Matt was a player who suddenly appeared on the scene in 2012, immediately jumping into some of the greatest MKW teams of the era. He is a positive player and teammate who strives to better the people around him, and became widely known for his involvement in the community. Footnotes regarding acronyms are listed at the bottom of the interview (on the original Tumblr post) Calvin: Hi Matt. I’ve been lurking the competitive MKW scene since around 2010, and I think the first time I noticed you was because of your odd username. Where did the whole NfskMjmMal name come from? Matt: Hey Calvin! If I had a dollar… ah, you know how that sentence ends. Anyway, NfskMjmMal is a really crazy acronym that doesn’t make much sense. I don’t even go by that anymore because “Matt” is much easier for everyone. Calvin: Was this a name you came up with when you were younger and just started using? Or was it just some random thing to use because there’s so many “Matts” in the community? Matt: I came up with that name a very long time ago. I sincerely, without regard to any internet memes, think I was 12 when I came up with it and I just stuck with it. The number of fellow “Matts” in the community doesn’t influence my decision at all. Even though there are several, it’s still much more convenient for people to say things like “At Matt.” Calvin: I believe that, I don’t think I can read NfskMjmMal aloud. So originally after noticing your name, which brought me to your roster thread I believe, I noticed you had Troy added. At the time I was younger, and knowing Troy’s popularity, I was curious as to why Troy had all these “famous” players added, and then one guy named Matt I hadn’t heard of. It wasn’t long after I found out who you were you started getting into really strong teams and becoming a really prominent member of the community. Around what time do you think did you started becoming the Matt that everyone knows instead of just one of the many other Matts? Matt: It’s hard for me to answer that perfectly because I can never know for sure how the community and specific people think of me. Although there are a lot of people named Matt, there aren’t very many who go by Matt everywhere. I was known by “Matt” quickly because I would use [Clan Tag]Matt in just about every single Mii name, my Skype name has been just “Matt,” and things like that. Therefore, people began to associate “Matt” with me somewhat quickly I think. I’m pretty sure that by the time I joined Flow, people would often think of me when they heard “Matt,” and the same might have been true during my later iS times. Calvin: Now if I remember correctly, you joined Flow, left for [iS] and then rejoined Flow? Matt: Not quite; I’ve never left and rejoined any clan. My complete, chronological clan history is iS -> Fw -> Rt -> At. Calvin: Before joining iS were you apart of any teams you consider notable that helped you land the trial, or was it more because of relationships you had with the members at the time? Matt: No. My first ever clan war was with iS. When I began clan searching, I only knew one person in the entire community, who was Troy. He was in iS at the time, so that’s why I decided to join iS as my first clan. I didn’t join any subclans or anything until much later. Calvin: Wow not many people can say their first team was one of such caliber. Was Troy the reason you got into MKW in the first place, or did you learn about the competitive scene first then befriend him? Matt: Get comfortable. It’s story time! I first got the game in 2008, but I was literally a random noob then. I peaked at about 7500 VR, used Mario + Mach Bike with the Wheel, and I thought the optimal shroom spot for BC3 was the final straight. I wasn’t any good at MKW, so it was just another game to me. Naturally, I got bored of it after a few months. I have no idea how, but in 2011, I stumbled across some high level MKW gameplay video on Youtube, and it intrigued me because I remembered playing the game, but never knew that it was played at such a high level. By watching tons of Youtube videos, I began to learn a lot which got me back into the game. A time came when high-level MKW gameplay was just beginning to be uploaded onto Ninbuzz. You may remember that the previous level of gameplay was pretty low, honestly, so Ninbuzz viewers were fascinated, just like I was, about how deep this game went. The comments sections were riddled with simple questions. I’ve always been a pretty helpful person, so I decided to spend some time answering them. At this point, I had already acquired decent knowledge of competitive play by watching and learning enough from videos, and from beginning to apply these new-found techniques to my worldwides. Anyway, if you paid enough attention to the comments, you could see me answering tons of questions, which is what Troy observed. I knew who Troy was at this point but had never talked to him. Then one day, out of nowhere: TWD98 2 years ago I know this is random but props to you for always making intelligent, long, and knowledgeable comments on videos! xD And thus it began. Just think, if I had decided to do ANYTHING else with my 15 minutes other than answer questions in the comments, it’s not unlikely that I would be nowhere near where I am today. Crazy, huh? Calvin: It’s interesting how one event like that can kind of change the course you follow for a lot of time to come. I knew you before you joined iS to an extent because of daily funrooms hosted by Chloe in summer 2012. You kind of went from playing with a lot of low tier players to some of the best in the world. How would you describe that? Matt: Actually, I joined iS in late spring/early summer of 2012. My first trial for iS was in March of 2012. I had never warred or even played in any good WWs before, so I failed my first trial because I had literally zero experience playing at that level. I may have gotten to know other non-iS people between my first and second trials; I can’t really remember. But anyway, the big jump was just going from being a nobody to my first trial. Again, I knew nobody in the community. I had a couple of people added for WWs, but they were from the mariokartwii.com Find a Player section or whatever it is, so that doesn’t really count (no offense to them). Thus, I went from literally only playing people who were about 9000 VR level or lower to playing with people who include, but are not limited to: Cool, Mikey, Larry, Jerk, Norway, Demise, Shok, RusoX, Mystery, Venom, Hiba, Kimi, Troy, Aruba, Joe, etc. And that jump was instantaneous too; one day I was just random noob WWing and the next I was playing with them. If you exclude some disappointment of me not scoring that well, those couple weeks of my first trial were the most fun I’ve ever had in this game. I still have a ton of fun with my friends now, but imagine my situation. It’s like going from local pickup games of basketball with people from your town straight to the NBA. It was just unreal and a blast. Calvin: After you joined iS, the team seemed to transition into an era of decline. The clan was extremely dominant still, but lost much more often than they used to. The clan picked up a lot of members from other strong teams like Flow, and less and less of the original iS played for the team. Do you think the drop in the team’s skill was due to the loss of the exclusivity the clan had had previously? Matt: I hadn’t paid any attention to the community or any clans, so I don’t know for sure, but I’m pretty sure iS was already on the decline when I joined. It seemed like there was a distinction between the old iS members and the new ones, as if it was moving away from the core. There were some in-clan disputes and warring inactivity, which went hand-in-hand to some extent, creating a sort of slippery slope. I wasn’t involved in any of the drama directly, but I didn’t and couldn’t really do anything to stop it. Stuff like that hinders a clan’s ability to perform well for sure. Calvin: What would you call the final nail in the coffin for [iS]? Matt: Well, at the end, people were getting progressively more and more disinclined to war with each other and stuff. The final nail might have been when a couple of the most active members began to leave due to inactivity. Calvin: After Infected with Skill died you quickly found a place in Flow. What about Flow seemed appealing to you? Did something make you pick it over, say, Charged Brigade or Meteor? Matt: Actually, I was clanless for a while after iS because I was unsure about where to go. Of course, I had gotten familiar with the community at that point but there wasn’t any clan that immediately stood out to me due to me befriending people in that clan and things like that. After a little bit, I joined Lockdown, my first subclan, and there I met Lockdown/Flow’s Indian trio (I’m sure you all know they are Chilo, Sagar, and Ronak, but I’ll list them for completeness) among tons of other people. I got to know them, and I had heard good things about some of the other people that were in Flow at the time, so I decided to give Flow a shot. I didn’t really know people in clans like Charged Brigade or Meteor, even after joining Lockdown, so that’s why I didn’t join them. Calvin: Once you got into Flow you seemed to be really involved within the team itself. After speaking to Bounty in a previous interview, it sounded like you were a very strong example of what players in Flow were supposed to be. Would you agree with that, or did you feel kind of separate from the core membership that had been there together so long? Matt: It was nearly impossible to feel like I was a core member of my first two clans. I first started warring in March 2012, and Flow and iS had been top clans since like 2009. However, I quickly got along really well with all of the core members and the members in general. I’m very flattered by that comment. My whole goal has just been to enjoy this game and have other people enjoy this game too. I just play to win but have fun and try to get along with everyone. I’m pretty laid back and Flow was too, so that helped me fit in. Although there were many other great clans and people I got along with, joining Flow over any other clan was definitely the best decision I could’ve made, in retrospect. Calvin: From your perspective, what was the best thing about Flow? Matt: As Bounty said in his interview, the people in Flow weren’t necessarily the best racers, but our teamwork and stuff was great. The fact that tons of people were so chill really contributed to that. There were so many great guys in Flow and it was an easygoing, fun place to be, but it was simultaneously a top clan too, which was great. Calvin: Eventually you, and many other members of Flow, broke off from the team to form Revitalize. What drove the decision to do this? Was there something about Flow that didn’t make it as appealing any more? Matt: Eventually, Flow started recruiting more and more members. I don’t remember exactly, but activity and a 2nd IL team might have been part of the reasons, as well as just expanding the clan in general. Hindsight is 20/20, as they say, so it was hard to predict how this would affect the clan. Of course, all of our recruitments were in good faith. However, just as with iS, the strength of the small core group began to wane as a result, with a disconnect between some of the tight-knit members and others. It wasn’t any of the new members’ faults, but there’s just a difference between getting along and being really close friends. So, part of the motivation for Revitalize is that some people wanted a sense of that core with strong friendship. The decision of whether to stay in Flow or leave for Revitalize was by far the toughest decision I’ve had to make in this game, and to this day, even though Revitalize is essentially dead, I still don’t know whether I made the right one. I had made tons of friends in Flow, but also the people whose idea it was to make Revitalize were some of my really good friends too and they really wanted me to join. After thinking about it for a while, it appeared to me that I had three options: disappoint some of my good friends, disappoint some of my good friends, or quit playing MKW. I probably shouldn’t have left, but I just didn’t envision myself having nearly as much fun in the new Flow as opposed to Revitalize. It seems selfish and disloyal, but I always tried to keep on good terms with everyone and never had any hard feelings. Plus, this is a video game, so why force yourself to do something you don’t really want to? It’s tough, and this is why I still don’t know if I made the right decision. But I digress. Calvin: When Revitalize began, I believe you and a few other founding members were on vacation for a couple weeks, resulting in something like 4 - 5 wars every day. During the these first few weeks you guys almost didn’t lose a single war. Did you expect the team to come out so strongly? Matt: Just based on our roster, I expected us to be good, but we had a surprisingly strong start. On average, our individual skill was pretty solid, but we were also having lots of fun warring and stuff, which helps tremendously. One of the things that made me unsure about my decision to become an original member of Rt is whether we would last and be successful, but the extent of our dominance definitely mitigated that uneasiness. Calvin: I’ve talked to quite a few people that have passed in and out of Rt, and around late last year some complained about the way the team was being run and who was apart of it. By this time I believe quite a few of the original members had left or quit, and your recruitment increased a lot. Was this a repeat of what had gone on in iS and Flow? Were there other circumstances that had made the team less enjoyable for certain members? Matt: Part of it is just that some people, who may or may not have only briefly trialed, just don’t naturally fit in with the rest of the clan. It’s unfortunate, but that’s just the way things are; not everyone can fit in and feel at home in any clan. But originally, we made Revitalize with the purpose of being a close group of friends who wanted to both have fun and still do well as a clan. However, once we realized how much potential we had, we started to take the “top clan” side of things more seriously and that’s where recruitment changed. You’re noticing that this is a common thing, isn’t it? Some uneasiness probably arose due to us recruiting a lot more members from different backgrounds. I mean, everyone in Rt is great, but with a larger and more diverse clan, it lost its “tight-knit group” feel. I do think that a similar thing happened with Rt as with Flow and iS, but I only have one perspective, and other people who were there for the whole ride may feel differently. Calvin: Do you think a contributing factor to the death of Revitalize was the fact the game itself was and is just outright dying? Matt: I think people losing interest in playing this game actively and the game’s total decline in activity have always been factors, to some extent, of my previous clans’ deaths because of how late I joined the community. Some people think this game “died” in 2011, for example, and stuff like that. So yeah, I think there was a combination of the general decline of this game and the paths that the clans ended up taking, which I already talked about, which contributed to their deaths. Calvin: While you were in Revitalize, you guys won an impressive Division 1 title during Season 5 of IL. You were up against some very strong teams, including Strike From Above, which was probably the favorite to win the division. In IL did you guys kind of turn it up a bit? Some teams like Kc among others were really known for turning it on during WCL or IL matches, winning match ups they wouldn’t have normally or winning by abnormally large margins. Would you consider Rt to be a team like that? And if so what during an IL match changed versus what normally happened in an exhibition war against a strong team? Matt: We won in Season 5, correct, and somewhat decisively too, which was a little surprising because there was a lot of tough competition. I skimmed through the Season 5 prediction thread, which was very interesting because it seemed that there were about an equal number of people who predicted us to finish 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. I don’t think we were a team that would just turn it up in IL. We were a pretty solid team in every war we played, and in IL we obviously would try to use an insane lineup and take the war seriously. There are skill gaps in every clan, but I don’t think that there was really anyone in Rt that was “dead weight,” which helped us perform well in all of our wars. In general, I think our clan had a fairly high average skill level coupled with good communication and teamwork, which is definitely the key. But we were capable of producing really strong IL lineups. We had several of MKW’s best runners, one of the best baggers, and possibly MKW’s best troller. (Even though I played several IL matches and would’ve played more if I were available more often, I’m far from conceited and definitely do not include myself in the “several of MKW’s best runners” category, for the record. I know there are people out there who think I’m just bragging.) Overall, we had a strong roster that knew how to play together. Calvin: With the decline of the community and the death or Rt among other top clans, where do you see MKW at the end of this year? Matt: Well, this question comes up every time the next game in the series comes out. When Mario Kart 7 came out, people thought that Mario Kart Wii would die, but actually Mario Kart 7 didn’t have that much influence on the activity of MKW. I’m not getting a Wii U so I haven’t been paying that much attention to MK8, but it seems pretty similar to MK7 and I can imagine lots of top MKW players that wouldn’t really enjoy competitive MK8. However, the end of this year is a very long ways away. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if top non-Japanese activity will just about cease by then, although there probably still will be some activity. I just foresee activity continuing to gradually decline as it has been. Custom Tracks are still looking good though, although the CT community isn’t all that large. Hopefully Nintendo doesn’t shut down the servers! I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s still decent Japanese activity though. It kind of depends on how good MK8 is, but at the same time, it kind of doesn’t. Calvin: At this time, do you think you will be playing MK8 when it comes out? What are some things you’re looking forward to? Matt: I’m almost certainly not getting Mario Kart 8, unfortunately. I don’t have a Wii U and there are very few games I would get the Wii U for, so it’s not worth the investment, especially since I’m not too excited for MK8. MK8 looks a lot like MK7 which I don’t really like. The visuals look fantastic but will quickly pale in comparison to poor driving mechanics if the game isn’t fun to actually race. I really don’t like outward drifting vehicles and because of MKW, if I want to play a Mario Kart game at a high level, I almost feel that it’s mandatory for me that there are vehicles that perform similarly to the Flame Runner. I always say that we’ve been spoiled by MKW’s amazing inward-drifting vehicles. It’s not that I don’t want the challenge of vehicles that drive like MKW’s Standard Bike, but I just don’t enjoy using them. Once competitive MKW dies, I think that will be the end of active Mario Kart for me, and I think the same is true for many others. You can read the rest of the interview here. Want to see more of my content? 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