Community Spotlight - Paul of Rare Gamer

Paul of Rare Gamer takes to the stage for our next Community Spotlight

Over the years, our community of fans and contributors has continued to grow. And riding the wave of our 30th year as a development studio, we wanted to find out more about the people who have supported us for so long! Today we’re pleased to shine the spotlight on Paul Morgan, one of our UK-based fans who is also the editor of fansite Rare Gamer. We won’t rain on his parade by spilling all the beans in our intro, so that’s our cue to hand it over to Paul…

Despite the the look of those gnarly gnashers, we promise Mumbo doesn't bite. Honest!

[Q]: Tell us a little bit about what got you into gaming.
[A]: Back in the early ’90s, all of my friends owned Mega Drives (that’s the Sega Genesis to our American cousins) and after a lengthy spell of begging and pleading, my parents said I could have one for my birthday. I was dead set on my choice until a month or so before my birthday; one afternoon I was going through the videogame section of a shopping catalogue and sat there transfixed by a console taking up a full page spread: the Super NES!

I decided to ask for that instead, along with a copy of Super Mario World, and from that fateful decision a dyed-in-the-wool Nintendo fanboy was born, although I’ll always remember on my birthday opening up my present to find a big box containing the Super NES but no copy of Super Mario World. It was supposed to be included in the box as a bundle but the store had forgotten to put the game cartridge in. After getting myself so hyped up for this moment, seeing an empty compartment where the game should have been was crushing. Cue my Dad going back down to the shop with the receipt to say that the game was missing and he had a 10-year-old in tears back at home. That’s an emotional scar that I fear may never fully heal.

Anyway, that choice to own a Super NES led me down the path to discovering Rare and your amazing games. When Donkey Kong Country was launched a few years later I was up bright and early to get down to the store to pick it up on the day of release. 25 years later and my love of games (Rare’s especially) hasn’t dimmed at all. I own all of your games and accumulated a fair bit of Rare memorabilia (nothing to rival the mighty Amir of course) and it’s a love that has persisted to this day. In fact, I’d say it’s probably stronger than ever!

[Q]: What is your favourite Rare game and why?
[A]: For a looooong time I would have said Banjo-Kazooie without question or hesitation. For me it is the pinnacle of game design. It’s such fun to play and everything about it just makes me smile. However, recently I’ve been playing Perfect Dark again on Rare Replay. I’ve always loved it, but it had been a good while since I last played it and these last few weeks have reminded me of just how good the game really is. The level designs, the weapons, the scaled objectives depending on the difficulty you choose, the story, the multiplayer… it all adds up to one of the best shooters ever made. I’m afraid I’m torn between PD and B-K when it comes to deciding my favourite. Can I choose both?

Rare Replay: Games in 60 Seconds - Perfect Dark

Duration 1:12

[Q]: What games are you playing currently? Any favourites?
[A]: Besides Perfect Dark, I’ve also been playing a lot of Forza Horizon 2. I love the open world nature of it, dipping into events as I fancy. It’s a far more fluid way of playing and I’m really enjoying it. In terms of favourites, I’m very much an old school gamer, so Super Mario World, A Link To The Past and Super Metroid are permanent fixtures in my top ten. I’ve also been spending a lot of time playing Minecraft and the LEGO games lately; my son is eight and he is getting into these games in a big way now. I’ve also introduced him to the wonders of Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts’ vehicle creation suite and we’ve been having hours of fun with that.

Paul shows us some of his more valuable Rare memorabilia. Let's just hope Captain Bones isn't reading this.

[Q]: If you had to pick a pirate name, what would it be and why?
[A]: It may be obvious and a bit lame but I’d plump for Captain Morgan! Failing that, Plunders McGee sounds quite catchy.

[Q]: How are you involved in the Rare community?
[A]: I am the editor of Rare Gamer, a Rare fansite that has been running since 2005, although we were known as Spiral Mountain back when we first started. We began as a Banjo-Kazooie site but we increased our coverage to all of Rare’s games a few years ago, hence the name change to Rare Gamer. We offer a nice spread of news, reviews, player’s guides and interviews with Rare staff. There are lots of articles tucked away on the site and we are currently working on a new look that will better showcase all of our content. We’re also responsible for the (in)famous Top 5 Lists that my co-editor Steve has been coming up with every month for the last few years (as Rare themselves have said, the man is a machine!) and we have built up our own small community over in our forums; all are welcome to join us!

Running the site has been such an amazing experience and it’s given me so many great memories and opportunities, but being invited by Rare to take part in the Rare Replay six-hour marathon Twitch stream last year is definitely the highlight. I got to meet so many lovely people at Rare: James Thomas, Paul Collins, Christopher Davies, Louise O'Connor but most especially my childhood heroes Gregg Mayles and Leigh Loveday. You've no idea what it meant to me to be able to sit and talk at length with them! A tick on the bucket list, that's for sure!

And here's a look at Rare Gamer, established in 2005.

[Q]: What sort of hobbies do you enjoy outside of gaming?
[A]: I have two young children so the bulk of my free time is spent playing with them, clearing up spilt drinks and dropped food as we go! Once they’ve gone to bed, catching up on missed TV shows is always the first order of the day. I’m a big fan of The Walking Dead, Gotham and American Horror Story and I’m slowly but surely bringing myself up to date with those, avoiding spoilers on the net as best I can. Otherwise, my time is spent working on our website. I love doing it but the problem is there are never enough hours in the day to get all the little jobs done. One day we’ll get there!

[Q]: What do you hope to see most in Sea of Thieves?
[A]: I was blown away by your trailer at E3 last year and since then my daydreams have been taken up with all sorts of things for the wish list: having my own ship (that I can give a name) and taking to the high seas, a big bad villain to take on, burying some treasure and leaving clues for my friends to see if they can find it, exploring all the different islands and coming across an uncharted one that I can lay claim to and create a stronghold against invaders, a store in-game to properly deck out my character in some fancy pirate gear, assembling my own crew from amongst my friends… the more I think about it, the further down the rabbit hole we go!

Personally, I think a nice balance of multi/solo play is important. It’ll be great to meet up with shipmates to have adventures aplenty, but every now and then going off on a mission on my own will be nice too. Oh, and parrots... I must be able to have a parrot on my shoulder who I can give commands to. Something along the lines of Prince Tricky from Star Fox Adventures, but with more smart-mouth responses.

[Q]: Share a fun fact about yourself. Anything is fair game!
[A]: If you go back down my family tree, we share a distant relation to the real Captain Morgan who terrorised the Caribbean back in the 1600s. I look forward to living up to the family name in Sea of Thieves!

That’s a wrap…

Well, definitely didn’t see that last fact coming. Henry Morgan, the boisterous buccaneer who destroyed a whole Spanish fleet? Those are some pretty big boots to fill but we’re sure you’ll make your ancestor proud when Sea of Thieves launches.

We’d like to thank Paul for telling us more about himself and supporting us over the years alongside the rest of you fine people. Hope you enjoyed this Community Spotlight and we’ll see you in the next one!