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interview 3 min. read

From airsoft to
Java development

Friday 25th November 2022
When he started working at MakoLab, he followed our custom and wrote an introductory note about himself for our in-house newsletter. As you know, at Insights, we love delving into MakoLabbers’ many and varied interests, so his mention of mountaineering had us on high alert 😊 Then, when we met up with him to discuss it, we discovered that he has another passion… and he himself claims it as his first and foremost!

What is it? Airsoft! And airsoft is…? Well, to find out the answer to that and to how it brought junior Java developer Marcin Kowalski to our door, read on!
Could you tell us about your hobby?
Airsoft? I didn’t mention it in my introductory note for the newsletter, because I know of places where that kind of pastime gets a frosty reception, but I’m happy I can talk about it freely here. Airsoft is a team game that mirrors armed skirmishes. The players use airsoft guns, which are mock air guns that shoot plastic, six-millimetre pellets. Interestingly enough, it was airsoft that pushed me into becoming a programmer. My background is in computer graphics, but I’d always liked programming and that enthusiasm gained a new lease of life when I started creating programmes to make things easier for me and the other players. I noticed how much I was enjoying it and began doing some training. I started getting a kick out of it and then, in the end, I applied to MakoLab.
Marcin Kowalski Battlefield LI 1200X675
We love stories like that and we’re happy you joined us! But, going back to airsoft, how did it all begin?
In terms of being my hobby, it’s evolved a lot. I began playing with a small group of ten people, high-school friends. I enjoyed it and I really got into it Once something interests me, I’m the kind of person who catches the bug and goes for it a hundred and fifty per cent! Airsoft’s my number one hobby and I invest a fair amount of money in it. In general, it’s weekend trips. Totally getting away from the computer and phone. Previously, as a graphic artist, and now, as a programmer, I spend a lot of time sitting at the computer, so I seriously need to break free from reality like that.

Airsoft, it’s really big military games. The scale of them surprises most people. A game involves between three and six hundred people, forming two large battalions. Proper command and liaison structures are set up. The people in command are stationed in tents. We play for twenty-four to thirty-six hours, non-stop. When we’re at the preparatory stage, some people go on genuine training courses with soldiers. There’s not much to distinguish it from the real army, only here, people come to enjoy themselves. No one pretends to be a real soldier, there’s no heavy equipment and, with the exception of four-by-fours, we use mock weapons without the long range that real ones have.
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Where are games like that held?
We most often use military training areas or public forests. The relevant services are informed, of course, and we have to obtain permits from the appropriate regional forest management authority. I’ve personally gone to Croatia, for instance, for a game. It’s amazing. I travel there and when I arrive, I’ve got Polish and Croatian friends on the spot! It’s a brilliant way for adults to expand their circle of friends and acquaintances. Time was when you’d hang out in the playground to make friends… and now, this is an easy way to meet interesting people.
So, apart from a new career path and an escape from reality, what does airsoft do for you?
Airsoft is interesting in that it means continually mixing with other people in a group. I’ve learnt loads in terms of communication and organising team work. It’s the kind of environment that attracts alpha males types, who’ve achieved success privately in various fields and want to dominate in the airsoft community, as well. I’ve often wound up formally leading that kind of group. Commanding those people and reconciling their interests is no easy challenge. It’s a really fascinating experience.
And how about the mountaineering?
I’ve always loved being in the mountains. As I said earlier, once something interests me, I go for it with all guns blazing! I ascended a face once and I enjoyed it so much that I did a winter course for Tatra mountain alpinists. I love high, demanding mountains, but without technical difficulties. I’ve tackled four thousand metres in the Alps, for instance. Nonetheless, I do more hiking than climbing, though I’ll always have crampons and axes with me for safety, of course. That’s also why I did the course. In the mountains, you need to know what you’re doing so as not to do yourself any harm. I go more or less once every other year. My upcoming plan is a trip to Morocco, to make it to the highest peak in the Atlas mountains.
We’re really admire people with passion coursing through their veins like this… though we could also confess to being just the tiniest bit envious of their determination and consistency! If your hobby should turn out to be a path to MakoLab, then rest assured, we’ll be giving it all we’ve got when it comes to cheering you and your fascinating pastime on!
translation by Caryl Swift
Kamila Braszak
Kamila Braszak
Employer Branding Specialist

MakoLife, Employees, MakoLab Team, People, Hobby

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