Community Spotlight - Tom
Our voyage through the month of September is coming to a close and it’s been a busy one, with EGX and Talk Like a Pirate Day being just a couple of the things the team has been involved with. But before the month does end, we still have one more Community Spotlight coming your way!
Today we’re catching up with another one of our Sea of Thieves Forum regulars, Tom, also known as Taydoge Swift. In this Spotlight, Tom chats to us about some of his favourite Sea of Thieves moments both inside and outside the game, as well as the origin of his popstar/meme-inspired internet alias. Over to you, Tom!
Some pirates find companionship in parrots. Some find it in...cuddly stuffed cats?
[Q]: Tell us a little about what got you into gaming?
[A]: Well, the first game I can recall playing was Super Mario 64 at my grandfather’s house at the ripe old age of about six years old. Looking back, I feel quite fortunate that I began with such a critically acclaimed game since I think it opened me up to the world of video games in general. Experiencing the freedom of hopping around as Mario, being able to “fall asleep” when you were AFK, cheating by firing yourself out of a cannon to beat the one guy to the top of the hill, these all leave such vivid memories of not just gameplay, but experiences that I shared with my family.
I haven’t owned a home console till recently, but I remember building my first PC in order to play Star Wars Republic Commando, my favorite game of all time (I’ll never forget you, Sev). This was the first game I had played on PC that required a graphics card. Thus began the slippery (and expensive) slope into building and maintaining a PC, and my initiation into the PCMR.
[Q]: Were you a Rare fan before Sea of Thieves and do you have any favourite Rare games?
[A]: I’ll spare you the multiple puns that just popped into my head and just say that I have only played two Rare games before that I can recall, but I loved both of them. (What? You guys didn’t make a lot of PC games till now!) The first one was Donkey Kong Country on the Game Boy Advance SP. What a great game. There was a great balance between difficulty and fun, and I loved the animation of jumping on the mole dudes. Also, the minecart level was always the highlight when I played through the game again and again.
As for the second game, it was a bit of a recent game, Kinect Sports Rivals. I don’t see enough credit go to this title. This game is amazing. It sold the Kinect for me. You don’t wanna know how many times I felt like I threw out my arm from playing the Tennis game, or how many times I looked like an idiot jumping up and down on the Rock Climbing level. Plus, the face-scanning sensor doohickey was pretty legit. Who doesn’t want to see a tall lanky digital version of themselves do awesome things like Rock Climbing, Tennis and Wake Racing, while the real me is sitting in a nice air-conditioned basement? What do you mean, I could just do that in real life? Why, though?
[Q]: What games are you playing currently? Any favourites?
[A]: Let’s see here, what am I playing… *checks Steam library*. I always seem to have a rotation of three or four games that I play at one time. Right now, it’s Overwatch (nerf new Mercy, buff my Roadhog), Rainbow 6 Siege (I main Lord Tachanka), Battlefield 1 (witty meta joke), and of course, PUBG. But my favorite games of all time have been, firstly, Star Wars Republic Commando, which was awesome to me as a Star Wars nerd because it expanded the universe by showing the Clone Troopers, who I always loved the most out of the shows and movies. I loved the dialogue between the squad, and the end left me saying “well, where’s the next level. I need to finish this!”.
Then Bioshock Infinite for similar reasons. Amazing story, and great characters. Elizabeth was one of the few characters that I basically fell in love with. She was able to convey so much in her dialogue and her cutscenes that I actually felt like I was fighting for her. When the credits rolled, I picked my jaw up off the floor, and hit New Game to see what I could do differently and if I could pick up anything that I had missed the first time. I had to… for Elizabeth.
Like any pirate, Tom loves the adventure that comes with being in the great outdoors.
[Q]: What was it that brought you over to the Sea of Thieves community initially?
[A]: An article on Windows Central, the place to get your Xbox news! (#notanad) But yeah, seriously, it was like “hey, there’s this Rare game and pirates and treasure” and I was all “hey, that’s pretty good”. I had enjoyed the odd trailer from that year’s E3, so I figured what was the harm of signing up and seeing what the fuss was about? Plus, any chance to check out an Xbox exclusive early, amirite?
[Q]: You’re well known as a great source for funny memes and GIFs on the Forums, as well as several insightful posts. As a fan of the game, what else do you hope to bring to the community?
[A]: Wow, insightful posts? I’m truly flattered. And yeah, I suppose I do a few memes and GIFs (read: JIFs) here and there. But I hope that I can be known for more than just that. A few months ago I helped CaptnJaq to start up her 24-hour charity stream. It blew my mind that someone would go out of their way to be like, “hey, let’s organize this event and get everyone that we can to help”. She was amazing at getting that going and since I saw that, I always try to think “what would CaptnJaq do?”. She’s always such a bubbly personality on the Forums at helping people out, and while I cannot do the bubbly personality, I always try to help people out in a fun or unique way.
I find that copying and pasting answers can get pretty mundane, and while for some topics it’s required due to the subject, I try to customize answers to the people, or give the reasons behind the answer. To me, I don’t care too much what the answer is, I just want to know why, so I can understand it better. That’s what I try to do around the Forums and in the Discord, to help better explain why something is like it is. In the words of a famous astrophysicist, people don’t think the game be like it is, but it do.
[Q]: Dare we ask, how did your Taydoge Swift alias come about?
[A]: Well, I wasn’t always known as Taydoge around the Forums. Back in the early days, I was known as TheMadHattster, my original Xbox Gamertag. I had been using that for account names since the early days, including my Steam account. Back then, I wasn’t too terrible at the old Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, so I needed an, uh… alternate account. But I needed a new username. At that moment, a light shone down, and I heard the angelic voice of Taylor Swift floating to me from afar (from my headphones, since I was listening to her). Why not combine this beautiful woman with a doge? But I didn’t know Photoshop!
Well, turns out I didn’t need to know it. Luckily for me the internet exists, and someone had already had this idea, so I stole the picture from Tumblr. But then I changed the words a bit, so now it’s mine! On a side note, people seem to love the picture. Like I’ll play Siege, and people will be like, “your name is familiar”, and then look at my profile pic, and instantly say “yep, it’s you”. So, it’s kinda neat being (in)famous.
[Q]: Do you have any standout moments from your time as a Sea of Thieves Forum member?
[A]: Yep, whenever someone would use the @insider tag, and everyone on the Forums would flip out, we’d all yell at the person, and the Deckhands would be powerless to stop the mob. Good times. It’s not like that anymore. You new Insiders will never experience the joys of being tagged, but not you specifically being tagged, since they disabled it. RIP @insider tag. You were taken before your time.
That, and also when JoeNineTee commented on my post saying that he “chuckled” at it. I’m trying to get that on my résumé. He’s not responding to my calls though.
On another side note, I loved how the Discord collaborated for the Gamescom hunt. We made a channel to discuss the riddles, and while I had found it a bit earlier, it was so cool seeing all these new people come in and discuss clues, put together tentative maps, and help each other out, without giving away the exact location if they had found it.
Stories of voyages past are a big part of Sea of Thieves, and Tom has a couple to tell!
[Q]: Having played the game now, do you have any stories from any of your sessions?
[A]: Yeah, my very first session during Gamescom week. I was with a bunch of new Technical Alpha players who had just been invited as well, so we were all fresh to the experience. We spent the first half-hour or so puking into a bucket and tossing it at each other, and then, I had *the experience*. We were treasure hunting on an island, and I made it to a cliff overlooking the sea. I was able to see two battling ships in the distance, and for some reason I loved watching them fight. It was super cinematic, and I loved every second of it. How they circled each other, the cannons going off, getting closer and further depending on the steering, etc. The moment was ruined when one ship rammed into the other, and they both ended up sinking, but still, it was nice while it lasted.
Also, searching for the Gamescom chest was very fun. I was the first of my crew (hi CaptnCross and Freckle Force and other guy I forget!) to find the chest location, and when I first saw it, I was taken aback by the eerie nature of it. I was like “guys, you may wanna see this!” Their collective gasps were definitely worth me not going there by myself.
[Q]: If you had to choose a pirate name, what would it be?
[A]: I… I don’t really know. This is not something I was prepared for. Captain Pegleg Eyepatch Hookhandbeard? That’ll have to do. My thing is I’m the most generic pirate in history. Y’arr!
[Q]: What kind of hobbies do you enjoy outside of gaming?
[A]: There are… other things? Well, I work part-time, and go to school full-time, so between those things and the bit of spare time I have, I like to sit in bed and watch the latest Overwatch comp metas, rewatch Gravity Falls for the fourth time, and procrastinate on homework by putting together crappy GIFs and videos for the enjoyment of probably no one but myself. Well, that and getting outdoors. I find that with all the notification bells and feeds to update and news cycles, I’ve become a lot more fond of getting outside and turning off the phone for a few hours, taking a walk along a lake, staring off into the sunset and contemplating life and existence. After I do that, I get home and fire up Overwatch, preparing to lose my cool at someone when they pick Hanzo after we already have a Widow and an Ana.
And so, the sun sets on another Community Spotlight. Big thanks to Tom for taking the time to tell us more about himself! We can see the… hook… of his chosen pirate name. As we move into October, expect more Spotlights and other articles to dig into over the coming weeks. Until then, make sure to stay connected with us via our assortment of social channels so that you don’t miss a thing!