Another new feature we are bringing to Miketendo64 is the Community Spotlight. This feature is a series of articles that shines a light on some of the many incredible gaming communities out there in the big wide world. To help kickstart this feature, we reached out to who we think are one of the most open and genuine gaming communities out there. Fortunately, for us, some of our good friends are members and founders of the community. We are of course talking about the NM5 & Friends Gaming Community.
Miketendo64: A nice easy question to start off with. Who are you and what is NM5 & Friends Gaming Community all about?
Richard Atkinson: Name is Richard aka nintenmau5 and I’m the founder (along with Jess) of NM5 & Friends gaming community. We created a friendly place for like-minded, casual gamers to come together to enjoy Splatoon 2 on Nintendo Switch. We were frustrated in trying to communicate with our fellow squids when were trying to match up to play some Turf War so we decided to take it upon ourselves and open a Discord server; we’d never done it before but we just went ahead and did it!
Dottie: Hey, I’m Dottie also known as Dottie too Hottie you’ll know why if you match up with me in Splatoon. The community I’m apart of broadly is the UK Nintendo Scene. I love it so much at its core, it’s all about family-friendly fun. Nims and Marc are the funniest duo up on stage for the live Nintendo events and in my opinion some of the best Nintendo reps. I love seeing kids trying games out for the first time and seeing their little face light up with excitement because they’ve managed to figure something out.
I’ve spent a fair amount of time going to the live events Nintendo has held, be that showcasing some games at Comicon or even the Euro Championship for Splatoon in Paris which can I say was pretty awesome as a big group of the UK players went over. I do spend a lot of my time hanging out with NM5&friends over other communities. They are all about love and acceptance, which is what I need being the anxious human I am, it’s all fun, games and a bit of smut thrown in for good measure and I love it for what it is.
Jess: I’m Jess, a co-host of NM5 and friends which is a Discord Community of gamers and geeky folk and Twitter page set up specifically for gamers and anyone looking to play together, meet and make friends.
Ash: I am Ash and we are NM5 and Friends. We’re all about gaming for all individuals regardless of who they are.
Will: I’m Will and I’ve been a member of the NM5 community for about 18 months and an admin for six months. We’re primarily a Splatoon 2 community, but we welcome people interested in all games and have a lot of people using the community to chat about other games and meet new people to play with.
Miketendo64: When did you first start your community and what struggles/issues did you have in the beginning?
Jess: We started this almost two years ago where we started inviting people to come and play Splatoon 2 with us and chat via the discord.
Richard: Jess and I opened the community to the public around 2 years ago and, for a while, only had around 5 members in there including ourselves. We now have over 150 who dip in and out casually to enjoy chatting about games and sharing the love for gaming.
Dottie: Communities are hard work and need tending to like a baby as the saying goes it takes a village to raise a child and I’d say it’s similar for an online community too. Each one of the admins brings something different to the table and can pick up some slack if someone is having an off day. I wasn’t there at the beginning but i will say it’s a big responsibility when you give up an evening a week to hosting you have people relying on you to be there, to have a laugh and be fun it can be a lot of pressure sometimes I know I feel with my mental and physical health that I’m not doing well enough or I’m not being fun enough but the group just has a great dynamic where we lift each other up.
Miketendo64: What were your goals as a community when you started up and have you achieved what you have set out to do?
Richard: Our aim quickly changed over a matter of weeks from opening NM5 & Friends. It became apparent that we were a safe haven for members of the LGBTQ+ to congregate and mingle. We then set out to make it more all-inclusive and it’s just by chance that a high number of our members are part of the LGBTQ+ community. It’s great and we pride ourselves on offering a friendly atmosphere that isn’t too heavily moderated. We also have many members from different racial backgrounds.
Jess: Our main aim was to provide a comfortable, safe and friendly environment for people of all shapes, races, orientations, and personalities to come together and spread their love and knowledge on games, pets and general interests and I think we’ve achieved what we set out to do, more so than we could have imagined!
Ash: The goals are for us to have fun and be ourselves. I think this has been achieved as we all feel like a family. I feel so welcomed into the admin team even though I haven’t actually met anyone yet. But I feel already that I can call all of them my friends. It’s such a welcoming and friendly atmosphere so I think the group has achieved this. I love them all already.
Miketendo64: Do you run weekly or monthly events to get together with members of your community and what kind of events do you host (Tournaments, Meet-ups, etc.?
Dottie: We run weekly sessions on a Monday for racing games which covers various games on the switch, Splatoon Wednesday but looking to the future there were talks of perhaps doing some other gaming sessions for games that haven’t yet been released but we need to see what the games are like before we make any decisions yet as it’s a big responsibility to host any kind of session weekly.
We as a group also try to meet up as and when possible. We have a Thorpe Park meet we are doing, which will be a lot of fun for some of the group to meet face to face for the first time. There will also be a number of us attending EGX in London on Thursday and Friday.
Jess: We range from several weekly gaming sessions (Mario Kart, CTR, Splatoon, Smash Bros) in which anyone is welcome. Not all are official in fact a lot of the time it’s just fun to jump on and grab some friends to have a spontaneous gaming sesh! (The spontaneous ones are always the best!) Richard and I have hosted two meets so far, the first was in London in which we even had one awesome member travel from America to be there!
The turnout was beyond what we were expecting and was awesome fun to host!
I might add that Capcom had an event at the same venue at the same time for the release of DMC5 and ours was more successful! The other was Richard’s surprise 30th birthday where we had dozens of people come from all over the country to be a part of tournaments, games, drinks, quizzes and general shenanigans!
Ash: I run the Racing Mondays in the group. Recently it has been popular with the members and its pure carnage when it comes to Mario Kart! Splatoon 2 rooms are run weekly and other games can be played during the week if anyone is up for a match on those two or even Smash Bros.
Plus meetups are held as and when. The next one is Thorpe Park on 16th September which is my first one and I cannot wait to meet everyone!
Miketendo64: Some of your members are skilled players in Splatoon 2. Do they play professionally as well? (i.e participate in professional eSports tournaments)
Richard: Overall, we are casual gamers but we do have some who have taken part in international tournaments. The skill levels are vastly different within the group and those at a lower skill are often coached gently by those who are more competitive.
Dottie: We have a lot of varied talent within our group who we love to play with each that casually, competitively and even professionally. It’s fun to have the mix as it helps teach people new tricks, it allows competitive players a chance to relax a little and have some fun as it’s easy to get lost in the grind of becoming better. You can catch some of them live playing at some Nintendo events (EGX, Insomnia, Comicon etc).
Jess: We have some players who play professionally, some who play for fun and some novices who we’ve encouraged to buy the console/games just to join us! All abilities love to play together and share their techniques, knowledge and give tips on improving – or some just like to curse about how they die a lot of the time (speaking from experience!)
Miketendo64: For those of you that joined the community after it was founded, what were your reasons for joining and how has it affected you as a person and a gamer to interact and play with others that share your same interests?
Dottie: I joined later. It was a little daunting for me to join what I felt was a well-established group of friends playing a couple of times a week at the point I joined. Now there is only one weekly Splatoon session.
Once I got into the swing of it after a few sessions the banter started to flow and it felt like I had always been friends with this amazing group of people. As a gamer who has an invisible disability and a little sensitive at times I struggle to get out and make friends especially as an adult, how do you even make friends?!
Knowing that I had that level of communication weekly really helped me, not only did it make me happier I felt more comfortable and in some ways confident as I had found a new way to be social without worrying about if I could get out and see people in person as having a disability means adapting to your condition. I’ve met this bunch of loveable misfits and rogues a handful of times and they feel like family to me now and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s amazing what gaming can do for someone and help them achieve.
Ash: I joined the community because I got to a point where I didn’t have many friends nearby in Reading (uni does that) but ever since joining the community I feel a lot happier because everyone is so nice! I love these guys already and they are like a family. I’m so thankful for being welcomed into this especially as part of admin. It means a lot as they haven’t even met me yet! So thank you
Will: I kind of fell into the NM5 & Friends community by accident. I started following a few people on Twitter and then started playing Splatoon with them. Eventually, I plucked up the courage to join the voice chat. I’m so glad I did. Splatoon and the NM5 community have helped me make some of the best friends I’ve ever had in my life. As someone who often feels like I don’t have many people I’m close to, it’s completely changed my life and I often feel like I’d be lost without it.
Miketendo64: What is it about Splatoon and Splatoon 2 that means so much to you?
Jess: Starting out by playing Splatoon on the WiiU with Richard, we quickly realized that we had finally found a shooter game (albeit a Third-Person Shooter rather than First-Person Shooter) where we could just have fun and not receive abuse online or have anyone take it too seriously – finally a game where everyone just has fun! Moving onto Splatoon 2 gave us the incentive to meet likeminded people and create a community where we could all be ourselves! Plus as you’ll most likely know I’m obsessed with rainbows so essentially paintballing colours can be stress relieving and therapeutic, much like an adult colouring book.
Richard: Jess and I both bought the game on the same day: launch day. The amount of excitement we shared was unparalleled and, being best friends, we bonded even closer over it (we even have matching Splatoon squid tattoos!). To share some of the same feelings with now a bigger group means the world to me.
Dottie: For me, the community is everything. If I didn’t have the NM5&friends server, I’m really not sure where I’d be. I don’t think I could thank Rich, Jess or anyone else in the community enough for just being them and making my life substantially brighter. I don’t physically get to go out often and having a way to just babble on about anything without judgement and have a laugh means the world to me.
Before joining the server I was quite lonely, it has helped me change my life for the better as I have a way of feeling a bit more normal while doing something I love. I’ve become more confident, my dirty laugh comes out to play a lot more often than it did before. The group feel like family to me (I’m the annoying little sister) now and I’d travel to see any of them in a heartbeat, I’d love to go to Gamescom with some of them it’s my idea of heaven new games, new culture, new sights.
It’s funny how games have become an incentive for me to get out, meet people and do things as when I was younger I was shunned for liking games and family made me feel bad about enjoying games so yes being around people with similar interests is nice and I wish there were also more official ways Nintendo allowed us to socialize via the switch / online app somehow.
Will: Splatoon is deceptively simple. It’s a game that anyone can pick up and play, but that can be challenging to master. But everyone can have fun, whatever their own individual skill level. That’s what I love about it. It’s helped us create a community where we can all come together and just have fun. And that’s something that often feels sorely needed in today’s world.
Ash: To be fair… I don’t play Splatoon 2 as much as I should do. I have started to get back into it as it is a lot of fun.
Miketendo64: With the end of Splatfests in Splatoon 2, how has it affected your community as regards to the game’s own organized events to participate in?
Richard: I think the ending of the Splatfests has helpedout the community. We, as a group of friends from all over the world, are keeping it alive… one splat at a time. Truth be told, we organize games every Wednesday and make up our own rules for our own mini Splatfests from time to time!
Dottie: Absolutely not. While the official events may have finished, our weekly sessions have always been busy so much so we may need to open more than one room on some occasions. It’s great to see as I’ve seen a lot of people say that “Splatoon 2’s dead” and it’s far from it it’s still VERY MUCH alive and swimming.
Jess: If anything the end of Splatoon 2 updates/Splatfests has brought everyone together more so. With everyone having similar issues with mental health, socializing etc. We’ve created a must-have weekly fix for a lot of people. The Discord is thriving and we’re expecting more and more people with each meet we organize. So many friendships have been made, people from the group constantly travel to meet each other throughout the year too which we, of course, love to hear all about!
Ash: Splatoon nights are always popular. I think it will continue that way
Will: I think the end of Splatfests has helped our community go from strength to strength. At the time it felt like an end, but there are a lot of people who are still passionate about Splatoon 2 and want to maintain the brilliant community feel of Splatfests. They can get that from a community like ours, and I feel it’s a part of why we’re currently growing and as vibrant a community as we are.
Miketendo64: Will you be making use of the Splatfest Turf War Feature that was added recently to Splatoon 2?
Dottie: Absolutely, I loved the Splatfest maps I only hope one day in the future with Splatoon 3 (Make it happen Nogami -San!) they get added monthly and become a more competitive way to play Splatoon as you have an objective while turfing.
Jess: Having relinquished my Splatoon 2 hosting duties to Chloe and Will (admins of Discord) on Wednesday nights, have already been putting all stages, modes, and maps to good use and we will be coming up with many fun new games and ideas to keep the interest as weeks go on. Each week seems to get busier and more people are joining the group each week which is refreshing and humbling to see. The team has created a much wanted and craved safe place to be yourself and they should be very proud of themselves.
Will: We do, pretty much every session that we organize. A lot of our regular players had got pretty bored of Turf War as a Mode. Having a whole load of new and varied stages to play has given it back a sense of excitement that it felt like we’d lost.
Miketendo64: For anyone who may be interested in joining your community, how can they get in touch with you?
Richard: Everyone is welcome, truly. No matter your background, sexuality, skill level or taste in games, we’ve got a lovely bunch of people in a Discord server that I truly believe is different from most. We talk about games, work and we even share pictures of our pets and food! A lot of continuing effort is going in to making our small group of gamers a safe and fun place to be involved in and seeing real-life friendships form is, and will always be, why this community is in existence.
We at Miketendo64 would like to thank Richard, Jess, Dottie, Ash, and Will for taking the time to talk about their incredible gaming community. We truly admire and respect what you all have achieved and that hope that you continue to shine brightly so that other lost or lonely gamers can find their way and join your awesome community. We hope you continue to Stay Fresh and most importantly “Don’t Get Cooked, Stay Off The Hook!”
If you would like to feature your own Gaming Community on Miketendo64 in our Community Spotlight, please get in touch by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us spread the word about your Gaming Community with the rest of the world.