Roo Kang talks Tekken 7, playing with Bob, tournament wins, Manchester Battle Arena and more
Mario ‘Roo Kang’ Tufinio is one of the best Tekken players the UK has to offer. A passionate yet humble player, his impressive skills have seen him win countless tournaments around the world. I caught up with Mario to find out more about his exciting life as a jet-setting competitive Tekken player!
Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us! So, to start things off, how and when did you get into Tekken?
Thank you for having me! It randomly started at university one day after walking past the games room, I noticed people were playing Tekken 6 and I was very interested to see how the new game worked. The last time I played Tekken was back when I was young and that was Tekken 3.
Wow, that’s quite a significant amount of time between Tekken games.
Yeah. I slowly started playing with a group at university and that’s when I met OG Bubsy for the first time. He was destroying everyone and this motivated me to improve! I played with him countless times after that, and I lost a lot more than I won, but learned so much from him and he ended up becoming one of my best friends.
It’s always great to hear stories of how Tekken has helped form friendships.
That’s seven years of friendship now. (laughs) He has an advanced knowledge of how the game works so I still go to him for advice now.
You use Roger Jr and Bob in Tekken Tag 2, why did you choose them two in particular?
If I had to be honest, I picked Bob because he is such a strong character in Tekken Tag 2. He has a lot of great mid attacks, and has an answer for nearly everything the opponent does.
Tell me about it – one of the reasons I hate coming up against Bob players. (laughs)
I also like the fact that he is super big and super fast which is a strange combination to say the least (laughs). I picked Roger Jr up in Tekken 6 because he was a very unusual character which not many people knew about. I decided to use him ever since then, and I’ve learned so much during this time.
They’re definitely not a typical Tekken duo! Do you have any advice for people who want to start using those characters?
My advice for Bob is to always focus on using a lot of mid moves, as he has some of the strongest in the game. One of my favorite moves is SS1+2 because it is safe and has a built in side step, wall splats.
Do you have any other characters who you main?
Lars and Jinpachi.
Interesting. When did you realize that you could start playing at a professional level?
I think I only started realizing half way through Tekken 6 after a few small local gaming sessions. I found myself beating some players even though I was still very new at the game. I went straight to practice mode after that and slowly started getting better.
How many tournaments have you competed in now?
I would say I have entered over sixty (60) tournaments. I have competed in many tournaments around the world in countries such as France, Dubai, Germany, Finland and the UK.
Wow, that’s certainly impressive. How many have you won?
I’ve won over 30 local, international tournaments which include Eurogamer Expo 2011, The Snake Pit 3 vs 3 2012, Warriors Return 2, Legacy of Minds 2014, 360 Gaming UK ranking battles, Manchester Play Expo 2014 and 2015, Hypespotting 2015 and 2016, and OU Gaming 2015 and 2016.
That’s amazing. Okay, I think we already know the answer to this, but how did you come up with the name Roo Kang? (laughs)
I was actually given this name by the best Steve player in the UK, Bullrage. If you ignore the “A” and say “Kang roo” backwards it spells out Roo Kang! (smiles)
Ah, just as we thought. (laughs) So, there’s tons of fighting games out, why is Tekken number one for you?
It was one of my favorite childhood games, and I also love the character designs!
What’s your favorite character design from the series?
Bob! People say he looks boring, but I like how he looks!
You were recently flown over to Dubai to compete in the OUG Tekken Tag 2 tournament. Tell us more about that.
This was my 3rd time in Dubai in a year but wow, what an incredible event! To play amongst the best players in the middle east, and also the best player in the world, JDCR from South Korea, was a great experience.
What did you think of your performance?
My performance was good, but there is a lot I could improve on for the next time. I still managed to take 4th place after fighting my way through losers bracket which I am happy about.
And so you should be, that’s great. What did you think of JDCR’s performance?
JDCR is on a completely different level. His movement and execution is amazing and has very good fundamentals.
I followed the live stream and updates during the event, and I really enjoyed it.
I would like to say thank you so much to OU Gaming and the Tekken community in Dubai for looking after me during my stay!
Speaking of the different Tekken communities around the world, being from the UK, how do you view the US Tekken scene?
The US Tekken is definitely one of the strongest scenes in the world. They have a lot of amazing players such as Anakin, Kor and Speedkicks.
As you’re from London, can you give us an insight into what the Tekken scene is like there? How do you feel about the UK scene as a whole?
I think the UK scene is evolving at the moment with lots of new players breaking through into the tournament scene. You have some very talented players like Trollimitsu and Haroun who have shown great improvement over this past year.
Yeah, I totally agree. And everyone’s so hyped for Tekken 7.
Yeah, everyone is eagerly waiting for Tekken 7 now, and I’m sure the scene will continue to grow once the game is released on console.
You represent Manchester Battle Arena, who are doing great things for the UK Tekken scene. How did you hook up with them?
I started representing them after attending a few events in Manchester and after meeting with the CEO of MBA, Mr. Esmond Fong. He is one of my closest friends and we have attended many events together. He supported me back when I was still beginning my quest for gold in Tekken and now I am more than happy to represent the team.
That’s great. I love what those guys are doing. They’re an amazing group of people, who know how to have fun with the game.
They have a lot of great members in the team who have showed me the fun side of Tekken and a completely different view on how the Tekken scene should be!
The only UK player that played Tekken at EVO 2016 was Ryan Hart. Do you and any of the MBA guys plan to attend EVO 2017?
No plans have been made at the moment. Maybe 2018.
Here’s hoping! You’ve been selected to play in the UK qualifier, congratulations! What did you think of the process when entering? (Players had to state how much of a Tekken fan they were)
I think it was a great idea because it means only the best and most passionate Tekken fans will be present in this tournament.
Are you feeling confident?
The game is still fairly new so there is still a lot to learn, but I will certainly give it my all in the King of Iron Fist Tournament!
Good luck! We’re all starting to get super hyped for Tekken 7 now that we’re getting closer to 2017. It’s known as ‘the end of the Mishima saga,’ do you have any of your own predictions about how the story will pan out?
I hope that none of the Mishima’s die, and it would be good if Heihachi absolutely destroys Akuma in the story.
You literally just said exactly what I want from the game story wise. (laughs) How are you finding the game so far? Are there any brand new characters who you might take up in the future?
Tekken 7 is an amazing game and seems to be a lot more popular than TTT2. I would like to learn Shaheen when the game is released because he seems to suit my play style.
We’ve met at a couple of events now, both with Tekken 7 playable. I’m going to have to practice more if I’m ever going beat you. (laughs)
I’m sure you are going to carry on getting better and better and I can’t wait until our next fight!
Me neither, hopefully I will redeem myself at London Comic Con this weekend. (laughs) Okay – so the community will definitely want to know more about Roo Kang outside of Tekken, so I’m going to ask you some random questions. What games do you play other than Tekken?
I love DDR Revolution. It is one of my favorite games along with Tekken. Whenever I hit the arcades it’s the first thing I look for. (laughs)
Besides playing Tekken, what are your other hobbies?
I play football (soccer) roughly around 3 times a week and I also enjoy jogging.
What are your favorite TV shows?
At the moment Game of Thrones has to be top. The way it’s filmed along with the brilliant acting makes it a TV show that everyone should watch.
And your favorite movie?
My all time favorite movie is Lord of the Rings. Me and my friend Layth (Gilgamesh) always end up watching 15 minutes or so every time we eat round my house which is quite funny lol we are yet to complete a movie (laughs).
Ah another LOTR fan! I love those movies! What football (soccer to our US community) team do you support?
Of course, Manchester United.
Oh no, and it was going so well. (laughs) Just kidding! Who is your favorite band or music artist?
The weird thing about me is that I love all types of music from classical to trance to rap.
What’s your favorite country to visit?
UAE! My favorite place inside the UAE is Dubai!
If you didn’t play Tekken, what else would you be doing?
I would be learning to play the piano or maybe playing an eSports game like League of Legends.
Awesome. Once again, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us. Good luck in the UK Qualifiers in November. I’ll be rooting for you!
Thanks for the interview, and I will try my best to place high in the tournament! Take care.