Exclusive interview with Patrick Maka (Maka91): Gamer, achievement hunter, YouTuber
Ever since I became hooked on achievement hunting, I have turned to guides and walkthroughs to help me with the trickiest achievements and challenges. In so doing, I came across Patrick Maka's guides. Brilliantly informative, straightforward to follow and narrated in a positive Canadian voice; Maka91's videos have become well respected within the achievement hunting community, earning him over 70,000 subscribers on YouTube.
I had to reach out to him so I could learn a bit more about the man behind the microphone; and was over the moon that Patrick was obliging enough to fit my interview questions into his extremely busy schedule.
First, I asked Maka about himself, his origins with gaming, and how it has impacted his life.
My name is Patrick Maka; born and raised in the Toronto, Canada by Polish immigrants. I’m 24 years old and started gaming at a very young age, back in the days of DOOM and Duke Nukem on PC, Duck Hunt and Super Mario on NES, as well as Pokemon Red and Tetris on the Gameboy. Those were my introductions to gaming and I haven’t stopped since, with videos games being a regular part of my daily life. Gaming started out as an easy way to kill time and has since evolved into an escape and a way to relax. Video games serve a lot of different purposes for me, largely depending on the game. Some games I play to relax, some games I play to have fun with friends, while other games I’ve played competitively.
Maka is best known for his thorough and in depth achievement guides, so I wanted to know how he got into achievement hunting, what game he first hunted in and what his favourite game was to 100%.
I don’t remember exactly how I got into achievement hunting, but it was pretty soon after the Xbox 360 came out. My first achievements were in Perfect Dark Zero and Project Gotham Racing 3. The first time I remember a game actually changing my gaming habits was December, 31, 2005 when I brought my Xbox 360 over to a friend’s house. We decided to play Need for Speed: Most Wanted just to beat the last boss and unlock all the achievements in the game. From that point on, there was really no looking back.
I then joined xbox360achievement.org, now xboxachievements.com, and started becoming a part of the community; i.e. achievement hunting and boosting to get ahead of other people. The community, as well as my place in it, has changed and grown tremendously since then and there will always be a large, dedicated hardcore base of gamers dedicated to achievements.
From his high level gamerscore it is clear Maka has played a tonne of games and spent a long time hunting achievements. I asked if this ever became boring and if so, what drives him to continue doing it?
The brutally honest answer is yes. Sometimes mind-numbingly boring. Although I once played games like Hannah Montana for gamerscore, I’ve switched gears and focus in the past couple years and don’t achievement hunt like I once did. You won’t see me in online lobbies boosting achievements, and you won’t see me spending 10 hours in a game I don’t enjoy to finish off the last achievement. You will however see me playing ID@Xbox games, or just having non-achievement related fun in games like Halo 5, Rainbow Six Siege and Guitar Hero. I’ve realized that achievement hunting in games that didn’t interest me wasn’t fun and it was impacting my gaming negatively. With how busy I am creating YouTube content about achievements, the last thing I want to do is spend my hours off playing something and hating every minute of it.
Many games have that one truly pesky achievement. I was curious to see how Maka dealt with the most tedious and frustrating achievements in gaming.
I don’t really ever feel a sense of frustration when it comes to achievements. For the really hard ones, I won’t go out of my way unless I really love the game. At that point it becomes a fun challenge instead of a chore. As for the long and grindy ones, the same rule applies. If it’s a game I like and care about completing, I’ll enjoy the game enough to not complain or feel frustrated. Otherwise, I probably won’t play it.
In a more positive light, I though it would be interesting to hear about Maka's favourite achievement hunting moment.
There have been a few memorable ones, but the ones that still stick out the most the Marathon achievement in Trials HD and the Long Road Ahead achievement in Guitar Hero III. Completing games like Forza Motorsport 5, Killer Instinct and ScreamRide were also fun accomplishments. I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of relief upon completing them knowing how difficult they are and how few people end up getting there. At the moment though, most of the fun I have while achievement hunting is when I’m streaming on twitch.tv/maka91productions and playing games alongside all the awesome people in the chat. That is equally as fun as getting some of those crazy achievements.
As I mentioned previously, Maka's guides are helpful and popular tools. With so many of his guides hitting thousands and hundreds of thousands of views, I asked what the key was to his videos being so popular.
That’s tough to answer. I wish I knew it because it would make the video process a lot easier for me, but I think the complicated answer is that there is no single key to video popularity. Had you asked me 4 years ago about my videos going anywhere, I would've doubted they would, but with over 20 million combined views, they've far exceeded my expectations.
A few factors that definitely helped were the fact that I got a pretty early start in guide making when the space was still quite young. I was also known within the achievement community which gave me some credibility. I also always strive to make the best content possible. I didn’t want to waste people’s time with poorly edited videos or terribly lengthy commentaries. I continued to improve my content, year after year until I built my channel up to where it is today. I have always said that there is no replacement for hard work, and it goes a long way. Mixed with timing and a sprinkle of luck, I was able to get where I am today.
Finally, I asked about Maka's plans for the future on YouTube and Twitch and whether he saw these avenues as long term career options.
My plans for the future are to continue exactly what I’m doing, to keep making video content bigger and better. I hope to continue creating videos on YouTube while maintaining an active stream on Twitch, all whilst working on my gamerscore and engaging with the community. I don’t have set specific goals in mind, but I am very excited for the day that I reach 100,000 YouTube subscribers, and get to request that YouTube plaque. I know that as soon as I reach that goal, I’ll have my eyes set on the next one though.
As for YouTube as a long term career option; I hope it will be. The internet is new, and these spaces are always changing and evolving, but as long as I can make it work, I will continue doing it. Luckily with sites like Patreon, and direct support for viewers, YouTube has become a possibility for me to focus on entirely, and I think it will continue that way for a very long time. It’s the hardest and most stressful work I’ve ever done, but also the most rewarding, and the work that’s made me the happiest so I plan to continue down this path.
Many thanks again to Patrick for providing this in depth insight into his life and work. You can keep up to date with all of his videos by subscribing to his YouTube channel. You can also follow him on Twitter and check out his Twitch streams.