Let's Talk with MAKA91

By Marc Hollinshead, 2 years ago
Hello all and welcome back to another community interview! This week, our guest is Maka91, a gamer who doesn't just play for a hobby, but professionally too! Let's give a big TA welcome to MAKA91!

Marc: Gamertags almost always tell something about their owners. Tell us about yours.
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MAKA: I’d love to have a unique story about how I stumbled into an awesome gamertag, but it’s probably as uncreative as they come. “Maka” is my last name and a name that I often went by, and I was born in 1991. I like the gamertag I have either way, and I’ve had it for over 10 years at this point, so there’s no going back. The gamertag I temporarily used before that was “Makanator”, which tends to give people a good laugh.

Marc: How long have you been gaming?

I’ve been gaming since I can remember. I was probably around 4 years old when my family got their first computer and although it might’ve not been age appropriate I grew up playing DOOM, Wolfenstein 3D & Duke Nukem. I also had a ton of different consoles growing up, starting with a SNES that I only have a vague memory of. Since that time, I grew up with an N64, Dreamcast, Gamecube, N64, Xbox, PS2, Xbox 360, Xbox One and I most recently picked up a PS4. Not to mention playing on the original Gameboy, Gameboy Color & Gameboy Advance.

I’ve been gaming since the mid-90s, and never looked back since then. I have literally grown up on video games, and they’ve always been a huge part of my everyday life. They’ve kept me out of trouble and shaped the person that I am today.

Marc: Do others in your family game, or are you a first-generation gamer?

I would consider myself a first-generation gamer. I’ve tried to introduce video games to others in the family, but it wasn’t as easy as I had hoped, and decided that giving up was the only viable option.

Marc: What do your parents/significant other/friends have to say about your gaming?

They understand that it’s an important part of my life and I never let it get in the way of the important things. I make sure to keep a good balance, so there are no issues and everyone is supportive, although they might not necessarily understand it as a hobby/job.

Marc: Assuming you’re not a professional gamer, what’s your day job?

A lot of different things have led me up to the point in my life that I am at right now. Being 23, a large portion of my life has been devoted to studies, and I’ve only recently graduated from McMaster University, with a degree in Process Automation Technology (Engineering) as well as Business Administration. My time at university was spent with 120% of a course load, as well as long and lonely commutes to school daily, so the full-time student life is not something that I necessarily miss. During my time in school, I worked two main jobs, which were full-time during my summers off, and part-time during the school year.

I worked as an Administrative Assistant & “Infusion Co-ordinator” at a large pharmaceutical company, for a large part of my time in school. The company was pretty flexible, and could always use a helping hand, so it was a job that worked well with my situation. I spent most of time doing paperwork, making phone calls to patients, booking patients and nurses in clinics and general stuff like that to keep things running. It wasn’t anything exciting or that I could imagine myself doing forever, but it was something that I enjoyed while I was there. I learned a lot, and don’t have any regrets about working there. The company ended up being bought out by the largest pharmaceutical distributor in Canada, and ended up moving out of my range, and it just ended there for me.

I also had the opportunity to work 8-months for my University, which was an awesome experience. I was the “Student Engagement Co-ordinator” / Social Media Guru for my program, and was given an incredible amount of freedom to run things my way. The goal was to get more students involved in a community centred on the program, as well as accustom new students and help them make the transition from high school to university. I had a lot of fun, met a lot of new people and learned a lot of new things doing it, and it’s definitely a positive point in my life.

For the last 12 months I have been working on my YouTube Channel full-time. After graduating, I was mentally and physically burned out, and needed some time off for myself. During that time I started focusing on YouTube a little more, and it began to grow. As it began to grow, at some point it made the transition from a hobby that cost me out of pocket to a hobby that generated some return, and something that I began to chase more seriously. There are a lot of misconceptions about what being a “YouTuber” really means and there are still a lot of people stuck in the past with their way of thinking. Running a channel can take 70+ hours per week, and there is a lot more that goes into it than people realize. It can be an incredibly stressful and demanding job, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything at this point. It something that brings me incredible happiness and pride, and it’s a great feeling to know that people are watching something you made, even if it’s just to kill a few minutes or for achievement help. In short, YouTube is my passion project that takes up the majority of my focus and full-time hours at the moment. We’ll have to wait and see where it goes!

Marc: It's been an interesting few years for you! It's always good to hear about people who have worked hard to get to where they are today. And after checking out your YouTube channel, I actually remember seeing one of your videos in the past!

What other hobbies do you enjoy?

During the winter months, I like to ski every now and again, although it’s not something I’ve been able to do as often recently. During the summer months, I spend a lot of time cycling. It’s something I do for fitness as well as pure enjoyment, and definitely a new found passion of mine. It’s nice to just get away from everything and spend some time outside and let your brain recharge.
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Otherwise I’m a pretty laid back person who enjoys staying in and watching a movie with a friend in my spare time. Coffee and sushi are also awesome, just not together.

Marc: Going off the surroundings of where your bike is placed, it seems picturesque!

Tell us about your home life – parents, spouse, children, significant other, animal companions?

This is my family dog, and his name is Mister, he’s a cutie isn’t he?
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His hobbies include food, chasing squirrels, walking with a stick in his mouth and napping. I hope to get another dog in the near future; one that’s a little smaller and makes less of a mess around the house. They can be buddies.

Marc: Of what real life achievement are you most proud? Would you give us some details?

There are a few, but graduating from university was something that was really important to me and something that I’m extremely proud of. I’m the first one in my family that’s been able to graduate from a post-secondary institution, and I know it means a lot to my parents who immigrated to Canada in order to give me a better chance at success. Although it was a long and financially draining road, the hard work paid off for me when I officially graduated in December of 2013.
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Aside from that I remember reaching 1,000,000 total YouTube views on April 1, 2013 and it was a pretty spectacular day in my life. Looking back, it may not be the most extravagant goal ever but it meant a lot to me at the time.

Marc: Graduating from university was a pretty awesome time for me as well. Reaching that many channel views is also amazing! Just because it's YouTube, that doesn't make it any less special.

What’s your favorite game of all time on any console? What makes it special?

That’s quite the question! There are so many options, I don’t even know where to start but if I had to pick just one, without a doubt I would have to pick Halo 3. This is the only game that I’ve put more than 1,000 hours into, and I have over 100,000 online kills during that time. I played the game from its release in September of 2007 all the way to January of 2011 without playing many other games. I even have the TA stats to prove it, with an abysmal 4,500 GamerScore achieved across ALL of 2009. Halo 3 consumed my entire life. I continued to play it on occasion until late 2012, and I will still occasionally log on for a few matches.

I don’t know what it was about the Halo 3 multiplayer, but I COULD NOT put it down. To me it was everything that made a great game, with even teams, equal loadouts for all players on symmetrical maps. The gunplay was consistent, and involved skill and tactics, more than just timing and choosing the right weapon. The power weapons were on timers, people actually used their microphones and I couldn’t get enough. To me, it’s still the closest thing to a perfect multiplayer experience. With the amount of time and effort I put into it, I became quite good and started to push myself even further into competitive matches. Trying to get better and level up was something I strived for. I have literally played the Halo series for more than half of my life, and I’m excited to see what comes along with Halo 5: Guardians.

Just for fun, I’ve included my main profile’s Halo 3 stats up until the point that Bungie stopped tracking them. Excuse the low Ranked K/D Ratio, I spent 90% of my time in high level MLG matches. :p
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Honourable Mentions: Pokemon Red, Diddy Kong Racing, Rush 2049, Madden 2003, Rock Band 2, Trials Evolution, Grand Theft Auto V & Destiny

Marc: I think it's awesome that people enjoy playing one game so much. Who cares if it means sacrificing gamerscore. :-P

Do you remember the first game you played? What’s your fondest memory of it?

MAKA: I started gaming at a very young age, so my memory is a little blurry. I want to say that the first game I ever played was Super Mario on SNES, but I couldn’t say that with certainty. I have almost no memory of it, so it would be hard to pick one that I particularly fond of. :p

Marc: If some evil spell allowed you to own only a single game for the rest of your life, what would it be? Why?

I would go on a hiatus and wait for Destiny 2 hoping that it is everything I want it to be and more. If they can deliver the initial promises of Destiny and put some of those ideas alongside the current gameplay into Destiny 2, I think it’ll be a great game. It would be a game that I would be able to enjoy with friends, and hopefully the community would be large enough to give me substantial amount of longevity for a game, which is important if I have to play it forever. I’ve had some great moments in Destiny alongside friends, and if I had to give up every game but one, I’d want to make sure to choose one that I can play with others.

Marc: In a world that seems to hate Destiny, it's good to see someone who doesn't follow the crowd!

What part of the world do you live in? If I were to visit, what sights would I have to see?

I live in Toronto, Canada. Quite a beautiful city, and a great country to live in. Home of the CN Tower, Roger’s Centre, a new Ripley’s Aquarium and quite a large array of activities to do downtown. Toronto is also the home of a great group of very diverse people and a place that I’m proud to live in.

If you ever find yourself here, make sure you take a walk along the lakeshore during the day, stop for a beer or non-alcohol beverage at a place with a patio, take in some shopping and explore the urban environment at night! There’s always a ton of stuff going on.
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Marc: You've put where I live to shame laugh. It sounds like a wonderful place! Maybe one day I'll escape the drudgery of England...

Any games you regret putting on your gamertag?

I don’t think there are games that I regret putting on my gamertag, as I’m the type of person who would more likely regret not finishing a game than starting it. Being a YouTuber, I get the chance to play A LOT of games that I wouldn’t normally play, and I tend to move on quite quickly, so I have an ever growing backlog of games that I need to play at some point, although more than likely never will. I also have countless games that I’m in the middle of, and I’m always looking for time to revisit them.

I have a wide variety of games on my gamercard, including kid’s games, terrible movie tie-in games and everything in between. Looking back though, I wouldn’t change anything about it.

Marc: Tell us about your gamer pic. Why did you choose that one?

I Chose to use an avatar picture because I thought it added a little personal touch, and thought that it looked cool. I changed the avatar clothing, pose, props and background every now and again to change it up.

Marc: Do you have any particular gaming pet peeves?

Not any that come to mind.

Marc: What upcoming game are you most looking forward to?

There are a ton of great looking games that I can’t wait to get my hands on. Ori and the Blind Forest, Forza Motorsport 6, Halo 5: Guardians, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Quantum Break are just a few that come to mind. We’ll see what we can expect at E3 soon enough!

Marc: What game(s) are you currently playing? How are you finding it?

I get to play a lot of games, so I’m almost always playing the new releases of that week, or working on videos the week before release using a review copy. I’ve been playing ScreamRide a lot over the past couple of days, but I’m not allowed to talk about it because of embargo until after this piece is submitted. Other than that, within the last month or so, I’ve enjoyed playing The Order 1886 on PS4, as well as Pneuma: Breath of Life, Blue Estate, Life Is Strange, Trials Fusion DLC &Dying Light to name a few. I really enjoyed my time with Life Is Strange because of how unique it is and I am very excited for future episodes. Dying Light also surprised me and I found myself enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would when initially receiving it. And as always, an ongoing staple in my life is the Trials series and most recently Trials Fusion, which I spend a lot of my time with. The ultimate game of easy to play but hard to master, and although I don’t yet consider myself a master, I like to think that I’m decent at the game with Platinum medals on at least half of the Extreme tracks. As always, I have a great time playing Trials Fusion.

Marc: What game are you most proud of completing? Why?

It’s a toss-up, but probably Forza Motorsport 5. The list isn’t particularly hard by any stretch of the imagination, but I remember starting this game and telling myself that there was no possible way that I would ever complete this game just based off the time investment needed to complete it. 8 months & 125 hours of gameplay later, I completed it! Racing games have always been one of my favourite genres, and Forza Motorsport 5 is one of the most incredible racing games to ever be released, so once the addiction got me, I kept playing the game and returning to it after long breaks, eventually completing it, which is why I would put it as my most proud completion.

Honourable Mentions: Killer Instinct, Trials Evolution, Trials HD, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 & Burnout Revenge.

Marc: What single Xbox achievement are you most proud of? Why?

It has to be:
Guitar Hero III: Legends of RockThe Long Road AheadThe The Long Road Ahead achievement in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock worth 618 pointsComplete all difficulties in Career, buy everything from the shop and complete 100 online matches

The amount of time I sunk into getting good at Expert songs in Guitar Hero made it all worth it when I finally unlocked this.

Honourable Mentions: “Marathon” in Trials HD, “Champagne Room VIP” in Guitar Hero II and “Circuit Breaker” in Kinect Sports Rivals.

Marc: In a slightly different vein, do you have a favorite achievement? One perhaps that you just really enjoyed attaining?

The most fun I think I may have ever had in attaining a single achievement would have to be:
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2Ultimate DefenderThe Ultimate Defender achievement in Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 worth 133 pointsWin a 60 minute Co-op Defend match on any map

I remember the amount of organization and planning that we had to put into this beforehand. 16 players on a small map, and all of us needed to use the same weapon, taking turns running out of ammo until we were finally able to complete it. We had to cut a few people out of the group because they weren’t following the plan and would run out of ammo 2 minutes into a 60 minute achievement. The final few minutes got really tense as we only had a couple players left, defending 1 small area from waves and waves of oncoming weapons. I remember having a huge group of extremely happy people in that game that day when we finally completed it.

Marc: If you found yourself dropped into a video game, which video game character would you most want to have your back?

Master Chief is the definition of a video game badass, it would have to be him. Marcus Fenix with a lancer would be a close second.

Marc: In the same scenario, what character/creature would you most/least like to see headed your way?

Probably Crota from Destiny. Wouldn’t want to get in the way of that thing.

Marc: Any characters you would like seen thrown into video game hell?

Nothing comes to mind. I’m sure lots of frustrating moments have been caused by a ton of different bosses, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Marc: Ever had any bad experiences online? How did you handle it?

There are a few elitists on Destiny that want you to have the latest and greatest equipment or else they’ll immediately throw you out of the party, and that’s never fun. Other than that, and the typical over enthusiastic trash talker that nobody likes, I haven’t had anything out of the ordinary that is very memorable.

Marc: Do you prefer single player or multi-player?

This depends on the game and my mood. A part of me loves having fun in good multiplayer experiences because they are unpredictable and you can put yourself to the test against other people. Some of my greatest gaming moments have been spent online playing with others. On the other hand, I’ve also enjoyed some great single player experiences like Grand Theft Auto V , BioShock Infinite (Xbox 360) and Forza Horizon 2, and hope to try The Last of Us in the near future. I don’t have a preference, but do get different types of enjoyment out of different types of games and game modes.

In summary, I’m not picking an answer. :p

Marc: I was going to be mean and make you pick, but you already sort of did that by saying you prefer both wink.

If you could have a multiplayer session with anyone in the world, whom would you choose? Why?

Because of YouTube, I’ve been lucky enough to get a chance to play with a lot of the people that I look up to in the gaming industry, including developers, community managers and other video content creators. One of my favourite parts of the review process is going online and meeting new people who are also reviewing the game. You meet a wide variety of awesome people from twitch streamers and YouTubers to writers for popular websites, and the game’s developers as well! I even got the chance to do a Destiny raid with Phil Spencer, how cool is that?! I think the next person on my list has to be Major Nelson. Maybe one day.

If I could pick someone outside of the gaming community, I’d probably just pick someone mega famous like Taylor Swift so I could ironically boast about that time I played Xbox with Taylor Swift. I feel like it would a cool story to tell people even if I don’t really care for her music. Also Jimmy Fallon is a pretty funny guy, wouldn’t mind having some fun in a multiplayer session talking to him. Sorry I didn’t provide more meaningful answers. :p

Marc: They're some pretty diverse answers actually! Not sure if you'll be meeting Taylor Swift in a multiplayer match anytime soon, though laugh

What other consoles do you own? What are your favorites on those platforms?

I have an Xbox One, PS4 and a PC that can generally run most games in lower settings. I recently retired the Xbox 360 when I decided that I no longer played it enough for it to warrant a place in my cabinet, although I will bring it out if I ever need to in the future.

It’s been a while since I’ve sat down with a non-Xbox console and played a game that I really enjoyed unfortunately. Over a year ago though, I enjoyed a game called Papers, Please and would highly recommend it. Another obvious PC highlight would be Half-Life.

Marc: Have you ever had a game you really looked forward to that you were disappointed in when it finally arrived? Tell us about it.

I have never boarded the good ol’ hype train, so it’s very rare that I’m disappointed by a game. A part of reviewing games online for me is also being impartial to a game before its release, and it’s something very important to me. I don’t let trailers or pre-order bonuses influence my opinion on a game, and it’s actually worked very well for me. A lot of people have been extremely disappointed with various games for not living up to the expectations they set based on an E3 trailer that made it look like the next best thing. I actually made an entire video based on the subject, and my conclusion for years now has been that gaming is a LOT more enjoyable without setting expectations before playing a game. You’re going to be let down every time if you let your imagination run wild. Stick to information, and stay away from promotional trailers and pre-order bonuses. At least try it.

With that being said, there are still two instances that stick out to me. Unfortunately, I expected the Halo: The Master Chief Collection online experience to actually work, and that was setting the bar too high. It was disappointing to finally get my hands on a game that I wanted to play, only for it to be plagued by game breaking issues that made it unplayable. The other “disappointment” would have to be Destiny, even though I think it has some of the best gameplay available. I thought it was a missed opportunity to create an even better game than what was actually released, without the addition of any story whatsoever and minimal content at launch. I’m not disappointed, but a part of me thinks about what could have been…

Marc: Tell us about your gaming set-up.

Nothing too crazy. At the moment I have an Xbox One and PS4 connected to a 42” Samsung LED TV. They both run through a Hauppauge HD PVR Gaming Edition 2 which is what I use to capture any game footage for YouTube videos. And I have a TV box so that I can watch some good old fashioned television programming. I have a Day One console and use Kinect voice commands all the time, but don’t use an external harddrive at the moment even though I’m always running out of harddrive space on the Xbox One. All of that is encased in an entertainment cabinet that I got years and years ago from some super cheap furniture shop. I’ve amassed quite the collection of Xbox One games because of my YouTube Channel (link: https://youtube.com/Maka91Productions). Most of what you’ll see below are review copies as my gaming budget is actually extremely low at the moment.

On the PC side of things, I have a 3 year old Dell 17” XPS laptop that got me through school, 1000s of YouTube video edits and can run some games here and there. I have a ton of additional equipment that I use for video stuff, but it would get a little long and dragged on if I started listing stuff like that.
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Marc: How do you use TA? Tracking, walkthroughs, solutions, sessions?

I use tracking. I use it a lot. You’ll also find me either posting a solution or using one for the various games I’m playing, and I’ll occasionally participate in a session if the time is right.

I’ve been in an on-going battle for the #1 spot on the site’s “Solutions by Gamer” leaderboard and I currently have 730+ solutions. I also like to comment on the activity feed when I see friends playing certain games or unlocking certain achievements.

Marc: How has your gaming changed or evolved since coming to TA?

It hasn’t really. I’m still playing video games for enjoyment, only go for achievements that I actually want and enjoy attaining and don’t take my personal stats too seriously. It’s been nice to have a completion percentage to look at, and I have used “Gamer Goals” in order set goals for myself, but nothing too crazy. I’m happy with everything the way it is.

Marc: What do you like and dislike most about the site?

The solution system is incredible, which is one of the main reasons that you’ll see me posting as many solutions as I do. Having trackers for every achievement is also very useful because it gives you insight into an achievement or game with only a short glance.

Don’t really have any major dislikes that are worth mentioning. The site is constantly improving and becoming a more and more awesome place to be around.

Marc: How did you learn about TA? Have you signed up any friends to the website?

I signed up in July 2008, when the website first started. I heard about it through a forum post on another website, and a bunch of my friends were already registered so I decided to as well.

According to my stats, I have 8 referrals, which is more than I would’ve thought. I have told a ton of people about the website, and link to it a lot in posts or videos!

Marc: Keep linking it. We want TA to take over the world!!

Have you made friends here?

Yes, a bunch of people that I regularly play with are people who I initially met on TA.

Marc: If you could have a game handcrafted just for you, what would your perfect game be?

I would probably choose to have a fully finished Destiny with more content. I know it sounds like a silly answer, but imagine that game with an actual finished story, more vehicles, more customization, more missions, enemies and guns. A Destiny where the in-game economy actually made some sense, and the community’s voice was actually heard. That would be a pretty awesome game.

Marc: Why do you choose TA over other gaming sites?

Because of the tracking, and I enjoy seeing the stats and mathematics behind them. I enjoy being able to sort games, read solutions prior to picking a game up, and I enjoy offering solutions to the welcoming community.

Marc: Do you have a “claim to fame” in gaming? If so, what is it?

As I’ve mentioned above, I have a YouTube Channel (link: https://youtube.com/Maka91Productions) which is going strong at 40,000+ subscribers and over 10 M views, so that’s pretty cool! I’ve even been recognized in multiplayer games and it’s still something that surprises me every time. I don’t know if it’s something that I’ll get used to or know how to handle, but it’s awesome when it happens. I’ve been given some incredible opportunities in gaming and life because of it and I’m so grateful to all the people who tune in for videos, their support means the world to me. Playing with Phil Spencer was pretty awesome too.

Marc: It's a huge achievement! Congrats on behalf of TA!

*Lightning Round*

Favorite 360 game?

Halo 3

Favorite non-360 game?

Pokemon Red

Least favorite game?

Truth or Lies

Favorite game developer?

Bungie, Rockstar or Valve

Favorite game weapon?

Portal Gun

Most hated game enemy?

Cryptarch. Screw that guy.

Favorite game character?

Master Chief

Favorite game sidekick?


Favorite game ending?

BioShock Infinite, once I understood it

Most hated game ending?

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Favorite game environment?

BioShock (Xbox 360)

Favorite game music?

Halo 2, no contest

Most emotional video game moment?

The Walking Dead Ending

Game that SHOULD have had a sequel?


Non-Xbox game you’d love to have achievements in?

The Last of Us Remastered

*End of Lightning Round*

Marc: Is there anything I haven’t asked that you want to talk about?

Most of the bases have been covered. If people are ever interested in seeing my videos, they are free to take a look at my YouTube Channel (link: https://youtube.com/Maka91Productions), or they can check me out on twitter (link: ). That’s really about it.

Marc: Any shout-outs you want to make before we go?

There are so many incredible people that I’ve gamed with and have been with me along the way for several years, and creating a list would be impossible without missing people, so to avoid that I’ll keep it simple and won’t name names. The people who I’ve played with and the people who I consistently play with or have played with in the past know who they are, and I thankful that they exist.

And a special shout-out to the Xbox and TA communities that make it an awesome thing to be a part of!

And there you have it, folks. Thanks again to MAKA91 for taking the time to share his own story with us. Join me next time, where I'll be with my next guest, Conky UK.

Come back to see me and, you guessed it... let's talk. wave

I'd like to remind everyone that because of the huge waiting list for candidates, I am currently not taking any applications for the Community Interview. When some of the backlog has been worked through, I'll let you know. ~ Marc
Marc Hollinshead
Written by Marc Hollinshead
To summarize Marc in two words, it would be "Christian Gamer." You will usually find him getting stuck into story heavy action-adventure games, RPG's and the odd quirky title when he isn't raving about Dark Souls and Mass Effect. Outside the world of gaming, Marc attends and helps out in his church on a regular basis and has a not-so thrilling job in a supermarket.