This week’s Killer Insight is an inspiring one. We talk to Dayton Jones, one of the Community’s most fierce competitors.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Dayton Jones and simply go by DaytonJ in tournaments. I am from the Southeastern region of Wisconsin.
KI tournament history
Dayton: 9th at UFGTX, 13th at Combo Breaker, 3rd in the 1st 8BBD World Cup Qualifier, 1st in the 3rd World Cup Qualifier, 3rd in Kombo Klash Online, 3 8BBD wins overall and many top 8s (and hopefully more in the future)
Dayton: People may know me from my Wulf/Spinal/Orchid. But out of those 3, I really only like Spinal as a character. Aganos is my other favorite character based on his design, theme, and fun-factor. Punching people through walls might be the most satisfying thing in a fighting game EVER.
Favorite KI Music Track?
Dayton: Every theme except Riptor’s and Glacius’. I think Aganos’ is my favorite-favorite, very manly sounding.
What got you into playing Killer Instinct?
Dayton: I never played the old ones because my Mom wouldn’t have let me to be honest! I just knew that it was one of those cult fighting games and a remake was dropping on the console I planned to get. I’m always down to try any fighting game, especially when you can try it for free. When they first announced it, I was like ‘Hmmm….. Ok.’ And then more footage started to come out and I loved how the game played and looked. I knew I wanted to get into this game. I just never thought I would’ve had the success I had and KI is still growing and being updated; being far from “dead”. These next couple years are going to be big for KI and Iron Galaxy in general.
We have battled each other before online in other fighting games years ago and you’ve become a competitive threat since then. Do you remember your breakthrough moment competing in KI or when you simply just “Got it” in fighting games?
Dayton: Yes we did! I started in SSF4 after I watched EVO in 2010. I randomly came across it on the G4 website and it simply looked cool to me. I ended up getting SSF4 shortly after and just toyed with it. Again, I had no intention of being a competitive player. I played Tekken the most probably before anything, but I just knew how to mash certain strings. I didn’t know any basics of fighting games in general. Tekken, by the way, is still one of my favorite titles today. I starting watching more weeklies and majors for Street Fighter and I became more and more hooked. It was something that was accessible to me because of my disability which I really liked. Fighting games, to me, are my version of sports. I ended up slowly working on the basics; execution mainly. Over time, by watching footage, I started to understand basics like spacing, footsies, teching, OSs, hitboxes, hurtboxes, etc… I had gotten to a point where I thought I was one of the better Seths in SF4. I picked Seth because of Poongko and….. that’s pretty much the only reason. Sure, I knew a good deal of tech, but I didn’t know how to play fighting games like the really good players. I had considered quitting fighting games in general many times, but something always drew me back. I don’t play SF4 anymore as of today because my only outlet of practice is online and the scene in my area has dwindled unfortunately. KI has, arguably, the best netcode to date. This is great because most can’t tell the difference between online/offline so practicing through either outlet is as beneficial as the other. For me, KI, has helped me grow as a player; knowing how to use the lab, learning matchups, adapting during a set, etc…
What got you into KI and competing in stuff like 8 bit beat down?
Dayton: I found out about 8BBD randomly. I was glad it was a weekly which means I could get a lot of tournament practice in. The amount of players is also great as, in some weeks, 8BBD gets more entrants than majors. I didn’t win anything during S1, but again, I didn’t feel like I was strong back then. Now, I’m getting stronger, but still have a lot to learn.
You recently got 3rd place in 8 bit beat down and won some of the KI Community Fund bonus money, what was that experience like competing against 100+ players online?
Dayton: I really didn’t expect to make it that far. I had not played KI for about a month and a half for personal reasons and I had still felt rusty on the day of the tournament. Things kind of clicked as the tournament went on and I was able to make it far because of that. I try not to focus on the amount of entrants as it can intimidate me. I just focus on who I may play and let the other pieces fall where they may.
How often do you practice, is it mostly online or offline with friends?
Dayton: 100% online. I practice maybe 1-2 hours a day, sometimes longer if a tournament is coming up.
It’s not easy for you to travel far for tournaments. Tell us how you’ve overcome your physical setback to compete at such a high level in KI.
Dayton: I have Spinal Muscular Atrophy type II, which makes my muscles weaker than what they should be at my age. I do think it has hindered me a bit as I really have to think hard about simple things such as my button layout. It sounds so simple, but makes such a difference. There is usually maybe 1 normal that I have to completely disregard and mold my gameplay to fit around it. Without the rightstick layout in KI, I would not be able to play. I wish other fighting games would take note when it comes to customizing layouts as there is a small population that really enjoys playing, but are being limited. Plus, it’s hard for me to travel long distances because my disease causing me to have breathing issues. This is why you rarely see me at majors. At the moment, I am trying to do little things so that I can make it out to more events.
You have an extremely supportive family with your tournament endeavors, tell us about it.
Dayton: My Dad is the one who brought me to Combo Breaker and I roomed with a friend (Mike aka Twizted Vizion5). My Stepfather brought me to UFGTX, which was my first major. This is where I met Mike and we’ve become really good friends since. I definitely try to get games in with him when I can and improve his gameplay. All my family (Mom, Stepmom, extended), local community, friends, and even my church support me in what I do.
Any advice for upcoming players in KI?
Dayton: Watch a lot of tournaments like 8BBD and footage from past majors, look out for streamers that stream KI that have placed well offline such as Rico, Mani, LCD, Bass, GutterMagic, Sleep, etc… Don’t try to just learn how to play KI, but fighting games in general. General knowledge can help you learn other types of fighting games in my opinion.
Excited for KI World Cup?
Dayton: I am but I would be even more excited if I figure out a way to attend! This event keeps getting bigger and bigger and, in my opinion, is going to be one of the greatest accomplishments in the FGC ever.
Are you excited about Season 3, any characters you’d like to see or features in the game?
Dayton: Of course! If I can get Tusk, Kim Wu, and online practice, I will be satisfied.
Be sure to give Dayton a follow on www.twitter.com/dayton_j
Discuss the interview here: http://forums.killerinstinct.prod.web.msgamestudios.com/t/killer-insight-dayton-jones/3249