Mike 'Broly' Begum has been a huge inspiration to many gamers. Despite a medical condition impairing the use of his hands, Broly has demonstrated the ability to play at a high-level using his face.
As a Texas native, Broly can often be seen competing at major events like Texas Showdown and Absolute Battle, where he's succeeded in qualifying for Top 8. In fact, last year, he took 5th place at Absolute Battle with Chun Li, and continues to grind in Street Fighter V. With the 2017 tournament season getting underway, Broly was signed by AbleGamers, a charity organization dedicated to improving the lives of gamers with disabilities.
We caught up with Broly to discuss his new sponsor, Street Fighter V, and more.
How did the sponsorship unfold with AbleGamers?
Whenever I needed something such as a new remote or help getting to a tournament, AbleGamers has always told me to go to them. I never wanted to bother them with such things, but when my laptop died, I figured to ask them if they knew any computer deals. They decided to sponsor me and get me one that I wanted in exchange for representing them. Something I should have done a long time ago.
What does being picked up by AbleGamers mean to you?
It means I can finally give the spotlight to gamers who have disabilities. Helping out individuals who only want to play games like everyone else, but have trouble accessing them is my mission as well as AbleGamers.
How will this opportunity help to develop your performance as a competitor?
Being on a team gives me purpose. It motivates me to prove to them that they were right to pick me. For the moment, my van's still out of commission. AbleGamers has done so much for me already. I'll attend all the tournaments possible.
Changing gears to talk about Street Fighter. How would you describe the direction for SF V?
I think the game is developing fine. I do want another patch before Season 2 to balance some characters.
Give us a breakdown of your top 5 characters.
Urien, Laura, Boxer, Guile, Cammy. The first three can rush opponents down without fearing footsies of other characters. Guile has the best zoning in the game and can control the pace vs every character. Cammy has everything in offense to create setups and damage. Plus her speed is unmatched.
You’ve made a reputation as a dedicated Chun Li main. What pocket characters would you potentially consider?
Karin because she let's me try an offensive approach that's quite different to Chuns style.
It seems the interest in Chun Li has faded a bit. What do you think about her recent changes?
I think she's fair and viable. People today wants strong characters for results. Nothing wrong with that. I chose to stay as a Chun main.
There’s been talk about a potential balance update. What would you like to see changed in the future?
Just a balance to characters. Especially the upper tier ones.
You were very active in the Smash scene at one point. When will you rejoin the community?
I'd join the community if I ever get a Wii U, haha. I love Smash and always enter whenever I go.
Recently you wrote a book “My Life Beyond the Floor.” What lessons do you want readers to take away from it?
The purpose was to bring awareness to individuals who have disabilities and the road I took. I wanted to motivate everyone that feels like they can't do something they love because of their current situation.
What advice would you offer to an individual with a disability who has an interest to compete?
I would tell any disabled gamer to never give up. Because it is easy to do that. I wanted to sometimes. But the thing that drove me was my need to compete. I would like tournament events or their staff to allow any kind of button mapping for games as long as there a reason for it.
Since you’ve started competing, what is your favorite tournament moments?
My favorite moment was last year at Texas Showdown SFV 3v3. My team was down 0-2 vs Chris G, Wolfkrone, and Alucard and I defeated them all to advance.
Streaming has become a popular media platform for gamers. Where can people see you in action?