A great fighting game tournament, Genesis 9, took place from January 20 to 23 in San Jose, California. Top talent from around the world, including Super Smash Bros. contestants Leonardo “MkLeo” Lopez and Samuel “Dabuz” Buzby, gathered at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center to play games like Guilty Equipment Effort and Ether Rivals. But for a Super Smash Bros. Melee pro, British player Elliot “Frenzy” Grossman, the Genesis 9 tournament began with an illegal taxi and, according to him, a near-kidnapping.
“I was trapped in an illegal taxi coming out of [the San Francisco International Airport] and nearly got kidnapped,” Frenzy tweeted on Jan. 19 along with a photo of his scarred right hand. “I jumped out of the car after seeing the police running after the vehicle and very fortunately I only had bruises and scratches on my hand and back. To the hospital [right now], [but I have] no idea how anything works here [to be honest].”
You might be wondering what Frenzy is about because it sounds like an action movie stunt starring Tom Cruise or something. Well, it turns out that Falco’s principal, who was heading to the Genesis 9 tournament, ran into some… complications when he landed in California.
“So I had just gotten off an 11-hour flight from London Heathrow Airport to San Francisco International Airport,” Frenzy said. my city in an email. “I was planning on taking an Uber to my hotel in San Jose, but my phone ran out of battery en route and the wifi was often spotty at airports. I decided to take a taxi instead, so I went to the taxi rank.
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Frenzy is a pro Melee player for UK esports organization Reason Gaming. Originally from England and main Falco, he is UK’s second best player and the 47th best Melee competitor in the world from 2022. Its record, however, speaks for itself. He regularly places in the top 10 of most tournaments he participates in and also has a few first places under his belt, his last being at the galint Melee Opening: autumn 2022 edition back in November. The guy can play! However, he was unprepared for the California transport game.
“A driver walks up to me and asks if I’m looking for a taxi, to which I say yes, then ask where I’m going as usual,” Frenzy said. “He shows me the car and opens the door for me to come in with my things and as I close the door and put my seat belt on I look out the window and see several policemen with guns drawn running towards the vehicle and shout ‘Stop the vehicle!’ and ‘Get out!’ The driver ignores him and then sped off immediately while I was still getting in and buckled up, at which point I knew I had made a huge mistake. that if I got out fast enough, it was safer for the driver to flee and be at their mercy or get involved in a police chase that could end in an accident at higher speeds.
“When I turned around to put my seat belt on, I saw several cops running to surround the car through the window,” Frenzy said. “They had guns in their hands. The driver then accelerated, foot to the floor, and tried to move away. That’s when I decided to bail out. I knew about these kinds of things happening on the internet, but I was completely caught off guard by this specific attempt, so I knew exactly what was going on.
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Frenzy said he was in “such an adrenaline rush” that things got blurry. One minute he was strapping on his seatbelt to head for Genesis 9. The next he was “rolling on the floor” after jumping out of the fake taxi. He said he ‘didn’t land badly or there was nothing else on the road’ near him to cause further injury as he rolled on the asphalt, the car driving at around 15-20 mph. Still, he was in “quite severe pain”, with a backpack only cushioning his fall somewhat and his right hand taking most of the impact. The Mills-Peninsula Emergency Department in Burlingame said Frenzy didn’t break anything but had ‘really bad swelling, abrasions and bruising’ on his right hand as well as ‘friction burns’ on his back driving on gravel and “low blood pressure”. for a while. He also contacted the cops after the incident for a quick police report.
“The cops asked a lot about the exact actions of the criminal and they explained that they were after this guy who had been running this scheme for some time,” Frenzy said. “They gave me information about the case number and who to contact. I’m not 100% sure how they caught the vehicle or the criminal as I was recovering from the jump, but I saw he was handcuffed in the distance as I was later treated.
A San Francisco Police Department officer said my city over the phone that, while they could not release specific information about the incident, Frenzy’s case is real and that an “ongoing investigation” is currently underway. The officer also said my city that the person conducting the investigation will call us back, but that hasn’t happened yet.
“These types of programs are all over the world, and as a fairly seasoned traveler, I’m generally aware of them,” Frenzy said. “However, in a lack of judgment and after a long flight, I got cheated. They try to trick you into positioning themselves near where the legitimate taxi ranks are and even color their cars in the same arrangement than legit ones. They will approach people, especially those who are alone or tourists, and ask if they are looking for a taxi and where they are going. For this reason, I generally tend to stick to the carpooling apps when I travel but on this occasion my phone ran out of battery so I was in a tough spot.
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In the end, Frenzy went to Genesis 9 to play some Super Smash Bros. Melee thanks to the help of the tournament organizers. After taking a day or two to heal, he said he felt well enough to compete. He did not place very well, placing 49th in the tournament. However, he said “the event itself was amazing despite what happened” and that he “can’t wait to be back in top form next year”. I hope he will get there much safer next time.
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