Below is a guest blog post by my husband, BreakyCPK, who frequently appears in my blog. He is often asked how he got in to the industry of esports and video games, so he decided it would be neat to share with everyone! Below is the blog post:
My name is Nikolas Caras, but most people that know of me know me by the name that I go by online which is BreakyCPK. My closest friends and even my wife refer to me as Breaky instead of Nick, and it doesn’t faze me. I started my Video Game casting career back in 2009 and over the years I have had the privilege of traveling all over the world, as well as my current place of residence in Kalamazoo Michigan where I met “The Good Geek Wife” or as I know her as, Kelsey.
But this post isn’t going to be a full story of my journey over the years of casting (that I am saving for either future posts, or hey even a book). Instead, I wanted to go over the story of how I even got into casting Video Games in the first place some 7 years ago, which is probably one of the most popular questions I get to this day.
The very short version is simply I was looking for more ways to get experience with sports casting, so I decided to give it a shot with video games, specifically Heroes of Newerth since I was playing it at the time.
The more detailed version is as followed.
Back in 2005 I graduated from high school, where I was overall a fairly good student. When it came to my first year of college up at a school in northern California however, I let World of Warcraft get the better of me. As a result of flunked out after my first year and decided it was best to come back home to San Diego, and live with my parents. So here I was, in the “what the hell am I going to do with my life” phase that I am sure most others have gone through or are possibly going through as well.
I worked several different retail jobs over the next ~3-4 years including Blockbuster Video and Home Depot, while at the same time attempting to go to some local community colleges just to simply keep up with education and earn some type of degree that I could use to further pursue a career. It felt like I was just going to school just to go, not really knowing what I wanted to pursue and really just getting general education classes done, but mainly because my parents told me I had to.
During this time as well, I continued to play plenty of computer games and also become more and more of a follower in a very new competitive gaming scene. Ranging from CS 1.6 to WoW arena, to DOTA, I even did a little bit of writing for some gaming websites just to be involved in that scene.
In 2008 however I happened to be looking at upcoming classes for the new semester of a Community College, and came across sportscasting / radio broadcasting. I have been a lifelong sports fan, specifically a San Diego Chargers and Los Angeles Lakers fan and I also have been told many times that I have a great voice, and I should do radio. So it just seemed fitting that I should give it a shot and see where it took me.
I ended up taking the class for the two semesters of that year, and both enjoyed going to school for the first time in a very long time, but also started to gain experience in a career I would potentially be pursuing. I started to cast some local high school football and basketball games for the college AM radio station. However those seasons only lasted so long and the opportunities for them were constantly shifted from person to person.
A game that I happened to get into recently was called Heroes of Newerth, a recreation of the popular game DOTA which I had previous experience playing with friends. Streaming video was also starting to become a more popular thing, however the tools were nowhere what they are today. But I wanted to get more experience in this career that I have come to realize is something I could really make something out of in broadcasting, so I decided why not.
Now to be clear, streaming has evolved a LOT in very little time. Back in 2009 when I did some research and a lot of testing, I was lucky to get a stream going with 360p quality. But hey, that was great for its time and the idea that people could just see what you had on your screen was cool enough. For a better idea of what it was like to stream, you can check out this video that I made in the earlier days, before Twitch was a thing.
The first couple of times I did it, I don’t think I had any viewers, especially without there being a platform like today with Twitch where people would just go to watch streams. But that never deterred me, I honestly wasn’t doing it for recognition or in hope that I would one day be a video game caster. However after a couple of weeks of casting random games, between “in house” matches to some scrims between “top teams”, I started to gain some recognition within the scene. It wasn’t until I was contacted by someone concerning a project they were planning to start about streaming HoN matches that eventually became the Honcast we know today that I realized maybe I could get something out of this more.
Over the next year things drastically changed, going from me just doing this on the side for experience while still working my retail job living with my parents, to getting a monthly pay check and eventually moving out on my own. My parents, especially my mother were never really behind the idea of me focusing so much on a video game, especially with my history and of course I can’t blame them. But in summer of 2011 the offer came to move out to Michigan and work officially as the head caster of Heroes of Newerth for S2 Games, and the realization finally hit that I had started what would be an awesome journey towards being an esports caster.