Staff here at Dream Cancel have had the opportunity to catch up with Zidane after Northeast Championships XIII. For those that don’t know, Zidane is a New York player that is very well known for playing Guilty Gear and BlazBlue. In this interview, we question Zidane regarding his history on how he got started playing fighting games, how long has he been playing, his beliefs on KOF XIII and more. Thank you Bala for the photo above.
Hello and thank you for taking time out of your daily schedule for this interview. We’re pretty confident that people who did (if ever) doubted your skill after your placing at Northeast Championships XIII this year no longer will and those people in addition to many more definitely are curious of your history. What fighting games have you played casually as well as competitively in your lifespan? What about KOF XIII interested you in playing at this point in your career and do you see yourself continuing to play?
Zidane: My first serious fighting game was Guilty Gear XX #Reload for the Xbox but I played games like CvS2 and VF4 casually on Dreamcast/PS2. XAQshinor, another NY fighting game player, convinced me to play KOF XIII. I originally didn’t believe in the longevity of the game since it was coming out after UMvC3 but he bought it and I saw him play it and it looked really fun. As long as my group of friends plays KOF XIII, I’ll play it.
Recently you placed 3rd at Northeast Championships XIII for KOF XIII, losing to AGE|Romance in Top 8 after a brutal climb up from being on the Losers side. What did you think about the competition level of the tournament?
Zidane: I thought the competition level was pretty high. Before I entered the tournament the only players I was worried about were Romance, B.A.L.A, and the people I play in New York (A3Religion, XAQshinor, Liston, Malik, and Marco Polo) but after losing to Romance in winners I almost lost to several players in losers whom I didn’t know.
On a weekly basis how much do you practice? Do you usually practice by yourself, with a sparring partner, or a group of players?
Zidane: Honestly I don’t practice much at all. I’m either at work, sleeping, reading books or playing other games. I probably should spend more time in training mode but I don’t like to spend what little time I do have on it. Usually on weekends, my friends that live in Queens (Liston, XAQshinor, Malik, Stephan) as well as A3 Religion from the Bronx all gather together & play in a session or two varying on who has work/school/etc. I also want to mention that we don’t keep these sessions in secret as most people seem to think, we’re very open to anyone that mentions that they want to play but THEY have to contact at least one of us a day in advance so we know how many people are potentially coming because we switch gathering locations every other week.
Coming from backgrounds of fighting games with what most would agree are decently balanced rosters, what do you feel about KOF XIII’s balance? What characters do you use and why?
Zidane: I feel KOFXIII’s balance is pretty good. In the highest level play I have never seen a top player lose because say, the other player had characters like Mr. Karate or Benimaru and they didn’t. Skill seems to be the biggest factor in why you win or lose in KOF and that’s what I like most about the game. From Day One I’ve always used Kim. When I first saw a match with him and saw far D, standing B and his safe jump options, I fell in love with him because I could see that he had good buttons that allows him to get in easily. I always wanted to play Hwa from Day One for almost the same reasons but I was intimidated by Drinking and HD combos because it looked like you had to know everything about the character to play him. I started playing Ash because when I did his Trial 1 around friends, I didn’t know the combo was a link and I couldn’t do it for the life of me. My friends talked shit and I went home and messed with him and found that I liked him.
So for those that don’t know, you rarely EVER use Drinking with Hwa Jai, please explain to the readers as to your reasoning.
Zidane: I feel like a lot of players see that Drink gives you an invincible heavy DP and allows you to do upwards of 700 damage with 1 drive and they think that’s all the character has to offer. Hwa has some of the best normals in the game with some of the best frame data, easiest confirms and huge damaging HD combos. I feel that people overlook it and I don’t like that. Hwa Jai is one of the best characters in the game in my opinion without drink. Drink is just another part of him, not the whole.
Do you plan on attending any majors in the 2013 season and if so, which ones?
Zidane: I can’t say yet.
We’ve noticed that you have a “TSB|ZD” tag in front of your name so can you elaborate on that?
Zidane: TSB comes from Team St1ckBuG, a joke originating from a couple of years ago involving BlazBlue. ZD is Zero Division, coming from Liston I believe about… bleach?
Do you have any tips and or suggestions for people endeavoring to level up their skill seeing as this is your first King of Fighters installment and can sympathize with many of the newer players?
1) Don’t get frustrated if you don’t perform so hot when playing others for the first time. The game is very different from other fighting games out today (assuming you haven’t played other KOFs).
2) Go into training mode a lot. Make sure you can do confirms and combos.
3) Watch match vids. See how top players play certain characters. Try to think why are they doing “X”, how they play footsies and how they spend their meter.
4) Keep playing.
5) Don’t stop playing.
Any special mentions or shout outs you would like to give anyone?
Zidane: All my friends who I play in NY, you know who you are, love you guys. Anybody who hosts KOF tournaments across America, especially the person that ran KOF at NEC, keep up the good work and thanks. People who play KOF, who keep the game alive, and anyone who might want to.
Thanks so much for the interview Zidane, we hope to see you at more events this year, and for those that want to follow him, his twitter is @zidanel33t.