I recently caught up with “Zee the CEO”, and founder of TekkenGamer.com — TekkenGamer was forged from a love of fighting games and the series needing just as much news/coverage as some other fighting games and Esports titles on the scene.
Zee tells us about how people not only doubted the success of his fast-growing imprint but also doubted the potential of Tekken to become as popular as it is today.
Read our conversation with TekkenGamer and learn how the brand got started and what inspires their workflow.
RAM: Hey Zee, how's it going?
TG: Hey there. It’s going great. Thanks for asking.
RAM: When did you first experience Tekken?
TG: That’s a very interesting question for me because not everything you experience for the first time comes with the knowledge and understanding that this will be something you need to remember in the future. At any rate, I remember playing Tekken 3, but I know that wasn’t my first experience because I recall being excited about their being a new version of the game. So my actual first experience I don’t know for sure, but was either Tekken 1 or 2, and more than likely in the arcade. I’ve played a lot of fighting games in my day.
RAM: I know you built TG back in 2016? In your opinion, how has the community changed around Tekken since then?
TG: That’s a loaded question. A lot has changed. I actually started working on TekkenGamer in 2015. It launched July 4, 2016. But I’ve been a part of the FGC and Tekken community since 2013 though.
When I first had the idea of TekkenGamer and began to discuss it with some people, believe it or not, there were some in the Tekken community trying to discourage me from creating the site, saying the Tekken scene would never grow or reach higher heights. Well, they were wrong obviously.
But as far as what has changed, around that time Tekken was treated as an afterthought in the FGC, especially with media coverage and tournament support. I didn’t like that, so I sought to make a difference.
In addition, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 was the game out at the time, which nearly ended the franchise. Korea was the most dominant region back then as well, and the only other regions widely know were the USA, Europe, and a few other small pockets. Today, we know about many other emerging regions, such as Pakistan, Africa, and more. Esports didn’t exist within the FGC as we know it today either, but now we have players sponsored by major organizations, and we even have a few that stream full time for a living.
So yeah, I’ve seen a lot of changes over the years.
RAM: What motivates you most to keep the community up to date on Tekken? The lore? the community?
TG: Honestly, the answer is simple. I enjoy Tekken. I’m a fan of the game. I enjoy playing it, watching it, the competition, seeing people excited about it, and keeping them excited about it. That’s what keeps me motivated. I’ve had things happen that attempted to demotivate me, but I keep things in perspective and don’t allow them to take my focus, which is keeping Tekken fans excited and informed about the game.
RAM: Favorite Tekken game? Favorite character?
TG: My favorite Tekken game is Tekken 7. It’s a revolutionary game in many ways, and it helped save the franchise from dying. As much as Tekken fans love to pile on the game, usually just repeating what they hear some other “popular” entity says, the proof is players love this game.
My favorite character? Well, my favorites to play are Claudio and Katarina. But as far as being iconic, I’d have to say my favorites are either Kazuya or Heihachi, with Kazuya having the edge. in tournaments, my favorites to watch are Bryan, Kazuya and Jin.
RAM: I know you're also into the NBA among other things-- how do your wide range of interests inform your work on TG?
TG: A man who does research! Yes, I love the NBA, among other things, as you say. That’s a good question too. I believe all of my interests “inform“ one another in some way. I draw inspiration and insight from everything. When it comes to TekkenGamer, it’s actually looking at other gaming genres and how they cover their scenes and engage with the community that influences me most. For example, the FPS community, more specifically Call of Duty, influences my approach in many ways. Being one with a background in digital marketing and branding, I’m always naturally drawing inspiration or analyzing the things I see and hear.
RAM: What are you most excited for in Tekken 8?
TG: Well, I’m obviously excited to see how great the game will look, and I’m hoping there will be some new and fresh ideas that take the franchise even further than what Tekken 7 did. Tekken 7 introduced new mechanics and situational gameplay features that made the game fun to play and watch. Where it dropped the ball was with story mode being lackluster and no additional online multiplayer game modes. Hopefully, Tekken 8 will right these wrongs, and also introduce some new things. Just recently I was thinking it would be great if the in-game overlay had a new look and feel. That is, the health bars, timer, character name and placement, and even consider something that was tweaked to better compliment tournaments.
RAM: Any big plans for TG in the future?
TG: I can’t share anything just yet, but stay tuned. Some changes, announcements and opportunities are coming very soon.
Thanks for the opportunity.