Fnatic Rocket League captain Snaski on lie-ins, boredom and being the world's best - exclusive
By Yinsu Collins
Last Updated: 08/03/18 2:02pm
"Oh, I get super bored of playing Rocket League," says Nicolai 'Snaski' Andersen, Fnatic's Rocket League team captain.
Sitting in the boardroom at Fnatic Headquarters in Shoreditch, London, it is hard to believe Snaski, wearing a Rocket League hoodie, would admit to being bored playing one of his favourite video games every day for a living.
"Obviously, I have a lot of fun competing," he says.
"When the stakes are high and the opponents are good, there is nothing better than sitting on stage playing.
"I love my job, but it is different when you are playing and training every day outside of tournaments.
"My friends are always asking, 'why don't you play Rocket League with us?' and I'd say, 'I'd love to but it is just super boring.' I don't win and I play with people who are worse than me, it is just not very enjoyable.
"But I love playing other games for fun, like CS:GO or PUBG. For some reason, I have a competitive wall.
"I don't care if I win or lose those games whereas in Rocket League, I always care, which is super weird."
Snaski, who started playing Rocket League in the summer of 2015, enjoyed success with The Leftovers before the team was acquired by Fnatic in October of last year.
My biggest issue is, people always say, how can you sit around and watch other people play video games? I would say, how can you sit all day and watch people play football?
Before he became a professional eSports player, Snaski worked in a casino in Denmark as a card dealer.
Reaching Diamond 1 in League of Legends at the age of 14, the 21-year-old is living his dream as one of the best Rocket League players in the world.
What is it like to be an eSports superstar? For Snaski, it's being able to wake up at two o'clock in the afternoon.
"This is super early for me!' he confesses. It is 10.30am.
"It's super early for gamers. You know the feeling you get when you don't want to get up on a Sunday morning because you don't have much of a reason to get up early? Well, for me, every single day is a Sunday morning!"
Snaski's daily routine goes something like this: "I'd get up between midday to 2pm, usually train up to five hours and then go to bed at around 4am."
With the Gfinity Elite Series season three and Rocket League Championship Series season five around the corner, Fnatic are one of the favourites to win it all.
"It'd be a massive disappointment if we don't win [Gfinity]," says Snaski.
"In our group, the only team I can see that could be a struggle is Method. And of course, Team Vitality are very good but luckily they're in the other group so hopefully we won't face them until the final.
"They're a good side but we are better, we should win this. If we played Vitality in the final 10 times, we would probably win six or seven times. If we don't reach the finals, on the other hand, that would be a catastrophe."
This sentiment is shared by Fnatic Rocket League's team manager Colin Johnson. "Our team is probably one of the best teams in the world within our eSport," he said.
"The Fnatic League of Legends and Counter Strike teams always get the most prestige.
The League team is great in Europe but it will always be difficult for them to go up against the Korean and Chinese teams.
"However, our Rocket League team is probably rated the highest-tiered team within the Rocket League community and if we didn't win the Gfinity series or do well in RLCS, it would be considered, as Snaski said, a massive disappointment."
Colin, as a manager, has a more administrative role on the team but he is no stranger to the competitive eSports scene.
"I played competitive Halo 3 back in 2007," he reminisced.
"I actually owe it to the fact I ran into a tree in middle school. It was recess, I was playing football and ran into a tree. I fractured my skull and was out of school for around four months.
"Because of that, all I did was play Halo for eight to 10 hours a day. I didn't even go to school. By the time that school year was over, it went straight into summer so I had solid eight months just grinding the game.
"I was never a tier-one sort of player but I placed top 32 a couple times.
"My parents thought I was spending too much time playing video games. The stigma back then was much stronger than it is now. Video games was seen to be very unhealthy so the focus for me drifted back to traditional sports.
"Although you never know, if I had stuck with it, it could have been a career at 16 or 17."
There is still a prominent stigma around video games and with the rise of eSports, there have been a plethora of debates surrounding its legitimacy.
Both Snaski and Colin are uninterested in the dispute whether eSports should be considered as a 'real' sport or not, instead, they're concerned with the stereotypes people associate with their profession.
"My biggest issue is, people always say, how can you sit around and watch other people play video games? I would say, how can you sit all day and watch people play football?" says Snaski.
"The response I always get is - they're not the same. Well, they are. Some football fans might have played when they were kids but now they just sit and watch other people do it, so, what is the difference?"
Colin takes it further. "The second you take someone out of their bubble, send them to a tournament or have them meet a player and see that they're not 300lbs 29-year-olds that live in their parents' basements," he said.
"They're actually 20 something-year-old guys that stopped going to University to pursue their dream of playing video games and are making enough money to do it full time, have girlfriends, go to the gym and go out on a weekend, you know?
"If I told you that Snaski is a professional footballer, you'd probably believe it. We fortunately have the best-looking team in Rocket League so that point is easy to sell.
"Luckily the world is changing, people that are in the 'mainstream' will have kids that are growing up wanting to be the next Rekkles or Faker.
"There will always be the Cristiano Ronaldos or the Lebron Jameses, but that doesn't mean eSports stars can't coexist with those athletes."
And for some, they already do.
Thousands of people will be filling the Gfinity Arena in London over the coming month to watch their favourite eSports players compete and if you don't know anything about eSports, get yourself a ticket and see what the fuss is all about.