Behind The Stick: An Interview with Sway

I had a chance to sit down and talk to Sway, a high level Jam player from New York. In this interview we talk about: his history with fighting games, why he started playing Guilty Gear, what he does for fun, his plans for the future, and more.

Q: Firstly, I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to talk to me. I’m sure you are a busy guy so I appreciate it. How are you doing today?

Sway: Today was actually pretty rough (wrong side of the bed kind of day). BUT, it’s ending on a good note. How about you?

Q: I’m doing okay. Feeling a bit under the weather but it could be worse. So for those that might be unaware of who you are could you provide a bit of background into who you are with regards to your history with fighting games from when you first started to where you are today?

Sway: My name is Jouse (pronounced Jo-Sway) so that’s where I got my tag from. I used to go by PsychoDM a while back too. The first fighting game I ever actually took a dive into was Blazblue: Continuum Shift Extend. I just got into anime and my friend Cameron was like “Yo, try this out!”. I was TERRIBLE at it so I quickly gave that up. Eventually though I picked it back up along with Persona 4 Arena. That was around the time my friend Winston (Wne) told me about a tournament he was playing in called East Coast Throwdown. It was my first time watching a tournament and I was INSTANTLY hooked. All the hype from Yipes on the mic and seeing how amazing players like ChrisG were had me thinking “Damn, I wanna do this”. I went to my first tournament NEC13(?) thanks to my friend Ehrik (wara4ever) who i basically owe all of this to. I probably wouldn’t have tried to go to an event if it weren’t for him and the Penn State crew. Since then I’ve been attending tournaments and running them as well. I picked up Guilty Gear and fell in love with that but still have a strong appreciation for all fighting games. I definitely skipped a bunch, I feel like I could talk about this forever haha.

Q: Quite the history. Although, interesting to see you didn’t play any Street Fighter 4 like a lot of others I have talked to. So like you said you changed your name a couple times. How did you come up with PsychoDM and what caused you to change it?

Sway: I did play a bit of SF4 but never enjoyed it. As far as my name, I came up with PsychoDM when I used to play Metal Gear Online. That was my first jump into competitive gaming in general. The DM in my name is a secret ;). Anyone who knows me from MGO might be able to figure it out haha. I switched it to Sway cause someone called me that in college and I thought it was cool and easier to spell than PsychoDM (I’d get PyscoDM too much).

Q: Metal Gear Online, huh? That’s something I haven’t heard in a loooooong time. So like you said you played Blazblue and then eventually P4 Arena. What was it that brought you over to Guilty Gear? Was there a specific element of it that really intrigued you?

Sway: I loved the aesthetic of the game especially with the new 3D engine. I played a bit of AC with friends in college casually so I was drawn to it.

Q: So now you’ve been playing Guilty Gear for awhile and you’ve been play Jam. Did you always play Jam? Why do you play Jam now?

Sway: When I played Faust before I never really felt like he fit for me. I love the character to death but I would see how other Faust’s played and I felt like that style was really awkward for me. While deciding who to play for Revelator I took into account other characters I played in other games. I loved Linne in Uniel so I felt Jam was the closest thing to that. Plus she’s cute.

Q: And at the end of the day being cute is what really matters, right? So looking back do you remember what it was like when you first started competing? Do you remember how you felt? How does it compare to when you compete now?

Sway: The same way hahaha. My first tournament I was shaking so bad I couldn’t hold my stick on my lap. Even now if you catch me before pools, I’m blowing into my hands, jumping a bit, shaking my hands off. Everyone always asks how to make the nerves go away but they never really did for me. The only difference between then and now is that my goals are higher. I’m not just trying to not go 0-2, I’m trying to win the whole thing.

Q: Piggybacking off of that a bit what do you think was your sort of crowning achievement as a player?

Sway: Recently at Frosty Faustings I did REALLY well despite losing round 1. All the good players I beat are people I normally lose to so it felt like the whole tournament was me overcoming these brick walls I keep running into. It was so cool.

Q: Speaking of these players is there anyone you think that really helped push you as a play? Either a friend or someone you consider a rival?

Sway: I can name so many people. Kizzercrate and Deb helped a lot with my growth. Bears is like…in a weird way a parental figure LOL (sorry bears). When ever I’m playing wack and I can hear him laughing angrily saying “WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT”. It’s cursed for sure. Really though, I push myself hard cause a lot of people believe in me.

Q: While we’re on the topic of other players When I spoke to Blaze in an earlier interview he mentioned you and Mynus as being huge helps in running TSB. Can you give us a bit of insight as to your role there?

Sway: I can’t even remember how I ended up running TSB with Manny. I might have just seen he needed help and offered to do so. Manny runs the stream and everything on the production side. I typically tend to deal with the actual logistics of running the event and talking to sponsors and such. It’s funny cause we actually clash a lot on ideas. I tend to play it a bit too safe where as he will dive head first through a window. Because of that, I’m never cozy and always trying new things which is great for us. Definitely owe a lot to him and Mynus.

Q: So a big reason I do these is to get a more intimate look at the player both inside the game and out. Tell me a bit about the Sway out of the game. What are some things you like to do for fun, what do you do for work, anything you’d like to share.

Sway: Outside of GG I’m a little ordinary haha. I’m very close to my friends so whenever I’m not playing I make time for them. I did kickboxing for about 6 years before I moved back to NY. I’ve always been competing in something. I plan to get back into it eventually but its so expensive in NY! Gotta pay a few debts first. I work as a consultant for a software company. It’s very laid back so I like it. Sometimes I cook. I’m not good at all HAHAH. I try my best though.

Q: Ha, don’t worry I’m in the same boat with cooking but I’m getting better. Just gotta keep at it. So aside from becoming a master chef, what are some of your plans for the future?

Sway: Obviously I’m going to keep playing Guilty Gear but I am really interested in Granblue Fighter so look forward to me kicking ass in that. I want to keep growing TSB so that everyone in our area as a good, safe place to compete and make friends. That’s super important to me. I got very lucky to be surrounded by great people when I joined the FGC so I’d like to create that for other new players.

Q: That’s great man! Hopefully I can catch you at Super TSB next month! I’m sure it will be a great time and anyone in the New York area should check it out for sure. Well that’s all I have for you my man. I appreciate you taking the time to sit down and talk to me. Before I let you go is there anyone you want to give a shout out to or do you have any final words? Also, where can people find you on social media?

Sway: Definitely shoutouts to the TSB / NY crew for always hyping me up. Shoutouts to Dkendri, my sweet girlfriend, and my sponsors, BxA. And I also want to show love to everyone who has believed in me from the start. Everyone follow me on @Okaysway and . Thank you for the interview!

You can follow Sway on Twitter @OkaySway

And as always you can follow me on twitter @itsfrail

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