„In esports everyone is equal.” Interview with Marcin ‘Kofin’ Bielańczuk, star of the documentary „The Other Side”

Esporter.pl has published our interview with Marcin 'Kofin' Bielańczuk, an amazingly gifted CS:GO player whose disability doesn't prevent him from developing his passion. Marcin is a star of the upcoming documentary 'The Other Side' - a production Kinguin has already supported.

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„In esports everyone is equal.” Interview with Marcin ‘Kofin’ Bielańczuk, star of the documentary „The Other Side”

Marcin is 19 years old and wants to become a professional esports player in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. He controls the game using two mice and a keyboard due to spinal muscular atrophy, a condition he’s been suffering from since birth. It doesn’t stop him from developing his passion and chasing his dreams. Marcin plays, streams, and attends the biggest esports tournaments in Poland. We met with him recently at Intel Extreme Masters, where he told us about „The Other Side”, a documentary about Marcin and his passion, directed by his friend Jakub Zalewski.

Do you remember not being a gamer?

–  Barely. (laughs)

How did it start?

–  My first contact with games was when I got a PlayStation 1 from my parents. My dad is a huge gaming fan and he gave me the passion. Without him, I wouldn’t be here. I got into esports when I played my first online tournament on a PlayStation 3. I found that it was a way better to compete against other people, as equals, rather than against a machine. When my condition worsened and I wasn’t able to hold the controller anymore, I switched to PC. At first, I played FIFA, League of Legends, and StarCraft 2, but Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is what got me really hooked. In 2015 I went to the Intel Extreme Masters tournament, where I saw Virtus Pro’s onrush. I started to play intensely. It was also the beginning of my streams. My guide was Izak, who helped me a lot and explained many things. You need to combine live gameplay and commentary on the highest level, so your audience never stops being excited. Last year I started to play in a team, and then I decided to become a pro player. It’s not easy. You can’t just hook up with your pals and say to yourself that you’re a team now. You need to gather a team of clever and crazy people who are both great gamers and sensible, motivated members of the team.

How is it now?

– Now I play in the ‘31337 eSPORTS’ team, and I’m still pushing my streams forward.

Who do you consider the number one in Polish esports?

– Definitely the old and legendary Virtus.pro crew. Wiktor „Taz” Wojtas, Filip „NEO” Kubski, Jarosław „pashaBiceps” Jarząbkowski, Paweł „byali” Bieliński and Janusz „Snax” Pogorzelski. I’ve been following their career ever since I got into CS, and they are my role models. However today the level of the Polish scene is balanced enough that you cannot distinguish just one team.

Who came up with the idea to create a movie about you?

– It’s the project of Jakub Zalewski, a young student of journalism from Bydgoszcz. We met when Izak published my picture and link to my stream on his fanpage. Kuba is also a fan of CS and knows that you can indeed follow your dreams, even if there are barriers you need to overcome. His passion is film. For a long time we’d been discussing the concept for the film, and then he visited me in Słupsk. After a month, we started shooting. Since I play CS mostly with people who aren’t aware of my disability, Kuba wanted to show the behind-the-scenes of my life, to prove that there are no limitations in esports. In esports competition everyone is equal. Just like any other player, I start my day with a breakfast, then I go to school, have a normal life. At the beginning, the camera made me feel embarrassed, but I got used to it and we moved forward. The other side to the movie is my passion, which is gaming. Right now, the production is on the home stretch. I have my fingers crossed for Kuba. He impresses me with his strength and persistence on his way to achieving his goal. I know that right now he’s trying to lock down the budget for the entire production. Obviously I can’t wait for the premiere.

What’s important in the career of an esports player?

– Your persistence in fighting the odds, that’s for sure. It’s the price you have to pay on your path to success. Its source is in your head. You have to learn from your mistakes and draw conclusions. Everything you need to become confident. To put it simply: it’s hard work. In case of players, you need to be able to manage in a variety of situations, when you play against gamers on various levels, sometimes at different times of day, even when you’re tired.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

– The dream of every CS:GO player is to take part in a Major tournament. It’s like the World Cup or a major league appearance for a soccer player. At Intel Extreme Masters Katowice, you can watch the best teams in the world. Esports events are also a chance to meet the people you know from the online battlefields, streams or chats. It’s a chance to experience the most intense emotions when watching games with other people. Esports emotions are the same as in traditional sports. Also, it’s a funny thing that FIFA, the video game, made me interested in the traditional soccer, and not the other way around. In 5 years, I’d like to be a professional esports player who can make a living by playing.

Interview conducted by Bartłomiej Bełc