Jonas 'bsl' Vikan is probably one of the best known people amongst Scandinavians Counter-Strike players, although he had his share of success internationally as well. This greatly-talented Norwegian has played with Norway's top clans, and now shares his experience with rising Brazilian clan mibr, who qualified for a spot in the ESWC tournament this July. I caught up with bsl to ask him questions about his past, the present in Brazil with mibr, and of course, his future.
Hi bsl. Could you please introduce yourself to our readers? What you're currently doing?
My name is Jonas Alsaker Vikan, I´m 21 years old(will get 22 in october) and I live in Trondheim, Norway. When it`s not summer I try to make something out of myself studying psychology at the university. This summer I`m playing for the brazilian team Mibr(#mibr @ quakenet) and because of this I`m living in Brazil from june 1st to august 9th. Right now I`m at some sort of a bootcamp in Sao Paulo with teams like Immortal and G3X.
What does your name, bsl, mean?
My nick is `beselbub` which is inspired by `beelzebub` which is a demon working from satan or something. I still play with beselbub in important matches etc. Anyway everybody just called me `besel` and I shortened it down to `bsl`..
Looking back to the "early days", how were you introduced to Counter-Strikes? Did you play any online games apart from that?
I was always a sports guy, playing soccer many, many times a week..so I never had time for any computer games. The only thing I did with my hands was draw. One day when we were in high school Yupster told me about this game all the guys were playing in the computer rooms. That was Beta 5.2, I tried it some times and liked it, but I couldn`t seem to get good at it, yupster told me it was because I used the keyboard only instead of the mouse, but I didnt want to listen to him.
What was so appealing about Counter-Strike that kept you sticking to it?
I think it was the element of realism, I`ve never been a fan of Quake-like games, they look too much like a bunch of teletubbies jumping around in a pastellcoloured world to me. With Counter-Strike I got to play with `real` guns that had recoil when you fired, and also it was a team game, which appealed a lot to me since team sports always was a big part of my life...and the game seemd to keep renewing itself with the new releases of patches etc...
Which version did you like most, from 1.0 through 1.5, and why?
I`ve always enjoyed the game and since I´m not a deagle player I wasn`t that fond of 1.0 with the jumping dgl shit..so I think I would have to go with 1.5, it`s a great version, but I cannot, for the life of me, understand why the money system don`t get fixxed - eventually it poses a threat to CS as a spectator sport with teams camping out rounds after losing only 1-2 players...
What was your first serious clan? And later on, which clans did you join and what were your achievements with them?
My first sponsored clan(that`s when things get a little more serious) was Crimson Cha0s, it was a local team from my city sponsored by a netcafe called dataport. We weren`t really good, but was one of the top 5 teams in the country at that time. The netcafe sent us to some regional LAN`s and that`s when I discovered the fun of competing on lan. Cha0s was dissolved after a 5th place finish @ Norwegian CPL Qualifier 2001..
What's your most memorable experience from playing Counter-Strike?
Hmm...The first really memorable was Lan-Arena, allthough we sucked there it was great seeing a real event and meeting the persons I`d just talked to on irc and seen on pictures. The next was CPL Dallas because when I started out I promised myself I wouldn`t quit without having been in Dallas. The latest great experience was to travel to Peru to play in Latinamerican Cup there with Mibr...
Some time ago, you joined the clan "made in brasil", recognised as Brazil's best clan. As we all know, you're Norwegian. Could you describe the way you got into contact with mibr, and finally, how did you end up joining them?
I love to travel and in febuary I went with some friends to Brazil on a backpacker trip..I talked to some of them on sogamed and they invited me to come and play with them..I did and afer some time they asked me to join..
How is mibr different from your former European clans, in your opinion?
There is no whining and everybody is interested in developing the clan together, that`s what makes the biggest difference - in Europe it seems the thinking always goes along the lines of `where is the grass more green.` The European teams will be better without a doubt, but Mibr has the spirit, sponsorship and persons to make a good clan. The only thing that`s missing is quality practice week after week like the teams in Europe have.
During your stay in Brazil this summer, what does a regular day for you look like?
I live in Rio de Janeiro in an apartement provided for me by Mibr´s sponsor DBA(www.dba.com) and I usually wake up around 0930 or 1000. I eat some breakfast and then go down to Copacabana to relax. I stay there untill 1500 when I go up to take a shower and get something to eat, then I leave for practice around 16-17.
Joining a Brazilian team and to play with them on a professional level requires time and money, and to actually move to Brazil. How did you manage all that?
Well it`s not really my achievement, Mibr is blessed with a great sponsor that I mentioned earlier..DBA helps us out in any way they can(www.DBA.com)..
Comparing the Norwegian CS scene to Brazil's, how does Brazil differ? Do you think Brazil can become a popular Counter-Strike country with lots of sponsors and media attention like Korea or the Scandinavian countires?
Actually, in my experience the Brazil scene is a lot better. By this I mean that there are a lot more tournaments, the teams are actually going to LAN`s and a lot of teams got sponsors from LANcenters that pays travel. People are also generally more interested in developing their teams rather than clanhopping which is good..
You guys qualified to the ESWC tournament in France. How did you feel about it, and how do you expect mibr will do with top clans like SK and team9 participating?
It was a great feeling, especially since Mibr lost against g3x in the last two championships in Brazil. I guess we felt we were the better team throughout the tournament, but the final got waaay to close. It will be a new experience to play against Europe best clans so at this point we`re satisfied with winning the qualifier and we go to France to do the best we can...
As someone who's not involved in the Norwegian scene, what do you think of the recent eoL split?
It`s wrong to say I`m not involved - I got a lot of friends there :) Well the split was stupid in my opinion, but that`s what usually happens when people can`t behave..I`ll leave it at that.
Almost everyone who plays Counter-Strike has heard about "bsl from the block". The movie is truely well done, very funny and original. What inspired you to make that movie? How did you think of putting in the "x-files" and "pro-gaming" parts in it, for exmaple, which make the movie unique?
Hehe, the inevitable question :) Well I saw a lot of frag movies and I loved them thus I decided to make my own. I don`t know much about computers etc either so the ppl I told about the project laughed ; that made me wanna make it even more ..hehe :) When I`m playing I`m always noticing strange things that happen..hey, it`s a very buggy game..so I thought I should make some funny parts too.. ..and wether anyone likes to admit it or not, off-days do occur when you fall down, teamkill or worse, and I think these things are pretty funny and thought - why not put them in for the fun of it :)
What went through your mind when you decided to use "Lucky" in one of the parts of the movie?
There`s no denying that a lot of Counter-Strike is about freak, stupid and blind luck...good players are usually more controlled than not so good one`s, but still everyone gets the occational crazy shot. I had some demos with some pretty funny stuff and decided to add it to the movie, naturally Britney with `Lucky` was the only reasonable choice of music for that part :)
In one of the first questions you said you're not a "deagle player". However, you're nicest kills are with the desert eagle. How do you explain this?
Hehehe, I`m not a `deagle player in the sense that I like the gun and prefer it, I really don`t..I`m much more about usp and glock, but I still try to play with the deagle even though it feels very random to me, especially online. The frags you are referring to aren`t luck, they`re just among the few times the deagle actually hit where I aim it. Those from the ladder on train however, shows what a freak of nature Counter-Strike really is.
This is kind of a mundane question, but what computer hardware do you use, and with what do you feel most comfortable with?
Hm..At home I have an XP 1900 with 256 RAM and a Gf4ti4400. I use a 19 LG Flatron which provides me with 100 hz in my resolution. I don`t feel keyboards make a difference so I have 2-3 random one`s that I use. Mouse is explorer 3.0 with skates(worn out tho) and a func pad.
While playing, which technique's (spray, bursts 2-3 , bursts 3-5, 1 shots, etc) do you think should be used in close, mid and long range, and why?
Hm. Spray @ close, spray or big bursts @ mid and burst a few bullets @ long distance. I`m really the wrong person to ask tho since I never think about these things, I shoot more on instinct than `planning` my bursts :)
Do you plan to play Counter-Strike in Norway once again?
I have nothing against playing in Norway, I was just lucky enough to be asked to play with Mibr, so I won`t rule out the possibility of playing in Norway again :) I don`t know what`s happening after the summer, and don`t plan to give it much thought, what`s meant to be will be..
How long do you think Counter-Strike will last as the most popular online game? And what will you do when you stop playing Counter-Strike?
As of now I don`t see any games able to compete with CS. Maybe it`ll last 1 year, 2 years - who knows..it all depends on what games are released and, of course, the amount of popularity that surrounds them. Like I said earlier I don`t like `spacy` games like quake or unreal so I won`t play any of those. If there`s a new team based game that appeals to me I guess I`ll play it, but I`m getting pretty old for this gaming thing too and will concentrate a lot more on my education in the following years...
Thanks a lot for this great interview, and lots of luck in your CS career and real-life future! Any last words?
Be nice and don`t believe everything you read and check out www.beselbub.com - up in some weeks!