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Facing Our Fears in Super Mario 64 with Game Critic Gameonysus aka Janet Garcia
Episode 1616th March 2021 • Pixel Therapy Pod • Pixel Therapy Pod
00:00:00 01:48:27

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Note: Major plot spoilers for 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim from 38:15 to 50:00.

We recently hit 10k downloads - thank you so much! This week, Jamie concludes her journey with the sprawling, 2019 sci-fi epic 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim - and you know we have some insights to excavate together! Meanwhile, Spencer's started the spooky walking simulator Firewatch; we muse over its themes of isolation, grief, and emotional trauma as an appropriate parallel to our current reality as we come upon the anniversary of the coronavirus pandemic.

Then we're joined by Janet Garcia (Gameonysus, Game Industry Guides), a game critic, content creator, Twitch streamer, podcaster, Youtuber, and former IGN Guides editor! We go IN on the somewhat-surreal shared fever dream we call Super Mario 64, binge-watching our favorite comfort shows, glowing up, and so much more. As our eponymous plumber would say, LET'S-A GO!

Follow Janet on Twitter: https://twitter.com/gameonysus

Gameonysus on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Gameonysus

Side Quest

Donate to The Black Resilience Fund, an emergency fund dedicated to fostering healing and resilience by providing immediate resources to Black Portlanders: https://www.blackresiliencefund.com/

About Pixel Therapy

New episodes drop every other Tuesday. Learn more at pixeltherapypod.com or follow us on social media @pixeltherapypod. We're proud members of the But Why Tho? Podcast Network: visit ButWhyThoPodcast.com for everything pop culture in an inclusive geek community! If you like what you hear, please take a moment to rate us, leave us a review on Apple Podcasts (or your listening app of choice) & subscribe! Want more? Join our little community over on Patreon!

Transcripts

Jamie:

Pixel Therapy is a member of the But Why Tho Podcast

Jamie:

Network.

Spencer:

Go to butwhythopodcast.com for an

Spencer:

inclusive geek community offering pop culture news

Spencer:

reviews and podcasts.

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Hi, I'm Chris Guthrie and I'm the host

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of the rule for equality podcast. We're an LGBTQ plus and

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woman led show that uses history for character inspiration by

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telling stories about badass historical people and how to

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make them into a PC or NPC for your campaigns with class, race

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and background suggestions. We also do interviews and

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discussions about our experiences as women at the game

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table social issues and advice to help give a platform to women

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and non binary players of every variety. There are plenty of

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laughs drinks, high jinks and more here at Royal for equality.

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And we would love for you however you identify to come

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join in the fun and camaraderie, the role for equality podcast,

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give us a listen on major podcast platforms and happy

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adventuring.

Spencer:

That was also our New Year's Eve party.

Janet:

We're in good company then. Like a little basic, but

Janet:

in a way that's like, you know, it's fun. Like I'm drinking

Janet:

McCafe coffee right now. Right? There's no standards here. It's

Janet:

all comfort. [music break]

Jamie:

Welcome to Pixel Therapy, the video game podcast where we

Jamie:

look at the games we play through the lens of the player,

Jamie:

where what you play is just as important as how you play it.

Jamie:

And where emotional intelligence is a critical stat. Every other

Jamie:

week, we bring on a guest who may or may not consider

Jamie:

themselves a gamer to discuss the games that have made them

Jamie:

and changed them. And all the feelings they have about our

Jamie:

favorite pastime. I'm your co host, Jamie pronouns she her.

Spencer:

And I am your co host Spencer pronouns they them and

Spencer:

Okay, I'm sorry, pause, I just want to mention, I thought it

Spencer:

might be a good time to remind people why we share pronouns,

Spencer:

just because, you know, I think it was intention around it. And

Spencer:

it's also like, it's important to us to share our pronouns just

Spencer:

because I think when you don't do that, because of how

Spencer:

homogenous gaming media can be, that can almost be an assumption

Spencer:

of like, "Oh, they must be, I don't know, two women, or, or

Spencer:

whatever." Like, we have all sorts of perceptions about the

Spencer:

people we're hearing. And also, you know, what's what we see

Spencer:

around us influences like how we interpret media, especially when

Spencer:

there's no visual, like it's just a podcast. But that being

Spencer:

said, like me disclosing my pronouns at the beginning of the

Spencer:

episode, is simply that it's simply a way for me to let you

Spencer:

know how I'd prefer you to think of me or address me. But if I

Spencer:

didn't share my pronouns, that's valid too. And there should be

Spencer:

no expectation put on anyone to like you don't owe your identity

Spencer:

to anybody else. I just say that, because I've just seen

Spencer:

some conversations happening in like queer and trans Twitter

Spencer:

lately, about how if you don't put your pronouns in your bio,

Spencer:

or you don't say your pronouns, when you introduce yourself,

Spencer:

does that mean that you're hiding your gender or that

Spencer:

you're not sure what your gender is. And I think that this idea

Spencer:

of people who don't immediately disclose to you how you need to

Spencer:

understand them being hiding themselves or being deceitful.

Spencer:

At its core, this is kind of a homophobic sentiment, I think

Spencer:

that it, again, tries to put queerness into the same boxes

Spencer:

that we put binary genders into or trying to explain queerness

Spencer:

and transness, in terms that belong to white supremacy or

Spencer:

hetero cis normativity. And so I just kind of want to separate

Spencer:

those concepts a bit. If folks have questions like, you can

Spencer:

feel free to email us, or let me know, you know, tag us on

Spencer:

Twitter, tag us on Instagram. But I just want to say that us

Spencer:

introducing our pronouns is just a way for us to make that

Spencer:

visible. But you don't ever owe anyone an explanation and your

Spencer:

gender is totally up to you. And it can change at any time. And

Spencer:

so, my pronouns are they them.

Jamie:

And I guess I'll just add as like someone who's cisgender,

Jamie:

like, for me, I, you know, I have, I feel very comfortable

Jamie:

sharing my pronouns. And so I feel like I kind of have a

Jamie:

responsibility to set that precedent and help normalize it

Jamie:

as as a thing that that people do, regardless of whether

Jamie:

they're cisgender or not, so that folks who aren't cisgender

Jamie:

can hopefully feel more comfortable sharing their

Jamie:

authentic pronouns in a in a given space. So yeah, I think

Jamie:

it's important to normalize it too and everything you said

Jamie:

about like, not everyone has to feel comfortable doing it is

Jamie:

totally valid.

Spencer:

Yeah, like I think, now that we've come up on a year now

Spencer:

that we've been fully zoom, it's felt at the beginning, like

Spencer:

sharing all of our pronouns, regardless of whether you were

Spencer:

trans or cis felt really progressive. And it felt like we

Spencer:

were bringing visibility and diversity into like my very

Spencer:

corporate office space. But now that we've gone this fully

Spencer:

remote year, and I've had to start every conversation by

Spencer:

disclosing that I'm probably the only person in the room who's

Spencer:

trans. By saying they them. It started to feel a little

Spencer:

objectifying if I'm being honest. Like I find myself

Spencer:

almost feeling like I'm reduced to the fact that I am a they

Spencer:

them. I'm a publicly visible they them. And so you know, it's

Spencer:

just, it's a nuanced conversation. It's something

Spencer:

that I think I'll be thinking about, and musing about and

Spencer:

probably picking up again. But just just wanted to take a

Spencer:

little space to chat about that with folks. Because there's no

Spencer:

one way to be trans and even if other trans people are saying

Spencer:

things like, if you don't show your pronouns, you must not be

Spencer:

trans or you must be hiding your gender. Even if that's coming

Spencer:

from another trans person, that doesn't mean that it should

Spencer:

influence your understanding of your own transness, or how you

Spencer:

want to disclose that to others. It's, it's your choice.

Jamie:

100%.

Spencer:

Anyway, Jamie, what is this?

Jamie:

No, thank you for that little PSA in the middle of our

Jamie:

intro. This is Pixel therapy, though, in case you just clicked

Jamie:

download on this thing and had no clue what it was. Hello, hi,

Jamie:

we're Pixel Therapy. We will interrupt-

Spencer:

We're a video game podcast!

Jamie:

And we will absolutely interrupt that to have a

Jamie:

detailed conversation about pronouns. So welcome to our

Jamie:

space. We wanted to kick off today with a big ol Thank you.

Jamie:

Because we hit a huge milestone. This week, Pixel Therapy has

Jamie:

officially been downloaded 10,000 plus times what I can't

Jamie:

even wrap my head around that. We've only been here since what

Jamie:

September 2020?

Spencer:

Six month, six months. 15 episodes, or six-This is o

Spencer:

r 16th Episode. 42 countr es according to our host, I j

Spencer:

st thank y

Jamie:

Yeah, thank you so much. It's we talk, we've talked in

Jamie:

the past, you know, this, this podcast is a lot of work. Stuff

Jamie:

like that, but it's also a lot of fun. And I I just I'm aware

Jamie:

of like how much of a privilege it is that we get to do this and

Jamie:

that people are listening that 10,000 times someone clicked

Jamie:

download one of our episodes. It's a huge privilege. I often

Jamie:

don't feel like I deserve it. But I'm humbled and grateful.

Jamie:

For everyone who's who hit that download button in the past six

Jamie:

months. Thank you so much.

Spencer:

Y'all rock. Yeah. Thanks for choosing to be here

Spencer:

the week after week. Let's keep going. I'm excited to see like

Spencer:

20k feels insane. But hey, like, maybe that'll happen someday.

Jamie:

Yeah, yeah. Where are we going to be six months from now?

Jamie:

Right?

Spencer:

Yeah. I mean, yeah, Jamie and I have some exciting

Spencer:

plans this year. We want to start twitch streaming. First we

Spencer:

need to save money to buy computer.

Jamie:

Yeah, step one is like I need an office. Right now. I do

Jamie:

this from a card table I set up in my living room. Yeah, so step

Jamie:

one, at the end of the month, my partner and I are moving and I'm

Jamie:

going to have an actual office space which I'm so excited but

Jamie:

yeah, we're we're on our way toward this

Spencer:

and also same i do i podcast from my living room

Spencer:

studio, where my partner is currently doing yoga behind me

Spencer:

so you know, it's just multifunctional. Real we work

Spencer:

energy going on

Jamie:

Absolutely. But yeah, I we just we wanted to mark the

Jamie:

milestone, it's important to celebrate. It's important to

Jamie:

celebrate accomplishments in your life. Regardless, it's I

Jamie:

just for me, personally, it's so easy to overlook positive stuff.

Jamie:

I get so focused on like, what's not going right that even when

Jamie:

something exciting happens, I'm just like, yeah, oh, that's

Jamie:

expected that's supposed to happen. That was part of the

Jamie:

plan. So we don't need to like give it any time. But it's

Jamie:

important to take the time and say, Hey, this is really cool.

Jamie:

And, you know, we didn't do it without all of you. So thank

Jamie:

ou.

Spencer:

That's right. And oh my gosh, she's what you just said,

Spencer:

Okay, this the last thing. I think, to your point, like, it's

Spencer:

really easy to look around in the gaming's space which is full

Spencer:

of so many innovative, creative, talented, hilarious special

Spencer:

people and look and be like, Oh my god, their community, their

Spencer:

audience. Yeah, they've been doing this for so long. All of

Spencer:

these things that come up and make you think, Oh my God, why

Spencer:

am I coming back and doing this every day? But it's not as often

Spencer:

that I stop and actually take stock of but what are the things

Spencer:

that we have achieved that if you had asked me six months ago,

Spencer:

I never would have even pictured that would have happened and if

Spencer:

I had known if you and I Jamie had never like started this, we

Spencer:

just would never would have seen this. So yeah, it's just

Spencer:

important to be thankful for what's going on in our present.

Spencer:

So yeah, just y'all rock and we love you and we just want to

Spencer:

keep keep doing this. Yeah.

Jamie:

Next up in new and noteworthy is don't forget we've

Jamie:

gotta bonus-

Spencer:

Yeah speaking of!

Jamie:

-if you want to continue to help us out, don't forget,

Jamie:

we've got bonus episodes for you over on Patreon for just $2 a

Jamie:

month. Last month in February Spencer and I chatted about our

Jamie:

all time favorite video game crushes. And for the month of

Jamie:

March, we're doing a 2021 game preview that's got a unique

Jamie:

surprise format, you have to check it out. That's gonna be

Jamie:

coming to Patreon in the next couple of weeks, and you're not

Jamie:

going to want to miss it. So please go to patreon.com slash

Jamie:

pixel therapy pod. And subscribe at that $2 tier or above to

Jamie:

check those bonus episodes out. They are a lot of fun if I do

Jamie:

say so myself. I might be biased

Spencer:

A little unhinged too. Unplugged. Untucked. [both

Spencer:

laugh] Even if you don't support we we love you for listening. No

Spencer:

worries. Thank you.

Jamie:

Alright, that's enough of that. It is time to get cozy,

Jamie:

pull up an armchair and feel free to lie down on your couch.

Jamie:

We're going to talk about our feelings. Spencer, what are you

Jamie:

playing?

Spencer:

Yeah, thank you for asking. Well, I just want to

Spencer:

mention I'm not going to say anything about it because I

Spencer:

can't but as y'all know, we are part of the But Why Tho Podcast

Spencer:

Network and butwhythopodcast.com is also a oh my gosh, what are

Spencer:

words it's a media like articles news. It's a website with

Spencer:

articles and interesting content about gaming, anime, manga, etc.

Spencer:

I can't talk this morning. However, um, something really

Spencer:

exciting is that I am currently one of the games I'm currently

Spencer:

playing is one that hasn't come out yet. It's called Olive Town:

Spencer:

Story of Seasons coming to the Nintendo Switch. So I'm excited

Spencer:

to talk about that with you a little bit later. But I just

Spencer:

wanted to mention that if people like farming games and you miss

Spencer:

Harvest Moon, you miss want some new Stardew Valley like might

Spencer:

want to mark your calendar for the end of March because Olive

Town:

Story of Seasons coming to the Switch. Anyway, I just

Town:

wanted to just it's crazy to me that that someone sent me a

Town:

video game that hasn't come out. Yeah. And then I got to play it

Town:

and then write about it. Like that's just like my 12 year old

Town:

self is screaming right now. Yeah, that's happening, but

Town:

another game that I decided to-a little palate cleanser. I

Town:

decided to pick up Firewatch which is a game that came out a

Town:

few years ago 2017-2016 there by the developers called Campo

Town:

Santo. I think famously people describe it as a walking

Town:

simulator, which it is like you are most of the actions you take

Town:

in the game are just are walking around the Shoshone National

Town:

Park in Colorado, I believe or maybe California. I'm sorry, I'm

Town:

bad at geography

Jamie:

Wyoming.

Spencer:

Oh, Wyoming?

Jamie:

Shoshone National Forest is in Wyoming.

Spencer:

Oops, okay, sorry. I'm really sorry. I'm like "National

Spencer:

parks. All that exists." It's my coastal elite coming out.

Jamie:

Oh, no, there it is. That coastal elite.

Spencer:

I know. I'm such an ass anyway. Okay, so Firewatch Wow,

Spencer:

what can I say about this game? I haven't finished it yet. I'm

Spencer:

about halfway through. It's not a long game. I think you can

Spencer:

finish it in under 10 hours. So I'm probably like four hours in.

Spencer:

But the game it's a I would say the style is cartoonish. Semi

Spencer:

realistic, but with sort of softened, softened edges, really

Spencer:

natural, earthy tones. And essentially you play as Henry, a

Spencer:

man who's gone through a really traumatic life change where his

Spencer:

partner who he'd been with for several years is affected by

Spencer:

early onset dementia. So the person that he's loved for years

Spencer:

is, has become unrecognizable. And he also isn't able to take

Spencer:

care of her anymore, which I think is something that can be

Spencer:

really hard to accept especially in the romantic relationship

Spencer:

when you know, your partners and the idea that there's some ways

Spencer:

that you can't be there as a caregiver, it's important to

Spencer:

remember that caregiving can be really hard. And I think this

Spencer:

game, one of the things that resonates with so many people is

Spencer:

that it's so well, what's the word? earnest, authentic, like

Spencer:

it really is unflinching and showing the full spectrum of

Spencer:

emotions that someone might go through when going through a

Spencer:

traumatic event. I think a lot of video games really lean into

Spencer:

this heroic narrative of Oh, all these terrible things happen to

Spencer:

the main character, but they overcame and they have just an

Spencer:

unending optimism, and nothing really gets them down. It's only

Spencer:

temporary. But I think Firewatch like right from the beginning,

Spencer:

you know, just just the circumstances around why Henry

Spencer:

comes to work at the park, he's he's really kind of escaping

Spencer:

from his home life coming to work at this national forest

Spencer:

over the summer, where he is a volunteer who basically camps

Spencer:

out of a watch tower that's put in the park to look out for

Spencer:

smoke from from wildfires, as well as keep an eye on

Spencer:

controlled burns, that fire people do set up, Rangers set up

Spencer:

to keep the forest ecosystem working smoothly. So even from

Spencer:

the beginning, like the circumstances around what

Spencer:

brought him there, like you could sense that, in some ways

Spencer:

this person is running away. And that's a bit of a different is a

Spencer:

unique kind of, like I didn't know if I liked Henry, at the

Spencer:

beginning of the game. And that was just a really new experience

Spencer:

for me. But the game is really, you're alone, a lot of the time,

Spencer:

it's a game about loneliness. It's a game about space. And I

Spencer:

think that really the core of the game is is the interactions

Spencer:

that Henry is having over a walkie talkie with his

Spencer:

supervisor named Delilah, you have not seen and I don't, I'm

Spencer:

assuming may not possibly they never meet throughout the game.

Spencer:

But because he's alone, and because his only Lifeline is is

Spencer:

this walkie talkie with this voice at the other end. You

Spencer:

know, she is his boss. She's giving him instructions. But

Spencer:

they're also talking though, like the only two people in this

Spencer:

park for stretches of time. And it just I think what's striking

Spencer:

me is just how the cinematic choice like the cinematography,

Spencer:

the music. And the way that Delilah's voice really becomes a

Spencer:

fully fleshed character like even though you never see her

Spencer:

never exist in space with her. You can really feel the ways in

Spencer:

which you know, she becomes a lifeline for Henry, like her

Spencer:

approval of him or his interpretation of her tone

Spencer:

really touches on the the insecurity the fragility that he

Spencer:

the state of the state that he's in the different like the

Spencer:

different answers. Like it's it's a sim like a like you have

Spencer:

conversations with Delilah, and you can choose an answer. It's

Spencer:

like for example, she was talking to Henry early in the

Spencer:

game, and then she's interrupted by a phone call. And she's like,

Spencer:

hold on, I'll be right back with you. Once she gets back online,

Spencer:

you have a couple options of dialogue. Like she'll be like,

Spencer:

"Hey, I'm back." And you can say "Oh, like, no problem. Like,

Spencer:

what were we talking about?" Or you can say, "Who was that? Why?

Spencer:

Right? Like, where did you go? Who are you talking to?" Since

Spencer:

this was a mystery game, I'll admit, I was like, oh, maybe I

Spencer:

should pick the "Who are you talking to?" one because I don't

Spencer:

know if I can trust this person. And when you say that, she's

Spencer:

like, "Whoa, like I don't owe you an explanation. I'm gonna

Spencer:

hang up for a while" and you don't hear from her for a day.

Spencer:

And it's like that hurts too because you realize how alone

Spencer:

you really dependent on this person to come talk to you so

Spencer:

it's just it really highlights the interesting power dynamic

Spencer:

between Delilah and Henry and and just that that walkie talkie

Spencer:

and waiting for it to buzz or, or the the pregnant pauses

Spencer:

between saying something and waiting for a response. Like it

Spencer:

just does a great job of kind of recreating what it's like, in

Spencer:

real life when you're kind of forming these intense

Spencer:

relationships with someone and especially in the age of the

Spencer:

pandemic where we're all isolated. It kind of feels a bit

Spencer:

of that to interpreting tone over distance. Just a really

Spencer:

rich narrative experience I know you've played it Jamie like Do

Spencer:

you remember your play through much?

Jamie:

Oh yeah Firewatch has gotta be up there as like one of

Jamie:

my favorite gaming experiences of all time I think for me it

Jamie:

was a really interesting evolution of what like Gone Home

Jamie:

did. Have you played Gone Home?

Spencer:

No, I want to though

Jamie:

Okay, I think if you get into Firewatch I would say check

Jamie:

out Gone Home. Gone Home came out first it's different

Jamie:

developer Gone Home is Fullbright, Firewatch is Campo

Jamie:

Santo but it felt like an evolution of the way Gone Home

Jamie:

was trying to tell a story. I will say a few things with

Jamie:

Firewatch the acting in it the acting particularly you know

Jamie:

Henry and Delilah is so fucking good. Henry's played by is is it

Jamie:

Rich Sommer is that how he says his name? He's from Mad Men and

Jamie:

a variety of other things. So he's a prominent like character

Jamie:

actor on TV. Rich Sommer. That's who plays Henry and Cissy Jones,

Jamie:

who does Delilah. She's popped up in a lot of video games. But

Jamie:

I really feel like

Spencer:

he played Harry crane on Mad Men.

Jamie:

There you go. Yeah, that guy. Yeah, that's him. That's

Jamie:

him. So their acting really grounds the entire experience of

Jamie:

the game for me. I'll be interested to hear what you have

Jamie:

to say when you finish the game. I think I was. I love the

Jamie:

experience of the game, but was a little disappointed with some

Jamie:

of the narrative choices they-

Jamie:

-made with the ending. Yeah, okay. Um, in a way that I

Spencer:

At the end?

Spencer:

wasn't with Gone Home. So I think you know, as far as like

Spencer:

comparing these two games to each other, but I love the

Spencer:

dynamic of of Henry and Delilah and their conversations. And

Spencer:

yeah, I agree. I agree with everything you've said about the

Spencer:

atmosphere that the game creates, which I would also

Spencer:

chalk up to the Chris Remo, who did the soundtrack for the game.

Spencer:

The the soundtrack for Firewatch is on Spotify. And it is that's

Spencer:

some great background music for your day. Really good. And

Spencer:

another reason I tied this game to Gone Home, Chris Remo also

Spencer:

did the soundtrack for Gone Home, which also has phenomenal

Spencer:

music. And I totally agree. Like I don't, at least at the

Spencer:

beginning of the game like, and maybe even by the end, like I

Spencer:

don't know if I liked Henry, but I understood him. And I

Spencer:

understood why he was doing what he was doing. But he is he is

Spencer:

kind of running away. And they they kind of leave it up to you

Spencer:

to decide how you want to paint that like what he's allowed to

Spencer:

do in this situation? Like, is he abandoning his partner? Or is

Spencer:

it fair for him to take this space for him his self and like

Spencer:

process, what he's going through too you know, I don't know, I

Spencer:

might feel differently about it now than I did when I originally

Spencer:

played it at the time. I remember thinking he was being

Spencer:

kind of selfish. But I also don't know how I would act in

Spencer:

that situation. It's a really tough situation to be in.

Spencer:

Yeah. And I think that's Yeah, that's excellent.

Spencer:

Like how it really puts you and forces you to slow down and

Spencer:

really question those judgments you may make at the beginning of

Spencer:

the game, because the time that you're spent in his head and

Spencer:

reliving his memories. I don't know it kind of makes you

Spencer:

consider something that for a lot of folks, maybe they hadn't

Spencer:

thought about before. Yeah, I am what you said about the music.

Spencer:

Like I think what is just so striking is how there's really

Spencer:

not much going on in the game. Like you're walking through the

Spencer:

forest. you're checking supply boxes that were left by other

Spencer:

Rangers and hikers. You're clearing brush, doing things

Spencer:

like that stamping out old campfires. But what becomes an

Spencer:

initial response to what Delilah and Henry think are some kids

Spencer:

setting off fireworks in the park and him going and

Spencer:

dispersing them? Putting those fires out? becomes a much bigger

Spencer:

creepier mystery. And they're able to achieve like you're just

Spencer:

trying to figure out what's going on. like someone's

Spencer:

watching the two of you. You find some strange objects,

Spencer:

someone breaks into the tower where you're sleeping. And

Spencer:

you're trying to just piece together what the EFF is going

Spencer:

on. Because you're in this remote forest. You can't really

Spencer:

just call the cops. And so just the way it builds that suspense

Spencer:

with perfectly timed music and perfectly cut shots, and of

Spencer:

course the acting between Henry and Delilah like it just it

Spencer:

creates something really unique. So yeah, I'm excited to reach

Spencer:

the end. Yeah, but more on that. What are you playing Jamie?

Jamie:

So a few episodes ago I talked about this little game

Jamie:

that I started called 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim some little

Jamie:

game just a little game over Like 60 ish hours. Well, I

Jamie:

finished 13 Sentinels and god damn, Spencer. That was a good

Jamie:

that's a good fucking game. Man, I, I feel like this, it's gonna

Jamie:

be another one of those games where like, the game comes out

Jamie:

the year before, it gets buzz, but I don't manage to play it.

Jamie:

And so I play it at the start of the following year. So then,

Jamie:

like, it'll be one of my games of the year this year, even

Jamie:

though it came out last year. I feel like Outer Wilds is in a

Jamie:

similar situation last year. But what it Yeah, really fucking

Jamie:

cool game I was really just the way the narrative twists and

Jamie:

turns and the way they constantly keep you on your

Jamie:

feet. So for folks who may not remember this is this is the

Jamie:

game made by Vanillaware, published by Atlus. It's about

Jamie:

13 Japanese high schoolers, who are caught up in his narrative

Jamie:

of epic proportions, the sci fi narrative of epic proportions,

Jamie:

tons of science fiction tropes appear in the game. There's

Jamie:

mechanical kaiju that are attacking the cities, the kids

Jamie:

have to get into giant mechs and fight the kaiju there's time

Jamie:

travel, there's space travel, there's cloning. There's

Jamie:

colonization of other planets. There's the matrix basically,

Jamie:

like goes there's terminators essentially, in the game,

Jamie:

androids AI nanobots.

Spencer:

Wow,

Jamie:

the list goes on and on. And the fact of the matter is,

Jamie:

is that like, what's impressive about the game, to you, when as

Jamie:

you play the game, you're experiencing it in kind of two

Jamie:

paths. There's a path that is the mech battles, which are

Jamie:

played out as turn based strategy games, where you are in

Jamie:

your mech, and you're fighting the kaiju. You're the you, as

Jamie:

the player are seeing kind of a top down view of the city and

Jamie:

you're controlling the the kids in their mechs and making them

Jamie:

fight the kaiju. And then there's also a path of the game

Jamie:

where you play essentially, these vignette novel or visual

Jamie:

novel scenes, where you're seeing kind of the day to day

Jamie:

life of the characters, you're making some dialogue decisions,

Jamie:

but it's more like the the story is going to happen the way that

Jamie:

it's going to happen. And it has some light adventure elements in

Jamie:

that like, as you have conversations with characters,

Jamie:

you unlock certain key words or key items that then allow you to

Jamie:

progress the story with a different character with that

Jamie:

character in in different ways, and kind of piece together this

Jamie:

mystery. But the fact that every single one of those vignettes

Jamie:

manages to like every single time I finished a vignette, I

Jamie:

was like, What the fuck? What the fuck, I was just constantly

Jamie:

like, Oh, shit, what the fuck, and they keep that energy

Jamie:

through the entire game, there's probably like, 20 to 30 hours of

Jamie:

the visual novel stuff. And every single scene that you

Jamie:

play, you learn something new in the near that just, it's just

Jamie:

constantly twisting, it's just a twist, twist, twist.

Spencer:

Does it all come together?

Jamie:

Here's the thing, right? This is it's like, it's like

Jamie:

watching a balancing act, or like watching like a really

Jamie:

intense circus performance where everything's flying. And like,

Jamie:

maybe some guy in the background dropped a ball, but you don't

Jamie:

even notice it because everything else is still moving.

Jamie:

And I feel like that's the magic of this game, which is that

Jamie:

like, if I actually got my notebook out, and like, tried to

Jamie:

write this narrative out, and like, try to piece it all

Jamie:

together, make sure it all made sense. I'm not 100% sure that it

Jamie:

would all piece together perfectly. I don't, there's

Jamie:

probably some pieces missing from this puzzle. However, the

Jamie:

actual experience of it, they pull you through it so quickly.

Jamie:

And they're constantly twisting and twisting and twisting. So

Jamie:

you can't necessarily keep track of it even if you want it to. So

Jamie:

that by the end, if you just kind of let go and let the water

Jamie:

take you. Like by the end the emotional experience, and the

Jamie:

emotional payoff of the game is so like, worth it that I don't

Jamie:

even care if I've only got half a puzzle. And there's like some

Jamie:

puzzle pieces from other puzzles in here. And like it does

Jamie:

doesn't necessarily all make sense as one cohesive thing that

Jamie:

I can put on the wall. But I had such a fun time doing it that I

Jamie:

don't really care if it doesn't quite click together.

Spencer:

Yeah, I mean, it's also fascinating, because it feels

Spencer:

like the type of story that could only be told through a

Spencer:

video game.

Jamie:

Yeah, I don't. I guess I could maybe see this as some

Jamie:

sort of like wild TV show. But I also feel like if it was

Jamie:

something it was content like that, that people could rewatch

Jamie:

over and over again and pick apart, then it would fall in

Jamie:

fall under that trap of like, Oh, this doesn't hold up because

Jamie:

I watched this episode seven times. And I wrote everything

Jamie:

down and it doesn't actually make sense at the next thing. So

Jamie:

I think you're right in the sense that like I it's a visual

Jamie:

novel there's not a there's not a ton of interaction in the

Jamie:

story. So in terms of like, you know, they're presenting

Jamie:

something to you like that aspect of it can be duplicated.

Jamie:

But that kind of like roller coaster like getting pulled

Jamie:

along, getting pulled into the current of what's happening and

Jamie:

not necessarily having the time or desire to go back and pick it

Jamie:

apart, I think is unique to video games, or maybe only

Jamie:

comparable to, like, something that you binge watch on Netflix.

Jamie:

But even even with something that you binge watch, there's

Jamie:

still people who are going to go back and we're going to break

Jamie:

through all those episodes, right, but they really did

Jamie:

remind me of like a binge watching experience where you

Jamie:

just, you just put yourself through something and, and are

Jamie:

like in it for that emotional roller coaster. There's also two

Jamie:

things that the game does that I think are noteworthy one is that

Jamie:

they, they have a it's still only one character in the game.

Jamie:

But I feel like you see this so rarely. And stuff like this that

Jamie:

are at least in what I've come into contact with. There's a

Jamie:

character in the game who's just fat and she's like, just treated

Jamie:

as normal and capable and not like a gross monster. Yeah, and

Jamie:

she's actually like a really sweet character. She's someone

Jamie:

who's, she's not one of the main characters, but she's best

Jamie:

friends with several of the main characters, her name is Miwako

Jamie:

and she's just a chubby teenager who likes to get snacks with her

Jamie:

friends after school and she has a crush on all of the boys in

Jamie:

her class. And she gets embarrassed around all of them.

Jamie:

But everyone thinks that she's a sweetheart like all of her

Jamie:

friends are just like they're constantly looking out for her

Jamie:

and you're really invested in whether or not Miwako makes it

Jamie:

through the story. And that was that was cool to see. And I just

Jamie:

think in general in in games and media, we don't see fat

Jamie:

characters presented with humanity. So it's just cool to

Jamie:

see Miwako there. Being a fat teenager and like living her

Jamie:

life and her weight's not commented on or anything like

Jamie:

she's just another person in the school. And it's not like they

Jamie:

they don't show her. She likes to get snacks after school with

Jamie:

her friends but her friends who are both the like, you know,

Jamie:

pencil thin, typical anime characters anime protagonists.

Jamie:

Yeah, they they both are eating the same snacks that she is. And

Jamie:

it's not like you know Miwako's the fat girl who's like sitting

Jamie:

here mowing down on all the snacks. I don't know as a fat

Jamie:

person. I appreciated it. [music break] Hi, friends. It's your

Jamie:

co-host Jamie, I've come to tell you that I've made a huge

Jamie:

mistake. You see in this podcast that you're listening to right

Jamie:

now I'm about to start telling Spencer about these two

characters in 13 Sentinels:

:

Aegis Rim who I was super

characters in 13 Sentinels:

:

emotionally invested in when I played the game, but I'm about

characters in 13 Sentinels:

:

to get one of the characters names superduper wrong. The

characters in 13 Sentinels:

:

correct names of the two characters are Takatoshi

characters in 13 Sentinels:

:

Hijiyama, a 1940's Japanese soldier displaced in time, and

characters in 13 Sentinels:

:

Tsukasa Okino, a gender fluid kid genius out to save the

characters in 13 Sentinels:

:

world. Unfortunately, in the month since I beat the game, I

characters in 13 Sentinels:

:

accidentally got the names swapped around in my head. So

characters in 13 Sentinels:

:

throughout our conversation, you're going to hear me refer to

characters in 13 Sentinels:

:

the characters instead as Tsukasa and Okino. This is a

characters in 13 Sentinels:

:

mistake that I take pretty seriously and that definitely

characters in 13 Sentinels:

:

should have been avoided. These characters in this game mean a

characters in 13 Sentinels:

:

lot to me. When Spencer and I discussed what we should do

characters in 13 Sentinels:

:

about this issue, though, I ultimately wanted to keep the

characters in 13 Sentinels:

:

conversation we had in the episode. For one thing, trying

characters in 13 Sentinels:

:

to re record it, felt inauthentic and to just cut it

characters in 13 Sentinels:

:

and hide it didn't feel right either. So here's our

characters in 13 Sentinels:

:

conversation as it happened. To the characters of Hijiyama and

characters in 13 Sentinels:

:

Okino, to their creators and writers of Vanillaware, and to

characters in 13 Sentinels:

:

you our Pixel Therapy audience. I'm really sorry for messing

characters in 13 Sentinels:

:

this up. And I'm going to try to do better next time. Thanks for

characters in 13 Sentinels:

:

listening. Now back to the original recording. [music

characters in 13 Sentinels:

:

break] And the other thing that they do that I really I'm so

characters in 13 Sentinels:

:

torn it's like I don't really want to give I want to give them

characters in 13 Sentinels:

:

props, but I also don't want to give them props cuz I think they

characters in 13 Sentinels:

:

fucked it up. But they do have a queer relationship in the game.

Spencer:

Oh.

Jamie:

That I was super invested in between these these two this

Jamie:

is like kind of some light spoilers I guess if you want to

Jamie:

play the game and have no context for anything then bounce

Jamie:

out. But there's two characters two I guess we'll say guys,

Jamie:

Tsukasa, who definitely is he him. And Okino who is always

Jamie:

pronouned as he him. But who regularly throughout the game

Jamie:

presents as a woman, like will will wear dresses and skirts and

Jamie:

present as a woman and use a different name.

Spencer:

Yeah

Jamie:

Tsukasa is from 1940s Japan. So he's got a lot of

Jamie:

bigoted ideals in his head.

Spencer:

Wait, sorry, just for just for my own-

Jamie:

Yeah go ahead.

Spencer:

So there's like people from different timelines in the

Spencer:

same timeline together?

Jamie:

Yeah, so the majority of the game takes place in the

Jamie:

80's. But there is time travel in this game. Tsukasa is pulled

Jamie:

out of 1940s Japan by Okino and brought to 1980s Japan where

Jamie:

he's helping Okino. Okino's a scientist. He's trying to figure

Jamie:

out why the kaiju are coming.

Spencer:

Okay.

Jamie:

But again all high school. Boy genius I guess.

Jamie:

Yeah, um so when Tsukasa first meets Okino in 1940's Japan,

Jamie:

Okino is presenting as a young girl and is doing that to like

Jamie:

get information or at least that's what you think at the

Jamie:

time like dressing as a girl to get information. Tsukasa

Jamie:

develops a crush on Okino as a girl they end up coming back to

Jamie:

1980s Japan together. Tsukasa realizes that Okino is actually

Jamie:

a guy and is like going he's going through all this shit like

Jamie:

throughout the game. You play chapters as Tsukasa. Tsukasa is

Jamie:

a playable character. Okino's not so you're in Tsukasa's head

Jamie:

a lot more than you're in Okino's. But Tsukasa like you,

Jamie:

the game definitely makes you see that he is struggling with

Jamie:

the fact that he is bisexual. He's struggling with the fact

Jamie:

that he is attracted to Okino not just when Okino is dressed

Jamie:

as a woman. But Okino like as he exists.

Spencer:

Wow.

Jamie:

And that he's not he's got a lot of internalized

Jamie:

homophobia because of where he comes from. And so he's dealing

Jamie:

with that. And Okino, I don't know if this is good or bad, but

Jamie:

Okino recognizes that Tsukasa like has feelings for him and is

Jamie:

just constantly giving him shit about it. Like constantly like,

Jamie:

like flirting with him and then making fun of Tsukasa when

Jamie:

Tsukasa gets embarrassed about it, kind of so they have this

Jamie:

like kind of like, I don't know, it's played off in like a really

Jamie:

cute way. But it's I don't know, it's always just a little like

Jamie:

touching-

Spencer:

Like sassy twink energy.

Jamie:

Yeah, it's always like touching this wire of like, is

Jamie:

this problematic or not? But you're still kind of really

Jamie:

rooting for them because Tsukasa, like Tsukasa is such a

Jamie:

himbo. He's just he's kind of a dummy. But he wears his heart on

Jamie:

his sleeve. And he's really like "For Japan." He's like, Yeah,

Jamie:

he's he's a he thinks of himself as like a big hero. Yeah. And he

Jamie:

wants to protect people. So-

Spencer:

And Okino's this annoying power bottom.

Jamie:

Yeah, he's like constantly giving him shit. But

Jamie:

But the thing that I that they do. So like, it's made clear

Jamie:

that Okino just likes to dress as a woman sometimes. And like

Jamie:

he's doing it in situations where it's not advantageous to

Jamie:

getting information or anything like that. He's just doing it

Jamie:

sometimes. But every time he does it, they make this like

Jamie:

weird. Like, he plays it up with Tsukasa in a way that I didn't

Jamie:

think was necessarily appropriate. We're like, seeing

Jamie:

Tsukasa getting embarrassed because he's attracted to Okino

Jamie:

and Okino's like making fun of him. I'm like, okay, and they

Jamie:

just they kind of, I don't know, sometimes they just make it too

Jamie:

much about like the genitals that I that I felt like was

Jamie:

inappropriate. But what really-

Spencer:

Can you give an example?

Jamie:

Well, there's an example. I'm gonna have to spoil it to

Jamie:

give an example.

Spencer:

Okay, we'll put a Yeah, we'll put we'll put a tag in the

Spencer:

show notes, when the spoilers are.

Jamie:

We'll tag this in the show notes. These are deep

Sentinels:

Aegis Rim. You learn that everything

Sentinels:

that's happening in the game is happening in a future society.

Sentinels:

And all the characters in the game are clones of people who

Sentinels:

set up this future society, humanity has died out. And they

Sentinels:

have created this giant spaceship that's floating

Sentinels:

through space that has five biomes in it set in different

Sentinels:

time periods. So 1940s, Japan and 1980s. Japan are existing at

Sentinels:

the same time, they're just different biomes in this

Sentinels:

spaceship.

Spencer:

Whaat?

Jamie:

The rest of humanity is dead. These 13 kids that you're

Jamie:

playing as are the only ones that are left. And everyone else

Jamie:

that they see in the in the world are it's like the matrix.

Spencer:

Oh, why? What's the point?

Jamie:

This the people who came before who set all this up, they

Jamie:

were trying to preserve humanity.

Spencer:

Oh I see.

Jamie:

Humanity had killed itself off. So they were trying

Jamie:

to-

Spencer:

Like a traveling time capsule.

Jamie:

Yeah, basically, they were sending them out into the

Jamie:

space in the hopes that they would find a planet and be able

Jamie:

to start over again. Right?

Spencer:

Yeah, but instead they all turned gay.

Jamie:

Well, just Tsukasa.

Spencer:

Yeah.

Jamie:

And Okino. um, so, yeah, cuz that's the other thing that

Jamie:

game does. Like at the end of the game, literally all of the

Jamie:

characters are paired up in heterosexual couplings to like,

Jamie:

like, make babies and start the world over again.

Spencer:

Right. Of course.

Jamie:

Except for Tsukasa and Okino so, you know, these are

Jamie:

the things that we deal with.

Spencer:

Damn.

Jamie:

So as Tsukasa and Okino are going through their story.

Jamie:

They're finding things they think are from the future and

Jamie:

you think are from the future until you realize that these are

Jamie:

recordings of the people that they're cloned from in the past,

Jamie:

because they're seeing older versions of themselves, thinking

Jamie:

that's them in the future, but it's actually the people they're

Jamie:

cloned from in the past, right? This game is this mindfuck on

Jamie:

top of mindfuck, it just folds his mind fucks in. And so you're

Jamie:

constantly I just sit there like, "What?" Anyway. So Tsukasa

Jamie:

finds this video file of him of like, what he thinks is an older

Jamie:

him having a conversation, and it's very clear from the video

Jamie:

file that him and Okino are in a relationship together. And it's

Jamie:

kind of like a watershed moment for him of like, just coming to

Jamie:

terms with his feelings for Okino. And like, accepting

Jamie:

those, then, of course, you know, the kaiju come like blah

Jamie:

blah, they're, you know, shits blowing up, the world is ending.

Jamie:

So they're in a situation where he can't just like, go to Okino

Jamie:

and say anything to him. Okino ends up laying down his life, or

Jamie:

you think he's laying down his life, what he's actually doing

Jamie:

is they're all in a simulation. So he's just giving up his

Jamie:

simulated form, he's actually still safe in a pod somewhere on

Jamie:

the ship.

Spencer:

Oh okay.

Jamie:

He lays down his life for Tsukasa. And then his, his like

Jamie:

AI, or his voice or whatever, because he still exists is in

Jamie:

Tsukasa's mech with him as they're fighting the kaiju. And

Jamie:

they're going to this battle so him and Tsukasa can still talk

Jamie:

to each other. And as they go into the final battle, Tsukasa

Jamie:

finally makes his like, declaration of his feelings for

Jamie:

Okino, which he still does in a very Tsukasa way, which is just

Jamie:

like, he's like, yeah, I you know, I'm gonna go out here, I'm

Jamie:

gonna fight for Japan, I'll give my life he's like, and I'll give

Jamie:

my life for you too, Okino because I'm going to give my

Jamie:

life for the people that I love. And Okino's like "Oh, Tsukasa."

Jamie:

And then he goes out and they fight the final fight and you're

Jamie:

like, oh, like that's a cute like, he finally like he didn't

Jamie:

flat out say like, I love you. But a lot of the characters are,

Jamie:

you know, there's all these couplings in the game, and

Jamie:

they're all kind of dancing around it, because they're a

Jamie:

bunch of high schoolers. Right?

Spencer:

Totally, totally.

Jamie:

Or I guess the game makes a point at some point of being

Jamie:

like they're all 18.

Spencer:

Yeah. [both laugh]

Jamie:

Thanks for that.

Spencer:

Good, good.

Jamie:

So the spaceship lands, people get out of their pods,

Jamie:

right? The game ends and they're gonna go start life on this new

Jamie:

planet. Then you then get an epilogue five years later. It's

Jamie:

showing you all the different characters and all the different

Jamie:

characters are paired up all of these will these are will they

Jamie:

or won't these that you-Will they or won't theys that you've

Jamie:

been watching throughout the game, all these characters

Jamie:

you've invested in hoping they would hook up. They're all

Jamie:

paired up. They're having kids, they're repopulating the planet.

Jamie:

Like, oh, yeah, like I'm getting what I want. Like I'm getting

Jamie:

this happy ending for all these characters. And then we come to

Jamie:

Tsukasa and Okino's fucking epilogue scene. And yeah, so the

Jamie:

game doesn't really show any of the characters kissing or

Jamie:

anything, but it makes it very clear all of these other

Jamie:

characters are paired up. Instead of being like fucking

Jamie:

Tsukasa and Okino are paired up. It does this whole weird thing

Jamie:

where Tsukasa, so I mean, Tsukasa is bi that's totally

Jamie:

valid, but he's like, he's, they go back into the simulation for

Jamie:

fun. Like they're, they've, they're on the planet, but

Jamie:

they're now able to re enter the simulation to engage with all

Jamie:

the people that are saved in the simulation, and they're talking

Jamie:

about how they're going to try to bring them into the real

Jamie:

world. Again, we're going too far out. But anyway, they've

Jamie:

gone back into the simulation for fun to visit all these

Jamie:

people that they haven't seen in five years who only exist within

Jamie:

the simulation.

Jamie:

Yeah.

Jamie:

Tsukasa has gone in there with one of the other like, Lady

Jamie:

characters in the game. And he's like hitting on her. Which is

Jamie:

fine. Okay, he's bi.

Spencer:

Sure.

Jamie:

Then Okino shows up. Okino shows up in the dress,

Jamie:

starts hitting on Tsukasa. Tsukasa is getting embarrassed.

Jamie:

And then Okino makes a comment about how like, well in the

Jamie:

simulation, I can have any parts I want. And that's how they

Jamie:

fucking end it with them. We don't get any sort of like Final

Jamie:

like, they're definitely together. Like,

Spencer:

Right. But it's also like this-

Jamie:

Well, it's the fixation on the the genitals or like

Jamie:

playing it up. And like that's supposed to be titillating.

Spencer:

That Okino's not a "real woman."

Jamie:

Yeah.

Spencer:

Like even like, whatever Okino's gender is, is

Spencer:

valid, like, just this idea that oh, Tsukasa, the love that he

Spencer:

felt for Okino in the real world, we need to bring in like

Spencer:

another woman for whom can be the woman that Tsukasa wanted.

Spencer:

It's just like it's kind of a slap in the face after that

Spencer:

whole story. That journey you went through like yeah, I would

Spencer:

be really upset by the same thing.

Jamie:

Yeah, I just I felt like they got so close to giving us

Jamie:

like and also like I don't know, I just like I don't think that

Jamie:

we needed to see Tsukasa like pairing up with one of the young

Jamie:

women characters. Because like just this whole fixation on

Jamie:

like, oh, we're going to repopulate the planet like, we

Jamie:

just didn't need that, like we could have seen that like

Jamie:

Tsukasa and Okino's relationship was valid even in this new

Jamie:

future where we're trying to restart humanity, it would have

Jamie:

been really nice to still see their relationship as valid. Or

Jamie:

if you wanted to bring in the other character of them having a

Jamie:

three way partnership, like I would have been fine with that

Jamie:

too. But the way they did it, where it was presented as it was

Jamie:

also presented as though Tsukasa was like sneaking around behind

Jamie:

Okino's back with this girl. And then Okino shows up and they

Jamie:

make this whole thing about whether or not Yeah, he's a real

Jamie:

woman or whatever. And that like also that that would hinge on

Jamie:

whether Tsukasa was attracted to him or interested him. Even

Jamie:

though we've gotten all this throughout the game that made it

Jamie:

I thought pretty clear that he was interested in Okino,

Jamie:

regardless of whether Okino was, you know, presenting as a woman

Jamie:

or not, it just yeah, it was, it was a bummer, because they built

Jamie:

up so much to that. Yeah,

Spencer:

It's also just a damaging rhetoric that like

Spencer:

people who are playing with a femininity or exploring

Spencer:

femininity or have some feminine aspect within themselves, that

Spencer:

you know, that they inherently want to have the parts that

Spencer:

society has dictated belong to a woman like this idea that like,

Spencer:

um, like if, like, I think medical and surgical transitions

Spencer:

are totally valid, but like, I just resent the concept that

Spencer:

this character is just reduced to whether or not what's in

Spencer:

their pants.

Jamie:

Yeah, yeah. And like nothing in the game suggested

Jamie:

that Okino was interested in transitioning that way. Or that

Jamie:

that was how, again, I'm using he because that's what they use

Jamie:

in the game though, like, because we never see anything

Jamie:

from Okino's perspective, like, I feel like that's a missed

Jamie:

opportunity to to not make him one of the playable characters

Jamie:

in the game and get inside his head more but like, we're never

Jamie:

given any inkling that that's what he's interested in. It's

Jamie:

literally just presented as like, he's using that to

Jamie:

titillate Tsukasa. And it just for one thing, I don't, it

Jamie:

didn't feel authentic to me. And it just felt like the focus was

Jamie:

on such the wrong place, like you had an opportunity to just

Jamie:

to show real growth for that, like all the other characters

Jamie:

got a chance to grow. And yet I feel like in the epilogue

Jamie:

didn't, the epilogues for all the other characters felt like a

Jamie:

good ending to their story where you felt like they grew and they

Jamie:

got somewhere in their relationships with each other.

Jamie:

And we see Tsukasa and Okino. And it almost feels like they

Jamie:

backslid right, like Tsukasa, we had just seen him like, actually

Jamie:

take the step of trying to admit to Okino that he has feelings

Jamie:

for him. And here we are five years later, and he's like, back

Jamie:

to still being embarrassed. Like, it just is like, okay, so

Jamie:

we just back slid, there was no real future for these two.

Spencer:

Right, it's like toxic masculinity sort of coming to

Spencer:

give an excuse for Tsukasa's behavior or like, the idea that

Spencer:

a gay man for two men to date, one of them must want to be a

Spencer:

woman or, or one of the men must need to see the other man as a

Spencer:

woman in some way in order for the relationship to be valid

Spencer:

when like, this idea of Who's the man and who's the woman in

Spencer:

the relationship is not a real thing.

Jamie:

Yep. Yeah.

Spencer:

So it feels almost like it's trying to explain itself by

Spencer:

being like, Oh, well, he's gay, but only because he fell for

Spencer:

Okina as a woman, and now he's been tricked. And so that's what

Spencer:

he needs to be attracted when, like, the game you played. It

Spencer:

was it, it could have been so much deeper than that. They

Spencer:

really saw each other and loved each other as people. But it

Spencer:

feels like we have to wrap it up in some way that just cuts out

Spencer:

any ambiguity about gender or queerness, or whatever out of

Spencer:

the picture.

Jamie:

Yep. Yeah.

Spencer:

Which is unfortunate.

Jamie:

It just felt like they were ripping something away from

Jamie:

players. That could have been a really heartwarming fulfilling

Jamie:

thing to see in a game. Especially a game like that,

Jamie:

where so much of it is like on, we're gonna restart humanity.

Jamie:

And the idea that part of restarting humanity would be

Jamie:

bringing queer folks along would have been a great message.

Spencer:

Yeah, right. [both laugh]

Jamie:

So I still think that I it's still a game that I really,

Jamie:

really loved. But I just felt like yeah, I wanted to kind of

Jamie:

get that out because it just felt so it was it. It was one of

Jamie:

the really, I was invested in several of the relationships,

Jamie:

but it was one of the ones I was invested in the most. And that

Jamie:

epilogue was just such a downer. So I wanted to talk about it

Jamie:

here.

Spencer:

Wow, thank you that I'm really interested in this game.

Spencer:

I should try to give it a shot. I thank you for that analysis

Spencer:

like, really, really interesting. Um, I have, this

Spencer:

just pops in my head speaking of 13 Sentinels. I've just been

Spencer:

reading about like, I don't know, this is something we

Spencer:

touched on last week. But I'm like, Yes, the game makes sure

Spencer:

we all know that the kids are all 18. But there are like these

Spencer:

scenes where like, as the characters are going into their

Spencer:

like mecha suits and stuff, where they go through these,

Spencer:

like, magical transformations and their clothes disappear. And

Spencer:

it can, it's almost like sexual, I just, I wanted to reflect on

Spencer:

that for a minute. Because I think that anime as a genre

Spencer:

often gets held up as like, Oh, it's so sexual, like all anime

Spencer:

is about objectifying women's bodies. And, you know, it's

Spencer:

disgusting. Not saying like, you're saying that just just

Spencer:

there's lots of conceptions about sexuality and anime as

Spencer:

being inherently more or more inappropriate or more bold than

Spencer:

other forms of media or an expectation. And I was just

Spencer:

thinking about, I think it was Sisi, one of our previous

Spencer:

guests, who is a narrative designer was just tweeting about

Spencer:

like, how, when we look at American games, like all of the

Spencer:

God of War games had sex scenes, and there was a scene in The

Spencer:

Witcher, like Geralt's feet have basically become a meme. And

Spencer:

there's like the sexualization of women fantasy games, like

Spencer:

just latent sexuality in gaming isn't something that's unique to

Spencer:

Japanese or anime games.

Jamie:

Yeah, no.

Spencer:

And we don't really talk about the pornography of

Spencer:

other types of games in the same way that we criticize anime. So

Spencer:

I just wanted to I thought that was a really interesting point.

Spencer:

And I just wanted to voice it since we were talking about 13

Spencer:

Sentinels again, I think it was an important just reminder for

Spencer:

me too, because I think I tend to, like, you know, if I want to

Spencer:

be titillated, I know where to go on Reddit, let's just like,

Spencer:

I'm no stranger to the sexualization of of anime, but I

Spencer:

also feel like yeah, it can be unfair, I think, especially for

Spencer:

me from an American perspective to to judge it any more than I

Spencer:

would like American media. Yeah. So

Jamie:

yeah, I mean, I think that's, that's totally valid.

Jamie:

And I also think that with more than, than just anime games, but

Jamie:

it's, I don't know, it's just the thing with games in general.

Jamie:

Like, I want people to take games seriously, because I take

Jamie:

games seriously. And sometimes I think my own like, feeling that

Jamie:

like if there's too much, too much tits and ass, like in a

Jamie:

game or too much excessive violence that then other people

Jamie:

won't take it seriously. And so I'm like, preemptively

Jamie:

critiquing something-like 13 Sentinels is such a complicated

Jamie:

story in such a, like, there's so many beautiful moments in

Jamie:

that game. And like, it impacted me so much like anybody should

Jamie:

play this game. But there's also a part of me that's like, if I

Jamie:

just handed this game to somebody who doesn't play a lot

Jamie:

of games, and they get 10 minutes in, and all the girls

Jamie:

clothes comes off when she goes in the mech, are they going to

Jamie:

completely dismiss this game out of hand? Because that happened.

Spencer:

Right, and it's like, sex isn't inherently detracting

Spencer:

from like a something can have sex, sexuality and sex and and

Spencer:

still be emotionally impactful and still be really important.

Spencer:

And like sex isn't inherently detracting from the value of

Spencer:

something. But I think what you're what you're saying rings

Spencer:

really true. And that for someone who already doesn't see

Spencer:

games as like a serious art form, and who's coming into it,

Spencer:

and it's just seeing that without the context of taking,

Spencer:

like, you see naked people in in fine art in the museum, and

Spencer:

you're not like what the fuck is this, but if you don't, if you

Spencer:

already are discounting games as a not a valid art form, and then

Spencer:

the sex is added on top, or the sexuality, objectification is

Spencer:

added on top of that, I can totally see how it could just

Spencer:

deeper inform someone's misconceptions about what games

Spencer:

are.

Jamie:

Yeah, yeah, I guess it's a it's just a good reminder that

Jamie:

even as people who appreciate games we can have those same

Jamie:

external objectifications like, in our heads, and we can be

Jamie:

using that to critique games from a-that's like, not even

Jamie:

necessarily our lens. That's like what we think other

Jamie:

people's lens will be. And so we, like judge it on that.

Jamie:

That's interesting. That's interesting. Oh, great

Jamie:

conversation, per usual. I think-

Spencer:

More to come!

Jamie:

More to come here on Pixel Therapy. I am gonna go

Jamie:

ahead and transition us over to our guest now though. Our guest

Jamie:

for you today is the lovely Janet Garcia aka Gameonysus on

Jamie:

Twitch, Twitter, Patreon.

Spencer:

So excited!

Jamie:

Pretty much anywhere else you can find people on the

Jamie:

internet. Janet is a game critic, content creator, Twitch

Jamie:

streamer podcaster youtuber bop bop bop bop - she does a little

Jamie:

bit of everything!

Spencer:

What can't she do?

Jamie:

It's a great question. And until rather recently, she

Jamie:

worked for IGN as their guides editor, but she's out on her own

Jamie:

now running an awesome Patreon that you should definitely check

Jamie:

out, she'll plug that at the end of the interview. And

Jamie:

throughout, we definitely talked about her Patreon quite a bit.

Jamie:

And I think this interview is a great pitch for why you should

Jamie:

follow Janet. Spencer and I had such a fun time talking with her

Jamie:

about everything from working in games media to binge watching

Jamie:

the same TV shows over and over again for comfort, pushing

Jamie:

yourself out of your comfort zone and into the learning zone.

Jamie:

She's really someone that we look up to in this space. And we

Jamie:

were so grateful that she took some time to chat with us. So

Jamie:

without further ado, here's our interview with Janet Garcia.

Jamie:

[music break]

Spencer:

Janet, thank you so much for joining us in the

Spencer:

virtual Pixel Therapy studio, we're so happy to have you.

Spencer:

Typically we ask folks to share their pronouns, and just a

Spencer:

little bit about how you spend your time.

Janet:

Sure, I'm Janet Garcia, my pronouns are she her. And for

Janet:

how I spend my time, it's a lot of work, a lot of gaming, a lot

Janet:

of streaming, editing things. And when I'm not doing that I am

Janet:

trying to differentiate a lot more because for a long time,

Janet:

I'm like that is all I do. And I should probably do other things

Janet:

that aren't that. So I've been a distant distance runner for a

Janet:

really long time. That's been a big part of my life since I was

Janet:

like in my 20s early 20s. I started learning how to play

Janet:

piano, I started learning how to roller skate. I'm trying to get

Janet:

into cooking more. So those are other ways that I like to spend

Janet:

my time as well as rewatching the same sitcoms over and over

Janet:

again.

Spencer:

Feels so good just like a like a warm blanket.

Janet:

Why watch something new when I can watch something I

Janet:

already know is good for most of the seasons and then I'll still

Janet:

just sit through the bad ones because why not?

Spencer:

Thanks, brain. Just take me back there.

Janet:

Yeah, I call it melting my brain. That's the it's like

Janet:

that or like endlessly scrolling Tik Tok. It's like a good branch

Janet:

melting session, I love it.

Spencer:

Yeah, I guess I feel like with TikTok and streaming

Spencer:

and Twitter and Instagram tbh and just the onslaught of all of

Spencer:

the like, millions of types of content that I can take in at

Spencer:

any time I really feel like my TV tastes especially in the past

Spencer:

couple years has really just been like I know my three shows

Spencer:

I go to TV to relax and let go and I go to every other channel

Spencer:

that is in my cell phone for all the other content.

Janet:

What are your three shows?

Spencer:

Okay, this is really embarrassing, but it's like The

Spencer:

Office and-

Janet:

Classic.

Spencer:

I-So bad and um, what else? Oh, My Hero Academia cuz

Spencer:

it's just love the love those guys and my third show. Oh

Spencer:

Community.

Janet:

Nice.

Spencer:

Yeah,

Janet:

I don't hear that one a lot for like, it's such an

Janet:

interesting show where every episode is very like distinctly

Janet:

different. Yeah, that's like a very chaotic comfort show,

Janet:

Community.

Spencer:

I know it just feels like every episode you come back

Spencer:

and rewatch you get something there's something new to pick up

Spencer:

out of it. Or some new reference to this. There's a lot there's

Spencer:

layers to it. What about you? What are your kind of repeat

Spencer:

shows?

Janet:

Yeah, I got a lot of them. Lean heavily on sitcom. So

Janet:

How I Met Your Mother. Oh, yeah. Like I know that show really

Janet:

well. Like, I actually watched the pilot air on TV back when

Janet:

you watch like actual TV. TV was more than just like, the name

Janet:

for the thing that stream stuff, right? displays, like cast

Janet:

things too. So that's definitely one of them. I've been hitting

Janet:

Scrubs really hard lately. When I've gone back to I also watched

Janet:

The Office a lot, you know, people will always make that

Janet:

comment of like, please stop watching The Office, just watch

Janet:

another show. And I'm like, No, like, No, I'm gonna I'm just

Janet:

this is what I do. Like, this is the loop. I used to hit Seinfeld

Janet:

pretty hard too I haven't really gotten back to that one as much.

Janet:

And I don't even know if it's how easy it is to stream. But I

Janet:

was a big proponent of getting the season DVDs for a lot of

Janet:

these things, too. So How I Met Your Mother on DVD, I think we

Janet:

do have The Office somewhere on DVD as well, which is kind of

Janet:

silly. But then as things keep moving from different streaming

Janet:

platforms, it's kind of nice to like say that you always have

Janet:

that Oh, and Friends. Friends is a big one. Even though Friends

Janet:

in the modern era, like it's a lot more clearly problematic

Janet:

when you first go. So there are some like instant skips for me

Janet:

in that series, but on the whole, like, I really enjoy

Janet:

Friends, and it's interesting looking at, like the sitcoms

Janet:

that, you know, maybe haven't aged well in some social ways,

Janet:

but also in some ways, whether they are surprisingly

Janet:

progressive in certain categories, which is nice to see

Janet:

too, you know, like Friends may have like a lot of very

Janet:

stereotypical, like gender norm style, definitely some

Janet:

transphobia, as a lot of early sitcoms do. But it also has,

Janet:

like, you know, a predominant, like, queer presence as well.

Janet:

And like all these other things that are not put in there and

Janet:

like to make fun of the identities but put in there as

Janet:

like, hey, like, this is a way of social conflict and how

Janet:

relationships develop and those things, which is really cool,

Janet:

especially for the era that that show came out at. Yeah, we just

Janet:

got that on DVD in my household, which is wild, because the DVD

Janet:

version shows like, I think what originally aired, like scenes

Janet:

I've never seen before on the set of DVDs. So I'm kind of

Janet:

excited to find these new clips, that got edited out and they

Janet:

have like, behind the scenes stuff where they talk about

Janet:

like, Oh, we have a budget to do this. So the curtain from

Janet:

somewhere, like, I really get a kick out of like the little

Janet:

details of things from those shows as well.

Spencer:

How the sausage gets made. Yeah, yeah. I honestly

Spencer:

like having a DVD set, which I'm sure Jamie can relate to.

Spencer:

Because, I mean, I haven't been into your house in months,

Spencer:

Jamie. I really appreciate how her entertainment center is like

Spencer:

DVD. Like the DVDs are part of the decor like it's-

Jamie:

I decorate with media.

Spencer:

Yeah, I mean, it's the entertainment slash living room,

Spencer:

like what else do you put in it but honestly, with the way that

Spencer:

contracts and like you mentioned, and the fact that I

Spencer:

mean The Office, I might as well get it on DVD now because I

Spencer:

don't want to pay for Peacock. For people who may not know The

Spencer:

Office news, it moved recently moved off of Netflix and it's

Spencer:

now on Peacock, which is like NBC's new streaming service. And

Spencer:

we're basically just going back to cable, but instead of paying

Spencer:

one price for all the channels, we now get to pay for every

Spencer:

individual channel, and it's just awesome. And so I haven't

Spencer:

watched The Office I guess that's why I've I've been

Spencer:

forced. I even tried to watch I started watching Criminal Minds

Spencer:

that's how bad it was. But honestly, DVDs are like worth

Spencer:

their weight in terms of being able to just watch in

Spencer:

perpetuity. So-

Jamie:

I mean you do you have to get off the couch and put the

Jamie:

DVD in the machine though I gotta say sometimes that is a

Jamie:

big hindrance you hit the end of that disk and you're like, ummm

Jamie:

or I could fall asleep.

Spencer:

Who needs Ring Fit? I got DVDs every every couple

Spencer:

hours I get up and put in the new one. There you go.

Janet:

I know one time I accidentally hit play all and I

Janet:

was like, we're just gonna be here now. Um, it's interesting

Janet:

too, with like how certain media players are also like

Janet:

diminishing, like. Obviously most of us probably don't have

Janet:

like like dedicated DVD players. But most people use console's.

Janet:

But with like, this new, having like a diskless skews available

Janet:

at the ready. Like there are people that can't you know, you

Janet:

can't put your Office DVD in your PS4 because it doesn't have

Janet:

a slot for it. I did actually get the disc version of all that

Janet:

stuff. Like I'm a huge physical media fan. So I always need the

Janet:

option, at least the first disc I put into my PS5 was actually a

Janet:

DVD of a BTS concert. I'm not like I'm not a K-Pop person.

Janet:

That's no shade to the K-Pop community. It's just that people

Janet:

always get you know, they're a very passionate group for better

Janet:

or worse, and I always get really excited if they think

Janet:

that like, Oh, you see, it's not me It actually isn't me. It's

Janet:

like, it's my roommate. And I'm like, supportive of the

Janet:

lifestyle

Spencer:

They want to claim you.

Janet:

Yeah, I'm like it like literally I think I you know, I

Janet:

like a few of the songs from like, the Kpop scene for sure.

Janet:

Because it's good. Some good music. Yeah. And I remember

Janet:

tweeting out like, oh, I've been listening to like this one Apink

Janet:

song on a loop but I had like, their fans dm-ing me like "Thank

Janet:

you for listening to this, ma'am." And I felt so yeah,

Janet:

like, "Thanks, ma'am." Like,

Spencer:

Those K-pop ideals. Yeah,

Janet:

Good due diligence. But, I was actually watching The

Janet:

Office on Netflix on New Year's Eve. So I watched it when it was

Janet:

no longer available, which sounds very melodramatic, but

Janet:

like, this is a COVID New Year like wait, I mean, I never

Janet:

really go out for New Year's Eve anyway, but this is we're all

Janet:

more at home than ever for it. So I'm like, okay, and I love

Janet:

doing them for the holidays, putting holiday episodes on. So

Janet:

we tried finding anything New Year's related and it's kind of

Janet:

tossing it on there for one last Netflix. Yeah, Office hurrah.

Spencer:

That was also our New Year's Eve party.

Janet:

We're in good company then like a little basic, but in

Janet:

a way that's like, you know, it's fun. Like I'm drinking

Janet:

McCafe coffee right now. Right? There's no standards here. Like,

Janet:

all comfort. [music break]

Spencer:

So Janet, this is a video game podcast. And to that

Spencer:

end, what is your history with video games?

Janet:

My history with video games, like I think a lot of

Janet:

like media content people, it goes back very far. It goes back

Janet:

to a time where I'm struggling because I don't know math that

Janet:

well, like 1999. I'm a '94 kid which is starting to get old to

Janet:

some, but it's still usually young to most, which is a nice

Janet:

place to be, I think.

Spencer:

What are we like young millennials? Is that what we

Janet:

Yeah, we're only old to like a few people, though. I

Janet:

are?

Janet:

finally I just turned 27. And it was the first year where you

Janet:

know, being 27. Now, where I feel like somebody might think

Janet:

of me as older, I still feel like pretty young. And I don't

Janet:

think 30 is like, the worst thing in the world to turn. So

Janet:

I'm not like super dramatic over it. But I'm like, Oh, I'm kind

Janet:

of like, veering into other section. But then I go on shows

Janet:

and people be like, I got my Nintendo 64 in high school. And

Janet:

I'm like, baby, yeah, baby, baby. [laughing] I was like, Oh,

Janet:

do you know that like you're with me who's like not an adult

Janet:

like we invited me you're aware that like literal child but so

Janet:

I've been playing games since I was about like five years old.

Janet:

My first console was the SNes, Jr was an adorable start. To

Janet:

make kind of a long story short, my, my brother is six years

Janet:

older than me. And he was the first one to get into games,

Janet:

just because I mean, at five, you don't really have a lot of

Janet:

perception of anything going on. But he saw like, gaming and was

Janet:

like, This seems cool. Like I want an N64. And my parents were

Janet:

like, we're not gonna get you N64 is so expensive. We don't

Janet:

even know if you're gonna like this thing. Like, I don't want

Janet:

to spend all this money and then you're gonna like not be playing

Janet:

it. So like, I'll tell you what, we started with the SNes, Jr,

Janet:

which for those who don't know, it was just like, another skew,

Janet:

right? We've had these multi skews for a long time, and it

Janet:

was a smaller, slightly different design, cheaper, just

Janet:

sort of it came out when the N64 is already out. So it was sort

Janet:

of like, Who is this for? It was for parents who didn't want to

Janet:

buy the N64 but wanted to give their kid a game console. That

Janet:

was our household. So that was like our first system. We

Janet:

probably had that for a year or two before getting the N64. So I

Janet:

definitely grew up. Like a lot of I think general gamers, you

Janet:

know, we get outside the bubble of people that are dedicated

Janet:

enough to be making content over it. Most folks aren't getting

Janet:

stuff at lunch, like you usually get it a few years later. I

Janet:

remember growing up I only ever really had like a dozen games

Janet:

for a console, maybe less, which sounds kind of wild because the

Janet:

consoles were expensive. But it's like oh, we only have like

Janet:

these 3 $60 dollar games that we got like every birthday like

Janet:

that, that like if you didn't if you didn't play a lot of

Janet:

Sunshine, there wasn't much like there's like Sunshine, Madden,

Janet:

Mario Party, Melee, you get on Crazy Taxi, it's like, right,

Janet:

like, there's only a handful of games that we even really had.

Janet:

And then you know, of course, you hit up Blockbuster to kind

Janet:

of stretch that out a little bit to get some more experiences.

Janet:

But yeah, that was basically my general history, I did have

Janet:

moments where I stopped gaming as well, which I think a lot of

Janet:

Yeah awesome. And speaking of here, for folks who may not

Janet:

people have had, if you haven't had it, it's it's kind of nice

Janet:

to have, I think a break, it feels less overwhelming. And it

Janet:

also is a reminder of like that I like the thing, like stepping

Janet:

away from it and coming back. So around the Wii era, I kind of

Janet:

fell off of the games, because that was the era of motion

Janet:

controls the predominant shooters, and I was always like

Janet:

a platformer person. And I didn't like first person games.

Janet:

So I sort of looked around the gaming space and felt like, I

Janet:

think my time here is sort of done, at least for now. And I

Janet:

pretty much stepped away. I still had consoles and would

Janet:

play like, you know, my PS3 sometimes. But it wasn't until,

Janet:

you know, after high school into college that, like we're talking

Janet:

about basic, I watched Indie Game: The Movie and was like,

Janet:

oh, all these like indie games! Like as if indie games didn't

Janet:

exist before that, like, Hey, I'm here now. So it's okay,

Janet:

right like that. That was the movie that introduced a lot of

Janet:

people myself included to that space. So I had my MacBook at

Janet:

college, and I played Super Meatboy on that with the the

Janet:

keyboard, that's my claim to fame, I beat that game with the

Janet:

keyboard of a MacBook. So that was pretty cool. I don't know

Janet:

why I just didn't connect the controller. It wasn't that hard.

Janet:

But I had trouble getting the Bluetooth to work. So I was

Janet:

like, we're just gonna we're just gonna ride this out. And I

Janet:

played a lot of games on Steam. Like I was one of those, like,

Janet:

Humble Bundle people that have now like, you know, 800 600

Janet:

games that you've never installed, but like, one day,

Janet:

right? Um, and yeah, that was kind of the the experience and

Janet:

then as I got towards the end of college, I finally got or maybe

Janet:

after graduating, I finally got a PS4 and I sort of at that

Janet:

point was like, all the way back in I would say I got all the way

Janet:

back in towards the end of college where I, you know, start

Janet:

with kind of getting into, I guess my career as well. But I

Janet:

came back in when I started writing, like I sort of realized

Janet:

I hadn't played games in a while and I'm like, Oh, I think you

Janet:

know, I've always loved writing like I've loved writing since I

Janet:

was like in seventh grade I did poetry. I did blogs, like I had

Janet:

a blog all through college. And I'm like, I think writing about

Janet:

games could be a fun way to like meld these two passions that I

Janet:

have and sort of get back into the gaming space. So I started

Janet:

writing for free for just a mobile game site. And for me, it

Janet:

wasn't the reason I didn't really care about being free as

Janet:

I'm like, I'm literally just doing this for fun and like, oh,

Janet:

and I get some code sometimes. Sure. And that was my first sort

Janet:

of experience coming back into games through coverage. So I do

Janet:

think a lot of my game passion comes from the experience of

Janet:

doing coverage. And that's sort of what I think keeps me coming

Janet:

back. But as that grew, I got you know, deeper into games, I

Janet:

got deeper into media. And that just continued until I am now

Janet:

here, you know, really very heads down in both of those

Janet:

factors and aspects.

Janet:

know, Janet has a, what would you call Gameonysus? Like your

Janet:

tag?

Janet:

Yeah, I've gotten that question before. It's something I've

Janet:

asked myself as well, I would say it is my handle and my

Janet:

brand, which I feel like brand is kind of extra but lifestyle

Janet:

brand, you know, it's a way to live.

Spencer:

[laughing] Yeah.

Janet:

That sounds so pretentious. But yeah, I would

Janet:

say it's my handle and my brand. And like people ask like, Oh, so

Janet:

do I go by that and like, I do, and I don't like that is my

Janet:

handle. And usually when I do content, I just say I'm Janet

Janet:

Garcia, aka Gameonysus just so that people kind of connect the

Janet:

two. It's like the umbrella of underneath all of it. So I am

Janet:

kind of that in a way it's a persona, but it's not a persona

Janet:

in the like TI versus TIP sense where it's like or, you know,

Janet:

Beyonce versus Sasha Fierce. It's not like a thing. It's a

Janet:

lot more melded than that. But that is a way to think about it.

Janet:

That isn't entirely like off base.

Spencer:

Word. Okay, so Janet, your persona Gameonysus is

Spencer:

inspired by the God of wine. I love how you write that the name

Spencer:

is a nod to your love of mythology, but also reflects

Spencer:

your overall goal, not of being necessarily the greatest gamer

Spencer:

in the universe, but rather, you say, "I want my gaming

Spencer:

experiences and the content I create to be a universe:

Spencer:

expansive, beautiful, curiosity driven and inspiring." And I

Spencer:

just wanted to ask, like, what inspires you about video games,

Spencer:

like what drives you to keep making this content? what draws

Spencer:

you to them?

Janet:

I think all the layers of games is what really inspires me

Janet:

and gets me coming back. I love when things finally click. In

Janet:

certain spaces of the internet and certain perceptions, I think

Janet:

people do see me as like a little bit negative, because I

Janet:

can be very critical of games. But on the opposite end of the

Janet:

spectrum, with to me good criticism is finding the best in

Janet:

the worst games and the worst in the best games. So I think that

Janet:

is also why I sometimes come off that way. Because I would talk a

Janet:

lot about a lot of like, big, you know, AAA things. And I'm

Janet:

like, Okay, well, let's look at the ways that this is kind of,

Janet:

like, not that good, but versus you know, I can play these

Janet:

little, you know, small experiences where the art is,

Janet:

like, not that great, or like, whatever, but I can find, like

Janet:

certain things that I really appreciate and, or value in it.

Janet:

Even if it's not maybe the greatest, you know, experience

Janet:

in the world, or, you know, it was like, Oh, this is something

Janet:

someone, you know, I play I play people's games on Itch, and

Janet:

they're like, "Oh, man, like, this is for a jam. You weren't

Janet:

supposed to play." Um, but you know, I find a lot of cool stuff

Janet:

in that God, there's so much I love about games, I like how

Janet:

they can be enjoyed on a lot of different levels. There's the

Janet:

visual, the sound the story, but then there's also like, the

Janet:

different things that make you have a an enjoyable time or an

Janet:

enriching experience. So there are times in games where I'm

Janet:

like, man, I love that this is like, kind of stupid, you know,

Janet:

like, I love how dumb like I love like silly stuff, cute

Janet:

stuff. Like one recent game that I played, that I was really into

Janet:

was Phog. Its on Game Pass, on Switch. And it's just like,

Janet:

You're, you're just like a long dog, and you just control the

Janet:

game. And admittedly, I think, you know, there's definitely

Janet:

room for growth in terms of the structure and how the physics

Janet:

work and stuff. Like, it's probably more like a maybe a

Janet:

seven ish kind of level if I was rating it, but, um, man, I love

Janet:

the hell out of it, because it just felt so joyful and silly.

Janet:

And it it, you know, scratched an itch and created a spark for

Janet:

me, that I don't always get when I'm playing a game. So for me, I

Janet:

kind of like chasing those special moments. I think, you

Janet:

know, games like any art, it's hard to make good art. Like,

Janet:

it's like something exceptional, like, across all the things that

Janet:

are being made. That's super rare. And I think, you know,

Janet:

there's nothing wrong with with seeing it that way. It makes

Janet:

finding it that much more exciting, you know, playing a

Janet:

lot of things that like, Don't hit for me, one, helps me

Janet:

appreciate the stuff that does hit and two, you just learn so

Janet:

many connective threads in the designs and the stories of

Janet:

games. That's one thing that I like I'm really chasing, trying

Janet:

to be an expert by playing a lot because you can start to make

Janet:

connections and see things in ways that you didn't before. I

Janet:

was recently streaming The Medium as part of my like, oh,

Janet:

latest games that came out like "Best of 2021" watch. And right

Janet:

off the bat. I'm like, okay, the protagonist's giving me Control

Janet:

vibes. The camera's giving me old school Resident Evil. The

Janet:

adventure structure is giving me Dontnod like I'm sort of and

Janet:

obviously sometimes that can be you know, taken to an extreme

Janet:

where every tagline is like "This is the blah, blah, blah,

Janet:

of this" or like "This is Super Mario for people that like

Janet:

puzzles". And it's like, what does that mean? You know, it

Janet:

gets a little silly. It's like, you know, "It's the Crazy Taxi

Janet:

of visual novels" like, okay. [laughing]

Spencer:

I want to play that.

Janet:

And, you know, that kind of gets a little silly. And

Janet:

obviously, comparisons aren't always the best thing, but it

Janet:

helps sort of see like, Okay, how does this work in this

Janet:

context? Or doesn't work? Or what makes this special? Or

Janet:

Okay, they were going for this? And did they succeed in

Janet:

capturing it, you know? Is Bugsnax a better Pokemon Snap

Janet:

than Pokemon Snap is going to be? Like, I don't know, I'm

Janet:

interested to find out. So I really love like, all those

Janet:

elements, as well as just um, I don't know, talking to people

Janet:

about games, you know, doing this is probably my favorite

Janet:

part of it all. Like the the content part of it, the

Janet:

discussion part of it. And I that's what I really like about

Janet:

streaming because it's, it's all happening immediately and live

Janet:

and I get to like, just to kind of speak the stuff I would be

Janet:

thinking anyway, and like, turn it into content. And it's always

Janet:

great when you can just turn something that you really

Janet:

already wanted to do into like, Okay, this is something that

Janet:

like, is shareable and like, you know, profitable and sustainable

Janet:

and like, livable, and you can kind of sort of make, you know,

Janet:

stuff that you already kind of were going to want to make,

Janet:

which is sort of how I got into games media to begin with, like

Janet:

I came in not looking for a career, I just wanted to do

Janet:

this. And then I'm like, but what if I could do this and also

Janet:

make money? Which is hard to do. But I'm working on it, as I

Janet:

think a lot of us are.

Spencer:

To what you were saying about, you know how drawing

Spencer:

comparisons may not always be the best thing and it can get

Spencer:

kind of ridiculous the level at which you could you could do

Spencer:

that. I mean, I think it goes back to what we were talking

Spencer:

about earlier, when we go back to the same sitcoms, the same

Spencer:

shows like our brains love patterns, our brains find

Spencer:

comfort in patterns. If you're going to invest 40, 60, 200

Spencer:

[clears throat] Persona 5, hours into a game, like you want to

Spencer:

know what you're getting into. And so I don't know, I just

Spencer:

think that that's an interesting parallel the fact that we kind

Spencer:

of look for threads of things that are familiar and feel good

Spencer:

to us and others and there's there's delight in finding those

Spencer:

those callbacks and references like, I mean, the nature of

Spencer:

code, and software design is is very iterative, and building

Spencer:

upon what was there before, so I kind of love that that games are

Spencer:

very interconnected in this way. [music break]

Spencer:

You know, before the pandemic, a big part of gaming, like I

Spencer:

recently moved in with my partner, so it's a little bit

Spencer:

different now. But when I lived with roommates, like I would

Spencer:

always be gaming, I'd either be watching someone game, or I

Spencer:

would be gaming and someone would be watching me. And we

Spencer:

would just hang out and talk and that would be hanging out. And

Spencer:

like I mean like Jamie, I've gone over to your house. And

Spencer:

we've spent countless hours me just watching you play something

Spencer:

while we chat. And like it's just a very comforting, soothing

Spencer:

activity. And I I just I really love that aspect of streaming of

Spencer:

sort of reaching across space and time and bringing folks

Spencer:

together and something that is intimate, but can also be like

Spencer:

fun and easygoing. It could be a lot of things. I know a lot of

Spencer:

people get mental health support from streaming or find community

Spencer:

in streaming. I know for me, I'm very, very scared of Resident

Spencer:

Evil so I got the chance to watch you play Maiden instead of

Spencer:

having to do it myself. And that was that was great for me

Spencer:

personally. And so-

Janet:

Thank you for being there.

Spencer:

I just love the way that it really opens that door.

Spencer:

And for you like you spoke about this a little bit already. But

Spencer:

what are you trying to bring your streamers with your

Spencer:

channel? Like what do you want to provide with your content?

Janet:

Yeah, so there's a couple things with that. I think

Janet:

specifically with how I'm approaching streaming now I'm

Janet:

mostly a variety streamer with a little bit of an emphasis on

Janet:

Animal Crossing, but not enough of an emphasis to be like "the

Janet:

Animal Crossing streamer". Because those people are like

Janet:

doing a lot of stuff and they're islands look really nice. And

Janet:

I'm like that's not what we do in here. [laughing] A little bit

Janet:

of comfort. I think from the Animal Crossing streams, though.

Janet:

It's funny because I watch other Animal Crossing streamers. And

Janet:

I'm like, "Oh, wow, it's so soothing." And then like there's

Janet:

myself and I'm like, you know, I have like this like slightly

Janet:

deeper voice that I'm sort of just like "Ugggg" you know, and

Janet:

then people will say like, "Oh, this is like just came in for

Janet:

like this cozy, soothing stream." I'm like, this is me

Janet:

literally like swearing as I pick up this field of flowers

Janet:

that just ran amok. So um, but I think I am aiming for a little

Janet:

bit of coziness, a little bit of togetherness, it's sort of I

Janet:

guess Animal Crossing does fit in with the other game, other

Janet:

games I play in the sense that a lot of my approach is "Hey, do

Janet:

you like games but let's be real, we ain't trying to play

Janet:

all these games." Like it's like, a game needs a lot of like

Janet:

downloading but then not getting to it. And a lot of you know

Janet:

backlogs and guilt so this is okay. You don't have to play

Janet:

that, just come watch me play the game, it's the same, it's

Janet:

the same difference and you can sort of, you know, maybe check

Janet:

out stuff, see if you're interested in it, experience

Janet:

something you like, again, get a taste of something. I had some

Janet:

people like with my not the Maiden stream, the The Medium,

Janet:

they all have like similar names.

Spencer:

Right, yeah.

Janet:

With The Medium, like I had one of my community members

Janet:

coming in, and they're like, "Okay, well, you're at the part

Janet:

that I got to so like, I'm gonna leave because like, I don't want

Janet:

spoilers." And then they came back. And were like, "I came

Janet:

back to see if you got stuck at this part too." And I was like,

Janet:

at the part that we were both stuck at and like, little stuff,

Janet:

like, that's really cool. So, you know, everyone comes to

Janet:

streams and just general gaming content for different things.

Janet:

For me, my experience with engaging with other people's

Janet:

content and creating content has always been to sort of have a

Janet:

form of conversation, even if it's not the kind of

Janet:

conversation we're having now. Where like, you're here, and I'm

Janet:

here. And we can all like, directly respond and talk. But

Janet:

like, I loved podcasts, so much like getting into games where I

Janet:

could play something, and then like, listen to it, and sort of

Janet:

my-Have you ever seen that meme of the kid eating the yogurt by

Janet:

the poster of the other kids eating the ice cream or

Janet:

whatever? And they're laughing with like the poster of the

Janet:

people laughing? That's also how I feel listening to podcasts.

Janet:

And sometimes I get so into them. I'm like, oh, like I like

Janet:

want to, like respond. And like, you know, at them on Twitter but

Janet:

then I'm like, oh no, leave them alone. Because Yeah, I get

Janet:

really into that. And I think we want to create that space for

Janet:

people to engage at the level that they feel like they want to

Janet:

so it's like, Okay, well, I'm here. I'm always talking on

Janet:

stream. You know, lurkers are welcome. But like, literally,

Janet:

like you want to talk to me, I'm here, you want to like, hit me

Janet:

up on Twitter. I'm here. Like, I really try my best to respond to

Janet:

everybody that I get, because I'm also small enough that like,

Janet:

it's somewhat feasible, like I can understand someone like, you

Janet:

know, who's crazy famous, maybe they it's just literally not

Janet:

possible without like, a marketer person or something.

Janet:

But I'm like, Look, it's not that deep, I get five comments

Janet:

on this thing. 100 on like a TikTok. It's like, I can take

Janet:

the time to go in here. And like, it really does mean a lot

Janet:

when people take the time to respond to my work. That's

Janet:

something that like, it's such a big deal to me. That Yeah, so

Janet:

I'm kind of looking to create those kinds of spaces, and be

Janet:

the person playing the games that you were too lazy to play.

Janet:

That's also in my content, if you if you choose to use it for

Janet:

utilitarian purposes, like deciding on what you want to

Spencer:

I love that. And something else that I really

Spencer:

play.

Spencer:

respect about you is your specialization if we can call it

Spencer:

that in writing guides. So you were the Associate Guides Editor

Spencer:

at IGN for a while you also run a website called

Spencer:

gameindustryguides.com which is chock full of awesome advice for

Spencer:

folks looking to break into the industry. I guess I feel like it

Spencer:

takes a special person to write guides, especially considering

Spencer:

how massive and full of secrets and Easter eggs video game

Spencer:

worlds can be like, it's just like How can any just thinking

Spencer:

about trying to write a guide for like Assassin's Creed

Spencer:

Valhalla makes me want to curl in a ball and cry. And you've

Spencer:

written guides for everything from Pokemon Sword and Shield to

Spencer:

The Last of Us Part II, really out here doing the Lord's work.

Spencer:

And I'm just wondering, like, so as someone who writes a lot of

Spencer:

guides, like is guide writing more of an art or a science?

Spencer:

Like how do you even approach that?

Janet:

Oh that's a great question. I'm gonna go with

Janet:

science but like from a scientist that has empathy. So

Janet:

like we all know about like doctors or scientists that have

Janet:

like, no, like, people skills or like a social emotional

Janet:

intelligence levels. So I do think you, even though I think I

Janet:

know guides writers who would be like, I don't have any social

Janet:

emotional intelligence. But I'm like, you're just being self

Janet:

deprecating. But yeah, I think you do need to have a little bit

Janet:

of, of empathy. Because one important part of doing guides

Janet:

is you need to be able to write for the best players and the

Janet:

worst players. You have to write for the person who's stuck on a

Janet:

thing that they're not realizing wasn't even a puzzle, and that

Janet:

they just feel a little bit a little bit dumb, and you have to

Janet:

write for someone who is like, I want to do the hard mode in

Janet:

Final Fantasy VII Remake. Should out to the people that actually

Janet:

wrote that hard mode guide because it wasn't me, I can't do

Janet:

that. I don't have the ability. And that's the other thing too.

Janet:

Like I was so intimidated to write guides before I started

Janet:

writing them. I honestly got into guides writing by accident

Janet:

slash out of desperation. I was I really wanted to like, you

Janet:

know, work at IGN in any of the big outlets really. I was doing

Janet:

my portfolio and they're like, well, for freelance we have a

Janet:

guide so we have some guide space. And I'm like, "Oh sure!",

Janet:

but I'm like "Oh, no!" But it's the classic like you know and

Janet:

you want to do this within reason like I want to caution

Janet:

people never do something that you genuinely can't do like

Janet:

there are things I genuinely cannot do like if you want you

Janet:

know a certain production level on a video like I that might be

Janet:

out of my scope or if you want you know there are you got you

Janet:

got to know your space but you also have to be willing to kind

Janet:

of push a little bit outside. I have an education background. So

Janet:

that's actually called if you if you study educational like

Janet:

philosophy and stuff. There is Vygotsky's Zones of Proximal

Janet:

Development and in the middle of the circle, there's like the

Janet:

stuff you can do. And outside of that, there's the stuff you can

Janet:

do with help or the stuff that kind of challenges you. And then

Janet:

beyond that is the stuff you just straight up can't do. And

Janet:

the goal is to be in that middle, because that's where

Janet:

learning takes place. So I think that's kind of what I mean by

Janet:

Oh, I didn't really know how to do this. And I just kind of went

Janet:

into it. It wasn't like totally out of my scope, but it was a

Janet:

little bit and I was like, Okay, well, I guess I'm gonna do this,

Janet:

because like I want to write, for IGN, I want to like build my

Janet:

portfolio and have these big outlets. And I did grow to have

Janet:

a real joy and appreciation for it. That being said, I don't

Janet:

personally see myself going back to guides, life's long. So I

Janet:

don't want to say anything, super concrete. And I find that

Janet:

the universe, when I say sweeping declarations, like, I'm

Janet:

never gonna do that. It's like, I end up doing them. So I don't

Janet:

want to say anything too definite. But what you grow to

Janet:

appreciate is in helping people and providing a service and also

Janet:

doing a level of teaching. For me, having an ED background, a

Janet:

guide is really just a direction set, you are giving information.

Janet:

So obviously, there's different forms of guides, there's like

Janet:

tips and tricks and like breakout pieces, and you do like

Janet:

videos and companions, you can make graphics for things like

Janet:

there's a lot of ways to convey information. But I really tried

Janet:

to write for like, the highs and the lows of it, making things

Janet:

like very skimmable. Because the reality is like some you know,

Janet:

the worst thing is when you go, you're trying to find one

Janet:

specific answer, and you can't within like this, this long page

Janet:

on YouTube videos coming through. It's like, okay, like,

Janet:

I just need to get this answer so I can keep going. You know,

Janet:

so many times people do come to guides from a point of

Janet:

frustration. So yeah, so I would say it's a science, but you need

Janet:

to have a little bit of that people element because you also

Janet:

need to be like, good enough where you can figure out what

Janet:

people might have trouble with, which is actually where like, if

Janet:

you feel a little bit insecure about your gaming abilities,

Janet:

which I definitely did, as someone that stepped into a

Janet:

guides team with people that were like, really great at

Janet:

games, part of that can be helpful, because like, if you

Janet:

got stuck on something and you figured it out, good. You now

Janet:

know, everyone's gonna get probably stuck on that same

Janet:

thing. And you can kind of write it in a certain way, and you can

Janet:

start to see, okay, this person's gonna be searching this

Janet:

thing. And then then we get kind of more into the business of

Janet:

like optimizing on Google and stuff like that. But that stuff,

Janet:

that stuff is helpful, because you can figure out those things.

Janet:

And there are definitely pages that I made really in depth. And

Janet:

I'm like, I don't know if anyone else had a hard time with this,

Janet:

but like I did, and I never know how much of an impact that makes

Janet:

but like, I remember getting to the end of Control, a game that

Janet:

is a little challenging, but I didn't find like, you know,

Janet:

ridiculously hard like, I wouldn't characterize that game

Janet:

as hard but the end of it, it just had with this long sequence

Janet:

of like enemies that I just it just took me forever to do. So I

Janet:

like wrote a really in depth-cuz I had to learn how to cheese it.

Janet:

Like if you're bad at kind of bad at games. That's good.

Janet:

Because you will learn how to cheese stuff you will find the

Janet:

point in the log in Metro Exodus where you can just shoot the

Janet:

bear in the face. Because the developers put that one pixel

Janet:

there and like that stuff is gold. So yeah, if you can cheese

Janet:

stuff, let's go. Like I I love a good cheese-ing. I love just

Janet:

kind of janky-ly getting my way through areas. So all that

Janet:

stuff's really valuable in that space, for sure.

Spencer:

Word so for anyone out there who wants to be a guides

Spencer:

editor, if you're a bad gamer, that's gonna help you.

Janet:

Yeah, absolutely. [music break]

Spencer:

Okay, on this show we like to, it's, we really like to

Spencer:

focus on the emotional connections that people form

Spencer:

with video games. And we like to ask folks to talk about a

Spencer:

specific game that was significant to them or

Spencer:

influenced their life in a certain way. You shared with us

Spencer:

that Super Mario 64 had an impression on you as an early

Spencer:

gaming memory, a game that you still love, and a lesson in

Spencer:

learning to do the things you can't do at first. And so I

Spencer:

guess to start like I mean, even though Super Mario 64 is pretty

Spencer:

iconic. Like how would you describe this game in a couple

Spencer:

sentences to someone who'd never heard of it?

Janet:

Oo, it is, it's a Mario game if you're familiar with

Janet:

Mario.

Spencer:

He's a guy. Well, plumber.

Janet:

Yeah, red hat. Hat's important. It is a 3D

Janet:

platformer, I believe now I'm like questioning if it's a

Janet:

sandbox, it's I believe it's a sandbox because you have these

Janet:

different worlds you can enter into. And essentially your goal

Janet:

is to collect the stars and you have different worlds. They all

Janet:

have different stars. It has a little bit of there's some

Janet:

mystery and some surprises there. But I would that is

Janet:

basically the summation of the game that I would provide.

Spencer:

Beautiful and tell us about your relationship with

Spencer:

Super Mario 64

Janet:

Yeah, Super Mario 64, I mean, it is like the iconic game

Janet:

of the N64. I think I would argue it's the first game people

Janet:

think of when they think of the N64 unless you're one of those

Janet:

GoldenEye people and then you know, no one no one looks like

Janet:

that guy.

Spencer:

Don't be that guy. [laughing]

Janet:

Yeah, let's not like it's not fun to play now. Like I'm

Janet:

not having a good time. Like just, let's, Why are we doing

Janet:

this? Um, no. So much shade to GoldenEye though. But anyway, it

Janet:

is one of the iconic games that you think of for that, for that

Janet:

console. And for good reasons. It is very much I think a

Janet:

masterpiece in its time. I think it actually still holds up as

Janet:

very close to such. I mean, you know, some control issues for

Janet:

sure. But yeah, it was like just like a wonderful experience. And

Janet:

for me that was like the, one of the games that I most vividly

Janet:

remember from my childhood. You know, obviously, it's really

Janet:

hard to remember all those years, especially when you're

Janet:

really young. I don't have a lot of super concrete gaming

Janet:

memories, which is a shame because like, I love games, so I

Janet:

wish I knew, like my first game for sure, but I don't like-

Spencer:

What was my taste back then?

Janet:

Yeah, right. Like what was I into? You know, what, who

Janet:

was that person? I have very little clue. I was probably just

Janet:

into whatever games we had. But, but you know, I had a, you know,

Janet:

Yoshis Island early on, and Mario 64 was one of the first I

Janet:

guess bigger games I can remember finishing. It's not

Janet:

like a terribly long game. But you know, there's, there's

Janet:

multiple areas, a couple, like key boss battles, like mini

Janet:

bosses, it sort of has a lot of traditional structure and what I

Janet:

think we consider to be the modern current platforming

Janet:

hallmarks. We got collectibles, we got a couple secrets, we got

Janet:

some bosses, we have, like, you know, these stars, we have

Janet:

collectibles that are related to the stars. So it sort of has,

Janet:

hits on all of those points. And as a result, it was like one of

Janet:

the first like, like fully fledged gaming experiences that

Janet:

I really remember having and and also struggling with, I had some

Janet:

with Yoshis Island as well. But Mario's interesting in that it's

Janet:

like, well it's 3D, so it's like a totally different space. And

Janet:

also, some of the elements can be quite challenging. I mean,

Janet:

that game got ported to Switch this year in the form of the All

Janet:

Stars Collection. And I'm sort of slowly playing through pieces

Janet:

of it now, like my family's sharing one file, and we're kind

Janet:

of getting the stars, but we also stopped doing that. So I

Janet:

don't know if we're gonna finish but you know, and even even as

Janet:

an adult who like has made a living in games, media and

Janet:

things like that, there are still stars that I'm like, man,

Janet:

that star's kind of a bitch, you know? Yeah. So as a child,

Janet:

certainly, like, there were a lot of struggles there. And,

Janet:

like a lot of games, Mario 64 teaches you mechanics very

Janet:

intentionally, because they're like, hey, you're gonna need to

Janet:

know this. So like, I'm just, I'm making you do it, so that

Janet:

you know it. And you know, I had an older brother, and he would

Janet:

definitely step in and help me with certain things. But you

Janet:

know, we also know that sometimes when you when you get

Janet:

something done, you don't actually know how to do it, you

Janet:

just kind of like, got lucky and you can't replicate it. And that

Janet:

was the case with a lot of like Mario 64 with like, I think the

Janet:

crouch jumps and like the wall kicks and things like, you know,

Janet:

it was, it's hard to really coordinate that when you're when

Janet:

you're younger, especially. And I would avoid a lot of stuff.

Janet:

I'm like, I'm good enough, okay, well, we just won't get that

Janet:

star because you also have the option, you don't have to get

Janet:

everything in the game to beat it. But then sure enough, at one

Janet:

point, we get to this point where you really you literally

Janet:

need to do this, it's not optional, and they're gonna ask

Janet:

you to use the one mechanic you've been avoiding, or like,

Janet:

Oh, actually, this boss is centered on this, like long

Janet:

jump-even though I don't think any boss actually was, they're

Janet:

pretty simple. But like this long jump or something, or it's

Janet:

a to win this race, you have to be able to do the triple jump or

Janet:

something like that. And I'd be like, Damn, I guess you know,

Janet:

there's no avoiding it now, like the the, the chickens have come

Janet:

to roost. Right, right. Time to deal with this, like, you

Janet:

avoided this for so long. And it's time. And I think what I

Janet:

love about that is that's a lot of what life is like. You can

Janet:

put off things. But chances are, you're going to need to figure

Janet:

it out at one point, or you know, sometimes you can avoid

Janet:

stuff forever, but then it makes your life less enriching. That's

Janet:

why I'm kind of going through now like going back to the, you

Janet:

know, mentioning other things I do like piano and skating, like,

Janet:

I had tried to get into music for so long and failed. So many

Janet:

times, I bought so many instruments. I mean, I had like

Janet:

a guitar, and I got rid of the guitar, I got a ukulele, I got

Janet:

rid of that. And I got another one, I still don't know how to

Janet:

play it. Like it's just been this whole thing. And it's like

Janet:

these these big hurdles. And then when you start to-what's

Janet:

interesting too, is when you start to look at it and unpack

Janet:

it, you see what the problem really is. So like, with me, and

Janet:

like music or skating or doing all these things, like the

Janet:

problem is I don't have confidence in that vertical. And

Janet:

if you dig deeper, okay, maybe I have other competence issues in

Janet:

general. Okay, now we got a whole thing to unpack right? And

Janet:

like, it's kind of, okay, you're forced to face up to this,

Janet:

through this. And this, what's great about like sports and

Janet:

music, like, their performances or things you have to do, it's

Janet:

there's clear rights and wrongs, and like, there's only execution

Janet:

or failure, and you have to, like, accept that and live with

Janet:

it and work through it. And in moments in that game, there are

Janet:

those moments as well, where it's like, Okay, well, there's

Janet:

only one way to do this, and you need to get it done correctly to

Janet:

continue and being forced to face that and overcome it. I

Janet:

think that's something I'm still very much learning now. And a

Janet:

lot of my early game memories were definitely underscored by

Janet:

fear. Like I had a fear of boss battles. I still kinda have a

Janet:

fear of boss battles, to be honest. It's like, Oh, God, like

Janet:

it's like, it's like the, the standardized tests of games is

Janet:

kind of how I refer to it, but I was always so scared about like,

Janet:

and again, it was like that performance anxiety. So yeah,

Janet:

oh, you've actually had performance anxiety, since you

Janet:

were like friggin five, and like, you know, get over it,

Janet:

like, get over it. And I'm like, still working on getting over

Janet:

it. But those are like my early moments of it. And I think I'm

Janet:

obviously a lot better than I am emotionally and intellectually

Janet:

than when I was five. But like, that was part of like

Janet:

experiencing that a lot of my childhood through games and

Janet:

through other activities. You know, it kept coming back to

Janet:

that same thing of like, getting good at, at being comfortable in

Janet:

fear and learning how to execute through that has been like a big

Janet:

life lesson. I think games have a lot of those little like life

Janet:

lesson moments like, I think games and sports and like other

Janet:

performance based things like are so good at teaching you how

Janet:

to-forcing you to deal with things emotionally. Now, how

Janet:

good you are at dealing with that? Well, that's gonna be you

Janet:

know, that's how we get raised quitters and people that are

Janet:

really toxic in games or have like, really neg-or like, you

Janet:

know, people even that I know as, as friends or peers or talk

Janet:

about like, oh, like, when's the last time when'd you break a

Janet:

controller out of anger? I'm like, I never broke a control

Janet:

out of anger. Because one, I never got that angry-

Spencer:

I can't afford that shit.

Janet:

Some of y'all didn't grow up poor! Yes I'm like uh uh.

Janet:

[laughing] We're not getting another one, okay? We already

Janet:

have like the the multiplayer someone's playing on the madcatz

Janet:

already. So we can't break this. Like, you know that first

Janet:

DualShock or whatever the I guess it wasn't the Dualshock at

Janet:

the time. But whatever. Y'all know what I'm talking about.

Janet:

Yeah, there's no, you're upset, you calmly walk over and

Spencer:

Yeah, yeah.

Spencer:

turn that thing off. Don't wanna drain that battery. You're not

Spencer:

getting another one either. It has to last the whole time.

Spencer:

If I break this controller, the next thing to

Spencer:

get broken is gonna be my face. [laughing] Oh, speaking of

Spencer:

fears, like games, helping you get over fears. Um, I feel like

Spencer:

dungeons were a big thing for me. Like, I've always been

Spencer:

scared of the dark, but like Skyrim especially, I think kind

Spencer:

of forced me to confront that sometimes you have to do

Spencer:

dungeons, like Skyrim is this like, open world RPG game, but

Spencer:

it has a lot of like going down into dark and dingy caves and

Spencer:

going down to the abandoned ruins of ancient civilizations.

Spencer:

And I don't know, I don't want to call it claustrophobia. But I

Spencer:

really just don't like not being able to see the sky in games or

Spencer:

like having to do long underwater traversal is like not

Spencer:

always great. But Mario had a lot of that too. Like you had to

Spencer:

go down to the bowels of that castle and like jump on these

Spencer:

lip and paintings and shit. Like it gets kind of scary.

Janet:

Yeah, there's that, um, that, uh, it's like an eel,

Janet:

right? That like eel in the water that like comes after you.

Janet:

It's like-

Spencer:

Oh, yeah!

Janet:

That thing's horrifying. It's still scary now. Because

Janet:

what's funny too, about like, those older games, like, you

Janet:

know, I know, some people were like, I don't really see as much

Janet:

value in like playing older stuff in the modern era, which I

Janet:

can understand. Like, it's a very different experience. But

Janet:

like, some of those graphical performance limitations, just

Janet:

create something that you'll never see again, like, That

Janet:

thing is horrifying. And it would not, like if you made the

Janet:

Odyssey version of that. I mean, it would look cooler, but like,

Janet:

it would not be nearly as scary because it was so sharp with

Janet:

those little polygons. Super scary.

Spencer:

Yeah. And okay, so like speaking of scary, and like

Spencer:

Super Mario 64, first of all, like, I definitely-

Janet:

The piano was scary too.

Spencer:

And also just the opening screen. Like I have very

Spencer:

strong like light body horror memories of like, you could

Spencer:

totally like manipulate Mario's face and the in the menu and you

Spencer:

could like, pull his lips and eyelids and stuff everywhere. So

Spencer:

like, that stands out strongly in my memory. And I don't know

Spencer:

if you're familiar with this, but I was reading this Polygon

Spencer:

article. It came out in September 2020 by Patricia

Spencer:

Hernandez, and it was about how in 2020 Super Mario 64 has kind

Spencer:

of been this this trend on YouTube of kind of like,

Spencer:

overlaying like old VHS effects and analog film on sort of the

Spencer:

old old game-gameplay screenshots or videos and making

Spencer:

it look like like creepy pasta kind of stuff like adding spooky

Spencer:

layers and it kind of just emphasizes like, the baselayer

Spencer:

spookiness of the game I wanted to just read this quick quote,

Spencer:

cuz I feel like it captures it pretty well. But Patricia

Spencer:

writes, "'It's a weird game. Half Alice in Wonderland drug

Spencer:

trip, half kids cartoon,' says game designer Sam Barlow, who's

Spencer:

behind Her Story and Telling Lies. According to Barlow, Super

Spencer:

Mario 64 is quote 'just weird enough that you might see

Spencer:

malevolence out of the corner of your eye. Gorgeous green fields

Spencer:

above, demonic dungeons below. Chirpy dinosaurs, one minute.

Spencer:

Non-Euclidean ghost houses the next. It's full of fake walls

Spencer:

and magical paintings, optical illusions we've never seen

Spencer:

before in 3D. It's a game that really loves to poke at the

Spencer:

fabric of its own illusion.'" Patricia writes, "Above all,

Spencer:

Super Mario 64 has given rise to a series of scary stories

Spencer:

because it hails from an era in which there was still a palpable

Spencer:

sense of the unknown. Unlike modern games, we don't have

Spencer:

patch notes listing out every single change and inclusion, nor

Spencer:

do we have data miners who can tell us about every single file

Spencer:

within a title." And so it's just kind of speaking to the

Spencer:

fact that like people are able to kind of draw out these, these

Spencer:

these creepy scenes from it, but also that we have this kind of

Spencer:

collective memory of it as a kind of a little bit unsettling

Spencer:

having that kind of emptiness to it that those early games have

Spencer:

before we really were fleshing out NPCs and making things super

Spencer:

immersive. Yeah, so I'm just wondering, like, as you look

Spencer:

back on it, and especially since you were playing it again, this

Spencer:

past year on the Switch, like, Did you have any shifts in

Spencer:

perspective and how you thought about it?

Janet:

Um, I feel like it's a little difficult to answer if I

Janet:

shifted and how I thought about it, I think I did realize that

Janet:

like, okay, some of this is not as perfect as I like, remembered

Janet:

it, even though it hadn't been that long since I actually

Janet:

played it. I replayed Super Mario 64 only a few years ago,

Janet:

on the original like N64. So it wasn't like that old of a memory

Janet:

for me as like maybe for other people who hadn't played. But

Janet:

yeah, it was clear that like some of the, uh, the camera's

Janet:

rough, you know, like, this is difficult. Or even like trying

Janet:

to, you know, Mario 64 does kind of suffer from the, you have an

Janet:

idea, but you're incapable of executing on it because of the

Janet:

system that is requiring you to execute on it, which is the

Janet:

worst feeling to have in a game. But other than that, what I what

Janet:

I really noticed the most from Super Mario 64 is trying to like

Janet:

chase and reignite a memory I had in order to serve me today.

Janet:

So like a lot of playing it. And I think I did actually look up a

Janet:

guide for maybe one of the things cuz I'm like, I don't

Janet:

know how to do this. Or like, if maybe I can't do it yet. I don't

Janet:

have like the ability or something cuz there's even

Janet:

abilities in the game like caps you can get, um, but like trying

Janet:

to figure out Wait, like I thought I could do like the

Janet:

penguin race specifically. I'm like, Wait, he knows I cheated?

Janet:

I thought I was supposed to cheat. Like, why is this wall

Janet:

here if I'm not supposed to.

Spencer:

Yeah.

Janet:

Like things like that and trying to remember like, Oh,

Janet:

wait, I think in this star like you can do this, but in this

Janet:

other one you like can't do it or something. And sort of trying

Janet:

to figure those things out. And it's been interesting, too,

Janet:

because like, you know, I think that quote from Sam Barlow is so

Janet:

good. And damn like Sam Barlow is a good writer but that makes

Janet:

sense because those games are good. So like, you know, not

Janet:

shocking. But it really is like very much that poking at its own

Janet:

like mystery and that that fabric because even in like that

Janet:

winter area there for the red coins thing. There are like

Janet:

teleportation spots that have no like marker and like, there's no

Janet:

notice on how you that you just have to like, know, you know?

Janet:

It's like, and there's a little bit of like, okay, the bridge

Janet:

ends here. So it's sort of like this, like spooky, different

Janet:

things, there's no inclination for it, either. It's like,

Janet:

doesn't fit in with the rest of the area. But there's a lot of

Janet:

like, stuff like that. And I think one thing that I do enjoy

Janet:

about Mario 64 is, even though it's not every time, a lot of

Janet:

times, if you have an idea. It's like, Oh, can I do this? And it

Janet:

doesn't work that way. I do like that there are multiple ways to

Janet:

like solve a singular problem, or to traverse a singular area

Janet:

in Mario 64. Yeah, like, it's just such a good game. And I

Janet:

think it just provides, like, when you were talking about

Janet:

like, emptiness, and you know, maybe like the lack of NPCs, or

Janet:

a different kind of presence. There's just enough space for

Janet:

you to not really feel like super overwhelmed or like

Janet:

cluttered by things. But yeah, it's just a chaotic,

Janet:

interesting, weird, weird ass game. But there were a lot of

Janet:

weird games at the time, like, right Banjo Kazooie you could

Janet:

like turn into an ant and stuff like immediately. So there was a

Janet:

lot of like mysticism going on in that era. But yeah, it just

Janet:

felt like what I love about Mario 64 is it's so joyous and

Janet:

pure and iconic for what it, you know, the groundworks it laid

Janet:

for games today. You know, we talked about finding those

Janet:

connective threads. There are so many there and I think with like

Janet:

a game like Mario 64 where it's a childhood game for a lot of

Janet:

us, or at least like a youthful game, like even people that are

Janet:

older in games media, are often still young enough to like maybe

Janet:

they're in school to some degree, even if it's college,

Janet:

like they're in some form of school, or they're like just

Janet:

getting going with life. So there's a certain kind of desire

Janet:

to also connect to that emotional thread as well in

Janet:

addition to the mechanical one.

Spencer:

100%. Janet, it has been awesome hanging out with

Spencer:

you for this past hour. Thank you. Where can folks follow you

Spencer:

online, support you, and are there any projects that you have

Spencer:

coming out soon that you want folks to know about?

Janet:

People can find me online at Gameonysus, that's

Janet:

game-o-n-y-s-u-s. I am on everything under that. I'm on

Janet:

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitch, TikTok,

Janet:

Clubhouse, so just joined Clubhouse. I still don't

Janet:

understand how it works. That's my LinkedIn also. Gameonysus,

Janet:

like literally everything. So and it's my website, my like

Janet:

portfolio website that kind of has a hub of a bunch of

Janet:

different ways to find my work. And the main thing I'm working

Janet:

on is just stuff for my Patreon. So that's

Janet:

patreon.com/gameonysus, I have a bunch of different tiers of

Janet:

incentives and things but of course, if you can't support

Janet:

that way you can support through just like follows and shares and

Janet:

being present. It means so much to me that people give me money

Janet:

to do the work I do, like that blows my mind, but it equally

Janet:

blows my mind that people like are there supporting in like all

Janet:

these other ways to that, in some ways can even be more

Janet:

impactful depending on how you want to look at it. And it means

Janet:

a lot to me that people so often as well are like, oh, like I'm

Janet:

really sorry that like I can't really like give anything. I'm

Janet:

like, dude, I can't give anyone anything either, that's why I

Janet:

have this Patreon. So like, like, it's all good. Like, I

Janet:

feel the same way about, like creators that I love. But like,

Janet:

it's so cool that people want to even do that. Um, and like, I

Janet:

don't know, it's like so special to me. So that's what's going on

Janet:

there. Stay tuned on YouTube, because I do plan on doing more

Janet:

video content than just my weekly podcast, which is

Janet:

Gameonysus Weekly on all platforms, I will start to be

Janet:

doing previews and reviews soon, I'm slowly rolling in back that

Janet:

written content. I absolutely love streaming. It's been a

Janet:

great break on my hands too to not be writing all day every

Janet:

day. But I'm so excited to be doing like feature articles and

Janet:

listicles. And like, kind of turning that content into, you

Janet:

know, something that you can just quickly go back to or keep

Janet:

track of, and having that pillar as well. So stay tuned for

Janet:

announcements on that, where I roll out my own, like, blog

Janet:

style thing where I can kind of put all of that content, because

Janet:

I'll be working on that really soon.

Spencer:

Beautiful, I can't wait. Janet, thank you so much

Spencer:

for joining us on Pixel Therapy.

Janet:

Thanks for having me. [music break]

Jamie:

Time is up for today's session of Pixel Therapy. Thank

Jamie:

you for tuning in. And we hope that listening to our thoughts

Jamie:

and feelings gave you some thoughts and feelings of your

Jamie:

own. If you want more Pixel Therapy, come check us out at

Jamie:

patreon.com/pixeltherapypod where you can snag that monthly

Jamie:

bonus episode for just $2 a month plus opportunities to get

Jamie:

involved with the community and influence the show directly. If

Jamie:

you're not up for contributing monetarily. But you enjoyed this

Jamie:

episode. There are lots of ways you can support us for free

Jamie:

including leaving us a review on Apple Podcasts and following us

Jamie:

on Instagram and other social media at Pixel Therapy pod. That

Jamie:

stuff is just as important and we appreciate it just as much

Jamie:

remember that Pixel Therapy is a happy member of the But Why Tho

Jamie:

Podcast Network so you can support us by supporting them

Jamie:

and heading over to butwhythopodcast.com that's

Jamie:

though with a t-h-o take a peek at the inclusive geek community

Jamie:

they are building around pop culture news reviews and kick

Jamie:

ass podcasts like yours truly. And you can keep up with all

Jamie:

this stuff and more by visiting our website at

Jamie:

pixeltherapypod.com

Spencer:

Finally since we like to put our money and our energy

Spencer:

where our mouth is we end every episode with a recommended side

Spencer:

quest. This week's side quest is the Black Resilience Fund. Thank

Spencer:

you so much to Janet for the recommendation. The Black

Spencer:

Resilience Fund is an emergency fund dedicated to fostering

Spencer:

healing and resilience by providing immediate resources to

Spencer:

Black Portlanders. They write, "We need healing. We need

Spencer:

justice and that requires action." This fund was intended

Spencer:

to provide immediate relief from financial burdens for basic

Spencer:

living expenses and life emergencies for black

Spencer:

Portlanders, their primary categories are warm delivered

Spencer:

meals and groceries, support for small businesses, and also in

Spencer:

the form of education loans, Bill support for utilities phone

Spencer:

internet, rent support, credit card debt support, medical

Spencer:

transportation even moving costs. The Black Resilience Fund

Spencer:

was founded by Cameron Whitten and Salomé Chimuku in June 2020

Spencer:

and has since grown into a nonprofit organization supported

Spencer:

by a small core staff and a team of local volunteers. Find out

Spencer:

more and donate to the fund at blackresiliencefund.com

Jamie:

Thank you for that side quest, Spencer. That is our show

Jamie:

for today. So go forth run a story mission level up some

Jamie:

stats and don't forget to hug an NPC every now and then. We'll be

Jamie:

back soon with some more

Spencer & Jamie Together:

Pixel Therapy.