The gaming world has advanced so much that it’s able to mimic real-life situations, especially in the world of sports. Essentially, video games can be used to perfect old skills and try out new tricks. Bridging the gap between real and virtual worlds, Facebook Gaming presents a new series pitting gamers against real-life professionals to go head to head in virtual and IRL trick challenges.
Jonna Mae, also known by her streaming and gaming tag as MissesMae, and professional skater Robert Neal may practice completely different lifestyles due to their careers, but their personalities converge due to their shared effervescent and adventurous nature. Although Mae is a professional streamer and gamer, she likes to switch it up by challenging herself to a variety of games, in the same way that Neal is always attempting to master new tricks.
Facebook Gaming and Hypebeast have brought the two together over Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, as both gaming and skating are similar in that they are constantly evolving and consistently informed by pop culture. In this Trick Shot Challenge, the two replicate classic skate moves — the Kickflip, Grind, and Heelflip — both on and off the ramp.
Robert Neal - Pro Skateboarder
So what role does gaming play in your life?
Gaming plays a big role in my life; growing up as a kid I’ve always gamed. It was a thing we all did. We even put little wagers up in Mario Kart.
How does Tony Hawk's Pro skater compare to real-life skating?
All the tricks you’re doing in the game are real-life tricks but it’s a little bit fake in a sense because it's a video game. It’s definitely realistic in a way as well though.
Do you remember your first time playing Tony Hawk's Pro Skater?
I was in 5th or 6th grade.
What are your favorite memories of playing Tony Hawk's Pro Skater?
One of my favorite memories was playing with my cousin and I remember we got into it. We started arguing and we fought. That was a good memory.
How do you think Tony Hawk's Pro Skater compares to what you do in real life?
The skate tricks...there are real tricks you can do in real life. The only different thing about it is it's just exaggerated with extra tricks with manuals and grinds.
What role does evolution play in your work?
When I was younger I remember I couldn’t kickflip. And now, I’m kickflipping down 15 stairs so I’m definitely seeing it.
What has been the most motivating trick that you’ve mastered in real life? And what’s the craziest one you've done in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater?
The craziest trick that I’ve done in real life's probably a nollie back heel off this thirteen stair in Sacramento. That was my first double-page spread I had in Thrasher magazine so I was hyped about doing that. In Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, I'd say the craziest trick I’ve ever done was probably the one ya’ll saw me do earlier in the game.
How do you decide what trick you’re going to learn next?
The way I decide to learn a new skate trick is I watch a lot of skate videos. That’s where I get ideas for new tricks. Whatever tricks I have now, I incorporate new tricks on top of that from skate videos.
How does your community inspire you to learn something new?
My community inspires me to learn something new all the time because the youth is very talented and creative and they always have new things coming. They just keep me on my toes but I’m young myself so they keep me creative and inspired.
How do you overcome your fear of doing something for the first time?
The best way to overcome your fear, I say, is to pray before you do the thing that scares you. I like to pray. That’s what I do, but people are different. I know I can land a trick but I pray because it helps with my peace of mind to do a trick.
What’s your process for doing a new trick?
There are four ways I taught myself to do a trick. There’s leaning back, forward, one side, and the other side. I just try it like that, that’s how I approach every trick. Whatever way leaning works best, that’s how I do it every time. And it takes a few tries, honestly, where it comes to a point where I’m like 'I can do this and land it.' It’s about getting comfortable on your skateboard. If you’re not comfortable and you’re doing a trick, you’re gonna fall. Once you got it, you just stick it.
How important is the skating community to you?
My skate community is really important to me because of my friends, first and foremost, and the relationships that I’ve made. It’s universal; everyone in the world connects with skateboarding. It’s just all love but at the same time, there are a lot of haters too. I just drown them out. We all gonna have some haters. We all gonna have people that don’t like our style or the way we do tricks. As long as we got our friends around us it’s all gravy. The love overpowers the hate in the skating community.
Any words of advice to anyone learning skating?
Advice for young people just getting into skateboarding is to always have fun and stay creative. Always have good people around you. Good friends that love to push you and most importantly, just have fun.
How is it important to be more than just a skater?
Outside of skateboarding, it’s very important to be diverse because everybody skates. What separates you from outside skateboarding, it’s very important to have that image. What separates me from my skateboarding is that I’m also a model. I’m into fashion and naturally gravitated toward it. I’m usually rocking the Jordans, I keep Js on or Dunks. I ride for Nike so I keep the Swoosh on.
There’s too many skaters out there. It’s oversaturated so you have to distinguish yourself. If you set yourself up outside of skating like modeling, acting, art, it would be better.
Are there any elements in video games that are influencing you and your skating ability?
Gaming influences everything in my lifestyle. You see something cool on a game, like GTA game playlists, and then that influences my playlists.
How would you describe your style?
My style is sporadic. One day I’m wearing a jean jacket, denim on denim. The next day I’m wearing a whole summer kit. It just changes depending on how I feel.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned from gaming with Mae?
The biggest thing I’ve learned from gaming with Mae is how to talk to an audience and how to stream. Not really caring what anyone has to say negatively. Like if someone comes in with negativity just drown them out with pizza. Also, I learned there are a lot of cameras in streaming and so many new devices out here.
What motivates you to keep going with skating?
The satisfaction of landing a trick. Us skaters...we’re very persistent. We just want to land our trick and get it out of the way.
What is your greatest gaming memory?
All time? My greatest gaming moment of all time. I would say my greatest moment is probably winning a few Warzones, definitely.
Misses Mae - Pro Gamer
What are the pros of having a community around you when trying something new?
There are a lot of pros to having a community around you when trying something new, especially when it comes to gaming. One thing that comes to mind is that there’s always somebody out there that’s tried it before you. What I like to do when I’m gaming and I’m stuck on a puzzle or something, I'd rather not listen to veterans and just try whatever I want to try. Or eventually, they break me down and I'll do what they tell me to do.
What has been the most motivating trick or challenge that you’ve mastered?
Learning when to stop. Typically I play until the sun comes up. I will try to get to platinum or some type of rank when it comes to competitive games. And I never know when to stop — I can’t end on a win and can’t end on a loss so I just keep going and going. It’s honestly bad for you, so the one thing I’ve been great at is that 'Hey you know what?' moment and taking a break, turning it off.
When did you realize that gaming was more than just a hobby?
I realized that gaming was more than just a hobby when I started creating a community around it. When you’re learning a hobby like playing the guitar, you’re on your own and doing it for yourself. Once I started doing it because I enjoyed the community created around video games and the passion of being able to share that, it’s become more like just waking up; it's a natural thing that I gravitate toward. Now I’ve centered myself around these awesome people. I call my people the Maniac Squad, they’re a bunch of maniacs honestly. And it’s just been so wholesome and fun.
Tell us about the Facebook gaming community and what it means to you. What do the Maniacs mean to you? Tell us a bit about how those interactions go on Facebook Gaming.
The Facebook community has given me a broader reach. There are 2 billion people that have the app downloaded on their phone, right? So obviously the reach is greater. When I found most of my Maniac Community, they were so inclusive, so sweet, and so passionate. The one thing that they do is whenever we get a hate comment or a troll in the chat, they spam pizza so that they block it out. I don’t see it, they don’t see it and the mods do their jobs so they don’t take any energy from us.
What is the motivating factor behind learning a new game or learning a new trick in a game?
The biggest motivating factor is that I just want to get good at it. Personally, it’s more like the accolades. When I first started playing Warzone, my most played game right now, my kill-to-death ratio was zero. I wanted to be above average and better than that; it’s not that much better but I definitely climbed up the ranks. With that, it shows the different styles of gameplay I’m doing. The different thought processes about it. I feel like I improve the more I change my perspective about a game. I love learning more about the game than just starting the console or starting the PC. Getting on and just have it be mind-numbingly played.
How much time do you put towards learning something new?
I started playing Warzone when it first came out. It’s my most played game whenever I stream. I would say I stream about six hours a day. Nearly every day, I play that game. Same thing with everything that comes out like Overwatch or Rainbow Six Seige. I have this personality where once I get my teeth sunk into a game, it’s really hard to get out despite whatever popular game is being played out there right now or might give a streamer better growth. Nope, I’m just stuck on this game, I’m sorry.
In your opinion, how many of those six hours sessions before you’re great at it?
The more you play it, obviously it's like practicing. I’m sure Robert can attest. Practicing a trick takes time to get the bearings and get it all right. Once you have it, it comes second nature. It comes easy every time.
Is it more difficult playing in front of the streaming audience?
Initially, it was a little difficult because you have all these eyes judging you and nitpicking every single thing that you do live. But I’ve learned to talk to myself while I’m streaming and that’s helped a lot. I think at the same time, I kind of approach streaming as me hogging the controller and everyone else is just kind of hanging out and talking to each other. Like if something happens in a game, they’ll notice it. But typically, when it comes to streaming, the community keeps themselves entertained while also keeping an eye out on things that are happening in front of them.
Do you remember the hero tricks people were trying to land?
I don’t really remember the tricks honestly. It was just a stream of manuals into a kickflip into or something then you manual again and you just keep doing it again, over and over, until you get the highest combo points for this one trick done.
Gamers aren’t one-dimensional. What do you mean by that?
I don’t think gamers are one-dimensional because we’ve met a lot of DJ friends like Dillon Francis getting into the gaming space through Fortnite tournaments. Gaming is like the gateway drug when it comes to technology-based hobbies. That’s kind of where it starts. I really started loving music around the time I was hearing all these genres in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2. Now I go to all these music festivals to experience this music. Gaming starts it off and breaks away into all these other things that you can enjoy and love. If you were to play Uncharted, its one of those games that feels like you’re playing a movie. Then you get into movies and films and how there’s this storytelling. I feel like it creates more than just the game you’re playing in front of you.
What is your greatest gaming memory?
Oh my gosh. My greatest gaming moment of all time was actually when I was playing Fortnite for the first time and people randomly found my stream. There was a mom that said that she had been watching my stream and she said she started playing Fortnite with her son because of my stream. And she's connected with her son on a deeper level because now she knows what she's doing and she's able to have conversations about the game and know more about the game because of our stream. I mean, it's not necessarily me getting a high score or something like that. But I think that's such a huge accomplishment on my end because I was able to share my passion with somebody and they were able to connect that with somebody else.
What inspired you to start streaming?
Streaming allowed me to really connect with my community in real-time. So when I was creating videos just for content creation, you have to wait for a comment for feedback, and then you respond to that comment and it just doesn't feel real. It didn't feel like you were actually talking to somebody But when it came to streaming, they're right there. You can't hide anything. You can't hide that you're bad at the game, like I do. There's no editing. You can record for hours and only post your best clips when it comes to videos like that. But on stream, it's real, it's genuine, and it's there.
Any advice for new video game creators and streamers?
I think the one thing is just that people forget that we all kind of start with no one watching us. So the one thing I think other than obviously getting your equipment, and the game that you wanna play, is learning how to just talk to yourself as charismatic as you possibly can. I always say to treat your viewer account as if you're always streaming to hundreds and hundreds of people every time. Bring the energy, bring the charisma, bring the interactivity and engagement, and just keep it uplifting and happy.
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