In Conversation: Kenya's Queen Arrow

Law Student and Tekken Champ from Kenya is Pushing Africa's competitive Esports Scene To New Heights.

QueenArrow is someone I’ve wanted to chat with for some time now. She’s gotten praise from the lead director of Tekken, Katsushiro Harada, and has been featured in countless international publications. She has boldly shown the world that she’s simply not a Tekken player to underestimate. In our brief chat, we get a glimpse into the unique and interesting scene of African esports… Take a look below.

AP: Hey Queen, thanks for chatting with us— how are you?

QueenArrow: I’m Good, how are you?

AP: Doing well. Maybe you can introduce yourself to our readers…

QueenArrow: Sure. For those who don't know me, I'm Sylvia Gathoni, but I go by the name QueenArrow in the gaming community. I am a Tekken player and content creator from Kenya. I'm currently signed to UYU.

AP: Really amazing. Congrats on signing with UYU. Tell us how you got started with Tekken?

My Tekken journey started with the Tekken 4 demo (2001). It had the characters Ling Xiaoyu, Christie Monteiro, and Paul Phoenix. I was drawn to Ling and Christie, and they became my go-to characters. I've played every iteration of Tekken since then.

AP: How is your local FGC? From your perspective, what is esports like in Africa compared to other countries?

QA: My local Tekken FGC is relatively large with over 40 players. It’s continuing to grow by the day.

Esports in Africa is a relatively new concept and compared to other regions, we're still laying the foundations of the community while also cultivating the talent.

AP: What inspires you to play Tekken over other fighting games?

QA: I love Tekken because it’s challenging. I love the rush I get from competing and I love learning, going to the lab, understanding a match I loss, and how I can do better next time. I also love that there’s a community that I can play with and learn from.

AP: How is the Arcade scene in Kenya?

QA: I don't know if I'd use the term arcade here but we have a strong gaming scene here. Gaming cafés are popular here and they've enabled video games to be accessible to the general public, even for those who can't afford their own rigs or consoles.

AP: How does international representation affect esports in Africa?

QA: African countries aren't really properly represented on the global stage. This is shown in the fact that we don't have servers for games like FIFA here and how we're overlooked in events like the Capcom and TWT (though this is changing as Bandai Namco added Cape Town Showdown and Kiungo Games for the TWT and Capcom added South Africa to the Capcom Pro Tour). This is because the perception of Africa is negative where the presumption is that we don't have people who play video games and Africa is all about the war, poverty and corruption which is not a fair perception of the region. I feel that if there was more outreach from the developers, there would be opportunities to be had for our local FGC.

AP: It’s exciting to know things are changing. Tell us, what are your gaming plans for the future?

QA: In the future, I plan to get better at Tekken (becoming one of the greatest players from Kenya and Africa), rep my local community on the international stage at majors. And continue growing my brand to become the most recognized esports athlete from the African continent.

AP: We support you on your journey. Thank you so much, Sylvia.