When people tune into a BroadcastGG (BGG) production there’s one pair of casters that always seems to bring people together to watch a great game of Overwatch. You hear the host introduce them “Let’s hand it over to our casters – Boopasaurus and HamTornado”. The production cuts over to the pair sitting side by side ready to bring the audience some excellent casting. With banter, hype, game knowledge, and puns at the ready, they set out and lead the audience through the games as if you’re in the room watching with them. Not many people have that type of power in the Overwatch casting world but Boopasaurus and HamTornado have it in spades. Today we talk to both casters about their casting style, how they became a duo, what they think new casters can improve on, and what their thoughts are on Contenders South America Season 3.
You both are very well known names in the Overwatch community as casters and as well as personalities. What made you both decide that Overwatch was going to be your game of choice? What was the draw to a game like this?
Boop: Overwatch affected me as no other game had before. I remember buying the preorder(Origins) at Blizzcon when it was announced right on the convention floor. Right on my phone! I was so ready for it. In the end it was the style, diversity, and personality of the entire game that really spoke to me AND it was the first First Person Shooter (FPS) that didn’t make me nauseous!
We decided we wanted to cast together the moment we met, Boop said it and it’s true, it was like meeting your spouse. We instantly liked each other.
— Evie “HamTornado” Feng
Ham: Haha yeah, I’d heard whisperings and I watched it before I played, it was the 2nd Overwatch World Cup (OWWC), so 2017? I didn’t have any previous FPS experience because you know, Chinese American, so the only times I was playing was when I was sneaking games at 2 AM when mom was asleep. I was immediately drawn to the diversity of the heroes and the fact it wasn’t just “click heads 4head”, which had made FPS seem unreachable for me in the past. The fact it was a team game was a huge draw as well. The final nail in the coffin was Monte and Doa’s casting. I’d watched League of Legends (LoL) as an esport before but Monte and Doa doing Overwatch (OW) interested me so much more.
The name Boopnado or Hamsaurus – depending on which flavor you prefer – is one of the premier casting pairs in all of BroadcastGG. How did you both meet and when did you both decide that you wanted to become a set pair?
Ham: We decided we wanted to cast together the moment we met, Boop said it and it’s true. It was like meeting your spouse. We instantly liked each other. I remember actually being intimidated by how funny Boop was. I really wanted to cast together and for him to like me. That was actually just last February or so at Wawa’s Boot Camp (WBC) Amateur Rising produced by Carbon Entertainment.
Originally, I wasn’t even supposed to cast that tournament. Boop had worked extensively with Alex Gill (Left Guy) before and they were the casting pair WBC had chosen. I was just that annoying one from BGG, trawling the discords, looking for tournaments to cast. I offered to be an observer, which I also do, but Left Guy is actually just an amazing human and was like, “No, no, no. Come cast. We’ll swap around.” And that’s how it all started. Praise Left Guy <3 <3 <3
Boop: I can verify that Alex is an amazing person.
We see across esports and even in Overwatch League casting pairs have distinct styles between them. What would you both define as “your style” when it comes to casting?
Boop: I think a defining aspect of “our style” is our visceral love for this game. A lot of people have described it as “two buds watching Overwatch.” While we like being approachable, I believe we bring tons of entertainment value and depth as well. One thing is for sure, a Boopnado cast is a special viewing experience!
Ham: It’s definitely something. I do think we have a more down to earth, “raw” style. All of our reactions, the laughing, screaming, snorting, are genuine and I think that’s something the audience connects with.
For Boop – As a Play by Play caster (PBP) who has seen many up-and-comers coming through the pipeline here at BroadcastGG, what would you say is the one thing new PBP casters do that you wish you could sit them down and tell them all to work on?
I think there are two things I like to tell all PBP casters. Number one, always speak with intent. If you ask anyone at BGG what my favorite word is I am sure that will be high on the list! Speaking with intent is speaking with confidence, and you need to bring that confidence if you will be taken seriously as a caster.
Number two is to realize that it’s not a words per minute competition. The role of the PBP is to add value, not to take up as much space as possible. I don’t care how many big words you know and how cool you sound when you say them. If it doesn’t add anything to the broadcast then it’s just wasted time. In the end, I’m there to watch the game, not listen to one person talk the whole the time.
For Ham – the same question to you Ham but for new up and coming color casters.
I’d have to agree with Boop on the intent and I’ll touch upon the other aspect alongside confidence. Casting with intent also means driving towards some point and creating a narrative. This is particularly salient when it comes to color casting. It’s easy to get lost in the minutia and start listing every aspect of the game that could affect the next fight. For instance, calling all the ults online rather than picking maybe the one or two with the biggest potential for impact.
The other thing specific to color is don’t be afraid to be funny, fill space, and play off of your partner. While PBP certainly gets to talk loud and fast and it can feel like you’re just there to let them catch their breath, casting as a duo means it’s equal time shared between the two of you. Color isn’t just there to inform, we’re here to entertain as well!
Since you both live in the same state you are one of the few if not the only people in BGG who can cast together in the same space. What positives (or negatives) does being able to cast right next to your partner bring?
Ham: I’d say there are almost no negatives haha. I mean sure, last week Boop was super sick and while we were casting he was spitting his germ spit all over my arm but hey, it’s a bonding experience. Honestly, everything is a bonding experience. Being able to be real friends with your partner and know who they are in a non-professional setting does wonders for your on-air synergy. That’s something that we always recommend to new pairs working on their teamwork is to play games together and talk to each other. You’ll get a lot of insight into not just how they approach the game but the intangibles that’ll give you the confidence to riff on each other. Like what heroes they suck at *cough McCree* Just kidding love you.
Boop: I like to say that I am a “capable” Mcree 10% of the time.
Ham: Define “capable”.
Boop: Clicking heads and taking names, what else.
Ham: Are you being sarcastic?
Boop: Most Definitely. I don’t remember the last time I actually hit something on Mcree.
Ham: Me neither.
Is there a favorite moment you both have from any of your casts together? One standout series or call you made that has really stayed in your memory even until now?
Ham: I’m never gonna forget this McCree popping a panic high noon around the corner of the bookstore on King’s Row. He’s like HURRRRRRGH, trying to round the corner and the ult expires, kills equal 0. Boop then goes: “McCree, taking the long walk to nothing!” My response: “Worst western ever written.”
Boop: My favorite call was the “We’re hunting wabbits” on Anubis. Ham called a sick hook and calamity ensued.
Ham: He got the hook! Friggin amazing!
Honorable Mentions: John Oliver Parrot, “Good thing this game is better than your jokes”, Open Division Winner’s Finals (Caw CAWWWW).
Ham: Aside from the jokes though, I’ve had a couple really great predictions, some calls I definitely remember going “oh my god, exactly, yes”. One I can think of during South American (SA) Contenders, Lijiang gardens. The attacking team only had a D.Va bomb and this enemy Pharmercy was destroying them. It was Wetter! Yeah! From Black Dragons and I said he’d had big bombs before, he can open with it, if he catches the Pharmercy, it’ll be game over. Boop takes the PBP, Wetter tosses the bomb, big kaboom, Pharmercy dies, Black Dragons take the point.
The Hephaestus Anubis game too, they were legitimately running Mei + Doomfist and I called Blizzard into Meteor Strike possibly being an amazing combo vs. Genji. They pulled it off, froze that Genji and smashed him to bits. Oh! Same game I remember Boop actually caught the Mei wall into rocket punch to kill the tracer in OT (Overtime), that was an amazing call.
Boop: In the end what I’m most proud of is the improvement we both have made on fundamentals. Getting good at those makes everything better. It’s been really cool to see where we have come and how comfortable we are with just absolutely going for it on every cast. We commit 100% to everything, even when the jokes are bad!
Ham: Especially when the jokes are bad.
You both cast South American Contenders Season 2 for BGG and knowing you both you have a lot of passion for the SA scene. What do you think Season 3 will bring us in November and with the new expansion teams arriving in Overwatch League (OWL) do you see any player taking that step into OWL?
Boop: The SA scene is FILLED with talent that could one day take the next step with the appropriate support. With the recent moves in the off-season, one thing is for sure…BGH (Brazil Gaming House) has 95% of the talent that can make it to OWL. Liko and DuDu are an amazing and flexible DPS duo that could not be stopped in Season 2 and are my choices for the most likely SA players to reach OWL. Now they have added Klaus (from Isurus) I don’t see a world where they (BGH) even struggle in season 3.
But the fun really comes with who will be 2nd place in season 3. Isurus has had a lot of volatility with their roster, as have most of the other teams. This leaves a HUGE opportunity for another team to show their stuff. All the teams going into the season look different, and it will be fun to see how the season turns out. In particular, I’m looking at Up Gaming (former Revoltz), as their DPS player Edigas is a true playmaker and a BLAST to watch.
Ham: I know a few of the SA players have been trying out for academy teams and there is tons of talent that belong on the OWL stage. Valen certainly comes to mind as well as any of the players from BGH.
Season 3 SA is going to be super interesting, a lot of roster shifts like Boop said. SA has always been a very close scene with lots of cross-pollination. I’m also really looking forward to what Up Gaming can do, especially with Doomfist really coming into the meta. RevoltZ was the team that bought the Doomfist stock before it rose and I think it’s going to pay huge dividends.
For everyone reading this let’s finally put the argument to rest and get a definite ruling. Is it Boopnado or Hamsaurus?
You can follow both Ham and Boop on their respective twitters: @ham__tornado and @Boopasaurusrex
This has been Kenobi and I’ll see you on the next Meet the Broadcasters.