I spent an hour and a half in chat a couple of years ago, must have been 2013…” says Nick, pausing to recall what year it was based on how old his first child was at the time. “Someone was just having the worst time understanding practically anything about the Xbox console – because it was just a mother who had bought it for [her] kid – from the WiFi to the HDMI cable. They didn’t even have an Xbox account… We spent so much time trying to fix it, and at the end, [in] all capital letters ‘YES’ with exclamation points times a million… and just everything clicked for them.”
This statement reveals a lot about Nick, who you might know better by his Gamertag and web handle “F5 Penguin,” and his thoughts around being an Xbox Ambassador. He’s quick to share his passion for gaming and somehow even quicker to share his knowledge around the Xbox console. He describes his passion as “just having a conversation with people” and learning what he can do to help out, and this has guided his participation in the Ambassadors Program: first as an active contributor to Ambassador Support Chats and then as a host for Ambassadors Play on the Xbox Ambassadors Twitch channel.
Selected for the first round of Ambassadors Play back in July, Nick’s tweaked and tinkered with the concept of his show “Talking Games” since in the effort to better address the needs of his viewers. “I’ve changed my show every single time,” Nick laughed during an Aug. 17 interview. “Tomorrow night’s the fourth or fifth show, and I’ve transitioned it every time.”
While the concept continues to change, Nick’s show is dedicated to communicating with his audience, and he’ll answer any number of questions – whether it’s about the game being streamed or geared around a support need. Nick describes his audience as a blend of viewers new to gaming as well as those who have been gaming for a long time, and in the interview, noted that this blend has been exciting to see. He’s also enjoyed seeing his audience grow since first being brought on to host an Ambassadors Play show.
Nick, whose all-time favorite games range from stealth titles like Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty to Madden NFL ’95, is no stranger to the gaming community. His passion for video games and the people who make and play them didn’t begin the day he started hosting his Ambassadors Play show or even the day he joined the Program, though he’s been around long enough to earn the “Founders” badge. In fact, Nick’s been an active voice in the gaming community in one way or another for many years: having picked up an Xbox 360 in 2009 and launched a gaming podcast with a friend in 2007, long before podcasts were the norm.
While the podcast still exists nearly 10 years later, Nick’s taking a small break from the venture to focus on a number of other things: like being a father of two, an active Ambassador and the Founder of F5penguin.com. For the most part, he seems to have found a way to balance these things, covering gaming industry events as independent press and still making time to play games with his oldest son. In fact, balance is something Nick takes quite seriously as a parent who also games.
“Now that he’s older, he wants to play, too,” Nick explained. “So it’s ‘what games are appropriate for him,’ ‘what games can he play by himself,’ and ‘what games can dad play after he’s gone to sleep.’ It’s just prioritizing.”
Part of that prioritization is setting aside Sunday for father-son play sessions, and more often than not, the two are playing Minecraft. Nick was excited to share that, while he’s the one who set up the Minecraft world visited each weekend, it’s become more than anything else a concrete representation of his son’s imagination. “Fifteen minutes ago, he was like, ‘Hey, dad. I’m building an Ender World Portal,’ and I was like, ‘I don’t even know what that is,’” Nick admitted, obviously proud of his son’s proficiency with the game.
Nick’s not only generous with the wants and goals of his young son, however; he’s adamant that most people get out there, be brave and bring their dreams to life. That’s the advice he had for anyone interested in applying for future Ambassadors Play hosting opportunities, at least.
“Try,” Nick urged. “Just do it. Don’t think you can’t… I wouldn’t have gotten to do any of it if I hadn’t beaten on the door until someone said, ‘Yes.’ Just be persistent.”