Infinitii: "I was judged for gaming a lot, but look where I am now"

9 min read
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Interview with the professional MK player Infinitii as part of the Girls Got Game project

The fighting game community knows Infinitii as a talented individual, confident player, and queen who takes part in major tournaments like WePlay Dragon Temple last year. But how many know her dreams and how she got to where she is now? What does she like, and what are her plans? We discussed all these topics in our new interview for the Girls Got Game project. You'll also learn her opinion on female esports and the current state of the fighting game community.

There are only interesting, strong, and talented women in our project, and Infinitii is one of the brightest examples of a girl who grew up independent and gifted in different areas despite all of life's obstacles.

Our interview may be read not only by your fans and players close to the FGC, so, please, can we start from the beginning and let the audience know more about your path in esports? When and how did it all start? 

I've been into video games most of my life. I didn't find out about the FGC until I attended CEO 2016 [Community Effort Orlando, fighting game convention and tournament series — ed.]. It was my first major tournament. Actually, I didn't even know it was a Major. I kind of stumbled upon it by accident.

So, ever since then, I've been really into competing, going to major tournaments, and doing my own tournaments when I can. 

Which game was your first?

My very first video game was Street Fighter EX3. I still play it to this day. Not only did it get me into gaming in general, but it got me deep into fighting games, which is why I mostly play fighting games.

My very first character was Chun-Li. And after Street Fighter EX3, I discovered Mortal Kombat and fell in love with the realism.

As I could notice from your streams and performances at tournaments, you aren't afraid of bold moves and have quite an aggressive playstyle. Is your aggressive playstyle a reflection of your personal life, or are you a little on the shy side?

I'm on a shy side until people get to know me. Usually, I'm pretty quiet, but as soon as someone starts talking to me first, I'm more outgoing. My playstyle is like a mix: I love to have fun and be in people's faces when it comes to fighting games, competitively. I think that rushing is the most fun playstyle.

Infinitii at WePlay Dragon Temple in Kyiv, 2020
Infinitii at WePlay Dragon Temple, Kyiv, 2020

I know your first favorite character is Mileena, and you even wrote fanfiction on this fighter, but I guess you also know other characters' stories. Which of the fighters have the most exciting lore, in your opinion?

Mortal Kombat has fascinating lore. Obviously, my favorite lore is Mileena's because she's the only character from two different backgrounds. People are linear: like Liu Kang is Shaolin, Kitana's Edenian. But Mileena is the only one who's Edenian and Tarkatan, so I think that's really interesting. 

Outside of her, I think I like Tanya's lore because they not only share a relationship, but I find it interesting that she's only about herself and her preservation. She'll do whatever it takes to survive in a world that doesn't really cater to her.

Are these character traits close to you? Can you say that there's something common between you and them?

Yeah, I think their character traits that relate to me the most are like "very fun, outgoing, not caring everyone else thinks" type of characteristics. They just have fun and do what they want, and they don't care what other people think of them. I resonate with that a lot because, growing up, I was always treated as different. I was a girl who just loved her videogames and being goofy. You know, I got judged for gaming a lot, but ignoring all the negativity and just living how I want to is something that I've always lived strongly by, and I feel like those characters best reflect that.

You said you've always been judged because of your love of videogames. Who was it? Girls from your neighborhood or school friends?

Yeah, both people in my neighborhood and my school friends, when I was growing up, would always say, "You play too many video games." But we see how well it worked out for me, so… [laughs]

They were definitely wrong :) 

Speaking of fan fiction, are you planning to continue working on a new chapter or new character?

A lot of people have been asking me to continue the Mileena fanfiction, maybe expand upon it. And I would do that, but I already began working on my own original stories. Writing Mortal Kombat fanfiction, diving into MK lore, inspired me to create my own worlds.

If I ever do another fanfiction around Mileena or whoever else, it would be a while from now. 

You're also into cosplay. What is your favorite costume?

It's really hard to pick a favorite costume, but I would probably say it's a tie between my Mystique and Mileena cosplay. It's so much fun to see people's reactions to the costumes.

Do you have other hobbies besides cosplay and writing fanfiction? Maybe something secret and new?

I wouldn't say it's a huge hobby, and it's not that I do it a lot, especially since covid happened. But, outside of gaming, writing, and cosplay, one of my favorite activities is to go out dancing and partying with friends.

Let's imagine that a game developer came to you and offered to create your own game — what would it be?

If a game developer offered me to create a game based on my ideas, it would mostly be a fighting game. I think about this a lot because one of the books I wrote is about underground fighting and stuff. So, I always imagine what if my characters from this book were teleported into a fighting game? Even if they were just DLC or something. I think that would be really cool and funny.

What is your main life goal?

I would say that my main life goal is to become an author. I've always really loved storytelling and for me to have my own platform to tell stories, maybe even see those stories inspire other people to create their own, is something I'm really passionate about.

Infinitii at WePlay Dragon Temple in Kyiv, 2020
Infinitii at WePlay Dragon Temple, Kyiv, 2020

It's an interesting answer to hear from a professional player :)

What was the most bright and cheerful moment in your esports career? Maybe when you achieved some goal or won something? 

I have a lot of those moments, so it's really hard to choose, but if I were to choose a singular moment from the rest... It's really a toss between my experience at WePlay and ELeague.

I believe it was 2019, and I remember that tournament was super awesome. They had a unique format with the mixing of online matches and the “racing against time” thing. I thought that format was super fun, and they handled things really well. I got to do it at home at my own stream setup, so I was really comfortable.

And I also loved the experience at WePlay because Ukraine was such an amazing place to go to. We were treated very well. You guys handled the covid situation very professionally. The venue was extremely beautiful. I had a fun time.

Thank you! And what do you think of Kyiv?

Kyiv is lovely. Honestly, words can't even describe how beautiful it was. The vibe was amazing. I wish I could have come during the summer [laughs] cause it was a little cold. But I loved it. I visited a mall called Oceania, the one with an aquarium inside and it was gorgeous — I loved it a lot. And the hotel, in general, was amazing as well, it was right by everything. So, we walked and explored a little bit between the downtime of competing, which I love doing at every tournament.

And what about the most frustrating loss in your career? Have you had such an experience, and how did you deal with it?

For the most part, my experience is pretty level headed. I would say the most disappointing loss I've ever had was when I went to Brazil for the Brazil Game Show. I was playing for top 16, and I had the game-winning combo. We were both down to probably 20% of our health, and I dropped the combo, and I lost into 17th place, sad face.

I'm sorry to hear this. How did you feel after this?

I was sad, like, "Oh, nooo, I was one match away from getting on the big stage." But you know, as usual, I just shook it off, went to grab some drinks, and then I watched the rest of the event. 

I guess you had an experience as a streamer when someone used terrible words against you or sent something inappropriate. How do you deal with that type of behavior?

Honestly, when it comes to streams, and people say crazy out-of-pocket things, I don't deal with it at all. I'm so used to ignoring negativity. All my life, I've always been kind of an outlier, you know… I'm LGBTQ. I'm a woman. I'm Afro-Latina. So I'm used to receiving all the prejudices, I guess you could say when it comes to the people harassing me on the internet. I just ignore it. Sometimes the comments sounds so ridiculous that I actually get a good laugh out of them.

Last year, we published an article about the impact of toxicity on streamers and esports players' mental health. Can you say that streaming somehow influences your mental state — positively or negatively?

Read: Esports and Streaming: The Dark Side of the Dream

For me personally, streaming is 99% of a positive thing. The only negative thing about streaming for me is the time it can take out of my day because I'm also a student and write a lot. Sometimes it can be hard for me to maintain a good schedule to fit streaming in. But that being said, I completely understand when people are negatively affected by trolls in the chat or people who are just there to get a reaction from you. Not everyone has a thick skin like me, and harassment is never fun on a personal level. So, I completely understand why some people's mental health can be affected.  

I read your Twitlonger about the Valkyries situation: after all of this, the lies, particularly, would you say that it's harder to be in a female group and build relationships, trust, etc., compared to a male group? Because we all know that, especially in the FGC, there are more male players than females.

I don't think it's necessarily a woman vs. man thing as far as who's easier to hang with. The female team that I'm on now, Kunoichi, has been nothing but amazing to me. All my issues were with the head of Valkyries. Overall, it's more of a personality thing and how individual people avoid drama more so than comparing if it's easier to hang with men and women.

What are your thoughts on the current state of esports and the fighting game community in general?

Right now, I think esports is kind of in a tough spot. I think covid hit the fighting game scene in particular hard. Online tournaments are good, but they're not a substitute for the esports we've all become accustomed to. I'm not sure about the shooting game scene, but the fighting game scene right now is kind of standstill.

In your opinion, what can be done to grow female esports into a decent competitor to already traditional esports? How can the community and organizations help female esports?

The main thing is giving women more recognition, helping more women compete, and getting more women out there. Because now it's easier to pick the same guys that you know are good to play in an event or to commentate.

Especially now, there are more women in FGC than there have ever been. I think that once women start getting more chances to prove themselves, that's when things begin to be normalized. Now it's more of a battle for women to get recognized as good competitors, commentators, players in general.

Once we spotlight more women, then more women will come. They'll also begin to do better, and then eventually, esports will be more normalized for women.

Are female-only leagues necessary?

This is always a tricky question because, in my own opinion, female-only leagues aren't good, but female-only tournaments are. A lot of people don't understand that difference. 

For me, female-only tournaments help get more women into competing because they feel safer and less judged. But a female-only league, like tournaments that span across multiple timelines and only allow women… I think, at the end of the day, it'll be an obstacle for women's improvement.

Women getting into esports isn't something new per se, but it started becoming more welcoming than before, which means more women stay here. If we are all just fighting each other… which I can't think of more than seven other women who compete as I do, then we would just fight each other in round-robin all the time and not improve. We need to be able to fight the guys who've been here longer than us to improve.

What can you say to girls who want to be like you but have some doubts about themselves?

I'd say that I definitely understand why you doubt yourself because, growing up, we're always told what's a man's space and whatnot. But that being said, you should strive your hardest to prove them wrong. Especially when it comes to gaming, there is nothing that a man can do that a woman cannot also do. You should just throw your hand out there and try it. And if it's not for you, it's completely understandable. You're going to have to have thick skin in order to get into this crowd. Men often tell us that we do not belong in this space. If you can deal with that and still play your best and represent the women, you already won.

Any additional words/shoutouts?

I would like to give a big shoutout to my all-ladies team Kunoichi. They've been very supportive, always helped me out, and I love what they're doing to put more women's voices out there.

Recently Infinitii took part in a match against Megan Thee Stallion in MK11. Watch the full video from the official stream below (Infinitii appears on 36:10):

Infinitii on social media:

Twitter

Twitch

Instagram

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