An Interview With Matt: The Master Madden Gamer

Close-Up on Pro Gamer Matthew “Mattstergamer” Lee

Mattstergamer is his name. Madden is his game. “I really don’t mind if someone mistakes Mattstergamer for ‘master gamer’—because I am the Master of Gaming,” laughs Matthew Lee about the handle he coined as an eight-year-old PlayStation 3 enthusiast. His gaming name is a play on words, but the meaning behind it is no joke. Now 20, Lee has turned his hobby into a thriving career as a top-ranked Madden NFL gamer.

Lee represents a new crop of professional athletes—young, skilled gamers whose dedication and talent turn them into champions in the world of esports. On the eve of the Esports Business Summit in Las Vegas, caught up with the charismatic Lee and his father, Aaron—a South Florida marketing agency owner who doubles as his manager—at our private event inside Esports Arena Las Vegas.

AC:  How did you go from playing video games as a kid to becoming a professional gamer?

ML:  Practice. Gaming is about strategy. There’s a lot of planning that goes into it. That’s where the real work is. And that’s what makes me better. It all takes time…a lot of time! I spend four to five hours a day playing. But another four to six hours practicing.

AC:  That’s dedication! But do you ever get tired of it?

ML:  I love what I do. So there’s no reason to ever stop playing. I’ve felt that way for as long as I can remember. And I started playing when I was three—(Aaron jumps in)

AL:  —You know, as parents, it was hard to figure out where to draw the line on Matt’s gaming, especially during high school. We knew he was talented, but there are a lot of talented young gamers out there. At the end of his senior year, Matt placed number 62 in his first tournament. We thought that was pretty good. Then a few months later, as a freshman in college, Madden NFL 18 came out and Matt hit the number one spot on the leaderboards—and stayed there for six weeks! (Matthew’s mother) Lisa and I knew it wasn’t just luck. Matt had skills. So we made the decision to head down a different path.

AC:  That’s impressive. Number one at the same time you started college?

ML:  Yeah, it was a lot! Especially with homework and getting used to being away. So when we decided I would go pro, I transferred from my college to doing school online.

AL:  Matt will get his bachelor’s degree. We think it’s a must for his future in esports. We’re fortunate to have great support from our family friend that’s a teacher to help him along the way—and Matt knows he has to stay accountable. Right, Matt? (Aaron and Matt laugh)

AC:  With so much to manage, what motivates you to keep going?

ML: Winning! It is a lot of hard work. But I’m willing to do it because it feels so good when it pays off.

AL:  Plus Matt’s got the best shoe game in the family, so he’s really motivated to keep winning!

AC:  You traveled to Las Vegas for the Esports Business Summit, so what does that mean for your routine?

ML:  I’m waiting for the Madden NFL 19 update, so it’s an ideal time to break away from my normal practicing and playing. I’ll take a few days off, practice a little on my phone and keep in touch with other pros. Every update plays a little different, so when it’s done, I’m the one that tests it and figures out the best ways to play.

AC:  Why Madden?

ML: I actually got into Madden to leapfrog to something else. Now I have options and I’m building my skills. For example, Madden makes it a necessity to do YouTube, so I’m doing a lot more there. And to get better, I’ve been working with a voice coach. It’s made a big difference for me in the past six months.

AC: What do you want people to know about being a professional gamer?

ML: We’re serious about our careers in gaming. I don’t think many people realize just how serious. It helps that the esports industry is starting to realize that the players should be featured as much as the games. Esports provides a reliable source of income for professional gamers. The advancements that we’ve made in professional gaming are passing on to the next generation. And it’s going to keep getting bigger and better.

By: Cathy DeRonne

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