By Alexey “OverDrive” Biryukov
Special to VPEsports
Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund is one of the most recognizable faces in the Counter-Strike scene. The longest tenured member of the world-famous Ninjas in Pyjamas, GeT_RiGhT has seen just about everything there is to see in professional Counter-Strike. With the IEM Katowice Major just around the corner, GeT_RiGhT agreed to speak with Alexey “OverDrive” Biryukov about various topics including how age affects performance and more.
Do you watch the broadcasts from big tournaments? Do you like how the casters doing their job? In the CIS it’s the most discussed theme, since players don’t appear to like CIS casters at all.
It’s kinda tricky question for me. I am pretty close with the English casters–I know them pretty well and I like to hang out with them. I watch their streams and I know how they act, how they joke, and what kind of mistakes they make while casting. To be honest, I don t really like what they are saying during the games. They are usually not up to date on how the meta is changing. Sometimes they are very offensive, blaming players with a stupid move, according to them, but for us players we see the bigger picture. Players understand what others are thinking about doing that “stupid” move and that the impact of that move if it is successful. I will say the casters are working so many tournaments, they are casting so much and physically can’t be updated on what is going on with meta. So I don’t really like the way they cast, but I understand why it’s like that. Like I said, I know them personally so if I hear that they made a mistake, I’ll tell them that they said something wrong and they need to fix it. It’s hard work to do and I really appreciate how they are trying to do their best, but sometimes I just mute them.
So how do you think casters can improve their understanding of the game?
I think the best way is just to play the game with pros and ask questions about different situations. Maybe watch demos with pros to know what this or that move meant. It’s a hard question since they really don’t have time to do what I said.
Until what age is it possible to play on a high level?
I’m turning 29 next year so I’ve been asking the same question to myself. I’m not on that level that I want me to be, but I can still fight against strong teams–especially young ones. But as far as the question is concerned, look at Forest. He’s two years older than me and he looks like he is the best player on my team. He’s playing and loving the game like he’s 15. So after that, I don’t think age matters. What really matters is your motivation. I saw a lot of people who can be really great in this game, but they start having a lot of different things going in their lives. Starting families and finding more enjoyable things to do, to name two. So the age thing is not a question. If everything is good in your life, your girlfriend and people who around you will accept your CSGO interest and then you can fully focus on playing CS. If they are not, you will have problems being on a high gaming level. It’s a tricky question for these players, because they need to choose what they want to do more, but I’m lucky enough to have a girlfriend, friends and family who fully accept my job.
Maybe you can tell us at what age it’s possible to play?
Let s say 40-45 and then it’s not about professional gaming. It’s about life. When your kids are grown up and you have a big family it’s gonna be more like a fun, not professional. I don’t want to be 40 and still playing this game. I think I will have other things I want to be focused on.
When you were in your best form as a player?
I think it was between the ages of 20-25. I’ve never been a talented born player, it was always a real hard work. I played a little bit more than other pro players. That was my edge.
What outside of the game motivates you as a player? Are there any books or movies you can point to?
I don’t watch many movies, but I read a lot of books. I don’t like books about motivation, however, it makes no sense if I read that I’m the best and I can do everything. I like autobiography books. I read a lot of books about Sir Alex Ferguson. I liked books about Magnus Hedman – Swedish goalkeeper and I’ve read an Ibrahimovic book. As far as movies are concerned, I think if you name a worst movie for you it might be a best movie for me. My level of liking movies is very bad. I don’t watch movies to find a motivation, I watch them to feel something. I like to watch movies which make me sad. Back the old days, I watched Marley and Me and while it might be not the most interesting movie, it touched me a lot. Just around that time I lost my dog which was my little brother and I watched that movie just a few months later.
Can you tell me your nickname story?
I was around 7-years old. I have 3 siblings, 2 brothers and a sister. We were a lucky enough to have a computer when we were young and I started to play Quake and Action Quake, which was similar to CS, and I was really good in it. I shared the computer with my brother so we had the same nickname. So, I wanted to have my own nickname. I asked my oldest brother Robin to figure out a nickname for me and he said that he needs few days to think about it. When i came to him in few days, i was really excited about what kind of nick i m going to have but he completely forgot about me. He was afraid to disappoint me since I was a little kid, so he looked into a monitor and he was downloading a program called Getright or something closer to that. So he wrote me that on a paper and I was very happy to have my own nickname. I was changing the way I write Getright and tried to find a way to make it look fancy. I didn’t understand the meaning of the word those days, but later when I was 14-15 and telling a story about my nickname to a friend, I realized that my brother didn’t really care and randomly picked that name. I’m 28 now and my nickname is for a young kid and of course I can’t change it now, but at least it’s not something common.
Having won a Major, how do you keep your drive and motivation alive to compete afterwards?
Well, I need to remember that feeling, its been a while. Anyway, my motivation never went down. To be on top you need to work as hard as you can. Like I said, I always played a lot to become better. I couldn’t just stop playing because I won something. My motivation never sinks. I always want to get back to the game and play it more because I always want to win. I always want to be the best. I already did my legacy, but I want to make it bigger, I want everyone to know that GeT_RiGhT is the hardest working pro and that even if they aren’t talented they can work hard and achieve good results. Look at s1mple. A few years ago he was good, but nothing special. When he put hard work together with his talent, he became literally the best player in world along with Coldzera, Device etc. Every night I see him play. Most players go to sleep after practice and he goes to play some FPL mixes. I feel very motivated to watch players like him.
Does salary affect on your motivation?
When I was a kid my father told me that money isn’t everything. My dad worked hard for my family and mother didn’t work much. She cared about us, she was a home mom. My father was always away, he wanted us to have everything. We had vacations two times per year, any toys I wanted, but he always told me that money isn’t everything. He worked not for the money, he worked cause he wanted to make us happy. I started to play CS not because of money. I had 100$ salary, but still I worked hard and my salary became bigger and bigger with the years. I don’t like to discuss my money saying look how much I can make. I make good money, but still I know that I can make more and there is no way my motivation can decrease because of money. Even if I always give the best presents to my girlfriend, go with her to fancy restaurants, and do whatever we want, I prefer to save money. All my bonuses and prize money I try to save so when I finish my career, I won’t need to go to work somewhere urgently. So I feel more relaxed thinking about my future knowing that I have resources to make a new life if I stop playing.
Having been as successful as you have been, did that success ever go to your head?
I think through the years that has happened a few times. I didn’t do it on purpose, but the older I got I totally lost that feeling that I’m someone special. I meet people on the street who recognize me and I talk with them. I really enjoy meeting new people,getting to know them–doesn’t matter who they are, where are they from and where they work. If you are nice to me, I’ll be nice to you and if you are interesting, I’ll want to know more about you.
Can you tell me about your switch from 1.6 to CSGO?
I think I was one of the few who liked it from the beginning. It was something fresh and new for me. It wasn’t like 1.6, it was closer to Source and it was full of bugs, but still it was very interesting for me to play. Maps were pretty similar to 1.6, but all the physics were completely different, so that was no advantage for me. Everyone was on the same page, everyone was equally bad in this game. So it was really cool to explore this game every day. You find a sick nade [grenade] which no one knows right now for sure.
Did you miss 1.6 when you started playing CSGO?
I didn’t miss the game, but I really missed what surrounded it – the 1.6 community with all old players. I really hope that one day all the 1.6 guys meet somewhere at an afterparty. That would be very interesting for me to know how their lives are going. I know it won’t happen, but if it does, I’ll be the first one there.
What s the difference between the old 1.6 community and current CSGO community?
Our community grew knowing that the game isn’t the main stuff in life. We were more social. We were playing from the internet cafe, we were traveling, chilling, having fun together. We were on the same page. No One had a lot of money, if some had – they got it on a side. The game wasn’t really like work, it was our passion. This game made us closer to each other in real life. That s why I miss the old guys since I’ve spent lot of good times with them.
No one could beat Nip at the start of CSGO for few years, how did you keep that high a level?
We played a lot. We’d win a tournament, come home ,and start to play even more. We practiced extremely hard. Also, I was lucky enough to have great teammates and a great organization behind us so I could fully focus on myself. It was this combination of different factors that made us the best team back in that day.
What was it is that allowed other teams to catch up to NiP and start beating them a while back?
On the one hand, our motivation maybe sank a bit. We didn’t put everything into our game like we did before. On the other hand, we didn’t change our style or our tactics. So we just stopped improving our game while others improved really fast. And when they faced us, they knew how we played and what we were going to do.
What was your best lineup besides your present-day lineup?
Our first lineup with Friberg and Fifflaren was the best. Our mentality was close to 1.6. We didn’t have high salaries. We were friends in real life and we put everything in to become better. We were living like rock stars, thinking only about each other and helping each other. We drank together, went out, and explored the world together. We did everything together and we were 100% a family. My Second favorite lineup for me I guess was lineup with Pyth, when he stepped in instead of Fifflaren. It was because we still were close. Pyth is very funny person, it’s really cool to play with him on a team, to travel with him, all that. We weren’t a really strong in game, but our life was full of fun.
What was your hardest loss and most enjoyable win?
The hardest loss was against Vega Squadron when we played the qualifier for ELEAGUE. It was one of the first events where the Swiss system was used and we were going 1-2 and had a game versus Vega who was a new team on the international level. We didn’t respect them too much and we were punished for that. We lost the game and the event and I had one of my worst games ever. I had a lot of problems in my personal life and this loss was a top. The best win was of course was our Major win in 2014 in Cologne. We lost two Major finals before that and those days we started to play worse. I didn’t feel my game at all. Friberg played really well, so he boosted our morale and everyone stepped up. We didn’t have any easy games, the scores were 2-1, 16-14, and overtimes. We played with our hearts, we put everything in that win and the thing is that if we lost that final we are done with that team. No one expected us to win, but we managed to do that. And after all that, it was a big relief winning that tournament. I would love to go back there and feel that win again. That’s why I’m afraid to quit playing because I don’t know how I will live without these inexpressible feelings.
Which CSGO scenes you like the most?
Every scene is different. The American scene is fun to watch, we can find there so many weird and uncommon stuff. They have a lot of interesting streamers who are streaming officials, but they do it for fun not to show high results. The American scene is not very skilled, but there are a lot of talented players who want to become better and its interesting to watch them. The most skilled scene is of course European. By Europe, I literally mean all regions with CIS as well. There are a lot of good players all over the Europe. Maybe they are not experienced like top teams, but they come out with some cool things. Every tier 2-3 team has something special which you didn’t even think of. When I watch some of their moves, I’m thinking that I would never do that when NiP is playing. But when you are inexperienced, you don t have tier-1 limits where you are going to be instantly punished for your mistake. You aren’t afraid to do any move and with that lot of cool grenades, moves, and then some new tactics appear.
Why do you think in some regions only few countries have great results in CSGO? For example if we take South America, we have only Brazil, if we take far CIS or Middle East, we have only Kazakhstan.
At one point it’s about money. Some countries invest more money in this industry and that means more money people have to buy a computer. If we take Brazil, they had already a rich history, they had a good cs 1.6, they have big LoL scene, and Dota 2 teams. FalleN did a lot for the Brazilian scene. He streamed, did weekly tournaments, he made opportunity for a team to go to US to play CSGO, and he made people believe that they can earn money by playing the game. He fought hard for the scene, he built it from scratch. In some countries people want to become streamers to get money and not to become a professional gamer. Young people are more interested in money and not about competitiveness in the game. You just act like a comedian or whoever you want to be and get money via donations. Lots of streamers get more money than top players. Children like to watch someone everyday playing and not someone who appears once per month like me when I’m playing a tournament. If we take Kazakhstan there was Arbalet who exploded the scene, he also helped Ukrainian scene as well, he made Na’Vi who brought their scene to a new level.
Why there are no Tier-1 teams in regions like far Asia and South Europe?
As far as South Europe is concerned, I think maybe they are interested in other games and there is no-one who can help them boost their scenes. Asia has the same issues I guess. They have tournaments, but CSGO is a bit of an aside. Moba is their main thing. In some countries there is only moba cybersport. For example, the moba scene in Korea is very big and there’s no CSGO activity, so MVK Pk needs to travel a lot to neighboring countries to play tournaments.
Let’s take Scandinavia. Why is Denmark a little bit higher in CSGO than Norway, Sweden and Finland?
In Denmark, a lot of hype came a few years ago when a lot of money was invested in cyberport since everyone saw that it’s fast growing industry. Lots of brands and companies in Denmark invest in cybersport because they see that young generation really likes it. Moreover Danish government supports cybersport. Sweden is kinda stuck. We have investments, but they are not that big as they are in Denmark.
Who’s your best and worst Swedish teammate?
I’m not sure I have a worst one, but the best one of course is f0rest. He can handle me, we are always on the same page, and he still has an energy to play with me. I respect him a lot, we have a good understanding of the game and we are good partners in our job.
And if we say not the worst teammate but the hardest teammate to play with?
I can’t think of a such teammate. The only one I can think of is Delpan from 1.6 times. I really like him as a person, but he was a something special, he s very different from me.
Are big buyouts good for players?
It depends on different situations. It can be a new talented player or a big name in CSGO. So it’s good for big players and not really good for new talent who are just making their names. If you want to have a top experienced player, you must be ready to pay good money. If we are talking about new player, organizations need to help them and not block their future asking for a really high price which no one will pay. In general, this is a business which is very new and it’s pretty shady, it s hard to describe all the processes which are happening inside of it. I can only say that it s more about investing money and not getting it back.
Would you like to switch to another organization someday?
I don’t have an answer for this question. I love where I am now and I don’t see any other places where I possibly want to go. Sometimes I think about that but I don’t think it would ever happen.
Have you ever had any offers from other organizations?
I had a lot of them. Everyone knows about the Cloud9 case for example, but I don’t want to talk about other offers now. I will tell about it when my book is realized. I mean when I finish my career I will be more open and I will tell more about all the situations and all cases in my career. For now I’d like to be more closed, keep some information for myself so people won’t discuss it and I can be focused on my gaming.
Can you say how your salary multiplied from your first CS money to your present contract?
From that time to now, I would say about 500 times.
What was your biggest purchase with the money you earned in CSGO?
I guess it’s my apartments. I never been a fan of watches, I’ve never been a fan of a cars even if I have a driving licence. I never spend a lot of money on buying clothes. Like I said, I save money for the future.
Which coach had the biggest impact on you and your team and which had the lowest impact?
I guess both answers for this question is Threat. He made me better in the game, he helped develop myself, he helped me to change my gaming style. He also has a lowest impact because before he left the team, he lost his motivation. He used to be an in-game coach, but when Valve put in that coach rule where they can speak only on freeze time, he was ok with that, but he started to lose his motivation. I don’t think he would ever get back to coaching stuff, but I would like to see him coaching.
Did you ever asked to be a part of a match fixing game?
No, it’s disgusting to me.
Who did you want to be when you were a kid?
I always had a dream to become a chef. I still have this dream today. I’m not very good in that, but it’s my passion. It’s really interesting for me how you cook, serve it, and make someone happy eating it. Even if it’s my dream, I don t see myself becoming a chef, but at least I want to be a good in it.
What’s your favorite cuisine?
I like Pho food. You can put everything you like and it would be very good. It’s easy to do it and it can be very healthy and still very tasty. And the main thing I like about it the most is that it gives so much energy, it could fix you for the whole day.
What s your favorite music band?
I listen to all kind of music. I don t have a favorite band. Right now I’m more into electronic music. But I can listen to rap, pop music. If we look in my playlist it’s very random – Justin Beiber, Avicii, some hip-hop artists, some Swedish music. But if I need something to relax I would say it s classic music – Mozart, Bach, Beethoven.
What’s your dream besides cybersport?
I want to own a good restaurant and go there and eat good food.
Did you ever go to Michlenne restaurants?
Yes, I’ve been once in Paris. I liked it very much, but it’s a bit different for me. It’s delicious, but it’s too little of food. When I want to eat, I like when it’s a lot of food. You eat a little and it costs too much. There’s a michelin restaurant near Stockholm in the forest and they make only food which they got from the forest. They change their menu everyday and you never know what they have today. So that is something special.
Have you ever had a job outside cybersport?
I can’t say I had one to be honest. I’ve worked like 2 times (2 shifts max) in Inferno Online during one of their “night gibs” when you play during 23 in the evening to 07 in the morning. I’m not sure if I would say it’s a job I had or such, but that’s what I can come up with on my mind right now.
Describe your family.
My family is very supportive, very warmed and very loving. They support me no matter how I do. They love me like I am and whatever I do. The same goes from me to them. I’m very disappointed that I can t see them often. I would love to see my parents and my siblings more often. I’m very busy, but also I’m lazy, that’s what disappoints me as well.
Did your parents let you do cybersport without any problems?
My parents always respected my decisions. When I chose gaming, they supported me. They even bought a new computer, drove me to tournaments, and gave me money so I can travel to tournaments.
Will you let your children make a cybersport career?
I won’t force them to become a progamers, but I would love if they choose it. No matter what, I will always support and respect their choices. They would do whatever they want. If they want play football – they will play football, if they want to play CS – they will play CS. The only thing that I don’t want them to do is to repeat my way cause I put it to the extreme level.
Do you have any fears?
I’m terrified of flying and height. I’m traveling more than 10 years, but still I’m afraid of it. I love to see new countries and if you love it you need to fly, so I do it. But every time I’m afraid of it.
What has been your biggest mistake thus far in your life?
I never regret that I did something. I believe that life has a plan for you and everything you do is for a reason. Of course, I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I believe it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day.
You’ve visited a lot of countries. Do you have a special one that you like?
I’ve always enjoyed America. I like Korea and China but the one which I’m very fond of was my vacation trip. It was Tanzania and Zanzibar. It’s very good for couples. It was very beautiful, people were very nice, food was great, weather was good, and it totally blew my mind away. I never thought I’d go there, but I did. I’ve been to lot of places and I didn’t think that Africa would interest me in any way. But now I want to explore more of it. I would recommend this place to everyone. It’s like you watch a movie where a couple is on wonderful Hawaiian trip and you think that its only possible in movies, but now I can say that I’ve been on holiday like that.
What s your favorite beer?
Staropramen or maybe Heineken.
Who s the best new talented player right now?
I think Refrezh from Fragsters. I really enjoy watching him play.
What do you think that some Swedish proplayers were banned for cheating these days?
I feel ashamed. I don’t want cheaters in the game I grew up and work. So I would say for them – Get the fuck out of my game.
Why you are still very nervous during the game?
Nerves are my strength and my weakness. I better prefer being nervous than not. When Im not nervous I play worse.
What do you think about removing players from FPL?
I think it’s a good thing, because it should be refreshed. It’s good that I don t take part in these decisions, I just play.
Do you follow global politics? Do you care when they say that these countries are bad and these ones a good?
I do, but I’m not really 100% focusing on it and like up to date with it all the time. I do personally believe that every country has it bad spots and good ones as well. So in general, I don’t really trust in what I hear.