Among this year's 12 contestants, Shaun Boyd is the most mysterious.
He has never submitted MAME performances to Twin Galaxies (meaning that he has no publicly-available gameplay to download and view), does not live-stream on Twitch TV, and is one of the two 2012 competitors who did not attend the first Kong Off.
Up to now, therefore, the only players in the community who have actually seen Boyd play are Twin Galaxies referee Stephen Boyer along with friend (and wildcard contestant) Mike Groesbeck.
So what do we know?
Boyd is 30, engaged, and works for a programming firm in Detroit. He is also a writer, and the creator of a personal development blog called Life Reboot, for which he has produced more than a few very popular posts. I myself had already bumped into his "10 Reasons It Doesn't Pay to be the Computer Guy" totally independently of his involvement in the Donkey Kong community (and would not hesitate to give it an emphatic thumbs-up as the best piece I've seen on the topic. All 10 reasons had me nodding in aching recognition.)
As for the tournament, Boyd had this to say:
"One of my advantages is that I'm coming in as a relatively unknown player, so I think other players may not view me as a threat. That said, I have no experience competing in live events, unlike other players who participated in the first Kong Off, or other gaming competitions."
Boyd has made no bones about his intention to ultimately beat the world record (even going as far as to jokingly ask for Hank Chien to retire from the game when Hank broke 1.12 million in August):
"I play at pace to take the record, and frequently lose all my men before even coming close to a million. It will be interesting to change up my play style to 'tournament play' for the Kong Off 2, and not press points so hard on every screen."
Aspirations aside, Boyd is straightforward about not counting himself among the favorites to win the tournament (predicting Hank as the front-runner, and suspecting that the title will go to "one of the top ranked players: Hank, Steve, Dean, Vincent"). He does, however, point to fellow Konger Groesbeck as a wildcard to watch:
"I want to give a shout out to Mike Groesbeck, who will be playing on the wildcard machine but has the skill to put up a ranking score. Like me, Mike's from the Detroit area, and we've actually gotten together to play DK before. I think it's awesome that I'll have him in the crowd to support me, and that I can do the same for him."
Next: Mark Kiehl »