ESPORTSREPORTER.COM / GEORGE PAPANEDREOU – GUEST WRITER / SEPTEMBER 26TH, 2021 /
*Special thanks to George and Moose from us at Esports Reporter for taking the time to conduct this interview*
Ladies and gentlemen, he’s the genius mind behind Puzzle Kingdom; the up and coming competitive puzzle game community. Over the last two years, he’s organized numerous tournaments for both Puyo Puyo Tetris and Tetr.io. Today we’re talking to Moose.
George: So lets start things off right. Introduce yourself to the readers.
Moose: My name is Mussie (pronounced Moo-see-yeh), but people have always called me Moose for short.
George: How did you get into puzzle games? And what got you so invested that you were willing to play competitively and begin organizing major tournaments?
Moose: My first Tetris game was Tetris Battle on Facebook, but I only played it casually back then. I started to take Tetris more seriously after I bought Puyo Puyo Tetris on the Nintendo Switch in early 2017. At the time, it was the only other game you could get besides Zelda Breath of the Wild, so I spent a lot of time trying to get better at it. Also watching the viral video of Wumbo playing at CEOTaku made me want to explore the game more.
George: What was your favorite tournament that you’ve organized thus far?
Moose: I actually have two tournaments which are equally my favorites. The first one is the original Puzzle Cataclysm Open. It was a Puyo Puyo Tetris Tournament held on PC and was the first time I had actually interacted with the inevitable champion Blaarg. Since then we have become pretty close friends and he has actually commentated at a lot of my events. Getting to know him is one of my favorite memories for PCO and I wouldn’t exchange that for anything. The second tournament would be PCO Ultra. The fifth PPT tournament in the series which was Puyo only. I was able to see one of the kids in the community I have mentored take on titans in the Puyo community like Doremy and ShiroBrawl and actually win against them. Seeing him believe in himself more and more made me feel so Jubilant. The great thing about him is that he still hasn’t even reached a fraction of his potential and I feel like I was able to help create the first major chapter in his storied puzzle gaming career.
George: What in your opinion makes Tetris in particular interesting on the competitive level?
Moose: Tetris is a game we all know to a certain extent and we have all played it at one point or another. What makes modern tetris so interesting to me is the macro gameplay that is involved. In Classic Tetris, they essentially took a single player game and added certain elements to it so they could make it competitive. I still think the idea behind CTWC is genius and a good roadmap for other puzzlers trying to make it to the big stage like them. What makes modern tetris more interesting in my opinion is the macroplay. The interaction between two opponents actually trying to defeat each other with speed, finesse, and technique.
George: Do you think competitive Tetris has the potential to gain as much popularity as other esports?
Moose: It would be a long road before we get there. Like any other esport, the establishment of IRL events and the personal branding of our players is what will eventually help make modern tetris a succesful esport.
George: What about Puyo Puyo, what makes it interesting on the competitive level to you?
Moose: While Modern Tetris is essentially a single player game made to be competitive, Puyo Puyo was built to be a competitive game from the start and since Puyo Puyo Tsu, it has essentially kept the same ruleset for almost 30 years. The game isn’t gatekept by mechanical speed like both classic and modern. Almost everyone at a higher level can build puyo chains at about the same speed. What wins the match is the interaction between both players. When they decide to either “poke” or “harass” their opponents, or if they decide to send their entire chain. Every decision matters, and in the end their decision making is what will win them the match.
George: What do you think of the community for Puzzle games? Do you see it in a positive light or a negative?
Moose: While I have nothing but good things to say about the majority of the Tetris Community, there have been some recent events that have weighed heavily on the majority of the community. While these incidents were isolated in nature, morale does seem to be at a very low point now. That said, the leaders of every community have never been more united and we are going to keep marching forward and continue to bring amazing events for everyone to enjoy.
George: So what exactly is Puzzle Kingdom?
Moose: Puzzle Kingdom is really just a production front for the tourneys I run. I think the first online Tetris tournament I watched online was Jstris Cup, and while the skill displayed was amazing, there was a lot of room for improvement in regards to the production value of said events. This doesn’t necessarily reflect their current product btw. TeamTSD(Jed, Dazer, and Renge) have put together an amazing team and their production looks S-tier to me. Getting back on topic, I felt like there was a lot of room for improvement in stream quality/production so I went ahead and started designing overlays which I thought suited the types of events I wanted to hold. For the most part, I feel like my events have stood out mostly because of how my events look/sound/feel. They are very animated and full of expression. I try to find many ways to make sure that the viewers have some way to connect with the players. Whether it’s through the player cards that show their favorite player or a fun fact about them, or through the hand selected commentary team which does a very good job at painting the competitors as actual human beings rather than the generic anime profile pics most players hide behind.
George: Do you have an ultimate goal in mind with Puzzle Kingdom?
Moose: The ultimate goal is an IRL event that is held in the same regard as EVO. The name Puzzle Kingdom was actually inspired by Wrestle Kingdom, the biggest wrestling event in Japan and possibly the world. I have always been amazed by NJPW’s production and how they portray their wrestlers as athletes, professionals, and at times even gods. It’s the same way I wish to one day do with competitive puzzle games and the competitors who play them.
George: The fans seem to be very excited for Puzzle Kingdom Gaiden, tell us more about it.
Moose: It’s basically a way for us to explore other puzzle games in the community that aren’t Tetris or Puyo. We can try to see if we can help build up the communities of other puzzle games by introducing them with productions that are of high quality, and possibly introduce them to the next Jonas/Joseph/Wumbo/Doremy. Help make the next legend of that said puzzle game.
George: So what is your life outside of Puzzle games like? Who is the Clark Kent to your Superman?
Moose: In my personal life, I work as a Safety/Environmental specialist and I help keep my co-workers safe. I am grounded by Mrs. Moose, and she keeps me very humble along this journey.
George: What do you have going on in the future? What can everyone look forward to coming from the illustrious Moose?
Moose: Eventually, you will definitely see an IRL event come from me and most likely, you’ll see two major Modern Tetris tournaments that will essentially crown the ones who are the greatest at their respective games. Whether that’s Tetr.io or Tetris Effect:Connected.
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