Hello, readers! Let’s discuss the future of Mark Plays

There are a lot of things that led me to make this decision, but I’ll start with the first one: this post about Doctor Who. I don’t often like peeling back the curtain of Mark Does Stuff. I am happy letting y’all come to my sites, enjoy the discussion and the community, and go about your way. Because I don’t often talk about logistics, I tend to feel weird whenever I have to. As far as I’m concerned, I’m perfectly fine with each of you thinking I’m basically a robot who can somehow write 15 reviews in a week and do commissions and other bonus posts and write books. Honestly! I know that I do a lot, and as long as you’re not being rude, entitled, or demanding, I am totally fine making it seem like my sites are updated by magic.

So writing that intro to that Doctor Who post was incredibly difficult for me. The first version of it didn’t even include it! It wasn’t until a day or so after I posted it that I went back and added it. My perception of how it would be received was skewed negatively, and I worried so much about opening up about how I go about doing what I do. But the lovely, supportive, and generous response from thousands of you made me feel LOVED, y’all. For the most part, the vast majority of you don’t take me for granted, you understand that I’m just one person, and you enjoy this little community we’ve all built in this corner of the Internet.

Just a warning, as I have to talk about depression and health issues below.

I do feel weird about being this open, but I trust that you will understand why I’m making this decision. As of today, Mark Plays is going to move towards being an infrequently updated side project. I will play The Walking Dead and the Mass Effect trilogy, and I’ll include periodic updates about what I’m doing, but I simply cannot sustain this project as a daily blog. I spent a week in Palm Springs with my boyfriend on a much-needed break from my hectic life, and my boyfriend asked me, point blank, if I thought I was doing too much. As fun as this is, and as satisfying as it’s been to do it, I have gotten to a point where I have no free time. The amount of stress I have in my life is so severe that I’m losing sleep, suffering from insomnia, gaining weight despite that I’m eating less, and for the first time in YEARS, my depression is flaring up constantly. I think we can all agree that THIS IS A REALLY BAD THING. I mean, I think that actually might help some folks understand that depression isn’t about being sad. I have nothing to be sad about. But my brain just flips a switch and BAM. Day ruined. And it’s been happening like three times a week since September, and I can’t keep hurting myself.

Truthfully, Mark Plays takes the most time to complete per week. It takes me about 20 hours to write five posts. This takes into account the fact that I don’t time myself if I have to repeat a section because I died, formatting the posts, setting everything up to record, etc. And I love doing this, especially since it’s making me a better gamer. But commissions have been more likely to get backed up. It’s hard making time to write my ebooks. It’s damn near impossible to work on my first novel WHICH IS FULLY PLOTTED AND EVERYTHING OH MY GOD, and I really want to finish it this year.

But damn, y’all, it’s been a rough three months for me. And in this case, there’s a solution that will help me continue to enjoy what I do, be more efficient, feel better about my own mental and physical health, and go full-speed ahead with all these little things I really want to get done. I can’t say I’m joyous about dropping something, but it’s relieving to have the strength to say that I simply cannot do this right now. At least not at the same level, that is!

I’ve already emailed everyone who commissioned Mass Effect videos from me. If I’ve missed you, please let me know! I’m actually still going to honor those commissions when I do get around to those parts of those games, but I’m offering either a refund or the chance for me to do something in the meantime so that you don’t have to wait for your commission. I think what I’d like to do is put up a weekly log and discussion post for what I’m playing at the time, how far I am, and what the game is like. I just can’t sustain a daily update anymore. I do have a one-off commission that’ll go up this weekend or on Monday that I’m doing regardless. It should be pretty fun. :)

I am sure that some of you are disappointed or saddened by this! I realize it’s very sudden, but I only came to this decision just a few days ago. Honestly, I’d never even considered dropping Mark Plays as a full-time thing, but I can already tell you how much easier it’s going to be for me to avoid burning out on Mark Does Stuff. You can certainly expect a quicker turnaround for commissions, way more double features, and the third Mark Does Stuff tour this spring.

I’m super stoked for all your support for a project that was shaky (at best!) at the start. I’m particularly thankful for those at Kotaku who wrote about me and sent me so many new fans and friends! I hope you’ll stick around on Mark Reads and Mark Watches. You can follow my Twitter account @MarkDoesStuff if you want to know when Mark Plays posts go up. I’ll tweet them there!

Again, thank you. I know this sucks, but I promise it’ll have positive repercussions! I appreciate all of you who have taken the time to comment every day as well. <3

Mark (Who Does Stuff)

About Mark Does Stuff

Owner/writer of Mark Does Stuff!
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112 Responses to Hello, readers! Let’s discuss the future of Mark Plays

  1. Mark, you do what you have to do to stay healthy. I would rather you cut back on Mark Plays now rather than get completely burnt out on Mark Does Stuff and quit because then what would I do with all my time?

    I will play The Walking Dead and the Mass Effect trilogy, and I’ll include periodic updates about what I’m doing
    Oh look, I have come back from the future with Mark's Walking Dead updates.

    Mark: WHAT THE FUCK.
    Mark: WHAT.
    Mark: OH GOD WHY.
    Mark: H E L P

    And then there's just a bunch of whimpering I can't decipher.

    • Mark Does Stuff says:

      Like ALL OF MY FRIENDS ARE PLAYING THIS GAME. Even ones who don't PLAY video games. And they just shriek at me all day. So i imagine this is 100% accurate.

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      It won the 2012 Video Game Awards' Best Game of the Year. This despite being from a pretty small company, and going up against the likes of Mass Effect 3 and Halo 4. And it's expected to spark a resurgence of the entire adventure game genre. Just more support for what I love to say: if you have good writing, that's really all you need.

      • Eliestav says:

        It won the Spike Tv Game of the Year. Which has never been something to put much stock in.

        The game is totes amazing though.

      • KatieHal says:

        I love Walking Dead, I love adventure games, I love this adventure game, and I MAKE adventure games, so I was really damn excited about it winning game of the year!! There's already been an adventure game renaissance starting, and there a lot of good games due out this year as it is, so the increased attention on the genre is super exciting. :)

    • @redbeardjim says:

      To be fair, that's probably what a lot of his Mass Effect updates will look like too.

  2. arctic_hare says:

    Mark, the only thing about this that's sad for me is that it comes of you suffering so much. :( :( :( I'd much, much, MUCH rather you gave this up and stayed healthy and focus on what you want to do. *hugs* We all love and support you and wouldn't hold it against you. Anyone who does is just a grade-a jerkbender who can leave any time, thanks.

  3. SLynn says:

    Mark, as a person who has never met you, can I say how much I love you? Because really, I just stop by to laugh and think and learn and share an experience (whether a book, a show, a game or anything), and you don't owe me anything. You don't owe any of us anything. It's the fact that you care so much about making us happy that makes you so special, and I don't think any of your readers would begrudge you your health for this site. We want you around for years, Mark! So, take a break already! And even if I comment once a blue moon, I will be here for whatever you want to write about, whenever you want to write it. We'll all be here!

    • Mark Does Stuff says:

      !!!! THANK YOU!!!

      • sertaki says:

        somehow that made me really happy :D

        (the hug – not you getting depressed and all!)

        Mark you are an awesome person and i actually started to choose my next books/tv-series based on the criterium of it being mark-ed or not – therefore i absolutely support you not getting burnt out.

        take your time so that in the long run i don't run out of marked stuff (that souned very selfish somehow :O )

        here some cookies for you: <img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2709/4209774767_2f895b4308_n.jpg"&gt;

        PS: take your time to relax – i don't support more reviews at the cost of depression!

  4. Menteith says:

    First time poster, but I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate everything you do. Do what you need to, and I hope that everything turns out alright. /internet hugs

  5. adaptation says:

    I'm glad you made this decision. More than once I've thought about everything you do, with all the reviews and the watching/reading/playing in order to write the reviews, and the ebooks, and your novel, and my brain legitimately couldn't process how you manage to do all that every week. It was stressing me out just thinking about it; I can only imagine how you must have felt.

    I'm still super excited to see you play Mass Effect, even if the reviews are only coming once a week, and in a different format. It'll be amazingly fun no matter how you do it.

    I hope you get more time to work on your book now. I want to read it.

    • Mark Does Stuff says:


      books! things! I am excited to finish my book!

  6. 7lovelyangel says:

    Taking care of yourself is the most important thing here. You're having too much pressure around and if the fun that it is supposed to be, starts to give you pain, it's time to slow down.

    I don't participate in Mark Plays but I'll support you when needed. Don't hesitate to tell us when you're overwhelmed or when you're really short on money. As someone who don't like to ask for help, I know it's never an easy thing but please, try to always put yourself and your welfare above the site.

    We love you and want you to be/feel good. I feel awful to hear about what you went through those last weeks. :(
    Take care, ok?


    ps: I look forward to read this novel of you! :)

  7. BornIn1142 says:

    Well, you gotta do what you gotta do. Or in this case, you gotta not do it. As disappointing as this news is, it would take a real bastard to bear you any ill will for a decision like this. Even if your health wasn't being affected – obviously the most important concern here – it would be kind of a disservice to every good game on your list if playing them became troublesome drudgery instead of a source of entertainment and emotional and intellectual enrichment.

    So yeah, I hope you can figure out a more comfortable pace.

  8. I was honestly shocked when you started Mark Plays because I thought you already had no time.
    As much as I would've enjoyed daily posts on Mass Effect I can't say I would've felt good about it if I knew it was making you miserable. And gaming should be about fun! I also had concerns that Mark Plays wouldn't generate as many commissions for you to make it financially viable in the long term (because gaming is EXPENSIVE.)

    But honestly I don't know how I could complain about your decision when it's a service I'm experiencing for free PLUS there's still Mark Watches around (there's also Mark Reads but I'm not sure when you'll be reading something I'm interested in.)

    So just keep being awesome and enjoy Mass Effect… at your own pace of course :).

  9. You mean…you're NOT a magic robo-reviewer? ILLUSION SHATTERED

    When you first announced the Mark Plays project, I was curious if it'd be a schedule issue, but you were up for it, and I heart video games, and watching other people hearting video games, so I didn't question it. But this is fine. (If I could make a suggestion, maybe after finishing whatever's left on the schedule, you could look into shorter games? Do like a weekly or monthly or whatever one-off review thing. Plenty of good indie games that could work well that way, without needing a great deal of time investment)

    Kinda wishing I'd bought the Walking Dead games while they were on sale recently. No interest in the show or the comics (and in general tired of zombies) but the games are suppose to be pretty good and it's a genre I've always been interested in but never had an opportunity to play much. Meh, my computer probably doesn't have a good enough video card or something else anyway.

    • Can You Run It claimed my paltry Intel integrated video card wasn't good enough, but it was fine.

      There are a lot of short indie games that would be fun to do! I recommended Eversion, and my brother bought me Hotline Miami, which seems pretty fun. Right now I am addicted to dying horribly in FTL: Faster Than Light.

      • Rianne says:

        oh god FTL.
        I keep wanting to just call it FML and be done with it.

      • Ha, I got FTL for Xmas. I am TERRIBLE at it. But I couldn't stop playing it for hours. (I almost won once! Turns out that wasn't the final boss. Welp.)

        Mark has a PS3, so I imagine Journey would make a wonderful review if he hasn't played it. (Imagine, 'cause I still haven't played it, need to get around to it some day)

        Also: Thank you SO MUCH for telling me that 'Can You Run It' is a thing! Why didn't I know about this? Could have saved so much stress every time I was looking to buy something on Steam. UGH (I failed the minimum requirements for The Walking Dead, as I imagined I would)

        • So far my best game has gotten me to Sector 7 against all odds with none of my original crew (Kaylee keeps dying in fires, it's very sad), and then I was taken out by a fucking solar flare.

          My brother recently reminded me that you have the ability to pause during battles to strategize, so I hope that helps, even though it kind of feels like cheating. I hear the final boss is a monster, though. Not looking forward to the first ten times I make it all the way to the end and die!

      • affableevil says:



        pls tell me other people here love Journey IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL

        • Chrysalisis says:

          Journey wasn't just a beautiful game, it was a beautiful experience. Definitely the best online co-op experience I've ever had with a game. One of my favorites of the year, most definitely. :)

        • @camharr says:

          I cried for 15 straight minutes at the end of Journey. I NEVER do that.

    • Mark Does Stuff says:

      Actually, I have a one-off review going up Monday for a commission, so I absolutely want to do one-time/one-post games. PLEASE RECOMMEND THEM TO ME.

      • Eversion. It’s really short and cute!

        I’m currently playing FTL: Faster Than Light, and I feel like it would be fun just for you to have weekly frustration posts. I need someone to commiserate with.

        Braid is brilliant and would make for a good one-post game.

        I haven’t actually played it yet, but my brother gave me Hotline Miami, and I trust his taste (I mean, just scroll down and look at all the praise). It’s pretty short, so it would be good for a one-off. Besides, how can you resist this recommendation?

        “I have played this & this is dope.”
        —Brandon Boyer

      • Ooo, then I'd recommend the game I recommended in suggestions at the start, Company of Myself. Puzzle/Platformer flash game that takes 5-20 minutes tops, depending on your handle of the controls. You will either love it or hate it for the contents of its bittersweet story.

        And Journey on PS3! I have no idea how long it is, but it'sa beautiful thing that shouldn't be too long and I really, really want to play myself. It's kind of hard to describe it without ruining the one big surprise that was unfortunately spoiled for me. People keep calling it 'an experience', in a sorta pretentious way, and calling it a good argument for games as art which is something I can support.

        Also: Lots of indie games shooting for a retro feel. I'm partial to platformers. Braid is a great example (it's got time travel! Or, well, time control… Similar!) I don't think it's too long. I want to recommend Cave Story (because EVERYONE SHOULD PLAY CAVE STORY) but it's difficult and runs a bit long. It'd still make a good one off review, though. Also it's the best game ever created by a single human being by himself which also happens to be better than like 90-95 percent of games with a full development team it is marvelous and I keep buying it every time it's rereleased even though the original release is still a free download.

        Oh, right, it's also free in its original form! (you'll need the fan translation though).

        Company of Myself: http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/518729 (It also has a similar prequel, which isn't quite a good, but tries new things and is neat on its own – and yeah, it's a Newgrounds flash game, you're gonna have to trust me on this.)
        Journey is on PlayStation Network
        Braid is on Steam
        Cave Story: http://www.cavestory.org/downloads_game.php (Links to the original Japanese version and provides the English patch. Also like 20 other language patches. It's also available on Steam and if you wait like 5 minutes it'll probably go back on sale again. And again. And again. Also on : DSiWare, 3DS eShop, WiiWare, and a full remake in 3D on the 3DS which is rather disappointing but hey, remake!)

        Also SpectralBovine recommended FTL: Faster Than Light which is pretty great if you're into roguelike space sim exploration and fighting things that I'm terrible at but really enjoy anyway. Also on Steam. Also really difficult to actually beat.

        • Oh, my brother keeps recommending me Cave Story+! I have no idea what it is, but, like I said, I trust his taste.

          Also SpectralBovine recommended FTL: Faster Than Light which is pretty great if you're into roguelike space sim exploration and fighting things that I'm terrible at but really enjoy anyway.
          It's kind of surprising how much I'm actually kind of enjoying it now; I think I've moved past the general frustration point to appreciating that even though I die horribly every time, at least every game has been very different. How will Serenity VI be destroyed? I wonder now. I'm not sure how long I will give it if I can't ever beat it, though. Just once. Just once and then I can move on to Hotline Miami. And then keep playing with different ships and see how long I last.

          • Cave Story is like the best Super Nintendo game that happened to come out in 2003. And for the PC.

            Do you like Metroid? Or Mega Man? If you said yes to either, than you'd most likely enjoy Cave Story.

            Oh, and I completely forgot to mention LIMBO. It's like the perfect game for a one off thing.

            Also: Super Mario Bros. The original. I have no idea if Mark's played it, but I noticed that it wasn't on the Denied list. The first one is pretty short, and you can get it on pretty much anything. Legally speaking, anything made my Nintendo, but outside of that LITERALLY anything. You could probably play it on a toaster! It seems right for Mark to review it at some point. It seems strange to think he hasn't already at some point, but it also seemed strange that he'd never seen Buffy or read Lord of the Rings so it's possible and this should totally happen!

          • I never played Metroid or Mega Man, actually! Well, I think I did a little, but not a whole lot.

            Oh yes, Limbo is great; I haven't finished it. Probably need to start over at this point.

            Oh my God, Mark Plays Super Mario Bros. would be pretty funny and adorable.




          • Fanfic idea: Angel, Buffy, and Darla as the crew of a FTL game's ship, told from the perspective ofthe characters. Super dramatic every time they inevitably died. And then the ship blows up and the story restarts from the hanger all over.

        • affableevil says:

          Seconding Journey (lol if my gushy comment above wasn't obvious, I love this game)! It's PS3 exclusive and I would guesstimate two hours long at most, not sure if that's too long or not. It's just…beautiful. In every aspect. The visuals, the music, jfalkdfjldkajfkaj

          It's very hard to explain exactly how good the game is until you try it. Also I would highly recommend playing this one online. It actually greatly enriched the game, for once.

          here's some music from the game:
          [youtube PR20RM63Dyo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PR20RM63Dyo youtube]

      • Chrysalisis says:

        How about Dear Esther? It's only a couple hours long (like 3 at the absolute maximum), and it is totally gorgeous and very emotionally affecting. You could do one post on this and have a lot to say – it's very arty, so I would love to see your interpretation of it… and maybe have some people to discuss it with. I've been trying to get my sister to play it so I can tell her all my ~theories~ about it, but… she still hasn't played it!

        I guess you could say it's an adventure game… you walk around and explore an island. And story happens. Saying much more about it could spoil something, so I won't. But even if you don't cover it for the site, you should play it because it's beautiful, thought provoking, and I think you would love it. :)

        Here, just look at the trailer. It's fucking gorgeous! And so much ~atmosphere~
        [youtube D7VJ4lP-05A http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7VJ4lP-05A youtube]

        Oh, and I second Eversion. It is adorable. :D

        • @camharr says:

          Seconding Dear Esther and throwing in To The Moon because ~all the feels~.

        • Mark Does Stuff says:

          holy shit, this looks amazing.

          What platform do you play it on?

          • Chrysalisis says:

            It's PC/Mac. You can get it on Steam, or you can buy it on it's own (DRM free) from their website.

            Here's a complete list of where you can get it: http://dear-esther.com/?page_id=789

            They list all the system requirements on there for it too. Make sure you play this version and not the original one. It was originally made as a mod using the Source engine, but they remade it into this.

      • Passing by says:

        I would say Journey, but that must've been reccomended about a million times by now. I do have some other reccomendations though. Some of them I also posted in the suggestions thread, but I think they're burried beneath a hundered other ones.

        The Trader of Stories series: A series of point-and-click adventure games, about an amnesiac woman named Myosotis, who travels the world of Forestbed to piece together her past. There are currenlty two games in the series: "Bell's Heart" http://www.kongregate.com/games/Pastelgames/the-t… and "A Grain of Truth" http://www.kongregate.com/games/mrudi/a-grain-of-… (each part can be finished in about an hour or so)

        The Sub Machine series: Also a series of Point-and-click games. I cannot say too much for fear of spoilers. Suffice to say that it has a very dark and deserted atmosphere. The series currently has 8, with 3 extra "extended universe" games, that don't follow the main story. The first part looks a bit like a standard escape game. http://www.kongregate.com/games/MateuszSkutnik/su… (similarly to Trader of stories, the individual games are rather short, but the puzzles are far more counter-intuitive at times)

        I don't have much else, I'm afraid. Most of the games I've played are rather lengthy. I'll come back when I remember something.

  10. arctic_hare says:

    Also, the idea of weekly discussion posts where we can go off-topic is fantastic, I look forward to those!

  11. Jess says:

    Mark! I’m glad you are doing what you need to do for yourself. I’m also glad you’re playing Mass Effect, as those games are great, and that you can enjoy them without the work aspect. Don’t let the nasty assholes get you down. There are many more of us who realize you are an actual person and not a robot. ;)

  12. nanceoir says:

    A burned-out Mark is not a good Mark.

    I think what I’d like to do is put up a weekly log and discussion post for what I’m playing at the time, how far I am, and what the game is like.

    Maybe in the comments of these weekly(ish) log and discussion posts, people can talk about what they're playing, too. That would keep people engaged if they're not playing what you are (or are just really bad at that style of game, which is why they've only played about three or four hours of Mass Effect even though they started it several years ago using two thumbsticks at once is confusing and hard) and still get some fun gaming discussion going on.

    Anyway, yay, gaming (at a less intense level)!

    • Maybe in the comments of these weekly(ish) log and discussion posts, people can talk about what they're playing, too.

    • arctic_hare says:

      I agree! I have like a million gaming things I'm itching to talk to people in this community about!

    • djinn says:

      I'm all for sharing gaming stories! Thanks to the good folks on this site I started playing The Longest Journey and it's really good! I never even heard of this game until I saw it mentioned here.

  13. EmberQuill says:

    As much as I love reading your Mark Plays posts (Dragon Age and Mass Effect are some of my absolute favorite games), I'd have to be some kind of monster to demand you stick to a schedule that has been problematic for you. Honestly, I wouldn't mind seeing only weekly (or even less frequent) posts on Mark Plays, if that's what you have to do to avoid getting burned out.

    I definitely wouldn't want to be responsible for turning video games into a source of stress for you. Gaming is supposed to be fun. Like I said, Mass Effect is one of my favorite game series. I'd hate to see you miss out on properly enjoying it just so you can meet your weekly review quota.

  14. Chrysalisis says:

    You do whatever you have to, man. You shouldn't have to run yourself into the ground to entertain a bunch of random people on the internet at the cost of your own wellbeing. Make sure you're okay first and foremost. :)

    Honestly, I think that weekly updates on most games is actually a better format, because unless a game is very story-heavy, I'm not sure it's possible to have a huge amount of things to write about them daily. Sure, I would have loved to see you post in-depth reactions to stuff like The Walking Dead (because it's pretty much ALL story), but a weekly post is still gonna be fine. I'm sure you'll still freak out at all the parts people are expecting you to, and that'll still find it's way into the post. XD

    Really hoping you enjoy Walking Dead and Mass Effect! Take as long as you need – god knows I never would have been able to play a game everyday on a schedule and finish it within that schedule… I'm pretty sure it took me 6 months to completely beat Mass Effect 1. I'm very slow at gaming…

    So don't worry about it! :)

    • arctic_hare says:

      Honestly, I think that weekly updates on most games is actually a better format, because unless a game is very story-heavy, I'm not sure it's possible to have a huge amount of things to write about them daily.

      Even with RPGs, that would be a challenge, I think, cause you inevitably take some time out to grind for a while in most of them and who the fuck wants to read/write about killing a bunch of goblins or whatever? NOT I. If I had to cover, say, a Final Fantasy game like that, I'd bore people silly with my oh so exciting entries about gaining levels and learning spells and shit.

      • Chrysalisis says:

        Very true. RPGs are actually what I would worry about the most, because a lot of them (especially the old school ones) have so much down time in them. I mean, he's got Pokemon on the list – what the hell are you going to write about Pokemon in a post EVERY DAY? There's only so many times you can say, "I fought a Zubat, man that was annoying" before it gets stale.

        The only games I can think of that would really warrant extensive posts are games that edge into being more like books (visual novels, adventure games). Something like 999 for the DS is a good example – besides a few puzzles and story choices, it's pretty much just an interactive novel. If/when Mark gets to that, he could pretty much run it as a Mark Reads thing instead.

        I think it is mostly important that Mark ENJOYS the game, not how much he posts about it. Less can be more sometimes!

        • arctic_hare says:

          Yeah, as much as I'd like him to play Chrono Trigger and my favorite Final Fantasies for his own enjoyment, I don't think they'd lend themselves well to daily posts the way he's been doing, just cause of the necessity of occasional grinding and whatnot. The Ace Attorney games are good examples of what you talk about in your second paragraph, but I want him to just play those on his own and enjoy them, rather than have the fun destroyed because of all the stress and suffering. I mean, the whole reason I was excited about this project when it started was because I hoped to see him have fun with games I love, but what he's been going through is the opposite of fun. :(

  15. Mark, it's been really fun to have so many things I've read/done before updating at once (because I certainly couldn't keep up with the myriad of things you do that I haven't previously been into). Then even I fell behind (and I'm just trying to keep up with Mark Reads Tortal, Mark Reads The Shoebox Project, and Mark Plays Dragon Age – I have no idea how you everything else). I was honestly just amazed when you started Mark Plays because I had no idea how you were going to do that alongside what you already do, so I completely understand this and I think weekly update discussion posts will be awesome and far more manageable than one review per hour (sometimes when I play DA, I spend an hour in the camp talking to people and equipping them).

    Anyway, the priority is that you're happy and healthy, and on top of that if you're just doing one thing I'm into at any given time that's a bonus (because if there's nothing I've read before, I will read the ones I haven't anyway – which may be how I knew everything that would happen in The Book Thief before I had the time to read it myself), and I promise I will commission lots of videos when I can afford it, because your writing and the enthusiasm you bring to all your projects is just that awesome.

    Actually, question about commissioned videos: Would you accept a commission for a 1 & 1/2 hour standalone dvd if I paid you $25 per half hour it ran for?

  16. threeparts says:

    Totally understandable! As much as I love these sites and do tend to read your blog posts at 3am on my phone when I get up to pee, I can also appreciate how much effort they must be and how stressful it is to have hundreds of people constantly clamouring for MOAR. So yeah. If you need space, take it, and I'm sure we all hope your health improves because of it.

    One thing I guess I could suggest is to have a sub-blog where a moderator or two could do similar posts about games, books, comics, or shows that they're into. It would keep advertising clicks up to pay for the sites, produce posts during periods when you're unavailable, and cover more and more varied content then you could manage on your own. I know you're a Personality around here, but there are people in the comments who always post interesting, insightful stuff as well, and you're in a good position to give them a larger platform which could in turn help with your hosting costs.
    Maybe you've considered this before and canned it due to problems I'm overlooking, but the suggestion is there just in case. Many people value your sites for the unique point of view – I will rarely get the critical discussions about -isms in media from other bloggers – and we'd hate to lose that part of your writing.

  17. Ryan Lohner says:

    I'm typically reading three to four books simultaneously, out of pure impatience. So I definitely understand this feeling, and I fully support doing whatever it takes to feel like you have more control of your life. Whatever will come of this will be worth it. This site actually got me playing video games again after years of swearing off the format entirely, and it's been so rewarding getting back in touch with the industry. And I definitely hope I can see you on tour again this year.

  18. ossianistic says:

    Hey Mark, just wanted to de-lurk for a bit to say that I totally sympathise with the stress you're under and am really glad that you're scaling back your projects to keep yourself happy & healthy. Wishing you all the best! And super looking forward to a possible tour.

  19. Sybylla says:

    Everyone else has said everything I wanted to say, so… ^^^all this^^^!

    Seriously, take care of yourself and make time for yourself. We all understand.

  20. I would literally just be excited to read your Twitter feed while you're playing Mass Effect. I'm predicting large amounts of WHAT IS MY LIFE WHAT ARE MY CHOICES and then a healthy dose of (spoilers) Jul pna'g V ebznapr Wnzrf Irtn?!?! V nz sberire bccerffrq!!!

    Whatever keeps you healthy and happy is what's important. Reading these sites and then following you and the incredible commentors to other places has opened up a whole new world for me and I'm so, so grateful. Thank you for all the amazing stuff I've read over the past few years and I really hope you can take the time to rest and heal.

    Also, a big (and hopefully not patronising) well done for recognising your need for these boundaries and then having the strength to set/enforce them. It's some difficult stuff to do and I wish you all the best :D

  21. accidentalbeard says:

    YES, definitely take the time you need to be good to yourself!!! If anyone gives you shit about this decision, they aren't worth listening to.

    I've loved Mark Plays not just because I love watching you play games I love (which I do!!!) but because I've been able to have great conversations with other commenters about the games as well.
    I'm happy to hear that you will be playing Mass Effect because I adore that series as much as I adore Dragon Age and I think your reaction will be fantastic on so many levels. But it's important that you *enjoy* the process – there's no point to playing a game if you hate it, or if the time commitment makes your depression worse.

    Be good to yourself! As someone with depression I really struggle with self-care and I'm glad you realized what needed to be done and made it happen. =)

  22. djinn says:

    I have to admit, Mark, that I sorta expected this to happen eventually. When you started Mark Plays I was afraid you had put too much on your plate. I know you might feel a bit sad about dropping MP to become an infrequent thing but I think it's pretty safe to say that most everyone understands and supports your decision. We would rather you be healthy and happy and enjoying your work over any kind of stress and illness. I really hope you take this free time you now have to have a much need rest/break. Please do not feel pressured to put out work that you don't have the energy to produce. The people that really appreciate what you do and enjoy it will be waiting patiently and happily just the same as always. All the best, Mark! :)

  23. CarrieAnnUW says:

    Mark, I'm here to add to the chorus: please take care of yourself first, and ignore always and forever anyone who tries to tell you how to operate these sites. Ugh this is going to come across so saccharine, but I really mean this: you have something unique here, and that something is just you and your voice and your enthusiasm for things. The quantity of your reviews is not the key – you are not Gawker. If you could make a living reading/watching/playing only one thing at a time, that is what I'd want most for you.

    I mostly lurk, but I bet I speak for most other lurkers when I say that I'm just happy to read whatever you post with no expectations. If you're not currently covering something I've read or watched, I sometimes read the posts anyway, just because I'm interested in your thoughts on things. I read His Dark Materials just because of your first few reviews, and it became one of my favorite series of all time (obviously because it is flawless omg).

    I just want this out there to counteract any of the negative bullshit you have to read every day about how you're not doing enough, not doing it right, not DOING WHAT I WANT WAH WAH WAH. On that note though, I hope you always feel comfortable informing the rest of your readership about things like this, because I'm shy and sometimes I need an excuse to post, and oh also so that I will get off my ass and buy those e-books and sponsor a video to spite those jerks.

  24. stefb4 says:

    Mark, your health is more important! When Plays started, I wondered how the hell you were going to do it all (or how it was even going to work, since it's such a different format), since it seemed so much. I think your solution to it is the best one. At least you still get to enjoy playing the games, but you're not pressured into playing a certain amount or writing five blogs a week for this site!

    Depression sucks, and if all this work is putting stress on you and making it come up more often, then something had to be done.

    I hope this lightens your load and you feel better! I appreciate everything you do and grateful for your time and dedication to the sites! <3 <3 <3

    <img src="http://media.tumblr.com/8d8931a256d27b88753d9adfb14f64c1/tumblr_inline_mfmgcsSlM41r7j4bg.gif"&gt;

  25. Noybusiness says:

    I'm so sorry to hear about that. I've suffered from periods of depressive feelings, anxiety, intrusive thoughts and OCD that seem to come and go semi-annually. Recently I think I've felt a bit more anxious and detail-obsessed after being basically fine for several months, but it's much less powerful and more dismissable than it has been in the past. Two years I had a horrible OCD period. A few years before that I felt depressed for a few months, everything seemed unreal as I couldn't stop thinking about my eventual death. Strangely, reading about Death of the Endless doesn't seem to have helped, or maybe I hadn't gotten into The Sandman yet.

  26. MoElskerDeg says:

    I have played I think 2 video games ever, so I don't participate on this site, but I saw it linked on twitter so I gave it a read, and I'm glad I did. I also haven't seen Doctor Who yet so I hadn't read the post you linked until a few minutes ago.

    Like a few others have mentioned, I was surprised to hear that you were putting up yet another does-stuff blog because it's obvious how busy you are, and I'm so sorry to hear that it's all been taking its toll on you.

    As for the money stuff: I'm always so appreciative of the people who commission things from you, because they're paying for everyone's entertainment, and I hope some day I can afford to commission something myself.
    For the time being, I have a question about ads: does clicking on them help you any? Because I don't tend to click ads, but I totally would if I knew it could help (it's literally the least I could do).

    Thanks for all you do.
    <img src="http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m6m50vCgBu1qm6onko1_500.gif&quot; width="300">

    • arctic_hare says:

      I think it does, but I'm not 100% sure. Refreshing the page helps, IIRC, as does following the Amazon ads and then buying something from them (doesn't have to be what the ad is advertising), because Mark is doing their affiliate program and thus gets a percentage of all sales that way. So next time you use Amazon for a purchase, do it that way!

  27. Dent_D says:

    I know this is late but I also wanted to chime in my support. Especially because I can relate to your situation very well.

    A few months ago I let my depression and anxiety get the best of me. As a result I lost my job. It sucks but looking back I think it maybe needed to happen. I'm finally seeing a therapist that I feel is truly helpful. I'm finally addressing issues that have been in my life since childhood. My entire family suffers clinical depression, so I have never really felt the stigma of acknowledging and treating any mental issues I may have. However this is the first time in my life I feel like I'm going beyond "take medication, wait out winter and the lack of sunlight". This is also the first time I have admitted to myself and my husband/family how much pressure I've been putting on myself to perform to the expectations I think others have of me.

    It was almost physically painful for me to ask my husband if he'd be okay with me finding a part time job instead of looking for another full time "career job". I didn't want to admit that a full time job was too much for me right now. For years, I have been so afraid of what others might think of me if I didn't get the big college degree, if I didn't have super serious career track employment, if I don't keep my house in clinically clean conditions.

    So I can imagine how hard it must be for you to give up doing Mark Plays as a daily project. Reading and seeing your reactions to these games are things I have looked forward to each weekday (along with other Mark Does posts). Telling everybody that this may be cut back could seem like disappointing and letting down a lot of your followers. Until this point in my life I never realized that anxiety can also give impetus to accomplishments. But it can also be mentally and emotionally destructive. Reading this made me want to reach out through the interwebs and give you a hug. Like others, I want to let you know that your needs come first and it is one million percent okay for you to cut back! Your health and happiness need to come first.

  28. Foxfire says:

    You've got like three sites going on man, free time is excellent and you should totally have more of it. A weekly discussion post sounds great and a lot easier to maintain.

  29. Haeralis says:

    Best wishes, Mark. Video games are a much bigger time sink than your other projects, I think, so this seems like a wise decision if you're struggling. I hope that things get better for you and that you take care of yourself first and foremost. I look forward to whatever projects you take on in the future, whenever they should appear.

  30. Randomcheeses says:

    *hugs* You totally deserve a break, Mark. Health comes first!

  31. snapsnzips says:

    Nothing worse than playing a game and having it be work. I'd rather you got to play games as a way to relax than play them for everyone publicly.

  32. cckerberos says:

    To be honest, I think that for most games a post discussing 5-10 hours of gameplay is more suitable (at least of the RPG genre) than a daily post summarizing a mere hour of activity.

    Especially with ME, I was wondering how you were going to handle those days when you spent an hour just driving around a planet exploring with maybe, *maybe* a single subquest done.

  33. SpaceElves says:

    I totaly understand. dose this mean you will still be doing the games hour by hour, or will you format it differently to have less cliffhangers?

  34. Peter says:

    I completely understand this, Mark! Honestly, I thought this decision would be coming anyway because of the lower comment volume on Mark Plays and the logistical problems inherent to reviewing long games like this. Obviously, I didn't know what things were like in your personal life, but I'm so glad you're taking care of yourself! I think it's safe to say that 99.99% of the people in this community care about you personally. You've shared so much of your life on these sites and opened up to us so much that I think we all care about YOU, not just what you write (that tiny sliver of various fandoms a la Dr. Who notwithstanding). I'll still read the infrequent updates on Mass Effect, and I'm definitely sticking around to read Mark Watches (even though I don't comment there). But I understand how hectic this must be for you – sometimes I didn't have the time to READ all of your Dragon Age and Dollhouse reviews on the days they came out.

    And honestly, I think an infrequent setup may even be BETTER for Mark Plays because of the length of some of these games. Rather than making a post based on a period of time in which the pace of the game could vary drastically from one hour to the next, just weekly posts and then a specific post whenever something mindblowing or awesome happens is probably the best way to do it!

    Anyway, once again I'm super-glad that you're taking steps to promote your own mental and physical health! Keep up the good work, Mark!

  35. TheDMG says:

    While I'm sad to hear about the once-a-week, I'm much, much more sad to hear about the toll this has been taking on you, Mark. I've dealt on and off with recurring anxiety and depression and its no fun at all. Hopefully this change will help.

  36. xyliane27 says:

    <img src="http://i55.tinypic.com/16glq87.gif"&gt;

    Take as much time as you need. Depression and anxiety is nothing anyone needs, least of all someone doing something around ten bajillion different projects at once. (Seriously, what's your secret? Time-turners? TARDISes? Clones?)

    As for video games: Like everyone else has said, I'm all for you updating as often as you think you should. I really like the idea of this becoming a once-a-week video game club to talk about where you/we are in a game or particular games, along with the requisite nunning over unpreparedness and whatnot. We have Reads and Watches for daily stuff (and I'm constantly impressed with how well-put-together and entertaining every site you have going is–I started lurking here about two years ago and have only been part of the community since summer, and I love what you've put together). I'm excited for whatever you turn out, and I'll read along with everyone else.

    Good luck, and I hope for the best.

  37. wimsey says:

    *shy wave* Hi.

    It's been less than three weeks since I stumbled on your site, (I think?) so I can't really speak as a full on community member or long time fan… so I'll just note that from scrolling down this page, it looks like everybody is behind you on this and would rather have a happy, healthy Mark than every review being on a weekly basis. As a random human being passing through, I can get behind that. You take care of yourself. It's so important that you let yourself lead a manageable, enjoyable life if you have the power to do so.

    A couple days ago I suggested Journey for the PS3 as a possible review topic in one of your old posts. Just forget that for a moment. This is a very short game to play through once. Ol fubeg, V zrna nirentr gjb ubhef. [<–average time for a single run right there] If you have the time and the inclination, I really recommend this to you, not to review, but from a purely therapeutic standpoint. Realistically, I can't guarantee anything, and I kind of don't want to tell you anything because spoilers and because … it really needs to be experienced more than told about, but generally speaking, people come away from it feeling good. Based on what I've seen of you in your reviews, I think you would be one of those people.
    You'd also be, dare I say it, totally unprepared : )

  38. ZeynepD says:

    I fell out of reading commenting here when you went ahead of me in _Dragon Age_, and heavens know I did not want spoilers… but I was saving everything to read later, when once I can gather up my courage to go to Landsmeet. And in the meantime:
    1. I admit to wondering about how you were holding up under such an intense pace, with all three sites going at once
    2. You're a much faster gamer than I am, but even then I couldn't imagine going so fast that you could get enough content in one hour to write about in this way
    3. You've done an amazing job nonetheless
    4. Of course you should take what time off you need to take, restructure as you need to restructure, dial down what you need to dial down, and take care of The Mark first and foremost so that we can have more Stuff that Mark Does, and more importantly, there is a happier, more balanced-within-himself Mark who may or may not choose to Do Stuff as he wishes.

    Long distance hugs.

  39. Peter says:

    Absolutely right decision, Mark! Health should always go first. You should never be afraid to draw a line when work affects you to the point that it starts causing depressions.

    I've never really participated in the comment sections except for one or two occasions, but I wanted to use this occasion to thank you for all the effort and heart you already put into "Mark does stuff"! Your sites are great!

  40. JellyLegsJinx says:

    Long time lurker, first time commenting. Just want to add my voice to the crowd and show my support for everything you've given the entire MarkDoesStuff community. Clearly I'm not the only person who wants you to be as healthy and happy as possible. While every fan would love to have you reviewing everything in the known universe 24/7, a happy Mark is infinitely more important. Take care of yourself and thank you for everything.

  41. Ninjababe says:

    I think moving this to a weekly update post is a great idea. There are lots of games on your confirmed list that really don't lend themselves to hour play because of storyline, gameplay, etc. I know a series of games (not on the list), that some of the cut-scenes took up to half an hour! In some games, hours upon hours can be wasted 'grinding' levels up so the storyline can continue. I was so glad when today's games stopped doing that (mostly). (Gameplay spoiler for a confirmed game) V nqberq gur NV 'tyvgpu' va Svany Snagnfl KVV. V qvqa'g unir gb qb gur tevaqvat, gur pbzchgre qvq vg sbe zr. Tenagrq, vg jnf yngr vagb gur tnzr, ohg fgvyy bs gur njrfbzr.

    Plus, this means you can play games at your enjoyment level, and not to a deadline.

    Your health is definitely more important than our entertainment. You do what you need to do to stay healthy!

  42. Passing by says:

    While I'll miss the daily updates, you have most certainly deserved a rest. Even if you were a reviewing robot (The Reviewinator? Bloginator? MaRKDOS? I need to think of more terrible puns…) , machines can't run 24/7.

    Also, a weekly update will probably work out better both health-wise and content-wise: you will be able to play them at your own pace and leisure (and then they might even serve as a bit of relief after work, rather than add a whole new basting of stress?); in addition, some games are paced too slowely to give enough content for a daily update, without sinking several hours of your time into that game.

  43. Pingback: Mark Watches ‘Les Miserables’ |

  44. ReflexOne says:

    All the hugs forever, of course.

    As someone who has also been "off" since around the same time you describe, yes, yes, YES, take care of yourself.

    I will play a little Mass Effect FOR you. ;)

    It's obvious you have a lot of support from us Interwebz people. And give your boy a high five (or hug, or whatever) from us for being all supportive and stuff.

  45. FuTeffla says:

    Mark, you give us so much happiness just by being you/by flailing and shrieking and being unprepared that we'd be just plain selfish to ask more of you. So the most important thing is for you to do whatever you need to do to be well and happy. Anyone with a chronic condition (O HAI!) will know that when it starts telling you to slow down and take it steady, the best thing to do is slow down and take it steady. Big hugs from a stranger from across the pond. I would make you a nice cup of tea if I could (But I can't, so I will make myself a cup of tea instead) (Also I have some custard creams)

  46. elenuial says:

    As much as I've enjoyed following along, I did always think playing for an hour and then writing about it every day was kind of an overwhelming challenge in terms of workload. Most of us are here to get your reactions to major beatpoints in the stories, and those come slow enough that you don't have to do it everyday. Play at your leisure. Blog when it strikes you that you want to react–but not if the idea stresses you out. When you want to say something, we'll be here to listen. :)

  47. ajaxbreaker says:

    Health should always be a priority. I'm very glad you're taking steps to improve yours :)

  48. Genginger says:

    I have really really enjoyed Mark Plays, but I absolutely agree that you need to take care of yourself first and foremost. It's so hard to make a living doing the stuff you love — go you for being brave and wonderful and figuring it out as you go. Best of luck with your novel — I hope to read it one day! Hugs.

  49. Jessica says:

    For one shots videos, would you have any interest in playing horror games like Slender? I know you have Amnesia listed but it's a bit of a longer game with an actual plot whereas games such as Slender can pretty much just be played once, and I imagine many people would love to see your reactions to something like that. If your not ok with horror stuff though then that's OK, there are plenty of other games.

  50. mreeb says:

    Just adding my love and support to the pile. You've created a great and tight community here that I think will keep going and hold the fort if you need to take time to care for yourself and cut back on projects and what not. I hope things get better for you soon, and good luck on your novel. I look forward to reading it.

  51. Sean Murphy says:

    It is sad to hear that your review work had had affected your life so detrimentally, I am very glad that you are making changes so that you can still do what you want to do but at a pace where you can still find joy in it and be healthy!

    I had wondered how you even did it all, even with your new reduced schedule you will still be a 1000 times more productive than I am; I just assumed that it was just a case of you being more disciplined than I (I will sometime stop playing a game I’m greatly enjoying for a week or two just from not being in the mood, so the idea of doing it daily and making a critical report would be unimaginable for me to do, let alone do it for TV shows and books at the same time!)

    Anyhow stay healthy and enjoy, because what’s the point of games if not enjoyment (Very much looking forward to when you do Mass Effect). Just wanted to add to the multitudes of people wanting to make sure you know you are appreciated!

  52. celestineangel1 says:

    Mark, you are awesome. It's been fun to have these as daily posts, but I'll look forward to them all the more for them being less frequent. :) Absence makes the heart blah blah blah. ;)

  53. Eriu says:

    As much as I was looking forward to Borderlands 2 (Catch-A-Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide!) sometimes things turn out to be way more work than you expected and you gotta take steps back.

    Less frequest and looser structured posts will probably work better for video games anyway.

  54. Inseriousity says:

    You're MarkDoesStuff not MarkDoesTooMuchStuff! I'm sure everyone wants you to enjoy the shows, games, books rather than it becoming a chore so if that means you have to cut down then so be it!

  55. kaiz says:

    Take care of yourself! I look forward to Mass Effect stuff, but it's not worth a burn-out!

  56. brianna says:

    Mark! I've never posted before (and it's been like, over a year lol)…but I love everything of yours I've ever read? You are a wonderful person, I'm delighted you made this decision, and applaud your courage in telling us. PLEASE take care of yourself. Obviously your health is extremely important, but so is your enjoyment of what you're doing! Don't ever let our expectations dictate your life and suck the fun out of everything. Relax, cuddle cute animals (and pretend you're Daine!) and spend time with that wonderful boyfriend.

    Also, I have to say I am INCREDIBLY EXCITED for you to come to St. Louis!! I only live two hours away and I CAN'T WAIT TO MEET YOU (or admire you from afar).

    Best wishes, Mark. Enjoy your life.

  57. I enjoy what you guys are up too. Such clever work and reporting!
    Keep up the superb works guys I’ve added you guys to my blogroll.

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