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James Banks INTERVIEW: Iconic CSGO Host Shares His Thoughts on Kinguin Legends Tournament

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a special game for many reasons and its ability to maintain such a massive audience in the esports scene is something very few games have been able to replicate.

We were fortunate enough to be able to put some questions to James Banks, the iconic host who's been present for some truly special moments during CS:GO's history.

He recently took to the stage to host the Kinguin Legends event that saw some legendary names return for an all-star type event. We asked him about the talent that took part, what the future of the event might look like and his feelings on who we should be looking out for.

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With the talent on show in just the Captain's roles so far, you must be giddy at the prospect of how this event is going to play out.

Just the captains alone got me hyped but I actually only saw the full player line-ups for each team when I was streaming. I finished a game of CS:GO and then went to show my viewers the Kinguin Legends event, saw the players on each roster and I was freaking out…safe to say the fanboy in me came out!

Despite age playing a big factor in CS ability & reaction times, do you think a good showing for any of the captains could see them try and make one more run in the scene?

I am sure there are some older fans of the game that would love to see that but that is not the goal here. Kinguin Legends is a fun event featuring some of our most loved players in the scene, mixed in with some players of their choice, some young, some old, some experienced, some not, either way, we get to see some of the legends back for a super fun, community-focused event!

This event feels like a love letter to the legacy of CS, is it something you’d like to see on the calendar for years to come?

Oh, I absolutely would love to, I started playing CS myself back in 2003…I could think of even more players and teams I would love to see back in the driving seat for future Kinguin Legends events…so Kinguin, when you read this, let’s talk about some other names we can bring for the next one ;)!

Of course, some of these players got their start in CS 1.6, do you think there’s possible value to running this event in true old-school CS for old-time's sake?

With my absolute love and bias towards the 1.6 era, I would love to see us roll back the years but for Kinguin Legends, the focus is on CS:GO being accessible for all the players, new and old, with most of them having their experience in CS:GO.

We are so blessed with CS:GO at the moment with tournaments hitting record-breaking viewership, the game continuing to have new players start to discover the wonders of it, truly as a gamer through and through and I have played many games, nothing can compete with Counter-Strike.

I haven’t stopped coming back to it for over 19 years, no matter what games come out…though I do think I would love to see some old-school 1.6 events bring back the players from some of the legendary 1.6 teams for a little throwback event, if it happens, whoever does it, I MUST be involved!!!

Who are you most looking forward to seeing back in the server and popping heads?

HeatoN, Edward, pashaBiceps and NEO. Clearly, I am staying with the 1.6 theme, though both Edward and Neo competed very well and at the highest level within CS:GO.

If you had to pick one of the captains to play for, who would it be and why?

Oh man, picking one is really hard…HeatoN most likely because he was one of the players I looked up to when I was starting my career, I would practice his Counter-Strike spray recoil videos he made back in the day for SK Gaming.

I watched every game that he competed in, I even copied his settings. I’ve been lucky enough to meet him, work with him and even live with him in the past while we were working on products together at ZOWIE many years ago…I would have to come on and do him proud…sadly his team finished last so maybe he did need me? (Joking, of course)

How did you get involved with the event and were you sold on the format and concept straight away?

A friend of mine, Pani, connected me with Kinguin when they were looking for a host. Maybe I was picked because I am also an old relic, not a legend though sadly!

I was 100% sold on it, I needed no convincing for an event like this, I do a lot of the top tournaments that are very serious and are just amazing to watch the players compete at the highest level but watching these legends back in the game, I could never say no to that!

With Covid restrictions rolling back, are you looking forward to seeing more events like this one take place and start filling out the calendar with more than just Majors, Pro Leagues and ESL tourneys?

We have plenty of amazing events in the Counter-Strike calendar, the top of Counter-Strike includes the Majors, Pro Leagues, ESL and BLAST but there is not much more room in the calendar for other events.

Having events like this is something I would certainly like to see more of, like the 1.6 idea, more Kinguin Legends for sure and though sadly this time it isn’t a live event, I am sure as COVID restrictions are rolling back that the guys over at Kinguin and other organisers are getting ready to make it a possibility.

Variety is always good and this one will help us see some of the best players in CS history give us some more amazing and fun moments.

The casting team may feature some names not as widely known as the likes of, say, Anders, Machine or SPUNJ, is there anyone who stands out to you that you’re excited to hear cast throughout the event?

We have such an amazing talent team within CS:GO, in my biased eyes we have some of the best talents in the world who love the game. Jacky and DAVEY are a great duo at the moment who deserve more events than they get, plus they are always fun to be around. This will also be my first time working with Nero on the desk, so I can’t wait to see what he brings to the show with me and vENdetta!

One thing I know for sure is that everyone working on the talent side will give everyone watching around the world the entertainment a tournament like this deserves!

For more articles like this, take a look at our CS:GO and More page.