Meet Xhavier, aka “Kzero”, one of the biggest Killer Instinct fans to exist. He has quite possibly the largest KI memorabilia collection in the world.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Xhavier and I go by Kzero in the gaming community. I’m from a small town in North Carolina. I don’t have much of a KI tournament history to speak of. Up until this point, I’ve had some medical issues that prevented me from physically attending tournaments. Not only was I not able to go physically, it was Dr.’s orders. Which was tough to swallow. I waited so long for KI to become a thing again, and as soon as it does…I can’t participate in tournaments. It was tough.
I couldn’t really pick a favorite. I’m really big on playing the entire roster. As some people would say “I main random select”. They’re all my favorites.
Favorite KI Music Track?
Oh jeez. How could I pick a favorite? There’s so many good ones! One of my favorites though, has to be Tooth & Claw….and Lycanthropy. I know it’s two, shaddap! Both because they’re these grand overture, that really nail the desperation and dread of Sabrewulf’s character. The strings in Lycanthropy, coupled with the tick-tock is a really great touch. Even if you had no idea what the music was supposed to accompany, you can still sense terror and ferocity. Mick Gordon and Robin Beanland did an incredible job portraying the character musically.
Tell us about your first time seeing and playing Killer Instinct?
I remember walking into Red Baron arcade in Erie, PA in 1994. I was playing a game, not a care in the world. When out of nowhere, booming throughout the arcade I hear “Available for your home in 1995, Only ON NINTENDO ULTRA 64…………..KILLER INSTINCT!” . I was like “What….was THAT?!”. I ran over to this new arcade cabinet with a rocking theme, looking at the insane graphics and being blown away, I had to drop quarters into it. I hit start and the screen explodes and shatters. “Wow! Is that a skeleton? Is that dude on fire? An ice guy?! Holy crap a robot! A frigging dinosaur?!”. Of course I had no idea what I was doing. Luckily there was a bezel that had the move list and some basic combos. After I saw that the game revolved around combos…that was it. I was hooked. I remember pulling off small combos in Street Fighter 2, and Mortal Kombat, and wished that I could do longer combos for a “cool” factor. I went from curious, to obsessed. I’ve been hooked ever since.
I played it almost non-stop. I got really good at the game. A little too good. No one would step up to the machine while I was on it, and if I joined someone, they would walk away, unless they didn’t know who I was. It was awesome, yet horrible at the same time, lol. When the SNES version came out, I fell in love all over again. Even though it wasn’t anywhere near the arcade version, I still played it non-stop. And it came with a music cd packed in! That was awesome at the time and it was my first video game soundtrack. In total I spent about 4 years playing at least 8-10 hours a day. It was a religion to me. When KI2 came out, I wasn’t really into it. I didn’t like the new mechanics, the graphics didn’t impress me like the first, and I hated what they did to the women in the game. It just put me off. I still played it, but nowhere near as much as KI1. And no soundtrack with the KI Gold release! :(. Over the years I played it on and off through emulation and on my SNES. Around 5 years ago I would play at least once a month, wishing it would come back. Then E3 2013 comes along, and I lost my mind over the announcement!
You’re a pretty big advocate of KI on social media and twitch streams. Tell us what got you into KI and why you’re so passionate about it.
I had a ton of love for KI growing up. It was a dream game to me. Something I desperately wished for. I wanted a fighting game with longer combos, good graphics, great sounds and music, and fatalities. It gave me that and more. I’m all over KI on social media because I genuinely love the game. It’s the reason I went to twitter and Facebook on a regular basis. I wanted to support the game as best as I could, since I couldn’t attend tournaments or events. It’s also a game that saved me in many ways. Before I had all the surgeries, I pretty much suffered for 2 years. Doctors kept telling me I was too young to have these issues and that surgery should be a last resort. In that period of time, I wasn’t in a very good place mentally and physically. It’s was hard to face facts. Little by little I was losing my ability to walk. Even worse, was when my son would ask me to play with him or take him to the park, and you have to look at him in the eye and say no. And then hope he understands when you try and explain that it’s not his fault, and that it’s not that I don’t want to, but because I can’t. It was taking it’s toll. So when KI was announced, I was beyond happy. I was really emotional and it lifted my spirits greatly. I had spinal (Spinal, lol) surgery Nov 21st 2013. The eve of the launch of KI and the Xbox One. I actually had my Pin Ultimate Edition shipped to the hospital, because I knew I was going to be there at the time. As midnight hit, I held it proudly:
Another reason why, is the community. We have an incredible community. It’s filled with really passionate and incredible people that care about the game, the community, new players, and having a good time. It also got me into twitch. I started off watching Max, then Grimmmz, then Guttermagic…now the list of streamers and supporters is HUGE! I love it. It’s been incredible to watch people grow on Twitch and YouTube because of KI, and even though we don’t have a massive presence in offline tournaments, we still bring the hype that KI deserves. I also think we’re pioneering the online tournament scene when it comes to fighting games. The fact that we have an online tournament for almost every single day of the week is incredible. All of that would not be possible without this game and it’s incredible community. That’s why I love KI and why I support it as much as I possibly can, everywhere I can. I’ll support this game till i’m buried, lol.
My son is a huge KI fan as well. He became a fan by watching me play the original KI and KI 2 once in a while. When the new KI came out, he became just as big a fan as I am. He watches the tournaments with me, new trailers, etc. He’s a bit of a masher, but he tries. He actually beat KI on the SNES last year. It was a proud moment for me! The only problem i’ve had with my son being into KI, was Hisako when she first came out. He wasn’t a big fan of her intro, but he would watch her trailer over and over. He’s over it now though.
What other fighting games do you enjoy besides KI?
I enjoy quite a few, although I don’t play them nearly as often as KI. Street Fighter, Skullgirls, Tekken, Marvel Vs Capcom, Tatsunoko Vs Capcom, War Gods, MK, Dead or Alive, Soul Calibur, Guilty Gear, Smash, and Virtua Fighter. There’s many more out there, but I haven’t really tried much outside of those I just mentioned. And yes, I dabble in War Gods. What you know about some Anubis? >:)
Excited for the KI World Cup?
Absolutely! I wasn’t sure if I was going to attend, but i’m going! In fact, you may see some cool things that I’ll be bringing there! 😛 https://twitter.com/XboxViking/status/675015674738008064 . Here’s a sneak peek!
That is quite the collection you have there! Want to talk about your passion for KI memorabilia?
I actually won a contest Rare Ltd. were having for a shoulder bag filled with stuff. I really wanted to win because i’m trying to collect as many KI items as I can, and some of the items, including the bag, had a silhouette of Fulgore on them. I was tied with someone else for first place, so we both got it. This was the winning picture.
Her name is Jazmine, and she’s a sweetheart. And here’s the prize pack I got.
It was awesome!
Lastly, I would like to clarify something. A few people have commented about my collecting. Not negatively, but I feel when I bring it up to folks, and I don’t fully explain it…they don’t quite understand why I collect KI stuff exclusively or why I want certain items.
I’m currently in the process of collection every piece of merchandise, advertising, and memorabilia related to Killer Instinct, for the sole purpose of preservation, so that past, present, and future fans of the series can see just how many amazing things were created. I’m also making a website that will have detailed pictures of every item, descriptions, rarity guide, history of the games and merchandise (if available. Some folks just pick up things at garage sales, lol), live auction links, care/preservation guides, and resource links related to KI and collecting in general. It’s about 25% done, and should be done by the end of February. I currently have the worlds largest (that’s currently known) KI collection, and i’m just about done completing it! Yes. Everything that was ever made for KI! I’m wary of saying that it’s almost done. It seems like every time I think that or put it in writing, something new I’ve never seen before pops up and I yank my hair out, lmao. I also don’t count certain items. Ken Lobb’s denim KI jacket, KI2 SNES prototype, one of a kind prizes from tournaments or events, etc. Those items are either impossible to obtain, are outrageously expensive, or have deep meaning to those who currently own them. But if any of you ever want to preserve those items or give them to a good home, you know who to contact :P.
Are you excited about Season 3, any characters you’d like to see or features in the game?
Super excited for Season 3! I love that we’ve gotten little previews for Season 3. The announcement of KI’s first guest character, RASH! And a new mechanic in the form of “stagger” that came with Shadow Jago. Love the new color and look of Season 3 as well. As far as characters go, I think we’re definitely going to see Gargos and a vampire character. I’ve seen people request a vampire character for years now. I believe it’s going to happen. Seeing Gargos updated on the Xbox One would look amazing! His new theme is gonna be awesome too! As far as features, I would love to see some sort of editing mode. It would be awesome to be able to take my own screenshots and make wallpapers, skins, and edit videos with some awesome angles. Ultimates obviously, but we’ve already been informed that it’s not on the table right now, so Season 4? :P. Lastly, I’ve wanted an attract mode since launch. Doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Just make it go into a cpu vs cpu match or show a previous match you’ve played when no one touches the controller for a minute or two. It would be awesome to have on in the background at home or at events to get people looking at the game and get sucked into the hype!
That does it for me. I want to thank the entire KI community for providing me with a loving place to let loose and get hype. All of you have influenced me and made an impact on my life, and i’m eternally grateful for that. Even if we never speak beyond a chat or a tweet, just know that in some way, you’re helping me and supporting me. Thank you! <3
Discuss the Interview Here: http://forums.killerinstinct.prod.web.msgamestudios.com/t/killer-insight-kzero/3369
I’d like to thank all of awesome community members for taking part in the Killer Insight interviews so far and the appreciative feedback we have gotten on doing them. We’ll be back in January with Brandon Alexander discussing everything Killer Instinct World Cup. Enjoy the holidays! -Jebailey