Read Part 1 of our talk with GeT_RiGhT here.
It's rare in esports to find someone with the resolve of Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund. A person not only willing to face the arduous grind that comes in the pursuit of greatness, but who continues marching forward even when facing things like public scrutiny, debilitating health issues, and the darker parts of his own mind.
What makes GeT_RiGhT even more of an anomaly is how open and candid he is, few people in life, let alone esports are this relaxed and willing to talk about challenging subjects. It's been more than a year since the Swedish legend stepped away from competing, and since then he's kept a relatively low profile, focusing on the community he's building as a content creator. With more than a decade competing at the highest level of one of the most popular esports in the world, he’s had plenty of memories to look back on.
Inven Global had the privilege of sitting down with him for a long talk about his career and thoughts on the current landscape of esports, and we’re delighted to say he held nothing back. In this second part, GeT_RiGhT reflects on his career compared to top players today, contrasting CS players to other esports pros, and his fondest memories in his time competing.
There’s obviously a lot of hype around players like ZywOo and s1mple now. Besides general development of the meta, do you see any differences in top competitors now compared to when you were at your peak? How have things evolved?
Surely. We didn't really have someone that was 16-years-old that could be the best player in the world. It was at least someone that was 22-23. But also, you're seeing how many tools there are nowadays that are becoming the norm. If you need to learn something, YouTube basically has everything. Or if YouTube doesn't have it, then you have special programs that can help you out to line up a smoke, grenade, etc.
You have a lot more options than when I was on the top. If I needed to learn something, I needed to do it by myself, or maybe with my teammates. That's about it. Now it's the norm to have a coach, a mental coach, and an analyst. You have five players that most of the time are not from the same country or region. Before it was nation-specific teams and maybe some that had someone from somewhere else close.
So the level of skill is always going to evolve even more, and especially younger players evolve faster than someone that's maybe 20. Because the person who is maybe sixteen goes all in with it and wants to learn everything about anything. But when you're twenty, maybe your goal is to be one of the best players in the world, but you could be a little bit lazier — not that I'm saying they are, but they just have a different mindset towards the game itself.
The meta changes all the time, even though it feels like it's always stuck in one way and that it's gonna be like that for a year or so. But it always changes with these tools, because the players are getting smarter and smarter and finding more things they can do on the map. We can actually see the trend now when you do spawn smoke positioning on all the maps, where it's like if you want to smoke window on Mirage from T Spawn, you can do it on different spots than where you spawn from. That is something that no one would come up with when I was becoming a pro in CS:GO. It just means that people are getting smarter, and they're coming up with better ideas than we did when we were younger.
What if peak GeT_RiGhT were to compete in CS:GO today? How do you think you would do overall, and what would be the biggest challenges you would run into?
First and foremost, I don't think I would have done too badly, at least. If I was still at my peak, I would probably be around a top 20 player, instead of somewhere like top five, top 3, or top 1 like I was in those times. And that's mostly because of how my movement is and my crosshair placement, and using my utility — I've never been known for my utility usage, and that's something that a lot more players nowadays are much better at. They even know what nades they can use on the fly because they can help the team in different situations. As the players adapt so much when they're playing a game, there's always a page in every team's books that looks similar. But there are so many things they can change all the time because either the player makes their own decisions, or the team knows about the small changes that they can do when it looks like a standard round they're doing. And I think those three factors for me personally would be something I needed to work on the most. But being a player that could adapt a lot, especially during big games and in official matches, I don't think I would have a huge issue at least in that area.
"It's one of the biggest things that I'm so proud that I overcame, because I think a lot of people would probably crumble and just lay put on the ground."
How did you impact your teams compared to people like s1mple and ZywOo?
From my point of view, I was kind of an annoying kid toward my teammates, because I always pushed them to play more and practice more. I was that kind of player that's like, "If we want to win, we gotta have X amount of hours" or "We gotta push ourselves to the limit". And I think that was probably one of my biggest strengths, but also one of my weaknesses during my peak — where I pushed the limits all the time to make the team and myself even better. Some people can handle that, and some people can't.
I know when I played with f0rest for such a long time, I said to him so many times, "f0rest, please just play a little bit more. If you put in a little bit more hours, you would be so much better than me." He was like, "Nah, it's fine. I'm always gonna perform and do even better if the team needs me because I just have that aura." Which is fine — some people are a little bit more talented than others. But I know for a fact a player like him, and the skill level he has, is much higher than me. I know if he practiced more it would've made a huge difference. But there's also the difference where he's still active, and I'm not. So maybe he knows something else that I don't. That's the only thing I feel like I can answer.
You’ve been someone who throughout their career has had to overcome many challenges in their personal life. With what you’re comfortable sharing, what has been the challenge you’re most proud that you overcame?
There are actually a couple of them. I could probably say the one time that I can say I was "homeless" during 2016. I didn't say how tough it was for me, not to have anywhere to live. And that's, that's just plain stupid. I'm so grateful to have a sister that knows me and how the situation was so well. She was a rock that supported me no matter what. I flew home from the office that we had back to Stockholm, and slept on her floor to look at apartments. And at the same time, also training with my team on the weekdays and playing from the office. That was not for a short period of time.
It's one of the biggest things that I'm so proud that I overcame, because I think a lot of people would probably crumble and just lay put on the ground because it was a tough time. You lose something in your life when you break up with someone you thought you would be with toward the end of time. But it didn't go as planned, and then you're sitting there, "Maybe it's time to move on and try to do something else." That's gonna put you in a situation where you don't have anywhere to practice, or anywhere to call your home. You feel too proud ask your parents if you can move back in.
I'm proud that I was able to get through that. And at the same time having huge issues with my stomach disease where I was put in the hospital for three weeks, and was almost forced to quit my career early because it was that bad — losing too much weight, not being able to eat or drink, etc. Just being able to still stand there, with all the issues still falling down on me — two months later winning IEM Oakland in spite of one of my teammates also on sick leave, against SK Gaming (the best team in the world at that time). I don't think everyone has that mentality that I had, and could actually push forward. I'm super proud of it.
"I was more of the black sheep of our gang, because I played more League than Dota."
Which players inspire you most?
Of course, most of them are my former teammates. But if there's someone that I can really point out as the reason I became that successful — NiP's coach THREAT (and teammate of mine back in 1.6). He taught me the way of taking the next steps and fast-forwarded how to think about the game. Sometimes it's good to not be in the typical Swedish style of CS where we're very adaptive, see on-the-fly calls, and work together as a team. THREAT has all of those things combined, but a more tactical approach. It's a hard skill that not many can handle. He was someone that I always loved to play with, and I was fortunate also to play with him without him being an in-game leader.
It was cool to see that, how good he became. He was a little bit unlucky during his career, where he was always part of maybe the third-best team in 1.6, and then not the best team in CS:GO. But he's someone that inspired me the most, at least for playing. Of course, there's always gonna be the legends from Sweden like HeatoN and Potti. And I can't forget my longest teammate f0rest — someone that always pushed my limits to become better and better. If I didn't have such a better player than myself on my team, I don't think I would have pushed myself as hard as I did.
Do you ever take inspiration from other esports games?
I've followed League of Legends for many years, and also watch the TIs in Dota 2. And now I watch more VALORANT. Those are the ones I can mainly talk about, but I also have watched some Rainbow Six, Apex Legends, and am interested in Overwatch 2. I'm a geek at the end of the day. You can throw out most games and I can explain some basic tournaments and players. I love games, and it doesn't have to be my game or the game that I like. If there's something that I would enjoy watching, for sure, I would 100% sit there on a Friday or a Saturday evening, drinking ice-cold beer and watching it.
From the people that you have followed in League and Dota — ignoring the in-game factors and looking at the person — does anyone stand out that you think would've made a great CS player?
I've actually thought about that question so many times when I've been watching these games. But I always feel like the answer is gonna be no, somehow. I don't know why. There have always been people that I felt had work ethics much stronger than maybe some of the CS players that I thought could've worked in CS, but the games are so much different.
There's such a different technique they have to learn and master, that I don't think it would suit that kind of players. Because there's so much skill in reaction and being fast on the keys. Of course, there are moments like Ceb's Axe call or s4's Dream Coil, but those are such rare moments in those games — I don't think those players could have worked in CS. No offense to them, maybe they would, I just don't see the skill and the technique that they put in those games for years could actually translate into FPS games. I hope I'm wrong. But no, I can't say which player.
What about just from the perspective of aspects like work ethic, leadership, and contributing to one's team? Since you mentioned Alliance, what do you think of how someone like Loda would've done as a leader in CS?
I mean, I never got to actually listen to Dota communication, for example, except for some of the insights of the OG teams where you can see n0tail talking. Though we did have the privilege back in the glory days of NiP during the 87-0 streak — we were really close with the Alliance team that won TI. But we never really spoke about those things, in my opinion. Maybe some of my teammates did that, who were really diehard Dota fans. I was more of the black sheep of our gang, because I played more League than Dota (though I played Dota a lot when I was young).
But I could say that someone with that grind mentality probably could have been like Doublelift off-hand. If he put in the hours that he did in League of Legends, that could've worked. Maybe Wickd as well. Rekkles as well now that I think of it. Rekkles, at least that I remember in the earliest stage of his career, before he exploded to be the superstar he became — I got to meet him when he was such a young age and he had also a work ethic that was beyond anything else. I think a lot of the League players have a similar work ethic to someone like me. Then it's just a matter of if there's something else that would make them stand out that could translate to maybe an FPS game.
Overall, do MOBA and RTS players have a better work ethic than FPS players?
I see myself — especially in my younger career— as the grinder. Everyone was saying, "Yeah, GeT_RiGhT puts in the hours. GeT_RiGhT's really pushing the limits." That was the thing back in the days. And I see the MOBA players just do it, basically. Because they have the same strong mentality that I had.
The only one I can think of from the CS scene off the top of my head is s1mple. Because that's s1mple. I don't know how to explain it — s1mple is just unreal to some extent. Surely because of the situation that's happening in the world, he is not putting in the hours that he usually does, but he's been on top of the game for so many years now that it's ridiculous. And he's becoming better and better for years. It's got to the point that I ask myself when he'll actually slow down. But to answer your question, I think the work ethic is just so much different for CS players.
In the amount of hours?
Yeah, exactly, in the amount of hours and how they push in extra for the game itself. Maybe it's something contractual, but I think it's the love for the game and the drive to become better.
Why do you think that's the case? Why is practice less prevalent for CS players?
At least before, the CS players were older than maybe the generation in League and Dota, for example. Maybe Dota is similar, though, but I don't know what's the difference there if you're gonna look at the ages. Because I know a lot of the Dota and CS players at the beginning of both of the games were of a similar age. But I think it's also where TI is giving $40 million or whatever it is, so it could also be a huge motivational factor for them.
But for League, I think this it's more the stability that they have. Like, "We're gonna play for 10 months per year, and then we have two months off." They have a completely different schedule than maybe the CS player has, where it's like we're gone 250+ days per year, or more. That takes a toll on the person outside of the game, because they're never home. But in Dota and especially League, they have this specific amount of tournaments and this specific amount of days you're off per year. But in CS you can be gone forever, it feels like.
It seems you're acquainted with many of the great Swedish esports legends. Have you ever been acquainted with Armada (or Leffen) in Melee?
No, sadly not. I think there was one time I was supposed to [meet Armada], but I never did. It usually happens in the Swedish industry that the top of the top actually know each other. But somehow, I don't know why I never met him or got to know him. I didn't pay too much attention to his games and his industry — mostly because it was much harder for him in Sweden being a player in his field.
Because that industry base is non-existent in Sweden compared to others. Dota surely had a huge issue before, but CS has always been the dominant thing in Sweden. So you see them, you know who they are, but that's about it — at least in the older days. So I feel bad for him, to be honest. Because I always believe you should always celebrate the stars you have from your country, no matter what game it is. If we were seeing a great in the VALORANT scene that's a Swedish player, I would be damn proud to see him or his team succeeding in that game.
Because it's the Swedish pride — we are still such a small country that people sometimes forget about it. But we somehow produce very good players, which is still something that hasn't really been figured out — how and why. But I don't know. I have small memories walking by in DreamHacks and seeing their tournament areas and being like, "Why is this so small?" That's my only thought process when I walked by, but never really asked or I got to know anyone in that industry somehow.
Leffen was a little bit different, though. What I understood that he was more known in the American industry. I would say he's a superstar, but such an unknown superstar in Sweden, that I don't think a lot of people actually know who he is, in my opinion. I hope I'm wrong, because you should support your players. I know for sure who he is, but I don't think if I asked someone like f0rest who he was, I'm pretty sure he'd say, "Who?" Because I just feel like he's the unknown Swedish superstar.
I guess we need to organize a Swedish esports legend picnic.
[laughs] Yeah, we did actually a couple years ago for CS. The old school guard of 1.6 — when the Swedish scene had a lot of the bigger teams and players — they actually had an old school league and tournament for them that I attended. That was super cool to meet players that were probably the best in the game in 2001-2008.
HeatoN, Potti, SpawN, and then it was a lot of players that people don't probably recognize. For me, that was such a nerdy moment for me to get the chance to go there and see them and talk to them. Even talk sh*t and see how they play. That was one of those few moments in the Swedish scene where we had a sort of picnic that a lot of the big stars attended.
Looking at your entire career, what moments are you most proud of?
I could actually say two different ones, but one of them is a little bit more. ESL One Cologne — where we won the major — is probably one that people would actually be impressed by. Because I had such a bad group stage, but I became much better as the playoffs went by, and we were so close to losing basically every game of that tournament. And then we just managed to win it.
But also it's probably doing DreamHack Masters Malmö 2016 against Natus Vincere in the finals. Just seeing how much it means to be playing on the home soil in Sweden, seeing how much people actually care about you, and seeing everyone is wearing NiP jersey in the crowd and cheering — that was some next-level stuff that I can't even explain. It was just surreal to be there.
Finish this sentence: GeT_RiGhT changed Counter-Strike by _________?
Just playing the game.
I write. I rap. I run. That’s pretty much it.