Mike Begum, known in eSports as “Brolylegs,” is someone who doesn’t believe in excuses or limitations. Despite a medical condition that inhibits his hands, Broly is still a high level competitor in Street Fighter and Super Smash Bros. The Texas native is preparing for Evolution 2014, which will be the largest fighting game tournament of all time, and he has high hopes for himself against the thousands that he will be competing alongside. With the recent release of his autobiographical book, My Life Beyond The Floor, which documents Broly’s journey both in and outside of the fighting game world, I wanted to give the readers at NE a chance to familiarize themselves with one of most inspiring people in competitive gaming.
What is it about video games that sparked your interest? How did you get involved with competitive fighting games?
My competitive career started in 2004 with my brother in Super Smash Bros. We went to tournaments in Houston, but played really casually and didn’t know many techniques. That started to change when I met other Smashers in high school. We started the local scene and began developing through Smash-fests and tournaments. I kept playing Smash until Street Fighter 4 hit. At first, I didn’t feel like I could win in the new game, as it was very different to Smash. However, once I began to play with friends and participated in tournaments, my skill grew. Now I am at the top of my game after years of competition and I want to continue getting better. Smash will always have a special place in my heart, though.
How has being part of the fighting game community impacted your life? What is your favorite part of attending tournaments?
Just having the ability to travel all around the state, and even country at times, and meeting so many amazing people is my favorite part of playing competitive Smash/FGC. So many great memories in my life is attributed to playing the games I love, and i’ll always treasure my experiences for as long as I live.
Let’s talk about your book, My Life Beyond The Floor, which was recently released. What was the process like writing it? What do you hope to show readers through your story?
Writing my book took a lot of effort on my part in the two years that it took. One day, I began typing — with a chopstick in my mouth, of course — about myself from the very beginning. I did that because I wanted to share my experiences as a person with a disability. Many people admire my courage to live, but don’t really know the struggles I went through. My book is there for people to read about my road to where I am today and help them love life just as much as I do.
Without spoiling too many details of the book, what is a moment that stands out for you during your travels as a pro gamer?
I think that first interview I had for Street Fighter really stuck out to me as the most memorable. I knew people had heard about me back in my Smash days, but had never genuinely saw me physically. It was awesome to share a small part of myself to them and it has changed me forever.
You are someone who has managed to overcome a lot of adversity to gain the success you’ve found in the fighting game world. What is the driving force behind your motivation to compete?
To win. There is nothing that I want more than being the best at what I do. In my life, there weren’t many chances to be the best, but I am trying my very best to make this one of them. Competition is in my soul and nobody can extinguish that.
You’re attending Evolution 2014, the largest fighting game tournament in the world. What are your goals for the tournament and how do you think you’ll fare?
My goal is to place better than last year, which was top 64. I’m always looking to improve and what better way to do it than the biggest tournament of all: Evo.
Last question. What advice would you give to someone with a disability who wants to get involved in the competitive tournament scene? What can we do to make gaming tournaments more inclusive for all types of gamers?
My advice to those with disabilities is to always play for the love of the game. No matter what obstacles are in your way, love for the game will give you the keys to competing. Although each person with a disability is different, everyone who has the motivation to play and the support group to help will definitely succeed in getting what they want. The best way a community can help those with disabilities is to support them by asking what their obstacles are and finding ways to remedy them as best as possible. Everyone deserves a chance to compete.
Once again, a big thank you for Broly for sharing his story and providing the world with all the motivation they would ever need to overcome the obstacles they face. You can purchase Broly’s book on Amazon and make sure to follow his Twitter to track his progress at Evo during July 11-13th. The NE staff and I will be rooting him on.