It’s been a couple of weeks since we spoke to Jephren about his lifelong love for all things Rare, which made for great reading! This week we’ve managed to chat with John, the man behind The Crow’s Nest website and YouTube channel, who also happens to know his stuff when it comes to pirate lore and history in general. You’ll find out why in this Community Spotlight, so before we say too much, we’ll hand it over to John…

John managed to attend E3 this year as a fan, getting to see us reveal Sea of Thieves gameplay to the world.

[Q]: Tell us a little bit about what got you into gaming.
[A]: As far back as I can remember, videogames were a part of my life. My earliest exposure to gaming was playing titles such as Golden Axe, Shinobi and Alien Syndrome on the Sega Master System. As the years went by, gaming became a mainstay for me. Whether it was playing arcade games at the local pizzeria and trying to beat the high score or playing at a friend's house on the weekend, I was always involved with videogames over the years. A genre that I played heavily was the FPS genre. I loved learning about different eras and stories from the different shooter titles. Little did I know, playing these games would influence my career choice in the future (more on that in a bit)! Fast forward a few years and here I am awaiting the next big title, Sea of Thieves!

[Q]: What’s your favourite Rare game and why?
[A]: This question is such a tough one for me because I really enjoy Grabbed by the Ghoulies and its comedic approach to a haunted house, and Jet Force Gemini. But if I had to pick one it would be Conker's Bad Fur Day. I knew the game was 'different' and that it had raised quite a few eyebrows upon release, but I loved every moment of it. The characters you encounter, the level design, the humour – for me it all comes together in one amazing game that's infectiously hilarious and downright fun to play. Seeing CBFD included in Rare Replay was a real treat as it brought back all of those memories for me.

[Q]: What games are you playing currently? Any favourites?
[A]: Currently I'm playing Overwatch pretty heavily, cutting through the competition with Junkrat! A favourite of mine would be the Uncharted series. I absolutely love the worlds, characters and stories put forward in that series. The sense of adventure, discovery and fear of the unknown is top-notch throughout those games.

John's Sea of Thieves t-shirt collection and folding skills on full display.

[Q]: Of course, you’ve done some great work with The Crow’s Nest. Tell us a bit more about it.
[A]: The Crow's Nest was born out of watching two other community members share their love for Sea of Thieves. Both Sebastian of Sea of Thieves Central and Mike of Pirate Port Radio encouraged me to lend my voice to the community and so The Crow's Nest was born. TCN is a database for everything related to Sea of Thieves. You can find updates, log journals, videos and more on both The Crow's Nest website and the YouTube channel. My hope and intention for TCN is that it becomes a place for players to read up on Sea of Thieves lore, a guide for players to refer to when out on their pirate adventures and a source for all things related to the game!

[A]: One thing people may not know is that you teach history. Has history always been a fascination of yours?
[A]: Yes! Like I mentioned before, playing first-person shooters opened me up to many different stories and struggles from long ago. It was here that my love for history was born, which would ultimately influence my career in life!

[Q]: You released a very well-researched video about pirate facts a while back. Is your love of history also playing a part in your excitement for Sea of Thieves?
[A]: Absolutely! I've always loved the stories of the real pirates of the Caribbean and when I saw the first announcement trailer for Sea of Thieves at E3 2015, I knew that this was the game for me. In the last year, I've read more books regarding the true tales of some of the most well-known and feared pirates to ever sail the seas. There's so much great history and information out there, I think a 'Pirate Facts Part Two' video is bound to happen!

[Q]: Given that you’re a history teacher, do you have any favourite historical eras?
[A]: My favourite historical era is a toss-up between the 18th century and the 20th century. Within the 18th century, we have the Golden Age of Piracy and the stories of men and women fighting back against what they considered tyrannical leaders and the American Revolution from the second half of the century. Of course, growing up playing FPS games, I was exposed to World War II and some of its stories and that heavily influenced my career choice, so WWII would be the other historical era I find the most interesting.

We're definitely hoping to deliver that feeling of piracy in spades, or shovels.

[Q]: If you had to choose a pirate name, what would it be?
[A]: I've gone by the moniker Captain Jay on The Crow's Nest since its launch, but if I had to choose one it would definitely be Armament Jay! I can envision myself being a pirate lord, sitting atop a fortress with a cache of weapons and a crew at the ready!

[Q]: What kind of hobbies do you enjoy outside of gaming?
[A]: Outside of gaming, I love outdoor activities and visiting different museums. I enjoy taking these visits and the knowledge gained from them and incorporating it into the classroom, bringing the history to life!

[Q]: What are you looking forward to most in Sea of Thieves?
[A]: Playing and interacting with the community! I had so much fun playing an early build of Sea of Thieves at E3 this year and I immediately recognised the immense potential for memorable moments with other players. For me, no two situations were alike and I would love to see what kind of stories I'll be able to play out with everyone. That, and making a name for myself within the game!

[Q]: Share a fun fact about yourself. Anything is fair game!
[A]: When I was three years old, my parents dressed me up as a pirate for Halloween. They drew on facial hair, outfitted me with a little plastic pirate sword and more. I also had on a gold earring. For years as I grew up, I thought my parents had pierced my ears just for this costume. I even had the mark on my ear to prove it! Turns out, the gold earring was a clip-on and the mark was a birthmark on my earlobe, phew!

Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, John! It’s great to see that it’s not just a passion for videogames that can create buzz around Sea of Thieves, and the team here is definitely just as intent on fulfilling the full promise of the pirate experience as it is on delivering a great game. We’ll be back again soon with another Community Spotlight but until then, don’t forget to keep an eye on our Twitter, Facebook and YouTube channels for all things Sea of Thieves!