Game Maker's Toolkit: Breaking Down Your Favorite Games

Game Maker's Toolkit: Breaking Down Your Favorite Games

Game Maker's Toolkit is Mark Brown's fantastic playground of video game research and philosophy
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I first came across the work of Mark Brown on Youtube through his series “Boss Keys.” “Boss Keys” is a selection of videos dedicated to playing through, analyzing and breaking down the structures of the dungeons throughout the “Legend of Zelda” franchise. As a “Legend of Zelda” fan and a bit (okay, more than a bit) of a hopeless nerd, I quickly found myself watching through the entire series and subscribing to his channel. I later found out that Mark had been an editor-at-large (among a variety of other roles) for the UK's mobile and handheld gaming publication “Pocket Gamer”. His time working for the publication came to an end in January of 2017 in order to allow himself more time and energy for his main Youtube show.

Mark’s main show, which he funds through a Patreon, is called “Game Maker’s Toolkit”. This series covers a variety of games, franchises, and genres in an attempt to dissect various elements of gameplay and game design. The idea is simply to study the inner workings of video games and video game design philosophy in a palatable, approachable format. The execution, however, is so much more.

The essence of Mark’s videos is a sort of honesty. Far from the sometimes cringe-inducing attempts at humor that many of the major gaming publications strive for, when Mark says something cheeky it often feels authentic and warm. Instead of strictly gushing about a game or critically panning it, the viewer can usually rely on him to find a specific aspect of a game and present it in a nuanced fashion. It all feels like he’s truly passionate about the subject matter rather than going through articles and video essays for work’s sake.

That genuine feeling that he is just as intrigued as you are is important to an audience that wants to learn more about the industry and medium that they love. Mark also brings a sense of refinement to each video. They look sharp, with professional editing that sets him apart from some of the other gaming content creators on Youtube that may not be part of larger groups or companies like IGN or Gamespot. This is not at all to disparage budding gaming and tech journalists (trust me I’m in no position to judge), but instead to note and appreciate a level of quality that is not always seen in this niche.

Though I have yet to watch all of the videos on his channel, I feel that I can safely say to anyone interested in video gaming and game design (or just in good video essays) that Mark is a must watch. I look up to the way that he is able to balance intellectual dissection of a topic with the excitement of a fan. You never feel like he is going overboard in one direction and neglecting the other. To me personally he and his videos are an example of things that we need much more of in video game journalism.

Out of Mark’s videos I’d highly suggest starting with his episode on the idea of “versatile verbs” and his episode talking about the so called “language” of games. You can follow Mark Brown on Twitter and support him on his Patreon, linked above.

Cover Image Credit: PocketGamer

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To the guy that shot my brother...

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To the guy that shot my brother,

On January 9, 2019 my families entire life changed with one phone call. The phone call that my little brother had been shot in the face, no other details. We didn't need any other details. The woman on the phone who called us in full panic told us where he was so we went, as soon as possible. I don't think it helped that not even 10 min prior I talked to Zach on the phone.. kind of irritated with him, and the ONE TIME I didn't say 'I love you' as we hung up. Could've been the last time we ever spoke.. I remember pulling up to the hospital thinking 'this can't be real' 'it's not our Zach' 'this is just a dream Sarah, WAKE UP' I'd close my eyes really tight just to open them, I was still in the hospital emergency parking lot. I could still hear the ambulance sirens coming. It was all real.

The day our life's changed was definitely a test of faith. A test of how strong we were, as a family. I sat in that waiting room ready to see the damage that has been done to my sweet baby brother. Because at that point we had no idea how lucky he got. That glimpse of seeing Zach will haunt me forever. How helpless I felt in that exact moment frequently wakes me up from these horrific dreams I've been having ever since that day. That is a moment burned into my me and families brain forever.

You always hear about these things in the movies or on the news, a house being shot up, someone shooting another innocent person, not to care if they died on your watch. But we found ourselves on the news.. We have been confined to the hospital since that day. Running on barely any sleep, taking shifts of sleep so we don't make ourselves sick taking care of Zach. Watching him suffer. Undergoing surgeries, to repair the damage you did.

Before I proceed let me tell you a little something about the man you shot.

Zachary Keith Wright. A blonde hair blue eyed boy. Who could potentially be the most annoying human on the planet (possibly coming from his sister). A man who loves his God first, loves his family second. Perfect by no means, but almost perfect to me. A 19 year old who was to graduate high school this month. After graduation he was prepping to leave for Marine boot camp in the summer.. being in the military has been Zach's dream since he could talk. Literally. Running around, playing war with underwear on our heads, and finger guns. Some would say we looked like natural born assassins.. growing up he has been a country boy. Let me tell ya country to the core. He loves this country like he loves his family. He believes in helping people, taking charge in what's right, and never leaving a brother behind. He's lived by that his whole life. Until now....

The day you shot him. The day not only did you change my brothers life, you changed his families life too. The day you almost ripped my brother out of this world... for what? A misunderstanding? Because you've let something take ahold of your life that you can't let go you're willing to kill someone innocent over? Luckily for him, his guardian angels were protecting him in your time of cowardice. There were 3 times that day he should've died, the time you shot him, the time you tried to shoot him again as he stared you directly in the face, (even tho he couldn't talk I know you could read his eyes, and he still intimidated you. That's why you tried to pull the trigger again) and the time he was running out of the house. But he lived. A man who was shot in the face, didn't lay there helpless, didn't scream in agony. That MAN walked to the neighbors to get help. Why? Because he's a MAN, and because he's on this earth for a reason.

It's gonna sound a little strange not only to you, but the audience who is reading this. I must say thank you. Even in this situation, this was the best outcome we could get. He gets to live. He will make a full recovery. He will graduate. And he will go off into the Marines. You united my family together. Closer than ever. Thank you. You tested our faith and brought us closer to our God. Thank you. Because of your moment of weakness, you showed us what prayer could do. Heal anything. Thank you. This was a bump in the road, and a helluva way to kick off our year of 2019. But here we are.. all laying in the hospital. I'm looking around as mom is sleeping in her recliner chair exhasted but still here, Zach his awake playing his xbox all hooked up to machines, fighting to heal and get better. And of course I'm writing this letter to you.

See you in trial,

From the girl whose brother you shot.

'Fight the good fight' - 1 Tim 6:12 🤟🏼💙

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23 Things That ~Barely~ Run Through A Girl's Mind During Her First Workout In, Like, Forever

Why did I do this to myself?

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It's the beginning of the semester and that means half of the students on campus have decided that we are going to go back to the gym after their workout routine fell through last semester. It's been months since we've stepped foot in the gym, but we are ready to attack it and get fit. That is until we get there and start going.

1. How did I get to the gym? Didn't I walk here? That should count as exercise

2. Why am I here?

3. Are these clothes tighter than they were last time?

4. Why is every single machine full? What am I supposed to do?

5. Is everyone looking at me?

6. I can't remember where anything is here

7. Okay, I am going to set this at the easiest level

8. Can I go home yet?

9. Is 3 minutes long enough? No, darn it.

10. How many calories have I burned? Only 10 are you kidding me!

11. Why is everyone else here going so hard? I look like a slacker

12. I am so sweaty right now

13. Maybe I should get a smoothie as a reward for working out

14. I am literally dying right now. I am about to drop dead

15. Only 5 more minutes to go. I've got this!

16. I don't got this

17. Why do people come here every day?

18. Last minute I'm going to go so hard right now

19. Just kidding that two seconds was good enough. I'm going to cool down for the last 58

20. Hallelujah, praise Jesus, I am done!

21. I am so tired

22. My body is so sore

23. I can't believe I have to walk home now. I've already done my exercising for the day

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