Max (Mchan338) Chan
Video Games, Music, Adventures
22 | He/Him | Computer Science Major
Hello! My name is Max, but many people know me as Mchan (M-Chan). I like to do many things but primarily, I make Let's Play videos on YouTube, and am a Variety Streamer / Speedrunner on Twitch.
I also like other things too. Outside of YouTube and Twitch, I am a piano player, casual sports player, and most of all, anime and K-pop enthusiast. I will be posting whatever goes with my current interests. No NSFW content.
It is worth noting that I do have issues with depression. It does happen on an occasion and can impact my ability to provide content regularly.
I make Let's Play and Versus videos and I upload them on my YouTube channel every day! My channel is best known for Mario and Pokemon content but I also do other Nintendo and non-Nintendo stuff on an occasion.
Next LP Hint:
This is not a new Let's Play, but it is instead a continuation of a very old project that I did many years ago. That's right! For the first time in the history of my channel, I am re-visiting a completed project with new content featured in it!
I am mostly contacted through Twitter [@MchanPlayz] or Discord (MchanPlayz#2916). I am also available on Facebook and Instagram but those are mostly for personal uses. Any other platforms not listed on the icons below, you're most likely not speaking to me.
I'm usually available for guest commentary of LPs, other YouTube collaborations, or just to chat! I try to reply to everything as soon as I can. Feel free to join my discord server to talk with my community members or DM me about project details.
While not required, I'd like to know who you are before sending me friend requests on social media or online games. I get shy when I'm meeting people, so I'd appreciate knowing who's adding me.
Donations are not required but if you feel obligated and want to show your support, then you may donate by clicking on either of these two links. One day, I want to pursue being a full-time content creator. So all donations are greatly appreciated.
All donations will go towards improving my recording equipment, more games to record, real life expenses and keeping me alive.
Mchan's Guide to Creating a Let's Play
From time-to-time, I get asked time and again on how I record make my videos and what the process is.. Back in 2012, I made a video tutorial on my process. However between that time and where we are now, lots of things changed, making those videos almost completely obsolete. So this is a write-up on my full process of how I make my videos.
Note of reference: Everybody has their own way of making LPs and I don't claim my way to being the correct way but it is the way that I do things. As I am writing this, I will be having a new room soon, but I will be keeping this page as up-to-date possible. Over the years, I have changed my methods due to personal growth, learning new tech, ideas from others, general feedback, and adaptation to new things.
For starters, every Let's Player has some kind of inspiration as to why and how they got into making LPs in the first place. So here's my story:
I was around YouTube during its early years. One day in 2009, I was playing through Super Mario Bros. for the first time. I got stuck in World 5-2, repeatedly dying. After having enough, I went on the internet to see how to get through the level. Then I found a Super Mario Bros. Walkthrough on YouTube by External7. He removed his channel at this point and none of his videos exist. Anyway, I was intrigued by his walkthrough because I didn't know people made video game content on YouTube. When I went on YouTube before, I would only watch Naruto. After watching through External7's walkthrough, I began to wonder if some other people make videos like this. So then I found more walkthroughs and another format of playthroughs known as Let's Plays by a variety of other people, ProtonJon, Superskarmory, and SSoHPKC. After watching enough of these videos, I thought to myself, "I like video games. I want to show people that I'm pretty decent at the games that I play."
I finally made a YouTube account on January 2010 and started downloading software and began my first Let's Play of Super Mario World on August 6, 2012.
Choosing the Game
Every LPer has a reason why they choose the games that they play. There are a variety of different reasons why I choose the games that I LP and each reason varies from game-to-game. The main reasons out of all of the several different reasons that I choose games is because...
I like the game enough to want to share my experience in the public.
I can talk about the game for a long period of time.
I have played through and completed the game at least once.
I have an urge to re-visit some of my favorite games.
Of course as seen in some games, I have reasons outside of those three listed either because the request demand is fairly high (Super Princess Peach) or I just simply own the game whether I played it partially or not at all (Puyo Puyo Tetris/Okami). I choose these four key points listed above because I know what I can talk about when preparing a video. Sometimes when I'm playing through a game on my own, ideas for videos come to me naturally.
Every LP has some unique challenge into them. How I'm going to present my information, how I'm going to edit the project, or if a video requires a brutal amount of editing. In the case of Pokemon games where most of them come out with "brother/sister" releases (Ex: Red and Blue, Sword and Shield, Black and White, etc.), I usually pick the version of the game that I have as chances are, I will only have one out of the two similar versions (Ex: When I LP'd Gen 4, I picked Diamond because I only own Diamond and not Pearl). Now how do I know which one to get? Well I do some research on version exclusives, like which pokemon can you find in which version. If there's a pokemon I want to use on the team that's only exclusive to one version, then that's usually the version that I'll buy. Games that are released in different ports or remakes, I also pick the version of the game that I have (Ex: The Wind Waker is on Gamecube and Wii U. I chose to LP it on Wii U because that's the version that I own). If a game that I LP'd is remade and its remake features are different enough, then I will consider the remake as its own game (Ex: Super Mario 64 and Super Mario 64 DS. DS has 30 more stars to get and with 4 playable characters, adding replay-ability.). While a good majority of my LPs have been recorded on emulator, I try to record on original and/or official hardware if I can.
Why I Make Videos
I've been asked before in the past: Why do I make videos? How am I able to consistently keep up with my daily upload schedule? What am I hoping to achieve out of it?
The first answer is obvious. It's fun. Not much else to it, really. The most important thing about this is having fun. If I wasn't having fun with making videos, I wouldn't be doing it at all. Because it's fun to do, that alone is enough motivation to keep me going at it. The way I present my videos is to show people my skill and knowledge at the games I play. In Mario games, I love finding tricks that allow for sequence breaking for interesting gameplay. In RPGs, I try to find interesting strategies that'll hopefully make boring or difficult fights into something crazy.
People watch my LPs as a walkthrough, for my personal review on said game, to learn something out of my gameplay, and/or for entertainment purposes. I consider these facts as I'm making my videos and when people comment or message me for these purposes, it's a great feeling.
One of my favorite things to do when LPing a game is go for 100% if possible or some kind of full completion rate variance. This way I'm not just going through the game as quick as possible, but I'm also showing whatever content the game has to offer.
Maybe in Mario Sunshine, you never thought about clipping through the top floor window in the Sirena Beach Hotel in order to skip going through a tedious maze. Maybe in Link's Awakening (Switch), you never thought about skewing your angle at the end of Catfish's Maw so you can hookshot a block from a non-octagonal direction to skip needing an extra key to beat the dungeon. The point is that I want to present my own way of how I play games that maybe some people haven't thought about doing.
The major exception to ALL of these factors is when I'm doing an LP of a game that I've never played, called Blind Playthroughs. You all know that I rarely do Blind LPs. The reason for that is because they require a different kind of motivation that's completely outside of my usual ways. Second, I don't have any knowledge prepared for the LP, which means I don't know what I'm getting myself into and I can't make any preparations for what to say and how to format the project. Finally, I won't know if I will like the game and I won't know if I will have fun with it, which would make the project a grind to get it over with as soon as possible. It's the main reason why I prefer to play through my games before recording them so that I know for sure that I will enjoy the game as I'm LPing it.
When preparing for an LP, I do at least one practice playthrough of the game that I want to play. During my practice run, I take notes on things like if there's an item I want to go for that isn't obvious to get and/or is easily missed (Ex: Jammin Jelly and Ultra Shroom in a bombable wall in Gloomtail's room in Paper Mario: TTYD), or if there's just something really neat to show but has no real benefit in my playthrough (Ex: Stats house in New Super Mario Bros. U). The amount of time it takes me to prepare for a project all varies from game-to-game. If it was a platforming game, it doesn't take a lot of preparation with the exception of maybe some collectibles to get in levels (Ex: Star Coins in New Super Mario Bros. or strawberries in Celeste). For RPG games, they take much longer to prepare for, partly because they are longer games and I take more extensive notes on enemy encounters or general boss information.
As I am writing this, I am working on Pokemon Sword. So in the case of this, Pokemon has lots of online resources that I can look at for me to know what pokemon I can encounter in routes, which NPCs gives me items, what pokemon trainers use and their movesets. I am not researching about every little detail of the game. I am not LPing to make my projects an entire encyclopedia. I only research about the things that I think are relevant to what I want to show in my videos.
This is my current notebook that I use to write my notes for my LPs. Over the years, I have already used up a few other notebooks.
Here's an example of a page of my notes. Yes, I know my hand writing sucks and it looks like a bunch of words written all over the place. I write my notes in a way that I can understand for myself.
What is displayed on this page is some info that I want to talk about in Pokemon Sword. We have information of important trainer fights in what pokemon they have, what moves their pokemon have, and then we have what pokemon that I haven't went over in new routes/dungeons. In some of my older RPG LPs, you might have heard occasional paper turning and that is me turning the page to read off of what information I've gathered up about enemies and other information. No I am not just memorizing what is happening in the game as some may have thought I was doing in the past.
If you read video descriptions of my LPs, I link to my main source of information if I am reading off of my notes. Most of the time with Pokemon, I am getting my information from Bulbapedia. I have also gathered resources from other sites if I am LPing games from popular series. Over the years, I have used Mariowiki, Zeldawiki, SSBwiki, and many more sites. Sometimes I even gather sources based on my general experience in the game, watching other people's LPs of my games or other fanmade sites.
The fun thing about researching information about my games is that I get to talk about this stuff with some of my friends who never realize this stuff. Of course, I don't claim to be 100% on all of my information because no human being is perfect. I have misinformed data on my previous LPs before. Sometimes the research that I do makes me like my games even more.
I also keep in mind of some of the feedback that I get. Unfortunately, because I record my videos in advance, it doesn't look like I'm accepting feedback but trust me, I am and that some of my work was already done before I was receiving them. Accepting feedback was certainly a hard process in my early ages due to how close minded I used to be back then. To this day, I still meet people who are who I used to be and I don't wish to live up to that. There are people who are bad critics and don't know what they're talking about and that's why it's important to separate useful feedback with feedback that isn't useful.
As stated above, I do a practice run of what I want to record the game at the current given opportunity. I have done this for 80% of my older projects. Some of my recent LPs ever since I did Super Mario Odyssey have been semi-blind projects. For semi-blind LPs, I do a practice playthrough while I am recording episodes. Sometimes, that isn't always feasible because some games only have one save file, which would mean that my one file has to be the file I use for the LP.
In the case of Switch games, I use another account on my Switch to practice off of, if the game has only one file. The account showed here is Alyssa's account. She rarely uses my Switch and when she does, we're usually playing games together. Typically, she doesn't mind if I use her account. So I am playing games on here to practice for something and use my main account to record. If you are on my friend's list, then you would know that your name has probably showed up once, twice or more on my videos and that is because yes, I keep myself online while I'm recording.
In the case of blind LPs, like my recent one, Danganronpa, I cannot do any kind of preparation. No notes, no resources, no guides, nothing. I am completely on my own and I have to come up with things to say about the game completely on the spot. Now I know some people can do a really good job at this and I have seen people do this, but with my style, it wouldn't work out very well unless I am really having fun with the game.
For my current LP (as I am writing this), Pokemon Sword, this is a semi-blind playthrough. Before recording the first episode, I only got my fourth gym badge of the game. So I have already gathered a decent bit of knowledge but still don't know how the game is going to end. This was my second semi-blind Pokemon LP, the first being Pokemon Let's Go Eevee. Let's Go Eevee was a different kind of semi-blind because it was a remake of Generation 1 with all of the same original pokemon in the game and similar story line, so I already know what the game was going to offer to me. Sword on the other hand is a completely new generation with a different story line, different kinds of pokemon and a whole new region to explore.
This is new stuff for me and the only thing I had going into this was retaining my past pokemon information from my other LPs. Obviously, I haven't gotten the chance to try out many of the game's pokemon so I can't talk about them in detail and trying to decide what my team was going to be was a new challenge. It would be boring if I just re-use my entire team from my practice playthrough and onto the LP because I'm not trying out the newer pokemon as it's encouraged. So I went up and look up the Galar region's pokedex to see what pokemon are available to me. Typically in Pokemon, I choose team members based on if I think their move pool would help carry my team through the game and if the earliest I can get the pokemon is convenient enough for it to be worth getting. If the earliest I can obtain a new team member is near the very last area of the game, it's not worth it, and it's immediately scratched off of my list. Method of evolutions for pokemon also plays a factor for when I choose my team members. I try not to use pokemon that evolve by trade because most of the time, finding a person to help me out with that is too inconvenient for me. I also avoid using pokemon that evolve using other ludicrous ways. (Ex. Piloswine evolves by learning Ancient Power by a Move Tutor. Use a certain item on Milcery and spin it (somehow?) to evolve it.) Since I didn't want to re-use any pokemon from my practice file of Sword, all I did was choose my team members by "if the pokemon looks cool". I couldn't trial and error with those team members in practice because I was already using a completely different team.
Something else to point out is that I am practicing through my future LPs while working on my current projects. I started recording Pokemon Sword while I was wrapping up my replay of Pokemon Soul Silver and when I was just at the halfway mark of Danganronpa. As we're writing this, I am preparing for another project after Pokemon Sword is completed.
A tradition on my channel is that I have an icon/banner that represents the main LP that I am doing. In the past and partly in the current, I have done some of it on my own.
Also in the past, I got CJ to make all of my GFX. That includes my icons, banners and even thuumbnails. One day he commented on my video asking if he wanted to take the offer. I accepted and his work is really awesome. He started making stuff for me since the time where I was partly through Pokemon XD and Mario Party 7. He's also an LPer on his channel so you should all check him out sometime!
Now I have my current graphic creator, VincePlays. He has been working on my icons and banners since the time that I did Ocarina of Time. He started out using Paint.NET which is the photo software that I use and now he has switched to using Photoshop. I like both CJ and Vince's creativity with their work.
I don't like to limit my creators on what things should look like. I also don't pressure them into giving high standards. Instead, I give them the freedom to be as creative as they want as long as it's matching the theme of the current project that I'm doing. Of course this means that they get a head start in knowing what my next project is going to be and they make the designs themed on what I'm doing.
Nowadays, I am working on the YouTube thumbnails on my own because I don't want to overwhelm my collaborators with so much things to do for me. It'll cause burnouts for them. Most of you know that I try not to rely on others to do things for me if they don't have to and in the case of thumbnails, they are a lot of work especially if the LP I'm working on will take a lot of videos to complete.
As you can see here, my thumbnails are simple looking because I don't want to spoil the main part of what the episode is about. If I can, I grab a few sprites, the game's logo, my logo, and then download fonts and the only thing I would have to change is the part number. Of course, some LPs aren't always like that but I'm still keeping the simple looking theme to them.
Other collaborative efforts in my projects come from people participating in co-op projects and/or people being featured as guest commentators.
The most well known people who have participated with me on co-ops are my two friends from childhood, Vinnie and Angelo. The first LP they participated an entire project on my channel is New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Co-Op LPs is another level of preparation. We don't live together so we needed to plan out in a group of when we were all available to meet up and record. Towards the end of middle school and throughout most of high school, we would meet up either at my house or their house twice a month to record an LP together. When we're together, we try to mass record a project in as much as we can within a single day. The setup for recording co-ops was really hard because all of us needed to sit somewhere close to each other in order for the mic to hear all of us. Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures of what our setup was when we did recordings together. The room we record in is also very wide open which lead to several opportunities for background noise. Due to being able to meet up twice a month with each other, I don't release a co-op project until we record at least 80% of the game or more so that we don't have a gap in between uploads.
The first non-physical co-op LP we did was Castle Crashers. The story mode of that game had online mode. So it was a lot easier for us to record Castle Crashers together without needing to plan a meetup. All we needed to do was group up in a Skype group and talk in a Skype call. This was also the first 4-player co-op because we thought it would be cool if we showed all 4 characters' abilities in the game. So I asked my girlfriend (at the time), Alicia, if she was interested in doing it with us.
Guest commentary on the other hand happens on a rare occasion. There are two main reasons guest commentators appear in my videos. 1) If a friend of mine asks if they want to be featured at an opportunity in a game that they like. 2) If there's a segment in the LP that is boring and I need someone to be in for filler so we can banter with each other while I go through a boring segment of the LP.
The two common questions that pop up when I have guests in my videos are, "Can they see what you are doing? Are they in the same room as you?" No and no. Well to be more exact with the second question, the last time I had a guest in my LPs was this episode of Paper Mario: Color Splash, where one day Alyssa and I were hanging out at my place and we ran out of things to do together and I started setting up for recording. What I usually do for guest commentary is I go into a Discord call with the guest, we will record audio individually, the guest will send their audio to me afterwards, I share my game screen using Discord's "Share My Screen" feature and they can see what I'm doing. Then we start bantering on recording and then everything is done. Since I record my videos in advance, they get the sneak peek at where I'm currently at with the project.
We finally get around to recording. For starters, I do not suggest starting out with my setup and equipment because what I use is expensive and requires you to have a decent amount of experience and knowledge with recording. It is highly recommended to start out cheap by buying some cheap capture card or if you're recording on emulator or PC, look for a basic screen capturing software. A USB microphone of some kind is also recommended for recording audio.
I started my first LP of Super Mario World and it was recorded on emulator using a software called Hypercam 2. Hypercam 2 looked something like this. Shortly after Super Mario World, I switched to another software called Camtasia Studio.
Camtasia Studio is way more effective than what Hypercam could've offered. Camtasia allows for free region selecting when deciding which part of your computer you want to record, it can record system audio and you can even separate system and mic audio on its editing program. Hypercam 2 requires a microphone is order to record sound, the framerate output was very bad and the audio could randomly desync for no reason and there wasn't anything you could do about it.
My first several projects had audio recorded using this cheap headset called Logitech H360. It's roughly around $30 and the unfortunate thing about this mic is that you have to wear the headset around your ears instead of on your head like standard headphones. So wearing it for long periods of time was uncomfortable for me back then because of that, my ears would hurt after a while and sometimes the headset would fall off me and I have to constantly adjust. Over time, it did break and I was left doing an entire LP of Pokemon Black 2 without a microphone to record audio.
Now we get to what is my current (as I am writing this) setup. I record in two different rooms depending on what I am recording. For PC games or emulators, I am recording at my desk, which is the image on the left. I have an LCD monitor connected to my laptop to work as dual screens. It really helps with multitasking as I can do editing on one screen while watching videos or do other miscellaneous stuff on the other screen. For recording, I have my game on the LCD monitor while my recording software on the laptop screen.
For console games, I am recording in what the house calls "the play room", the image on the right. For this one, I only use my laptop screen. My capture card hooked from my TV is connected to my laptop and I am constantly monitoring the recording while playing.
Both images do look messy because when you're dealing with multiple types of equipment, lots of cables get jumbled up all over the place.