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 Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Poetry On The Odyssey: It's a Girl

An ode to the little girl raised to be insecure.

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They raise little girls to be insecure

Little girls grow to be big girls

People always ask big girls why they're so insecure

Big girls aren't quite sure

Day after day the big girl can't keep up

She's exhausted

Her soul feels worn

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In a way, she's a bit stronger

People call her a bitch

Bitch

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How can she let that affect her

It's simply the only way to be her

She mourns that little girl

Hoping that one day

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