By now, I’m sure many of you know Nicolas “Kane Blueriver” Gonzalez, either personally or by way of tournament broadcasts over the past few years. While relatively unknown during his early years competing in the Chilean community, this Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and King of Fighters XIII player has quickly made a name for himself due to unconventional character usage and a work ethic that rivals that of many top players in the scene today.
Polygon’s RJ Cubarrubia recently wrote up an excellent piece on Gonzalez that chronicles his journey through the fighting game community, from his beginnings in South America to traveling the world in search of new competition. It’s a fascinating look at one of our community’s most endearing members that explores his drive to better himself, both in and out of the game, and the strategies he employs to excel with a team some would dismiss as weak.
If you haven’t had a chance to look this over, I highly suggest you do so now. We’ve included a couple of small excerpts below to get you started, but be sure to visit Polygon to read the entire story.
Gonzalez returned to Chile after Evo 2012, and outside of Seasons Beatings: Ascension and a tournament in Mexico immediately after, he remained in his home country. Most local scenes give reliable support to their fellow players, but much of the Chilean scene was unkind to Gonzalez — who had just brought them more exposure on a global stage. “People always were [saying], ‘Stop dreaming, it’s impossible, it’s not going to happen, ever, because of how hard [and] expensive it is, and because you don’t have what it takes,’” he says. He had now tested himself against the very best, yet the players in his local community wouldn’t push themselves or each other. “Down there, no one really works to improve,” Gonzalez says. “Everyone just grinds, but nothing really smart.”
His determination wasn’t easily deflated after his latest successes, and after again winning this year’s Evo qualifier in Antofagasta, Gonzalez planned to secure a tourist visa and proactively began to plot the bold nomadic journey of his dreams.
Gonzalez has naturally found much more than just a way to get better at fighting games, or an avenue to connect with the scene he long admired from afar. “It has definitely taught me that the dream is not impossible, that the world is way smaller than I thought. Places I thought so distant now feel just beyond my fingertips,” he says. “I find Redrapper’s work very inspiring and in one of his fighting game-related songs ["Prime"], he mentions that ‘you either fear legacy or you take its place.’ That strikes me deeply because I used to be in the former, and now I’m slowly becoming part of it … I’m now part of something I always just dreamed about.” Still, he remains steadfastly humble — perhaps a relic of his past personal defeats. “I don’t have talent,” he says flat-out. “I’m not a gifted player.”
Wandering has given Gonzalez direction. “I’m definitely more optimistic, I feel I have way more potential to realize,” he says. “I feel way more confident in myself than [a year ago].” Perseverance and mental toughness have pushed him beyond his doldrums, but he still has more to overcome. “I’ve only slowly been getting [my confidence] back lately,” he says.