Cooper Jones could never forget the first time gaming entered his life, before the Dickson resident became a content creator and commentator for MCS Gaming.
After moving from Texas to Tennessee as a child, he watched his father Buford Jones, a live sound mixer for bands such as ZZ Top and Pink Floyd, play the Super Mario Bros game. from 1985. Buford then joined Cooper and his sister Hana in playing Super Mario 64. After being given a PlayStation by a Faith Hill tour staff member, Jones’ father played Wipeout and Jet Moto while Jones’ sister Hana played a Final Fantasy game.
Jones was amazed by the graphics and online multiplayer options that games offered in the early years of 3D video games. Due to his short attention span, he started playing fast-paced games including racing, shooting, and fighting games.
He then started playing games with his father’s friends on their LAN computers, including the 1990s megahit Doom. Since then, he has transitioned from console gaming to computer gaming.
“There’s no lag or anything,” Jones said in a phone interview. “I just thought it was the coolest thing ever, and since then I just want to have a computer to play games on, and I kind of walked away from console games, even though I I’ve always played over time, but just all the things you could do on the computer appealed to me and the rest is history.
Games later inspired him to get into competitive gaming, as he also wanted to enter the broadcasting field due to his interest in audio and recording. His father’s mixing and touring career inspired Jones to get into broadcasting and enroll at Middle Tennessee State University as a recording industry specialist. He later dropped out of MTSU, as he did not consider the university worth his time as it did not fulfill his career goals.
Instead, he found a job at an equipment rental store called PGR Gear, where he tested consoles for six years.
With competitive gaming and broadcasting in mind, Jones turned to live streaming service Twitch and streamed gaming tournaments online. Soon the video game became “slightly lucrative” the more he played. Jones made slight changes during the stream, including deepening his voice to sound like a professional sportscaster and creating his online name “mrgrim”, based on the Twisted Metal game character Mr. Grimm.
Over time, he became recognizable to online gamers, including Force, founder of a gaming league named GetCracked! Jones met David “cxt” Spencer, and while the two haven’t played games together, they have hosted tournament streams for GetCracked! One of the tournaments they streamed was Quake for Life.
They also hosted Thunderdome Clan Arena, which Jones performed in while commentating on the tournament.
“You get about 50 viewers,” Jones said. “People on the chat say they love it, and we just have the freedom to do whatever we want. We can stream the stream however we want. They let our creativity run wild.
Spencer said in a phone interview that he and Jones became a “one-two punch” for commenting.
“We got a lot of positive feedback,” Spencer said, “and the community loves it when we’ve done it…And I think Force realized at some point that a lot of people were noticing us, and like we were already working whole.”
He liked Jones for his creativity, humor and talent for music and called his creativity “unprecedented in many ways”. Jones composes his own music for his streams to avoid copyright infringement, as Twitch removes or mutes videos and streams containing copyrighted music not permitted in accordance with its music guidelines .
“It’s like you can be creative, and you can be ‘dark’ and [Jones]”, Spencer said. “When Cooper shows you something he’s done, it’s usually not what you expect, but at the same time he has the ability to captivate you with his bizarre ideas.
John Cajucom, the owner of MCS Gaming and himself a former Quake player, had gotten to know Jones while broadcasting tournaments for GetCracked! In November 2020, he founded MCS Gaming, also known as Maelstrom Choji Squad Gaming, after participating in a tournament at QuakeCon in 2018. Cajucom wanted to create his own eSports organization where “casual gamers can talk to gamers professionals” and learn from their experiences in the game.
“My version of eSports was that I wanted to give back to the community,” Cajucom said. “I want to be able to help the younger generation get to where I’ve been and all the other pros to where they are now.”
Cajucom and MCS Gaming noticed Jones’ commentary skills in his videos and hired him as a content creator and commentator with Spencer.
“We like what he’s done,” Cajucom said. “He has such a big personality on stream, and everyone loves him.”
After joining MCS Gaming, Jones worked flexible hours from home creating and editing graphics. He also worked on video editing, streaming and commentary as he made video highlights of the tournaments, including highlights, eliminations and flag captures. He was also responsible for creating graphics and advertisements on the MCS Gaming Twitter page.
One of the jobs he did was when MCS Gaming received gaming jerseys from Gamers Apparel, an eSports jersey production company. Jones created and edited photos of himself and the MCS Gaming team wearing jerseys and sent them to MCS Gaming, who were very impressed with his photo editing skills.
“Yeah, so I kept doing what I was doing,” Jones said. “I just kept streaming and helping out what I could with the graphics.”
Although Jones expressed his talents as a stream commentator, some issues he faced while streaming included overcoming his on-screen anxiety and erasing his doubts about being a commentator. He described setting up his live streams as “agonizing.”
“You get pretty nervous like you’re about to go on stage or something, but you know, once everything is working properly and you see the game – and they can hear your voice – it’s is just awesome,” Jones said. “People feed off your energy, and it’s really fun.”
Because Jones is not anonymous, viewers will sometimes send him negative comments, causing him to question his commentary skills.
“You know the thing with the internet, especially streaming and especially us, like a lot of these guys [online gamers] who play games and do stuff, they are faceless,” Spencer said. “Nobody sees them. They can say and do whatever they want, and no one knows who they are or what they do. But we go up there, and we show our faces, and we show our voices, and we put everything into something.
Despite the challenges, Jones continues to work hard in MCS Gaming. Looking ahead, he plans to go with MCS Gaming to cover live events like QuakeCon, a convention where Quake gamers meet and play games and tournaments. He hopes to team up with Spencer to document the event while interviewing players and filming the MCS Gaming team playing in tournaments.
Jones said he would also like to be a commentator for the Nashville Predators one day because he loves hockey.
Cajucom said that once MCS Gaming begins investing in the team, the organization will make Jones part of the MCS Gaming management team.
“He’s also a very good leader,” Cajucom said. “He says what he thinks, which is very good. He knows how to criticize things. We have a lot in store for Cooper.