While not as sinister as the Twisted Metal character whose name he’s borrowed as his official handle, Brian “Mr Grimmmz” Rincon’s nickname befits his aggressive gameplay in Killer Instinct. A relatively new player who joined the Street Fighter IV movement in 2009, the 26-year-old San Francisco native has made a name for himself in recent months with victories over top players such as Evil Geniuses’ Justin Wong and Christopher “NYChrisG” Gonzalez of GamesterGear.
His game of choice is also garnering more and more attention, with numerous fans and upcoming appearances at both MLG Anaheim and Evo 2014, and Mr Grimmmz looks to be one of the favorites to sit atop the throne when everything is all said and done.
We recently spoke with the Californian champ about his wins at SoCal Regionals 2014 and NorCal Regionals 2014, his rise to the top, the differences between online and offline play, and other related topics.
Jason Yang: When did you start playing fighting games?
Mr Grimmmz: I never had any interest until I played Street Fighter casually around 10 years old.
JY: When did you discover Killer Instinct?
MG: I played with my brother because I never found anybody to play with. It was a game to have fun. I had no clue whether it was popular or people held tournaments.
JY: Who was your favorite character?
JY: Is that why you picked Jago in the latest release?
MG: The only two reasons I picked Jago was 1) he was the coolest character in the game in my eyes, and 2) he’s similar to Ryu, whom I played four to five years straight in Street Fighter.
JY: When did you discover the fighting game community?
MG: Around 19 years old. A friend was involved with the scene and told me to attend a Street Fighter tournament. I was hesitant because I just want to play online. But I went and although. I didn’t place high, I met a lot of friends and had a lot of fun.
JY: What were you doing before Killer Instinct?
MG: I was in college, studying to be a vet technician for a year until the release of Killer Instinct. When I was played it, I knew I enjoy playing games, streaming, and putting YouTube videos. I felt that videogames are what I always loved, the path for me.
JY: What did you want to achieve with your YouTube videos?
MG: The original purpose was to show my experience. The Street Fighter community was inviting and helpful, and I want to do that for the Killer Instinct community. As I got better, more people had trouble so I thought I could help by posting videos explaining the mechanics. Now, I don’t play just to play. I play to assist and motivate the people wanting to learn.
JY: What motivated you to enter SoCal Regionals 2014?
MG: The scene in NorCal is small, and I always watch Level|Up. And I said if I was going to any tournament, it would be in SoCal because they have the most players. I didn’t plan on going to any tournament, but I went to SCR for fun and to meet everybody.
JY: How does it feel to take out some of the community’s top players?
MG: Honestly, if you’d asked me that five years ago, I’d have been like it was the best feeling in the world. But now, I can’t tell the difference between sponsored and casual players. I never think about beating sponsored players because my mind is more into the game.
All I had in my mind was I want to play everybody. When I won, it was surreal. I had to convince myself that I did win because it happened so suddenly. That was the first tournament I ever won, and it was a fruitful experience..
JY: What tournament(s) are you looking to compete in next?
MG: I wish I can answer, but I’m always tight on money. It was that way for SCR and NCR. I honestly don’t know, but I’d love to go to MLG and EVO, that’s for sure.
JY: You being an online warrior, was there any difference playing offline?
MG: It’s not that different. Being an online warrior means you learn the game online instead of offline, and that he or she works really hard but at home. And Killer Instinct online isn’t that different from offline because of the small local scenes. So everyone is an online warrior.
JY: How about the difference between Street Fighter and Killer Instinct?
MG: There’s not that much of a difference. There are very similar mechanics like anti-airs, mind games, and footsies. The transition felt comfortable for me. Some of the great players out there, JWong, PR Balrog, Chris G, they have backgrounds in many games, and they’re already placing high. That’s purely off of fundamentals.
Also, players who didn’t play competitively or know fighting games at all are good now. That’s why Killer Instinct can be different because it welcomes all players.
JY: If you had to pair Killer Instinct characters up with Street Fighter characters, how would that look?
MG: Jago is Ryu. Glacius is Dhalsim. Sabrewulf is Blanka. Orchid is a mixture of Chun-Li and Ryu. Fulgore feels a bit like runaway Balrog and Sagat. Thunder, Zangief. Sadira is Ibuki, and Spinal is Evil Ryu.
JY: In your opinon, who are the top three characters in the game?
MG: Sabrewulf, Sadira, Jago.
JY: How has the Killer Instinct community grown since its release?
MG: Initially, it was just online. Now I see the people from the Double Helix forum at events. With MLG and other events, I can’t promise anything because everything is still new. Time will tell what the community becomes, or how helpful they’ll become to each other – especially working with other community as well. I will get back to you in a year.
JY: How can the community grow?
MG: It depends on the community. It might become the next big thing, or it might be a side game that doesn’t get a lot of hype. I want everybody to be confident in their play no matter how small the progress is. I want everyone to help each other without having any kind of personal issues – although it’s a difficult task because everyone is different.
JY: What opportunities have arisen because of your wins?
MG: Having new followers and fans. It’s new to me, but I’m glad I can be somewhat of a positive outlook. I’ve met Justin Wong, PR Balrog, Maximilian. It’s a great experience because it gives me better view of what these guys work for, passionate for, and I can relate to that. That motivates me to continue to do what I love because not many people have that.
JY: What are your future plans and goals?
MG: I want to keep going with this. My original goal was to start a YouTube channel. After Killer Instinct was released, the goal changed to not just playing games, but I want to show people what I can do, help everyone out, and have a good time doing so. Hopefully, it might lead to somewhere bigger.
JY: You said in your YouTube Q&A that you want to bring Killer Instinct up to the Marvel and Street Fighter echelon. Do you think you can get there with such a small community while past small communities have failed?
MG: I can’t do this by myself. Everyone has to pitch in, and everyone is, including the influential faces in the community.
In the beginning of Street Fighter, majors had small attendance and the local tournament was in a person’s garage. And it just blew up to something bigger. Killer Instinct has more advantages because it has experiences from past examples, and it’s already been at NCR, SCR, and will be at ECT and MLG. It’s getting a lot of exposure.
The rest is up to us, making sure we go to these tournaments and convince everyone that Killer Instinct is for them – and you can be as good as the top players. If I can do this, anyone else can. With that kind of mentality, the community is going to grow and will become huge – hopefully as huge as Marvel and Street Fighter.
JY: Anything else you want to add?
MG: Thanks to everybody for just wanting me to just keep going. Everyone that look up to me, thank you. Without the fans, you don’t have anything. They are the foundation so a million thank yous to everybody.[hr]
If you’re interested in learning Killer Instinct, be sure to visit Mr Grimmmz official channel for more. Tournament footage used in this article comes courtesy of iPlayWinner and Epic Gamer Productions.