Alex “Goldenboy” Mendez is a global icon and national treasure best known for his broadcast work in Halo, Call of Duty, and Overwatch — most recently during BlizzCon’s Overwatch World Cup. As a native, console-playing New Yorker, Alex represents a unique gaming perspective with a genuine, eccentric personality. The Overguard was happy to catch up with Alex for some background and some of his thoughts on console esports, the Overwatch community, and the New York gaming scene in particular. A second part to this interview will be released next week, covering his thoughts on Fortnite, Titan Games, and the omnipresent mobile provider T-Mobile.
[Tepojama] Aside from social media, the last time we really saw you was as host of BlizzCon’s Overwatch World Cup — how was that experience?
[Goldenboy] “Whenever I get an opportunity to meet or work with the Overwatch community it’s always such a joy. Our goal was to go into that show and do something completely different that people had never seen before, something more on the comedy and entertainment side of things … it was kind of like a rolling dumpster fire, but the good kind. It was a controlled dumpster fire and that made it really awesome … And everyone loved it: Nate Nanzer, Commissioner of OWL, said he loved it and the fans had constant Reddit threads about how the desk performed … It was great, everything about that just honestly made it the best desk I’ve ever worked in my entire career.”
Speaking of Reddit, it’s great that you guys pay attention to your fans online. How active are you personally on Reddit?
“I’m on Reddit quite a bit, but not just on Competitive Overwatch or Overwatch or Fortnite Competitive. I’m always reading news and keeping up with current events. But during an event, I use Reddit because people talk about the game and we have such a great community that understands the game at such a deep level and will often catch things that even the analysts didn’t see. It sucks because Reddit and community forums like that get a stigma for being toxic or unwelcoming, but there are a lot of good people who just want to talk about the game, understand the game, and be engaged.”
Your Twitch stream community also seems unfazed by stigmas and looks super wholesome. How have you cultivated such a positive, genuine community?
“Well, it’s me right? The person that you see when I talk to you or I’m out on the street with my wife, that is the same person that I am on camera … We live in a world where everyone is always trying to be number one and look like they’re super cool, but I’m me man. I’m a kid from the hood who didn’t have the easiest time, my mother was a single mother working two jobs, going to college trying to make a life for us — it was just me and my brother trying to figure out what it was to be not just boys, but men. And not just like machismo men, but good men. And I thank my mother for that, because she taught us so many great life lessons and those lessons and that same mentality are what I try to bring with me when I’m on camera or I’m talking to you or meeting with a fan or streaming games — there is no act, Alex Mendez is Goldenboy and Goldenboy is Alex Mendez.”
On the topic of Alex Mendez and Goldenboy, what’s the origin of your Goldenboy moniker?
“I’m so glad you asked that. My name comes from an anime, a very long time ago in the ‘80s, called Goldenboy and about a guy named Kintaro who’s a lovable, pervy idiot — I’m, um, not a pervert, but — [laughs] that’s the headline of your article: “This is Goldenboy, He’s Not a Pervert.”
“Yeah, ‘Goldenboy: Not a Pervert, Mom is Badass.’”
“‘Not a Pervert, Mom is Badass, Married 10 Years.’ But yeah, he is a weird dude that is a nomad, travels the world on his bike, and works odd jobs. And through these odd jobs he meets all these people and always finds a way to screw things up, but in the end he always figures it out and everyone loves him because he’s like the master of none, but great at everything and I always viewed myself like that because I’ve never really had one thing that I gravitated towards.”
We primarily provide for console, but still love PC gaming. As a “master of none” with varied experience, do you think there are any major differences between the console and PC communities?
”With regards to the Overguard. Killakon has been a good friend for a while now — even though he’s from Boston — so I always retweet everything and try to share everything because I think what the Overguard represents as a community is really fantastic for Overwatch and in the broader scope of console gaming. As far as console vs. PC and all that, I don’t have much of an opinion. I have a very advantageous point of view because of involvement on both ends of spectrum. I’m not a PC elitist or a console elitist: I just enjoy video games. That is what makes all of this so awesome is that we can just, no matter what platform it is, just enjoy video games. I prefer playing games with a controller because I grew up with a controller because we couldn’t afford a PC back in the day but, I look at it like there really is no ‘us vs. them,’ if one esport prospers — all of us prosper.”
Is there anything from console esports like Halo or Call of Duty that you would like to see in Overwatch? For example: encouraging live events akin to the New York Excelsior’s PS4 FFA?
“I think really it’s about not limiting competition, and hopefully — this is my hope and dream — all of these teams are gonna realize that, to keep the interest in their community and scene growing, they have to invest in the local competitive community. These teams have been chosen by the league because demographically speaking there is interest in that area. So clearly there are people who want to compete and participate in Open Division teams or play with their own pickup squads at events. So open events are definitely the number one thing that we need to see more of.
As far as broadcast goes, something that console does so well that PC oftentimes lacks is personality, man. You have so many kids that are just robots, not trying to be mean, but they just don’t show emotion. And maybe it’s a generational thing, but I remember back in the day in Halo 2, just seeing guys like Gandhi, Tsquared, or Walshi — these guys are friends of mine now — but back in the day I used to watch them just yelling and getting in each other’s faces. Obviously you want to keep it in the game, keep it professional, and shake hands afterwards, but man where’s the trash talk at? We need more trash talk. I love Gears of War for that because within the scope of certain boundaries, they allow them to trash talk their opponents. It’s not personal and they can’t curse and all that, but if they want to get up and say that ‘this guy is choking’ then they’ll get up and say ‘this guy is choking!’ I love that stuff and we need more of it because people underestimate what that personality and character does and how it brings in viewers.”
“I think it’s amazing. You know, the NYXL guys are awesome. Actually, a little scoop, there will be some cool content with me and the NYXL crew relatively soon. They’re fantastic and they get it. Mr. Bitter from the NYXL events team, dude’s a legend in the esports scene. He’s been around the community and just esports in general for such a long time. He’s so smart, he understands the space, and he’s doing good work here. I think the pop-up shops have really just changed the game. And what better place to innovate than in New York City, which in my mind, is the land of innovation. This place is amazing, greatest city in the world and NYXL really do embody that. And I give them so much credit because when they revealed that logo and the branding of the team and everything, everyone dogged on them and I was like ‘Naw man, you just don’t get it, you’re not a New Yorker so you don’t get what we’re looking at right now.’ Like what we’re looking at isn’t just a logo, it’s not a shield — it’s a brand, it’s a brand that will become recognizable in due time and here we are: people are going nuts for NYXL gear.”
Awesome. Love getting your perspective and I’m excited to hear your thoughts on Fortnite, the upcoming Titan Games season, and your… favorite cellular provider. For now, any shout-outs?
“I just want to say thank you, thank you to the Overguard, to my boy Killakon for always being a supporter and always being positive. Big thank you to the Overwatch community, the Fortnite community, and the Halo community for being incredible. I’m just grateful to have this opportunity. Grateful is a word I use the all time because I’m eternally grateful for everyone that believes in me and that I can do this thing. So, thanks.”
No, thank you to our T-Mobile Interviewee MVP Alex “GoldenBoy” Mendez. GoldenBoy can be found on Twitter, Twitch, Instagram, and soon alongside The Rock on NBC’s Titan Games. Interviewer Tepojama can be found on Twitter or hoverboarding around New York City complaining about MTA price hikes.
* Featured image courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment *