the most popular games are starting to require you to be online even if you can play the game solo, not that I’d really want to play games like Destiny solo since it’s very much designed for co-op.
Are you a member of a clan? Who are they and why?
Yes! We have a clan called eSports Gamers. We play all competitive games – mainly FiFA.
Favourite game currently?
FiFA is my personal favourite. The soundtrack is brilliant, and I invested a huge amount of time as a kid into manager mode. It was also nice that Konami at the time were putting out PES games that could actually compete with EA; it was always nice alternating between the two when one got frustrating.
So how long has Esports Zimbabwe existed?
We have been in the making since 2012.
What titles do you focus on?
Board games (such as Backgammon, Diplomacy, Checkers, Draughts, Tsoro, Racing, 1st Person, 3rd person etc).
Has there been a visible growth in player numbers over the last few years in Zimbabwe?
The insight is growing day by day and it’s quite splendid.
What do you think needs to be done to improve esports in Zimbabwe?
We need to market ourselves and perhaps get international collaboration from other countries besides South Africa, Angola and Ghana to expand our horizon in eSport.
What are the goals of Esports Zimbabwe in 2018?
Despite the fluid situation which has been happening lately, we are still on track and we have a bigger tournament which was approved by EA to host an official FiFA 18 Global Series Qualifier, so all our minds are focused on this tournament and as well as to host monthly events for professional eSports enthusiast to interact and compete.
Enough of the serious gaming stuff. Let’s scratch a little deeper into your psyche.
Do you have any hobbies outside of gaming? What?
I am a network Technical Support, so at times I spend most of the time fixing or installing internet connections and at times, I will be planning events to promote our esports.
You’re stranded on a desert island and a genie grants you five items. Name them:
A game: FiFA
A CD: Michael learns To Rock
A movie or TV series: Power series
An organic life form: Man’s Favourite (Dog)
Something edible or drinkable: Vodka
What’s the most embarrassing or worst game you’ve ever bought or received as a gift?
Received FiFA Manager as a gift. When I looked at the casing I decided ‘nope I won’t waste 2GB of data installing this game.’
If you were a game designer, describe your ultimate game design.
I would update the EA system to recognize Zimbabwe on the teams we select when we play.
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?
I would grab M1903 from the Call of Duty WW2.
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?
Hahah I would stay with humans, cause we have that connection that we have as human beings. Zombies are hungry one way or the other they will eat me.
Thanks for taking the time to answer our silly questions. What game are you off to play now that you’re done?
I’m just going to play FiFA, because we have a mini league with the lads at office – the losers will clean the office. LOL.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll think about – after you’ve sent us a sample of your braaaaaaiiiiinnnnsss.