A Top 10 USA Business & Marketing Podcast
eSports ft. FatalStryke

August 25, 2020

eSports ft. FatalStryke
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In this episode, Ryan sits down with pro gamer and coach, Joe Iaquinto, aka FatalStryke. Joe is a 31 time local/regional champion, Gears of War champ, and has won tournaments while a coach/team manager.

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This episode is packed with insights from guest, Joe Iaquinto. This episode expounds on his time as a professional eSports player, coach, and as a team manager. 

Follow FatalStryke's live stream here: https://www.twitch.tv/fatalstryke

Enjoy the podcast? Like, share, and rate us! Follow along on Instagram @the.rad.cast | @RyanAlford


Ryan[00:00:00] Hey guys, it's Ryan Alford. Welcome to the latest edition of the Radcast. We're continuing our ongoing series. We're getting towards the final countdown on the eSports series. It's been fun. It's been real. And I feel like I'm ready to go attack some video games. I have no chance with our guests today because we've been talking a lot about business with these sports and a lot of arenas and game developers and all those things. But now we've got a player, coach and a local champion. But Joe, really great to have you. Joe Iaquinto is also known as FatalStryke. I told Joe I was going to call him Joe during the episode, but a lot of people were listening. There might be an esports fatalstryke. But great to have you, Joe. 

Joe[00:00:48] Yeah, it's an honor to be here. Super excited that we were able to link up and make this happen. So, yeah, it's going to be fun to talk about my side of the story and educate the Radcast community on esports in general. So it's going to be fun. 

Ryan[00:01:02] I love it, man. Let's go right at it. I want to give everybody kind of just your background. I know you've been doing it since you were a kid and that's led up to being pretty much a career path for you. But let's start with just that background may be in competitive gaming and where it all started. I know we talked pre-episode. There was some good stuff. I want to get into that. So let's start there. 

Joe[00:01:32] Sure, long story short, first it's my recovery, it was a Super Nintendo from my aunt when I was a kid. I was probably about four years old. Donkey Kong Country was the first game I ever played and I got 100 percent of it. In a couple of days, everybody at school was like, wait! no! that's not possible. A couple of friends came over, found out that it was the real deal. It was just a platformer game. But yeah,  when I was in sixth grade I won my first tournament ever. A couple of friends convinced me to go to a tournament. It was actually on a school day. I didn't know it was on a school day, though. And I went to the tournament for Diddy Kong Racing and it was for  64 and I ended up winning the tournament. But I had no nerves because my friends didn't tell me it was a tournament. They just made me believe, everybody thought they could beat me. And my competitive drive alone was enough to make me want to take it seriously enough. And then I luckily ended up winning the tournament and made three hundred bucks that day. It was a really good day for somebody in sixth grade. I had to explain it all to mom, but it went well for all. And then that's how it all started in high school, a lot of halo too, that was the big shot that got me into esports in general, I played a lot of online games but didn't play at a professional level at all. In that game, some players were unreal. I think Gears of war started for me when I was 19 years old. I traveled to a lot of local events repeatedly, and that's where it all started for me. It makes it worse. It's been a part of my life for 14 years. And it's been a wild journey in that game. 

Ryan[00:03:02] So I'm going to ask some fundamental questions here because I think people will be curious as they come off this basic. But what made you, as a kid and maybe even living up to it as an adult? It seems like you have professional athletes and there's like this window, let's throw out the Michael Jordan's and the extreme ends. But there are these windows of how good they are in hand-eye coordination and all those things. What makes one kid that's thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, badass versus the next kid, is it commitment, with hand-eye coordination? 

Joe[00:03:40] I would say a few things. One is definitely willpower. You have to hate losing. If you want to be great at something, you have to naturally hate losing. And to be honest, a lot of people don't know. But my younger brother is actually three years younger than me. His name is John. He goes by the Gamertag Captain Fire. And he's not like a super popular guy or anything. He's very low-key. I'll be honest. Growing up, he used to kick my butt and he did it consistently. He did it on Super Nintendo. He did it on the Nintendo 64. He did, especially when we played Halo together. And I thought I was very good at Halo. So when I lost to him often, it was definitely tough for me. So having a really good sibling rivalry that I felt was healthy for me and my development and definitely humbled my ego when I was young because when you would think you're great at something you naturally develop an ego very quickly at a young age. And when you get to the bigger ponds and you start to play the bigger competition, you learn very quickly you're not shit and you got to get better, you get better and you get better fast. And if you want to really develop yourself, you have to take it seriously. And that's what happened. My brother humbled me at a young age, losing to someone younger than me. He held the controller better than me, it's called Claw. It's a different way to hold the controller. And he did that at a very young age. And eventually, I adapted and developed that technique to hold the controller as I got older, but it wasn't until I was in my 20s that I was doing that. He was doing that when he was very young. So his inputs were faster. He buffered inputs better, which means he basically would do a certain amount of sequences in the controller in a row and they would all Free-Flow perfectly in the game. And he did that naturally. It's not like he thought about it. He didn't think, oh, I'm buffering when I'm playing the game where I'm,  clawing when I'm playing the game. He just naturally did these things. It was a natural gift for him. So I definitely attest a lot of my development to my brother and then the rest of my development, I would say I attest to the gears of War community in general. It's a very cutthroat community.  There are a  lot of people with a lot of talent in that scene and in Gears of War, which I won, I took it extremely seriously. I want to understand a lot during my time playing that game where there were locals and regionals, though not major championships. There's a big difference. But the competition I competed in at the New York land centers, California land centers, all those competitions, definitely humbled me and made me always want to get better. So I got to play a lot of MLG champions often every week, sometimes every month, in-person in New York or California. And that experience helped me to get a lot better. And it got to a point where, in my mind, I felt like I could compete with anyone in the world. When  2016 rolled around and Gear One was remade, I made another run to compete for pro after doing commentating for a few years. So, it causes a war. That community, I give a huge testament to just how competitive they are for, why I got better, and definitely my brother for sure. 

Ryan[00:06:39] Did your parents, as you were growing up, obviously you showed that you can make money doing this and support some type of lifestyle. Did they ever show concern to the violence of the games, I mean I wonder with that, like with my kids and we're going to talk about, how much potential they might have down the line. We'll finish the show with that. But  I do wonder how they play at night, they do stuff and I'm not one of those overprotective parents. But at the same time, in some of these games, it's just like you're blowing people's brains out. 

Joe[00:07:21] Gears of War is one of those very violent games: tons of blood, chainsaw attached to guns, bazookas, bodies being chopped in half literally like beating people up with their own body parts. It's a very violent game. There are some countries where it's banned because of how violent it is. But a lot of people that are gamers, I'll be honest, the game, in my opinion, I never felt like I have won. Not once in my life did I ever feel I was violent because of the game. It's just me, other people might be different. I can't speak for everyone. I think when you evaluate stuff like that, it's on a case-by-case basis. And I think the way that you are brought up and the way you're educated by your parents has a big influence on how you can relate to losing. I think if you have a great father figure in your life that teaches you at a young age what it's like to lose and the fact that you can learn from losing, I think that you would benefit a lot if you have something like that in your life. But when it comes down to it, I mean, when I grew up, my parents were divorced. I grew up mostly with my mom. I have an unbelievable connection with my father, even though I didn't get to live with him growing up. He's been my number one supporter through my entire years and esports career. He even showed up to Ely himself at that event, which was on live TV last year, which was super cool to see him there and get to see him experience the event. And my grandfather from my father's side was not even a big supporter. May he rest in peace, but he wasn't a big supporter for a long time until he passed away. I had one final conversation with him, and that was when he was really supportive of what I was doing. And he was saying things like, time is different go out there and go chase number one. If you're going to do it at least make sure that you're number one with what you're doing. So that's not a waste of time. If you're going to compete and if you're not going to compete and you're going to do something else, make sure you're passionate about it and consistent with it and you save your money and you're smart with what you're doing, don't just go buy fancy things or waste your money. He always taught me it's not how much you make, it's how much you save. That's what he used to teach me. That's pretty much it. He was a smart guy, Trust me. 

Ryan[00:09:22] So that's interesting and kind, especially for someone like you now that eSports is evolving into this huge thing, and you're going to come up through it, all in kind of the whole. I don't think we've gotten to the glory days we might be getting to them. I'm not sure 

Joe[00:09:44] We're not even there yet. 

Ryan[00:09:47] But it became interesting. I think guys like you that play classical games, it's probably the wrong statement here in 2020, but like more traditional games, the shooter games, the just intense games that are all about the gaming and all about the playing. And we've reached this world. I feel like with these sports, we talked about this a little bit in pre-episode. The storytelling and the ability to do a lot of other things are a lot more a part of the narrative than just the gameplay now. 

Joe[00:10:25] And everybody wants to know your story at this point. It's becoming like, in a way,  what is the best way to say it? This might sound a little corny, but everybody wants to know your story. A lot of these characters write these gamer tags, like half stories behind them that will honestly be told forever. There are memories I have watching certain players compete that moments in their career that I'll remember for the rest of my life, just unbelievable moments. Super clutch plays the most difficult of circumstances and they pull through and moments like that, you always remember vividly, almost like a consistent dream. But it wasn't a dream, it really happened. And these players in these circumstances can clutch up in ridiculous situations with lots of money on the line. And these are things you remember for the rest of your life, even moments when I've coached, moments when I've competed. There are some moments you just never forget for the rest of your life because you just know in that situation you made the perfect play and it's super exciting. And these players are going to have stories behind them. Some players are going to have books written about them. Some of them are going to write books that people are going to learn from. Like Ninja wrote a book recently. I think it was pretty educational for people that are coming up in esports and stuff like that. Other people are doing great jobs on their YouTube and are blowing up people like Nick Merks, definitely one of my biggest inspirations. He was a Gears of war pro player that took a smart path. He won the Gears of War national championship. And then after he moved on to other games. He grew as a channel, and now he's got over two million subscribers on YouTube. He's blowing up faster than anything on Twitch. And he's just doing a fantastic job. And guys like that are a huge inspiration for me because when you are coaching you are managing, you play as a professional, not all at the same time. Coaching I imagine at one point in my life and playing at a different point in my life. But when you're doing all these different things, you don't have too much time to invest in yourself. There are very few professional players in Call of Duty and Halo and Gears of War. Even if we go to PC games, they are few and far between where they're able to do consistent content and be able to stay at the highest level in the world. So, people that could do that, have my utmost respect because, to compete at the highest level in any game, requires a lot of dedication, a lot of willpower, a lot of studying the footage, self-evaluation, and just evaluation of your teammates. You have to have really good leadership qualities. And if you don't have those leadership qualities then you have to have a hunger to make the play when it matters. You have to set the pace and if you don't set the pace and you're not aggressive, usually, you lose. My style has been heavily focused on a defensive style of play, heavy focus on analysis and accountability with communication and things like that. That's usually where my main focus is. But then if my players have a heavy focus on being aggressive, my in-game leaders, I'll back them up, and they'll make sure that the rest of the troops are in line. And there's like a hierarchy between really high-level elite teams that win championships and coaching that definitely helped me understand that at a higher level than I understood when I used to play. 

Ryan[00:13:36] You brought up Twitch. Let's go down that path and the impact that they had. Obviously, YouTube's huge and there are other platforms but talk about the impact that Twitch and YouTube have had on esports and the overall business of it. 

Joe[00:13:56] Yeah, it's huge. Twitch basically, you can stream on their slow-twitch when you stream. It's live just like we're alive right now but we're recording. Right! So technically, I guess this experience with us, with the podcast, is more like YouTube. But the experience for you and me right now technically is like Twitch. It's live and that's the thing Twitch is live. YouTube is prerecorded. YouTube can be live as well. They've adapted and made it so that you could stream live on YouTube as well. But Twitch, in my opinion, was the first one to be the live streaming service. They came from Justin TV, evolved into switching on the TV, and then Amazon made a big deal where they paid about one to two billion dollars to acquire the entire ecosystem. And then they were able to implement Twitch Prime, which is, if you're an Amazon Prime member, you can now have a twitch prime membership, which allows you to subscribe to one streamer for free per month. So you get one subscription and that subscription gets you extra things like emotes, which are like little custom bike pictures that you could use in the chat that the streamer provides you. And the more popular the streamer is, the more emotes that they have that you get access to when you subscribe to them per month, you pay five dollars a month to subscribe to a Twitch streamer. There are other tiers as well, there's a tier two where you pay more. There's a tier-three where you pay like twenty-five dollars a month. If you really like that stream and you get extra things. Twitchers have been growing massively. You can get paid quite a lot of money there. Naturally, if you have a twitch channel and you have subscriptions, when someone pays five dollars at first you keep two dollars and fifty cents, the more popular you get, the more of that five dollars you get to keep. That's pretty much how it works. You also can make money through donations. You can make money through in-game currency, in-twitch currency, I should say, that's called bitz. People buy bitz and then it fluctuates around the ecosystem. And when you get a lot of bits into your channel, it's pennies to the dollar. But they add up over time. So people that don't want to subscribe, sometimes they might donate bitz. And if they don't donate bitz, then they might donate actual real currency that you could have transferred to your PayPal and stuff like that for donation. 

Ryan[00:16:10 Our kids or young adults or anyone that subscribes, to someone that has a channel. I'm sure the answer to all the above may give me the most likely reason. Am I doing it because I enjoy watching them play and I want to learn their moves or I am watching because it's why I watch anything else and it's entertainment. Like I watch college football. I'm a college football junkie because I'm just entertained. Or am I trying to learn moves or am I just doing it because I want my friends to know that I watch Ninja all day? 

Joe[00:16:52] I think it's really because of who the person is. So if it's someone that just wants to be entertained, the people they subscribe to will be natural entertainers. Some guys can compete, like Tender Tatman. I really enjoy watching his games in general. I think he's absolutely hilarious. I think he does a great job in general with advertising like his community and just being entertaining and being a funny guy. And he's one of the top twitch streamers in the world right now. And he's not necessarily the best player in the world and he knows that. But he can compete for sure if he's having a good day in a lot of games for sure. It's not like he's a subscriber or something. Like he's definitely a good gamer in general. But, he knows his path and he focuses more on the entertainment side. Nick Merks however is someone that's a much more competitively hungry guy. He wants tournament after tournament and someone like him, people want to learn from someone like Nick Merks compared to, learning Tender Tatman. But if they want to go the entertainment route maybe they watch him. If they want to go through a hard-core competitive gaming route well, they probably go to Nick Merks and there are tons of other people to watch Dr. Lupo Ninja, Dr. Disrespect. There are so many different types of personalities then that's just like shooting games. There are tons of other games and there are great personalities with those as well. But in general, you're going to see that, it depends on the person. When I watch, I like to study people a lot and I like to learn. So I study a lot of the top Call of Duty players, top Halo players, top counter strikers, and a little bit of valor here and there. You know, top gears of war. When I was coaching during my entire career or when I was playing a lot of Gears of War. But now I'm watching a little bit fewer gears of war and I'm watching more of the bigger ESports counter strike as well. And that's like the main stuff I watched. The other thing I love to watch on the side actually is the Formula One racing. I think Formula One is super interesting in general. And I always told my parents if I could have done something that was in gaming, throw me in that go-cart and let's get going, because that's what I would have done 100 percent if I could have. But yeah, that's pretty much how it all works to me. 

Ryan[00:19:00] What was a day in the life for you as a gamer and then maybe as a coach because I know you've done both. I think they're both probably very different paths. But like, what are those days? I mean, obviously a lot in the game on both of them. How many hours a day and what's the focus through the day in a life, 

Joe[00:19:24] Realistically a lot of the time when I competed in Gears of wars which was my main game and bread and butter and the one game I would say, if anyone played me even if it was the best player in the world at the time, I'm still confident I got to them. But I would be putting in a minimum of six to eight hours a night realistically, an average of six hours. Weekends are nights when I don't have to have responsibilities in the morning, probably eight, and definitely, six of those hours is usually scrims time. Just honestly, just getting online with your team back in the day, during my time, it was getting in an Xbox Live party chat. Nowadays it's different. You're joining a team speak server or you're joining a discord server. You're using an Astro gaming headset, which is my personal favorite, or like a mix amp. And then it's just much better quality audio so that when you communicate online, it's always heard. Yes, six to eight hours a day. I always worked a part-time job when I was in college. My dad always told me, you got to be smart with your money and you've got to make sure that you're saving and you've got to make sure that you save for a rainy day. So you can't just go to school and go home to play a game and do nothing else. So at a very young age, I always had a job. I started at an amusement park when I was really young. I had my first job when I was 16. I was off to work. And then when I wasn't working, I was in school. And when I wasn't in school, I was gaming. And then that's what I was doing all the time. And I even actually played in a lot of bands as well. In middle school and high school I played a lot of saxophone. But when I was 19 years old I was out of high school and my responsibility was college work. And I had one other thing to do. That other thing to do was always gears of war. I was always focused on that game, appealing in tournaments and just trying to develop myself to get better. Just always want to find better teammates and eventually win championships. 

Ryan[00:21:20] So fascinating just like anything else, like if you're playing basketball, you're in the gym shooting all night, all day, it's not much different. You want to get better, you've got to play. Right! So now, once you get into the coaching side of it, Is it like watching a film? I mean, I certainly speak to game day/ tournament day, day in the life, but maybe leading up to, like what were the differences there? 

Joe[00:21:53] Yeah, it's a huge difference. So when I used to compete as a player, it was very different because I never had a support system behind me. The Organizations I worked for as a player were nowhere as developed as some of the bigger Organizations today. They had nowhere near as much Capital as the Organizations that are around today so I never really had a coach. I never had a great coach in my career as a player ever. The only time I did was with a weapon timer, somebody who stands behind you to tell you when the weapons are going to respond, that’s honestly pretty much it. And even when it came to weapon timers I wouldn’t even say I had a great coach. When I competed as a coach, I learned to be the coach that I never had and that was my goal. I know what it is like to be an end-game leader when I play. I know what it is like to manage the troops and hold them accountable but I have to take this to a whole new level. I knew there were coaches there,  like [23:11] for example, or Ryan Foozles or Demaise who coached Ghost Gaming, all these great coaches that were coaching before I was and these guys were all very good at their jobs. So if I wanted to compete with these guys, my philosophy was; ok I have to outwork them. The main way I did that was as you said watching a lot of films, a religious amount of films to a point where I did all my data on my own. I created a scrimmage log, which is when we are in scrimmages as the game is going on and as I'm controlling the controller to navigate around the map because there is a coaching slot that you could use like a spectator slot and you have to be careful because you can cheat if you want when you are using that slot during practice, but when you are in a tournament online or in a tournament on land you don't have access to that feature. So you have to use it to navigate around the map to see the initial strategy that the opponent is using,  and then you can either mirror their strategy or figure out how you want to counter their strategy. So basically it is to have the camera in situations where you can use the footage to have accountability for the team. Call them out for their positioning, call them out for their decision-making, and maybe their communication. I always tell people if you want to play well you have to have good status updates. This means you have to know the numbers on the map, the number of players, exactly where they are and you need to make sure you are communicating to them your objective to help your teammates be with you or to make sure that your teammates are rotating around the map and focusing on the actual hills which is the objective. In Gears of War, you play a game called escalation. There are three hills on the map, you either have all three hills to win the round or you kill all the people on the map to win the round. If they are all dead at the same time, long story short that's when you win the round. 

Ryan Alford[00:24:55] How aware as a player then and now as a coach, I know those worlds are still intertwining as you continue to play new games and expand your network. But how aware were you of the business side of esports and I am talking as a marketing podcast, how aware were you of sponsorship,  or do the gamers just gaming and they know it is there, they know its business now, but how aware and involved were you as both a gamer and a coach on the business aspects of the sponsorship or marketing? 

Joe  [00:25:40] I think when I first started when I won the tournament when I was young, back then it was just fun and it was just something I genuinely liked to do. I always liked problem-solving. I always felt proud when I would solve difficult problems. And gaming to me is like a constant problem-solving thing, it was like a science aspect to me. On the science and the math side of it, I found it all extremely intriguing,  like learning frame data and all that was intriguing to me. But when I got older, about 18 or 19 years old, I remember that the MOG had the first $250,000.00 contracts going out and Walshe and T-Squared and the Ogre brothers and all these superstar halo players, they got their first contract with MOG, where they had a $250,000 contract for, I think it was for three years, but I could be mistaken. They are going to be disappointed in me if I'm wrong. It is somewhere around there. And when I heard they were making that kind of money; $250,000 divided three ways, it's a working wage. And that happened when I was 18 or 19 years old. I would say around 2004 or 2005, that was the first time  I heard about it and I was like; what the hell is MLG? I watched the tournament and when Gears of war eventually got in they didn't have much money when they first started. It was a lower e-sport halo, it was a lower e-sport than the call of duty in my opinion. It wasn't until 2017 that real money started to come into Gears and now we are talking $1, 000,000 pro-circuits and $2,000,00 pro circuits and much more money up for grabs. If you win a championship you are taking home between $80,000 to $100,000 for the team. We are talking about real money now, so now there is a big difference. I would say in recent years it has exploded for consoles. For PC gaming, however, the big deals have been going on for a long time. Fatality was my main inspiration when I started as a Gamer. When I created the gamer tag Fatalstryke.  I am friends with Fatality now which is kind of crazy to me. I always looked up to him growing up. But he was the first real professional gamer ever. The first person to probably ever win $100,000 in a year. He had his own company, he had his own pc company, he got tons of big endorsement deals. So PC gaming is where the big endorsement deals in my opinion. However console gaming is now starting to grow and Call of Duty, for example, If you want to own a franchise of call of duty, it costs approximately 25,000,000 dollars to own one, very expensive. So the players get very good pay on that scene as well. Call of duty is starting to really grow and I'm assuming Halo Infinite will probably do really well as well depending on the backing that Microsoft chooses to give the franchise, well the game itself. That game is going to start growing too. If you want to survive in e-sports you have to adapt and you can't be with the same game forever. Games do have a life cycle; they have a life expectancy. It is based on the amount of money going into the game. For me, it's the sponsorship of the developer itself. So those are the two main ways that money is coming into the game. Obviously, the brands that people build themselves, as we were talking earlier about YouTube and others. The brands people build on their own are also a great factor as to why a gamer succeeds.   Scump, who works for NRG and previously worked for optic gaming in Call of duty; has a very big fan base and he is one of the most consistent people I have seen when it comes to content over his career. Nate shot being another person. Octane being someone more recent, these are all people that played professionally for a long period and they got those big endorsement deals. Nate shot a red bull. Walshe from Halo was with Red Bull. There are plenty of other opportunities and deals that went on as well. But those are just some good examples and I'm assuming all of these guys did really well when they came into those deals. 

Ryan Alford  [00:29:38]  Where do you see all of this going? All these eSports. This is a two-part question. What has been the impact of covid? I am sure it had an impact. The irony for me in this is I'm watching my kids play online. I know there has been a huge impact because a lot of these tournaments are in person. So just talk holistically on eSports and then on the impact that covid has had. 

Joe  [00:30:12] Yes sure. In general, covid has had a big impact on the eSport industry. Land events are the most popular. In online events, the competitive integrity is never going to be the same. The team with the higher ping and the better internet connection is always going to have somewhat of an advantage in the game. It could be a 35-65 in favor of the person with the better ping. Sometimes it can be as big as a 70-30 advantage or even 80-20 depending on how big the difference in the ping is. Other things come into play as well, the equipment that you use, etc. In-land tournaments, they are on the same equipment as you, the only difference may be the mouse, the controllers, and the keyboards.  If you are playing competitively on pc. compared to a console, but the main thing is you are on the same playing field and the same ping. There are technically no pings in Lands, it is very very low. So that is the difference;  the better competitive environment is; land. But when covid hit, the industry took a huge hit on it, and a lot of companies lost tons of funding. So many organizations dropped out of e-sports because of that. I will use myself as an example; I actually made history with the Wrestle Posse roster and we won back-to-back championships. In Gears of war, it was very difficult to do that if you weren't already on the Opto gaming roster, because the Opto gaming roster, which was also known as NRG and also UYU nowadays. That roster was the most dominant in the last four years of eSports without a question. Nobody can argue with that. They have won 22 championships, the main players and their head coach and now General manager. All of those guys won often. The only other coach that has won since I started coaching at the end of 2017 was my roster. The ghost Gaming roster with the legendary 3-2-1 run in 2018 during my first 6 months of coaching. Also on top of that, The Wrestle posse roster won back-to-back events and in December of 2019, we won the San Diego Major, which was the first major for Gears 5. And then in Mexico City, we had an insane run. We played all the best Latin American teams in the World on their home turf which has the biggest fan base for Gears Of War, it's actually wild. When you go to Mexico and you compete there it's an environment that is absolutely electric and just unreal. You literally feel like a celebrity; you can't walk half a block without people asking you for autographs. A big reason for that is one of the main characters was of Latin American descent, and it was the first time that a character of Latin American descent was in a video game for Xbox 360. So that is why it got so popular. But when covid hit and those land tournaments were over and we won those two championships wrestling posse lost a lot of funds and many other organizations lost a lot of funds. I don't want to get into the whole reasoning behind it, but basically that is what happened. And many organizations that survived are those that either had very large capital or Organizations that were funded by athletes or Organizations that were funded by huge Corporations. Those are the three main ones to me that survived covid and when it came to Wrestle posse the Organization fell apart and technically we won back to back World Championship and we still lost our jobs. That's just how it is. Life Happens. You have to adapt. So when that happened we adapted, we had to do online events after that and my team placed second; which sucked because we should have won the online event. But then after that, I think we placed in the top 6. That's it, there is a lot of change in the rosters. The more developed your e-sport is, the more consistency you will usually have if you do a really good job. Because you have all the resources, you have player contracts that are very in-depth, really good lawyers holding these things into place, and it's a lot better when you are in the bigger e-sport. When you are in the Lower tier e-sport it is tough to survive. It's a very cutthroat world. And when you are a competitor you have to work very hard if you want to stay at the top. They always say the wolf is at the bottom and the man is hungrier than the wolf at the top. That is usually a common thing that I have heard in e-sport and it is very true and defending that mountain when you win is very difficult when you do. But to be the second coach in history who plays Gears of War to have won back-to-back events was definitely the greatest moment of my career other than winning the first championship back in 2018. 

Ryan Alford[00:34:48] Any guilty pleasure games that you have walking back away from e-sport and just gaming in general;  Any guilty pleasure? I think I see a Nintendo 64 back there. Is that from playing doubles for hours on end in college? 

Joe  [00;35:07  There is a Nintendo 64 back there and then right next to it, you can't see it,  there is a controller. It's a custom Japan controller for a Nintendo 64, it was a prototype for the game cube controller. I am a huge N64 advocate. There is a ps4 over there, it's a genesis.  I have a mini Super Nintendo, we have a bunch of stuff on the setup right here that I am sitting on right now, but my guilty pleasure is star fox 64. 100% my favorite game of all time. I am in that club street racing, burnout racing, burnout 3, and burnout 4 revenge,  all those games are super fun. I love super splash brothers the Game in general it's just tons of fun. A lot of my friends always play it growing up. And there are tons of other games, Halo also is one of my favorites of all time. If I had to pick one game and I could only play that game for the rest of my life, it would probably be halo 2.  And my Gears of War fans are going to hate me for it, but it's just a fact. Halo 2 to me was one of the greatest well-made games ever. I have always enjoyed it and it is always going to be a childhood favorite of mine. 

Ryan Alford  [0036:01]  You are the second guest that we've had who has brought up very fond memories of halo 2. 

Joe [00:36:08]  It is unbelievable. It was a revolutionary game. It had clan matches, it had tons of other game types, it was one of the first games ever where you could get online with your friends and not have to do it in a bootleg way. You could do it officially with the Xbox membership. That game was just so well made and very consistent and even though there were cheaters that you had to deal with, the competition was so high. So many great players from so many different genres of games who all played that game. And it was so competitive just playing simple matchmaking was unbelievably competitive and I just really enjoyed it. It also had a great story mode, the Halo 1, the Halo2 story modes were all very well made, really good. A lot of people are hoping that when Halo Infinite comes out this year it will live up to the hype. So hopefully it will be able to bring back the legendary greatness of the first three-game set 

Ryan Alford[00:37:05] As we close out here, my biggest takeaway, and for people listening, they want to put gamers gaming and e-sport in a bucket. What I have gleaned from talking to you Joe is, it is just like anything else in life. How much time you put in, how much commitment, how much your will to win is, how much you care about the quality of your gameplay. It's no different from any other characteristics that make people successful in other fields, whether it's business, basketball, Golf, or Marketing Agency. That gets lost sometimes as we say Video games are a waste of time. It's a different way to pass your leisure time or to make your career. And if you want to be great at it, whether as a coach, or a player, you have to put in the time, and you have to be committed to it. I think that has been my biggest takeaway from listening to you talk about your commitment to it. I think it is no different from other successful people that I have seen in any other type of space. 

 Joe  [00:38:25]  I really appreciate that it means a lot to hear that. Gaming is something that I have had teachers tell me, Joe, you are wasting your time.  Like my band teacher, I played saxophone for 13 years.  I was really good at it and my private teacher really wanted me to take it seriously in college. Some of my sports coaches, even though I was only 5.2 when I graduated from high school and ended up being 6.4 with 230 pounds whatever I weigh right now, they ask so why didn't you continue with sports?  You didn't have to go the e-sport route but to me, it's about what makes you feel alive? As a gamer, the best way to describe it is we are not gladiators in real life but mentally, when you go out there and you go on that main stage you play in front of all those people, the best thing I can relate it to is being like a gladiator in the room at times. The difference is we get to respawn. We get to come back to life.  So we don't have to worry about the fact that we lose our life if we lose in real life. We have the opportunity to be out there, to go to war against other human beings who are trying to perfect their craft just as well as you. When you get involved in a community and an environment with many people that are as passionate as you to be number one in the world. It's very few people that achieve that greatness. And when you achieve that greatness it is a level of just pure bliss and peace that is really difficult to explain. The moment when we won our first championship for real, the first major, I coached those five guys and they did the best job that they could and we won. The happiness for all of us after all that hard work, working in boot camps, we weren't just gaming, we actually lived in a multi-million dollar mansion.  We were living in Mark Zuckerberg's old house and Justin Beber's old house. We were working in the Hollywood hills at the top of the mountains. There is Ghost gaming. It became a huge foundation for us, an unbelievable experience that is once in a lifetime. I remember the day in and day out, you ask about the caching schedule, it was rigorous,  it was literally 10 hours a day of the film. Of course, that counts for scrimmage time too. Let's say 6 hours a day for scrimmage time, maybe five hours on a slow day. but a lot of film time and just working with these guys one on one and showing them their weaknesses and holding them accountable for milliseconds to seconds of language and dissecting their language. Danny, who was from Mexico spoke mainly Spanish,myself  and Yatti, who is also known as Sleepytime, had to work with him constantly holding his English accountable, showing him more efficient words to use, and how to say things faster. That experience of working with people at that sport type level, I do not call e-sport a sport, there is a level of dedication that it takes to be successful, that reminds me of being a Roman Gladiator or being like one. Those guys that have to work hard, like a bodybuilder, whether they take steroids or not they still have to put in the work to gain that physique. If you want to be one of the best players in the world in gaming, it is near impossible if you don't put in the time, and don't hold yourself to a ridiculously high standard. Whether it's managing a player or a coach or a streamer. Whatever it is you have to be consistent, you have to work hard and I think that a lot of people can learn a lot from video games. 

 Ryan Alford[00:42:04]  Joe, it has been awesome. Where can everybody keep up with Fatalstryke online, and everything you are up to? 

Joe [00:42:14] I am on twitter.com, you can reach me at fatalstryke, Instagram it's instagram.com/fatalstryke. It's not that big yet. I have to get more on Instagram but it is there if you want to follow my personal one there. You will see some of my friends and family, my girlfriend, all that good stuff, shout out to Diana,  I love her. I also have an Instagram for pokemon cards that I do on the side, I have a little Pokemon business I have been running. I am a big fan of that game. That is definitely one of the games I will play forever too by the way. I can't believe I didn't mention it. I collect cards and resell them. I am a big fan of the card business and that business did well during covid, which is really exciting so you can reach me there at joehto_trainer, and then for Twitch, you can reach me at twitch.tv/fatalstryke. I don't have an official YouTube account. I only sent out my first video recently. But if you go to my Twitter.com/fatalstryke from my Twitter, it is the most recent post. My first video for YouTube is there and I have a new series coming out for some Pokemon stuff and some more gameplay stuff coming soon. You can reach me at all those places. If you need to reach me via email it's joe.fatalstryke@gamail.com. 

Ryan Alford[00:43:42]   Joe I appreciate it. It was great having you on. Hey, guys, that's it for today's episode of the Radcast. I really appreciate Joe-Fatalstryke. I am just going to call you Fatalstryke, I love Fatalstryke better it makes you sound cooler. But I really appreciate Fatalstryke coming on today and we will continue with our eSport series. We have a couple of episodes still to come. Really excited for those and we'll see you next time on The Radcast.

Joe Iaquinto

Professional eSports Player / Coach / Team Manager.