Player Profile Series: The evolution of Circa|Nicky
When it comes to discussions of prolific fighting game personalities, Nicky's name can be spoken with confidence. From his signature image to his aggressive playstyle, Nicky represents the best in both the FGC and Circa eSports. But what's behind the CEO 2017 Killer Instinct champion? We recently caught up with our resident metal head to see what makes him tick, and how a champion was born.
You told EventHubs that Injustice was your intro to labbing and really getting a feel for advanced play. What did your relationship with fighting games look like before that? What drew you in?
Fighting games have been a part of my life ever since I can remember. I grew up on Tekken 2 and Smash 64. They were the first games I can remember playing; I had to have been at least 4 or 5 years old. My cousins in the house would always play with me for countless hours. I was obsessed with playing. I didn't know what the hell I was doing, but whenever I managed to mash out a short combo or land a throw, I'd get really excited. Had I known then that I'd be doing what I'm doing now, I sure would have played a lot more!
At what point did you realize that pro gaming was a possibility? Was there a key moment that made you turn a corner, or was it more of an organic experience leading up to signing with Circa eSports?
I made it through high school knowing eSports existed, and never bothered to truly give it a chance. I was highly invested in my music education, and was told that I HAD to pursue a certain life, and I wouldn't make it otherwise. But a few months before graduation, I started playing more modern fighting games just for fun (MK9, UMVC3, and SF4). One weekend, I went to a fellow fighting gamer friend’s house, and he was watching EVO 2013. This is when I realized, “People play fighting games professionally?” and the rest is history. I knew this is what I wanted to do. After traveling to majors events and getting some exposure, being offered a contract by Circa eSports was the best thing that happened to me in my gaming career. I knew that everything I was doing was a small part of something much greater. This was what I worked for.
What’s life like for Nicky outside of professional gaming? What are your other hobbies or interests?
Life as Circa Nicky is nothing less than exquisite. Life as just Nicky is bland at best! I work full time; I am an automatic screen printer, operating a screen printing press that mass produces art designs onto shirts, hoodies, and countless other garments. I love to get my hands dirty, and some days I come home from work covered in ink, so it's right up my alley. As if that wasn't artsy fartsy enough, I'm also a musician. I've been playing guitar, bass, and I've been singing ever since I was 13. In high school I learned music theory, sang in choir, and played in jazz band. I grew up a metal head and stayed that way. Music means just as much to me as gaming, but I'd never make a career out of it. The clash between being an artist and a competitor is an every day struggle.
CEO 2017 was obviously a huge milestone for you. What’s going through your mind once you move on from Top 8 to the Grand Finals? How do you manage to stay focused and not let the emotions get to you?
CEO 2017 was the biggest win of my career. Ever since I went to my first CEO in 2015, I KNEW I had to have that belt. Being in winners side of grand finals at one of my favorite events of all time, my every thought was, “This is the reason I wake up in the morning. This is what keeps me going during the day. This is what helps me sleep at night. This is what I dream about. This is my everything.” Losing wasn't even an idea in my thought process. I HAD to win, and I knew that there was nothing in that moment that I couldn't do. I thought about my family. I thought about all of the work I put in to get where I was. I thought about my best friend who was 10 feet away from me who kept me sane in one of the most emotionally draining experiences of my life. And then before I could process the thought of losing, I won.
You tweeted your appreciation for the way SCR took care of the KI tournament this year. Do you feel that KI doesn’t get the respect it deserves? If so, what contributing factors have there been toward the negativity?
I have a lot to say about the current status of KI, and why I think it is the way it is (community wise), but I'll keep it brief. The same people who have “become something” because of this game, are the same people who (for all 3 seasons of KI) would publicly BASH the game. Really biting the hand that feeds. The players, the streamers, the casuals, the cliques, all of the like that are associated with this kind of behavior are, to me, considered, “the garbage.” All of their followers who believe everything they say and spread it like wildfire are simply, “the flies.” It's time we stopped worrying so much about the flies, and we take out the garbage. Don't like the game? Leave the community alone. KI is an amazing fighting game with passionate players, and a great team of people who worked to make the game what it is, and those who can't appreciate that should go elsewhere.
The Injustice 2 scene has seen a healthy influx of players since its release. How has your experience been so far? What made you decide on Catwoman? Is it difficult training for multiple games? You gonna beat up on Forever King one day?
Injustice 2 is currently my favorite competitive fighting game! Before KI, I had a pretty involved NRS background, using Injustice: Gods Among Us as my first learning tool to understand fighting games. I saw how similar IJ2 Catwoman was to IGAU Catwoman, AND saw how much stronger the character had become, and I was pulled in immediately. She's incredible. In a zoning heavy game, she can STILL rush you down. She breaks the mold. My dream is to be as godlike as my lord and savior Christian “Forever King” Quilles. He is inhuman.
What’s your favorite non-fighting game or series?
My favorite non fighting game series is definitely Kingdom Hearts. I have been playing these games since the first one on PS2, and they are everything good about my childhood. I grew up on Disney movies and watching my cousins play Final Fantasy 7,8,9, and X. So this was almost like a dream come true for me. I love everything about the series. The characters, the story, the worlds, the combat system, and depth. It's just a beautiful series.
It’s 1 A.M. and time for some food. Where are you headed?
I try my best NOT to eat super, super late, but if I was really hungry and had to go somewhere at 1 A.M., I'm definitely going to Taco Bell. It's the best fast food, FREEEEE.
What kind of music do you listen to when you train?
I. Love. Breakdowns. That's vague. But if you find me practicing fighting games, I am BLASTING heavy music. Bands like Alpha Wolf, Stray From The Path, Like Moths to Flames, Sworn In, Code Orange, and Knocked Loose. I'm a pretty passive person, with a violent playlist. Adrenaline flows like my combos.
(Article by Damian Alonzo @dalonzo4451)