Welcome to my blog! I'm Max!
Updated: Jan 14, 2020
So... you're on my website! That's pretty exciting. I've never really made a website before, and I've never made a blog before, but I think that making both are important steps for me to take as a creator with a voice. I'm glad that you're here at the beginning to follow me on my journey through life (or maybe you're just going through the backlog, which is also respectable). I'd like to use this first post to talk about myself, and establish my goals as a game designer, a blogger, and a person, as well as to give you an idea of why I'm doing this, and what direction I plan to head in.
First of all, my name is Max Weintraub! I'd hope you already knew that, if you've found this page. I'm a Game Designer specializing in Systems and Mechanics Design, although I have experience with Narrative Design, Level Design, and various forms of art and programming. Game design is something I've wanted to grow up to do for essentially as long as I can remember, and I've spent most of my childhood developing at least a basic level of competency with as many relevant skills as I could.
As of writing this, I'm in my junior year at Champlain College, (majoring in Game Design, of course). I recently declared a minor in Data Analytics, but because I've declared it so late, I'll need to cram extra classes into my schedule to make that a possibility. I was planning on taking summer classes, but I managed to score an internship working with Raven Software for this upcoming summer. This sorta throws a wrench into my plans to take summer classes, and may interfere with me getting my minor, but the experience I'll gain from this work is invaluable, and I'm lucky to have been given such an opportunity.
Over to the left is a picture of me, so you can imagine my face talking these words at you. I usually dress even more casually than what you see in this picture, but that's not too relevant to this blog, is it? What is relevant is my history as a designer.
I spent my childhood playing video games. No surprise there. I was always fascinated with the computer games available, even during preschool, where I'd go ham on Freddy Fish and Pajama Sam. The first game I ever actually owned was Metroid: Zero Mission, which was given to me along with a hand-me-down of a Nintendo Gameboy Advance SP in a glossy coat of cobalt blue when I was just six years old.
I really can't stress enough how much owning my own video games changed everything. I mean, my parents saw less of me for sure, but it was exhilarating to be able to escape into another world, and to attempt, then fail, again and again, improving each time. (Or asking someone on the playground how to beat a boss fight. It was always the big glowing eye.) It took until I was nine years old to beat Metroid: Zero Mission, with plenty of other games (mostly Pokemon) purchased and completed along the way.
My family didn't really buy video games for me often. (At least according to me as a child. My library of games is pretty dang extensive.) For this reason, I developed a tendency to measure the value of a game by how many hours of enjoyment I could get out of it. RPGs have been my go-to genre for years upon years, with Platformers, especially Metroidvania games, scoring a close second place for my favorite genre.
There are many games I've played throughout my life that I think had a large impact on me as a gamer and as a future designer, and I'd like to talk in-depth about those games in future blog entries. MARDEK and Cave Story taught me that incredible things can be made by just one person. Tales of the Abyss taught me that it's okay to make mistakes, but you've gotta get back up and make things right.
I grew up a gamer, and coming into adulthood, certain games have given me a profound love for games as an art form, as well as a shining pride for the industry I've aligned myself with. Baba is You, Celeste, Katana Zero, and Hypnospace Outlaw all stand tall as modern beacons of inspiration for me, as well as great examples to keep in my back pocket if I need to win an argument with my grandparents (excluding Katana Zero... too gory).
At some point in my little gamer life between the ages of seven and nine, I decided I wanted to be a game designer. The decision came extremely naturally. Before I had dove into the world of video games, I wanted to be an artist for comic books. To be quite honest, I've never really been interested in comic books, I just loved to create something and see how people reacted to it. In second grade, I started using a program called Stagecast Creator to make games. Words... cannot describe what a weak tool Stagecast is for developing games, especially today. I can only suggest that you give it a search on Google or YouTube and let your jaw hang freely at what I spent actual years of time working on an over-scoped platformer in. After that came Scratch, then Game Maker, and now, Unity.
I think the point I fully realized that I seriously had a passion for design, and to hone those skills, was from watching a pretty popular YouTube video analyzing the differences between Mega Man and Mega Man X. While it was mostly comedy, the video had made tons of valid points, and forced me to think more seriously about the structure that went into games. Since then, I guess I just did what I could to be as prepared as possible. I spent all of my elective credits in high school taking classes on art, programming, psychology, sociology, game design, and a little bit of finance. My decision to specialize in what I do comes from a combination of figuring out what I'm best at, as well as touching on the childhood love I've had for playing with numbers to see what happens.
So... why am I writing this blog? Well, part of it was because I was told to. I've heard that having a blog as a designer is a useful tool, since you can use it to document your progress, talk about design, and even cite it as a publication. I'd like to have a place to talk about whatever's going on in my life, whether that be discussing a game I'm currently playing, weighing in on new developments in the industry, or talking about the work that goes on behind the scenes on my projects. I'm a pretty vocal person, and I have a lot to say. As a developer, I'd like to create things that contain my voice, and make a real difference.
There have been many important people in my life who have struggled with all sorts of mental health issues, myself included. I'd like to create something that lets people like me know that they're not alone out there, and to inspire the next generation of creative weirdos with an "impossible" dream.
I hope you'll join me on this adventure, whatever it may be!