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Pixel Therapy's Year in Gaming 2020
Episode 1022nd December 2020 • Pixel Therapy Pod • Pixel Therapy Pod
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As we collectively drag ourselves towards the 2020 finish line while tempering our expectations for 2021, we're taking a break from guest interviews this week to bring you a special end of year episode! Join us as we share our completely unofficial picks for this year's Pixel Therapy Game Awards (cue applause). From Jamie's nomination for Best NPC Hugs to Spencer's pick for Game That Lived Rent-Free in My Head, we promise there's a little something for everyone.

Finally, it wouldn't be Pixel Therapy without crying. So please allow us to take a moment to share our reflections on this podcast's first 90 days (That's it?!), and how thankful we are for all of the love, support, and energy we've received from all of you.

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Donate to GLBTQ+ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD): https://donate.glad.org/

This episode is sponsored by the following Patreon supporters:

Yinka Araromi

About Pixel Therapy

New episodes drop every other Tuesday. Learn more at pixeltherapypod.com or follow us on social media @pixeltherapypod. 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? Check out our little community over on Patreon! https://www.patreon.com/pixeltherapypod

Transcripts

Jamie:

Doing this podcast hasn't even felt like work at any

Jamie:

point.

Spencer:

And it's so much work.

Jamie:

Yeah, it hasn't felt like work, but it is work. [both

Jamie:

laugh] Let's be very clear. If you're thinking about starting a

Jamie:

podcast, they don't just come together overnight. [music

Jamie:

break]

Jamie:

Welcome to Pixel Therapy, the video game podcast where we look

Jamie:

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

Jamie:

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

Jamie:

And where emotional intelligence is a critical stat. I'm your

Jamie:

co-host, Jamie, pronouns she/her

Spencer:

And I'm your co-host Spencer, pronouns they/them.

Jamie:

And this is Pixel Therapy. So pull up an armchair,

Jamie:

feel free to lie down on the couch. And let's talk about our

Jamie:

feelings. Spencer, we've got a special episode for folks today.

Jamie:

The end of 2020 is nearly upon us. So we decided we wanted to

Jamie:

take a brief pause. Yeah, I don't know. I don't have high

Jamie:

hopes for 2021. But hey, whatever. Let's put this year in

Jamie:

the ground. But anyway, we wanted to take a brief pause

Jamie:

today from our regular format, forego the guest interview this

Jamie:

week and spend some time reflecting on what gaming has

Jamie:

meant to us this year. And I think any conversation about

Jamie:

what gaming has meant to us this year would not be complete

Jamie:

without first talking about what this podcast has meant to us

Jamie:

this year. Because I don't know if anybody knows this. But

Jamie:

Spencer and I actually started a podcast this year. It's called

Jamie:

Pixel Therapy. Pixel Therapy Pod. And we've been doing that

Jamie:

since what-When did we start this thing?

Spencer:

Like mid September? Okay, it's felt long, I guess

Spencer:

cuz quarantine in general feels like a time warp.

Jamie:

Yeah

Spencer:

Wormhole. But yeah, we just we really just hit our 90

Spencer:

day mark, like a week ago.

Jamie:

Yeah, yeah. That's nuts. That's nuts to me. It feels like

Jamie:

we've been doing this for literally forever, like in a

Jamie:

good way.

Spencer:

Yeah, a great way. And this is actually our like 10th

Spencer:

episode, basically. And so that's kind of exciting that

Spencer:

we've hit two digits. I don't know. It feels good.

Jamie:

Not that is, that's cool. I did not even think about that.

Jamie:

So good job. Good job, me. Doing the intro. Did not even realize.

Jamie:

Hey, Happy 10 episode's to us. We're 10 episodes old.

Spencer:

Yeah

Jamie:

What are your reflections on these last few months? I

Jamie:

mean, so we actually started talking about creating the

Jamie:

podcast in like July, right?

Spencer:

Yeah, I think, I don't know. It's like, I feel like I

Spencer:

had been wanting to put something in the world that felt

Spencer:

true to-that felt more authentic than, like, I guess, as a writer

Spencer:

and designer who writes and designs for other people like to

Spencer:

support myself, like for money. I didn't really feel like I was

Spencer:

doing anything really creative, or what I would call art. And

Spencer:

it's also hard because I felt like in order to do a podcast, I

Spencer:

needed to do it with somebody else. Like I knew that there

Spencer:

were-I just, I couldn't-I didn't want to do it by myself. I've

Spencer:

always felt like I, I have a lot of ideas, but no direction or

Spencer:

motivation. And I just sort of, like, I don't know, I wanted it

Spencer:

to, to work and I wanted it to, to matter. And so I think there

Spencer:

was a, there was a bit of vulnerability there in sort of

Spencer:

approaching, like a friend and asking if that's something that

Spencer:

they would be interested in. And yeah, like I, I don't know,

Spencer:

we've just, you and I have been friends for a long time. And I

Spencer:

think that we've always sort of been or, I've always seen you

Spencer:

this way at least but like, I just-not "foils" is not the

Spencer:

right word. Because it's not like you stop me from doing

Spencer:

anything, but I think you just, we're two different, very

Spencer:

different people. It creates a very rich friendship, I guess.

Spencer:

But yeah. Like, I came to you and was like, What if we, you

Spencer:

know how we like talk-you how we spend six to eight hours

Spencer:

together at a time and we mostly just talk about games, or I

Spencer:

watch you play games, like fucking Girlfriend Reviews?

Spencer:

Like, what if? What if?

Jamie:

What if we recorded that and put it on the internet for

Jamie:

people to listen to. And I feel like my first response was like,

Jamie:

"lol, who would want to listen to that?"

Spencer:

Yeah.

Jamie:

Because we are different people. And my default position

Jamie:

is like, "I have nothing interesting to say to anyone."

Spencer:

Which is just BS.

Jamie:

No one should listen to me. Yeah, I don't know, man.

Jamie:

It's been-this is just kind of crazy. Like it's wild to think

Jamie:

that we're here, that we're 10 episodes in, that we started

Jamie:

doing this and like did it and that it's still going. I think,

Jamie:

you know, we say like, before we started the podcast, I was very

Jamie:

much coming into it with this idea of like, this is just gonna

Jamie:

be like a silly little thing that like Spencer and I do for a

Jamie:

few weeks, and then it'll probably piddle out. And that'll

Jamie:

be the end of it. But even though I thought that I

Jamie:

definitely, like set us up for it to be a long term thing,

Jamie:

right? Like, we were pretty intense about it from the word

Spencer:

Yeah that never crossed my mind. I was like, "I'm in."

Spencer:

go.

Spencer:

Once you said yes. And you were like, I think, like it once it

Spencer:

started to feel real. I just knew that it was, I don't know,

Spencer:

I just, it meant something to me. And I, I never-even if the

Spencer:

thought crossed my-like, it's funny. I was talking to Jamie

Spencer:

earlier, and I was saying how, like, it can be hard sometimes

Spencer:

for me to like fully commit to a project. I guess I just I have

Spencer:

never really felt so inspired. But it was like a jigsaw falling

Spencer:

into place. Like when, you know, we talked about even down to

Spencer:

splitting up how, like from me, wrangling guests and crafting

Spencer:

interviews to you like editing and creating music. Like it was

Spencer:

like all of the things that felt incomplete on my end, you were

Spencer:

immediately there speaking to or already, like filling. And it

Spencer:

just, it felt so right. I don't know. It was like love at first

Spencer:

sight.

Jamie:

Yeah, and like, so like, my experience of that is like,

Jamie:

well, you had been saying-you'd said a few different times,

Jamie:

like, oh, maybe we should do a podcast. And like, I was very

Jamie:

much like, Oh, this is just Spencer, like throwing out,

Jamie:

throwing out an idea.

Spencer:

Like I said, yeah [laughs]

Jamie:

Like this isn't gonna be a real thing. Like, I'll just

Jamie:

like, you know, like, I was like, I'll just, you know, kind

Jamie:

of like, go along with it a little bit. And then like, you

Jamie:

kept bringing it up. And it was becoming clear to me that, like,

Jamie:

you were pretty serious about wanting to do it. And obviously,

Jamie:

I love talking about video games. And I'm not someone who

Jamie:

like, I don't really put myself out there in creative endeavors

Jamie:

very often, but like, the idea was intriguing. And 2020 is a

Jamie:

shit show. So like, what else do I have to do? And so I just kind

Jamie:

of pushed back a little bit and was like, "Okay, so like, what's

Jamie:

our angle?" Like, what is the unique thing we're trying to

Jamie:

say? Because there's a million podcasts about video games, I

Jamie:

don't want to just put another thing out there like, and, and

Jamie:

like you came back with like, more concrete ideas like, "Oh,

Jamie:

we're gonna do an interview show. And we're gonna try to

Jamie:

talk to folks, who don't get as much representation in the

Jamie:

industry, and we're gonna have this queer angle," and like, you

Jamie:

came back with all of that. And I was like, "Oh, okay. Okay.

Jamie:

Like, we might actually have something structural here." And

Jamie:

then yeah, I feel like from there, it was like, it was like,

Jamie:

let's hang out and talk about it. And I like came in with an

Jamie:

agenda. And we were like, off to the races.

Spencer:

And I think-Oh, sorry. Go ahead.

Jamie:

No, no, I was trailing off.

Spencer:

I think what really solidified it for me was when we

Spencer:

had that first conversation with Zombaekillz. And the reception

Spencer:

that we were getting from the guests that we reached out to

Spencer:

you, because like a big part of this is that, you know, we

Spencer:

wanted to talk to people who had something to say about games,

Spencer:

who were looking at them and seeing them, seeing the

Spencer:

connections that you could form between the love of games and

Spencer:

other areas of your life, the way that we try to cultivate and

Spencer:

appreciate. And so, like, I thought that we would be waiting

Spencer:

weeks to hear from people. Like I thought that, you know, we're

Spencer:

not big names in the industry. So, in my opinion, folks would

Spencer:

have no reason to respond to us. But the fact that we were able

Spencer:

to get, you know, Earl T. Kim in the room who plays Norio in

Spencer:

Ghost of Tsushima, that we were able to get Courtney Craven,

Spencer:

who's the co-founder of Can I Play That? which is a huge

Spencer:

resource for game developers in the accessibility space. You

Spencer:

know, like that folks like Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley who

Spencer:

is a Black, trans game developer, who is an artist and

Spencer:

creating these digital archives like these are folks who like we

Spencer:

are learning from and growing from and who are changing how I

Spencer:

look at games and experience games and that's a gift and to

Spencer:

be able to share that with others and have that resonate

Spencer:

like so many of our guests have, have just expressed you know,

Spencer:

how they've never been contacted by a podcast like ours, how

Spencer:

they've never seen a space to have conversations like this and

Spencer:

the fact that all of you have been downloading like, like, I

Spencer:

mean, in the beginning it would be great if we would get one to

Spencer:

two downloads a day. Like the fact that we're consistently

Spencer:

seeing download days in the double and triple digits is

Spencer:

incredible and I'm just so thankful for all of it.

Jamie:

Yeah, I'm-Same. I am so thankful and still like, and I

Jamie:

don't like this is just like me and my like inner head bullshit

Jamie:

but like I'm still like, "Why are people downloading it?"

Jamie:

Like, I guess and you know, when I pick at that it's like, I just

Jamie:

think that like, I'm the problem. I'm like, "Well Spencer

Jamie:

is saying great things and our guests are saying great things

Jamie:

so I guess I get why people are interested."

Spencer:

Yeah.

Jamie:

But yeah, I don't know it's you know, for someone like

Jamie:

me who just doesn't, just never wants to put themselves out

Jamie:

there, just so afraid of like, getting smacked in the face and

Jamie:

like, told that I'm exactly as shitty as I think I am. Having

Jamie:

this get received, the way it's been has been-it's been really

Jamie:

fucking special. I don't know, man, I don't know that I would

Jamie:

have made it through 2020 in like the mental state that I'm

Jamie:

in without this podcast, like I would have survived. Like, I'd

Jamie:

still be alive. But it's just, it's been something to be able

Jamie:

to, like put myself into in a way I haven't been able to in

Jamie:

forever. You know, I went to college for digital

Jamie:

post-production, which is like, was focused in video editing.

Jamie:

But I also took audio editing classes, which is what has made

Jamie:

me able to edit our podcast. And then I just like, I didn't

Jamie:

pursue it like partially because I'm a big chicken and partially

Jamie:

because when it comes to like, doing creative things, I really

Jamie:

need to have a certain level of autonomy and control over it or

Jamie:

I lose like all passion in it. I worked for a few years for a

Jamie:

wedding videography company, and it sucked the absolute soul out

Jamie:

of my body. Because like, I would make what I thought was

Jamie:

like this really cool documentary about their wedding.

Jamie:

And then they'd be like, "Ew, I don't like how I look in that

Jamie:

shot." And I'm like, "But you look real." It's like nobody,

Jamie:

nobody wants an auteur when it like comes to your, your wedding

Jamie:

video. So that just kind of like left me really like

Jamie:

disillusioned with the whole concept of like, okay, so I'm

Jamie:

gonna be working my ass off and like, but like not have any say

Jamie:

over the creative vision of this thing. And so I just kind of

Jamie:

left that whole part of myself behind and, and didn't pursue

Jamie:

creative stuff for a long time. And so getting to revisit that,

Jamie:

and cut the podcast and like, inject myself into

Jamie:

something-it's special as hell. And the fact that like people

Jamie:

are-that I'm doing that and people are responding positively

Jamie:

to it. It's just like it. I can't, I can't even articulate

Jamie:

it. It's really fucking special.

Spencer:

Yeah, thank you guys.

Jamie:

Yeah.

Spencer:

Yeah, 2020-I think it's bullshit, all the people who are

Spencer:

like, if you didn't learn something, or create something

Spencer:

in 2020, like, you were wasting your time. Like, we are living

Spencer:

in a global pandemic, we are living in unprecedented times.

Spencer:

We are living in an incredibly stressful and violent and

Spencer:

terrifying time. And just the fact that, you know, y'all are

Spencer:

getting up every day and surviving. You should be

Spencer:

celebrating that. Shit's been really hard out here. And like,

Spencer:

I don't prescribe to that ideology at all. That being

Spencer:

said, I like-it's not that I'm thankful that, like, we created

Spencer:

something, I guess I'm just thankful that it like, I think,

Spencer:

like you said, it gave me something to hold on to when

Spencer:

things were getting really dark. And like, personally, it's been

Spencer:

a rough year for me, I felt really alone and isolated in

Spencer:

personal ways beyond just the pandemic, and it's given me, I

Spencer:

don't know, it's, it's a lot of things. It's just nice to work

Spencer:

on something to create something, have that be

Spencer:

received. And like you said, like, not feel like it's because

Spencer:

of someone else, or-it's validating. I don't know.

Jamie:

Yeah, well, and it's not about being productive, right. I

Jamie:

think that's how a lot of this stuff gets contextualized is

Jamie:

like, "How were you productive in 2020? And what did you

Jamie:

accomplish?" And like, we didn't do this, because we needed to,

Jamie:

like, produce something. It was more like, we were having these

Jamie:

conversations anyway. And it was kind of like, how can we like,

Jamie:

just reach out and see if other people are interested in these

Jamie:

conversations? How can we reach out and try to find people to

Jamie:

connect with around these conversations? Like that was the

Jamie:

impetus of it.

Spencer:

Tess agrees with you.

Jamie:

Yeah, Tess-sorry. My dog is barking in the background.

Jamie:

But yeah, I mean, that was the reasoning, right? It wasn't

Jamie:

about producing a thing or like that we needed to like, be

Jamie:

generating something. That certainly wasn't my drive. I

Jamie:

mean, Lord knows I like work my day job and like being

Jamie:

productive at all-it's just such a slog. It's like, "Will I maybe

Jamie:

get one thing done on my to do list today?" But doing this

Jamie:

podcast hasn't even felt like work-

Spencer:

Yeah. It's weird

Jamie:

-at any point.

Spencer:

And it's so much work.

Jamie:

Yeah, it hasn't felt like work, but it is work. Let's be

Jamie:

very clear. If you're thinking about starting a podcast, they

Jamie:

don't just come together overnight.

Spencer:

So, Jamie, what are your hopes for the future with

Spencer:

the podcast? Any?

Jamie:

I mean, look, we already have some exciting stuff that we

Jamie:

know is on the horizon in 2021. I just want to keep doing it

Jamie:

right now. Like, yeah, we were kind of talking about this the

Jamie:

other day, but like, I don't think-we haven't sat down and

Jamie:

put together the five year plan, right? The hope for the podcast

Jamie:

right now is just to continue to grow it and to find more people

Jamie:

who want to have these conversations. And I'd love to

Jamie:

like hear from more people. I think that's the thing that I'd

Jamie:

love for us to focus on in 2021 is how to find more connection

Jamie:

with you, our listeners. Like we know you're out there. We want

Jamie:

to hear from you. So having more opportunity for that is really

Jamie:

what I'm looking forward to in 2021. And just continuing to do

Jamie:

it. Because I'm having a lot of fun doing it.

Spencer:

Yeah.

Jamie:

What about you?

Spencer:

Yeah, like I, I think the-something I'm really proud

Spencer:

of is the consistency. And I want to keep that up. It's

Spencer:

really important that, like, I want you all to know, like how

Spencer:

importan, how seriously, like we're taking it. And that we

Spencer:

want to bring you a high quality way to spend an hour more of

Spencer:

your time every couple of weeks. And so yeah, I think so really,

Spencer:

I just want to keep, you know, having really high quality

Spencer:

conversations and bringing that to the fore. Figuring out how to

Spencer:

engage. I think, as Jamie alluded to, we have some

Spencer:

announcements for 2021 that we'll be able to share more

Spencer:

details on soon. But so yeah, I just, I'm excited to see where

Spencer:

it takes us. Let's just keep having fun. Like I want it to

Spencer:

always be as fulfilling as it feels now. I don't want it to-I

Spencer:

think it's brought us closer in a lot of ways. And I'm really

Spencer:

happy about that. So I guess I just want to keep seeing how

Spencer:

"this"-as in the podcast-and "this"-as in us-like how it

Spencer:

continues to grow.

Jamie:

Yeah, 100%. Yeah, and like, grow-as like, I feel like

Jamie:

I am growing by doing this podcast, and getting to

Jamie:

participate in these conversations and express myself

Jamie:

in this way. So I don't know, I'm just really appreciative to

Jamie:

everyone who's listening and supporting and giving us this

Jamie:

opportunity to do this, and leaning in. Podcasts are

Jamie:

incredibly personal, right? Like, they're, they're personal

Jamie:

for us to record because it feels like we're just talking to

Jamie:

each other. But then it goes out and y'all listen to it. And it

Jamie:

is like, you're part of that conversation in a really unique

Jamie:

way. So I mean, I think it just inherently makes the whole

Jamie:

dynamic feel more intimate than it would otherwise. And it means

Jamie:

that like, it means even more to us that we're putting so much of

Jamie:

ourselves out there and being vulnerable in this way. And the

Jamie:

fact that that's being received the way that it is-I just like I

Jamie:

can't say thank you enough, like I think-

Spencer:

Yeah.

Jamie:

-our appreciation for-Regardless of how you're

Jamie:

engaging with us. Like if you're mostly just following us on

Jamie:

social media and liking what we're doing, you're listening to

Jamie:

the episodes, you gave us a review, you're reposting some of

Jamie:

our stuff, you're subscribing on Patreon-like whatever way you're

Jamie:

participating and supporting us, Thank you. Lke thank you so

Jamie:

much. We see it all, we really appreciate it. And we really

Jamie:

genuinely do want to get to know each and every one of you

Jamie:

better. [music break]

Jamie:

So we've put together, as an end of the year thing-This is the

Jamie:

end of the year, we're reflecting on 2020. We're

Jamie:

reflecting on gaming in 2020. What we wanted to put together

Jamie:

for you today is our very Unofficial Pixel Therapy Game

Jamie:

Awards TM.

Spencer:

TM.

Jamie:

TM. Yeah, copyrighted

Spencer:

This is a video game podcast, as a reminder.

Jamie:

Yeah, it's not just us gushing about our, our feelings

Jamie:

for you and our feelings for each other. We also want to talk

Jamie:

about our feelings about video games. So when I say this is

Jamie:

unofficial, I mean, it's very unofficial. We're not even

Jamie:

limiting ourselves.-So the way we're structuring this, is

Jamie:

Spencer and I are each going to award a handful of unique awards

Jamie:

to the games that had an impact on us this year. This year of

Jamie:

2020, our Lord. And this is not just games that came out in

Jamie:

2020. It's games that we played in 2020. So don't @ us about

Jamie:

when these games came out. We don't care. We played them this

Jamie:

year. And that's all that matters to us.

Spencer:

The panel of judges is me, myself, and I. And our

Spencer:

credentials are "we love games."

Jamie:

Exactly, exactly. And that's all that matters. So

Jamie:

without further ado, Spencer, what is the first award that you

Jamie:

would like to give today?

Spencer:

Thank you, Jamie. Now this is an award that needs no

Spencer:

introduction.

Jamie:

Well, no, it does. It does need an introduction. We're

Jamie:

making these up. You have to introduce it.

Spencer:

Right, right. So this first award I'd like to hand out

Spencer:

is the game that lived rent free in my head. Now this is a game

Spencer:

that took up a lot of real estate. Some might say for no

Spencer:

good reason. It was a game that its presence made itself known

Spencer:

long before I saw nary a screen grab or a trailer. Even before

Spencer:

it made itself known visually to me. It heralded its arrival by

Spencer:

it's siren song. And the game of which I speak is Bugsnax.

Jamie:

[whistling]

Spencer:

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Bugsnax. Thank you,

Spencer:

Young Horses, right? Is that who developed it?

Jamie:

Yeah.

Spencer:

Yeah, like this game truly lived rent free in my

Spencer:

Yeah, yeah, I agree with all that. What a like-What a

Spencer:

head, especially these past months. Like it's been kind of a

Spencer:

slog, getting through these first dark weeks of winter. And

Spencer:

the full Bugsnax Original Soundtrack, beautifully crafted

Spencer:

by musician Seth Parker, was graciously uploaded to Youtube

Spencer:

for free by the Bugsnax team, and I tell you that 90 minutes

Spencer:

really gets me through. It's my new lo-fi beats to chill and

Spencer:

study to. This soundtrack is-it's just good electronic

Spencer:

music. Like if you just like vibes, like if you just like to

Spencer:

chill, and, you know, just want to feel a range of emotions. I

Spencer:

highly recommend the Bugsnax soundtrack. And then that's not

Spencer:

even to mention the game itself, like it's living-well I mean,

Spencer:

the soundtrack is playing in my head right now as I speak. But

Spencer:

this game, it really took me by surprise. Like I downloaded it

Spencer:

because I was lucky enough to get a PS5. And it was actually,

Spencer:

I mean, once that cleared out my bank account, it was blessedly a

Spencer:

free download for the first couple weeks of like November or

Spencer:

something. And so having heard all about it, I downloaded it.

Spencer:

And at first I thought like many others that it was just going to

Spencer:

be a wacky body horror game. But it turned out to be a

Spencer:

surprisingly emotionally rich tapestry. The characters were

Spencer:

very engaging. It was a very queer game. Like I would argue

Spencer:

it had better non-binary and queer relationship

Spencer:

representation than like the other AAA titles that came out

Spencer:

this year touting to do the same. Like, honestly, as a

Spencer:

queer, trans person, I'm just vibing and like, not everything

Spencer:

has to be about how I'm suffering all the time, or like

Spencer:

my body sucks or whatever it is that cis people obsess about

Spencer:

what it must be like to be trans and so just having a story where

Spencer:

you can have a main character in the cast who's like non-binary

Spencer:

and it's just like, you just use they pronouns and like they're

Spencer:

just a fully realized character outside of that. It's like

Spencer:

pretty refreshing, which is sad, but thank you Bugsnax for

Spencer:

reminding me that games can be fun and mean something and be

Spencer:

impactful without necessarily having to trot back to the

Spencer:

traumatization of a m rginalized group.

Spencer:

wonderful surprise gift that game was this year. Like, yeah,

Spencer:

from every aspect of it. The-

Spencer:

The sound design.

Jamie:

Yeah, it's just like, it was so much more than I thought

Jamie:

it was gonna be in such like the best way.

Spencer:

Yeah, yeah. It's just fun and, and I feel like games

Spencer:

that can be really light hearted and cartoony and like-I wouldn't

Spencer:

say it's a game for kids. But I guess I was surprised by the

Spencer:

level of care that was brought to every detail of this game

Spencer:

like it was fully realized. It was immersive. It was funny. It

Spencer:

was witty. It's just a great game. So thank you Bugsnax for

Spencer:

living rent free in my head.

Jamie:

And I still walk around the house going "Scoopy

Jamie:

Banoopy".

Spencer:

Oh, yeah. Bunger Bunger Bunger Bunger.

Jamie:

Bunger Bunger, yeah.

Spencer:

Anyway, with that, over to you, Jamie, for your first

Spencer:

award.

Jamie:

Yes, yes. Thank you. Thank you. The first award that

Jamie:

I will be giving today is the award for the best game that I

Jamie:

could not finish. And that award is going to Outer Wilds. Outer

Jamie:

Wilds is a game made by-Mobius Digital is the developer,

Jamie:

published by Annapurna Interactive. It's a first person

Jamie:

game, where you are a little space explorer. The game starts

Jamie:

out, you're on your home planet, and you go and meet with the

Jamie:

scientist and get yourself up into your spaceship and you go

Jamie:

up into outer space. And it's really set up as very open

Jamie:

ended, like you're just out here to explore space. But what you

Jamie:

realize is that every 22 minutes, the universe explodes.

Jamie:

And the game resets, or the entire solar system-the sun goes

Jamie:

supernova.

Spencer:

So you're like reliving that over and over?

Jamie:

Yeah, so like, they clue into the fact that the sun's

Jamie:

about to go supernova, that your 22 minute time loop is done, in

Jamie:

a really cool way where the music actually changes into-it

Jamie:

becomes a bit louder, and it goes into this, this piece of

Jamie:

music that just as you play it, you realize like, Oh, that's my

Jamie:

cue that I'm running out of time. Which creates this like

Jamie:

intense like, oh, I've got to run around and like, do stuff

Jamie:

before the sun goes supernova, because every time it goes

Jamie:

supernova, you're brought all the way back to the beginning

Jamie:

and start on your home planet again, and you have to go back

Jamie:

into space. So it's a little bit of a roguelike, in that sense.

Jamie:

However, as you're exploring the galaxy, this galaxy that you

Jamie:

exist in, you're collecting information, you're finding old

Jamie:

pieces of history from other civilizations that have existed,

Jamie:

specifically this civilization that had been studying the sun,

Jamie:

and had realized that, that the galaxy was going to end. So

Jamie:

you're like studying them, you're collecting bits of

Jamie:

information. And that all gets logged in your ship's computer.

Jamie:

And you can revisit that timeline. So even though you're

Jamie:

resetting every 22 minutes, all of the information that you

Jamie:

collect still exists in your ship's computer. And it has this

Jamie:

really interesting way of like, it shows you like, here's a

Jamie:

thing-I'm not describing this very well-but you're looking at

Jamie:

your ship's computer. And it's got this kind of like timeline

Jamie:

laid out. And these-it shows all of the planets in the galaxy,

Jamie:

and has little like info markers coming off of them. And so if

Jamie:

you find a thing on a planet, it puts that, it stores that in the

Jamie:

information that you know about this planet. Here's the thing

Jamie:

that you found, but then it'll show you that there's more

Jamie:

information to find about that thing, or it'll make it clear

Jamie:

that you found all the information about that thing.

Jamie:

And some of the things have threads that lead you to other

Jamie:

planets, or they lead you to other areas. So it makes it so

Jamie:

like you're exploring this galaxy, and you're finding this

Jamie:

information. But you're doing all of that, in this way that

Jamie:

like it's giving you some clues about kind of where to go and

Jamie:

what to look into. But other than that you're really on your

Jamie:

own. And so I found everything that there was to find. Like I

Jamie:

pieced the whole ship's computer together. But what I couldn't do

Jamie:

is at the very end, once you've pieced all the information

Jamie:

together, you realize that there's a way to escape the time

Jamie:

loop. And it's a complicated process. And the mechanics of

Jamie:

this game are unfortunately just not great. The ship control is

Jamie:

really kind of difficult?

Spencer:

Okay.

Jamie:

And I couldn't, I couldn't complete the steps that

Jamie:

you had to complete to actually escape the supernova.

Spencer:

That's frustrating.

Jamie:

It was really frustrating. And I did it like

Jamie:

several times. And of course, it's this 22 minute loop. So

Jamie:

it's like when you fuck it up, it's like-

Spencer:

Oh god, no.

Jamie:

-you've got to just burn out the rest of the 22 minutes,

Jamie:

because you know, you're not going to have enough time to get

Jamie:

to where you need to be. So it definitely put a damper on the

Jamie:

whole experience. But what I ended up doing was just googling

Jamie:

it. And this is kind of like the magic of the internet nowadays,

Jamie:

and streaming culture and the fact that like, I was able to

Jamie:

just find someone playing through the end of this game.

Jamie:

And it's so impactful and emotional. I don't want to like

Jamie:

spoil anything more about this game. except to say that, like,

Jamie:

there's some-There was so many times in the game where that 22

Jamie:

minutes was coming to an end. And it just encourages you to

Jamie:

find a way to like-there were times where the 22 minutes was

Jamie:

coming to an end. And I was like, Oh, fuck, I'm like almost

Jamie:

at this thing I've been trying to find, I'm going to try to run

Jamie:

through and find it. And there were other times where it was

Jamie:

like, the music would start to play and I'd just be in a space

Jamie:

where maybe I'm there with another alien and he's playing a

Jamie:

banjo. And I'm like, I'm just gonna sit down and watch the

Jamie:

universe end.

Spencer:

Wow.

Jamie:

And so it just it was just super impactful and kind of

Jamie:

similar to Bugsnax, it has a ridiculously good score. That

Jamie:

was like my top played Album of the Year on my Spotify. So the

Jamie:

music of it is still with me and like the music still kind of

Jamie:

brings me back to that game in a really visceral way. And I love

Jamie:

Outer Wilds. If anything I'm saying intrigues you, I think

Jamie:

you should check it out. It is a really special, really special

Jamie:

game.

Spencer:

Making yourself more comfortable with death or

Spencer:

experiencing it over and over again seems like a valuable

Spencer:

exercise for getting through 2020.

Jamie:

Yeah, it definitely was. I played that right at the top

Jamie:

of the year too before I even knew what we had coming for us

Jamie:

so.

Spencer:

Well, my next one is also a game that I played at the

Spencer:

top of the year. It was so-my next award is called "game so

Spencer:

nice, I played it twice", but actually, it was more like three

Spencer:

times. And that game is, I'm gonna say Persona 5 Royal,

Spencer:

because it did come out in the US earlier-it was like February

Spencer:

2020, which feels like a lifetime ago. But Persona 5, I

Spencer:

mean, okay, I don't even know how to explain. You-it is a

Spencer:

Japanese role playing game, where you play as a teenage boy

Spencer:

who by day is a well, mild-mannered and well behaved

Spencer:

high schooler who is attempting to navigate his third year in a

Spencer:

new city and make friends and all of that. And by night, he

Spencer:

goes into the this visualization of the unconscious mind of the

Spencer:

city of Tokyo, where he fights alongside his friends, monstrous

Spencer:

personifications called personas, that are formed from

Spencer:

the distorted desires of human beings in our psyches, and

Spencer:

distort how we act toward each other. And he is working to

Spencer:

fight the personifications of these urges, and eventually

Spencer:

fight God. [laughs]

Jamie:

Casual

Spencer:

But I don't know. This game, I think style is a word

Spencer:

that immediately comes to mind when people talk about Persona

Spencer:

5. It is by Atlus, who's responsible for the Shin Megami

Spencer:

Tensei series. Persona has actually been around for over a

Spencer:

decade now? It's 20, 20 years, I want to say?

Jamie:

Yeah, it's been awhile.

Spencer:

And, like loosely related stories, I would say

Spencer:

they are very existential. They sort of deal with everything

Spencer:

from the sort of condition of powerlessness that many young

Spencer:

people may feel in this hyper capitalist consumerist society

Spencer:

that we live. I think it deals with, you know, our perceptions

Spencer:

of ourselves and others. Like the whole, like a big theme in

Spencer:

the game is around sort of tearing off the mask that we

Spencer:

wear and allowing ourselves to lean in to our most basic urges

Spencer:

that some may think of as violent or dangerous. But just

Spencer:

seeing the power that we all have innately. And the power, we

Spencer:

have to be all of these different things. It's a really

Spencer:

cool game, amazing soundtrack, awesome characters, super

Spencer:

immersive. It's 200 hours of gameplay.

Jamie:

If you want to hop in.

Spencer:

So great way to just kind of exit my life for a

Spencer:

minute. I was-I pretty much the whole month of March, my

Spencer:

boyfriend had built-I was, we were living with lots of people

Spencer:

at that time. And I was very scared to leave my partner's

Spencer:

bedroom. And I was basically staying with him. Because my

Spencer:

home had folks who unfortunately, like were

Spencer:

essential workers, and there was no common space, like it was

Spencer:

complicated with COVID. And he basically made like a nest for

Spencer:

me where I had a TV with Persona, and a bed and all these

Spencer:

pillows and like this little corner bed fort of his room. And

Spencer:

so I don't know, it got me through those first couple of

Spencer:

months. I don't know if that's healthy. I wouldn't recommend

Spencer:

it. But I mean, hey, we're gamers, what can I say? But

Spencer:

yeah, Persona 5 came out in 2017. I was very late to the

Spencer:

party. And so by the time I was wrapping it up, Royal was coming

Spencer:

out. So I played this, I've played this game for like 500

Spencer:

plus hours at this point, and I'll fucking play it again was

Spencer:

when Strikers comes out. But yeah, was there anything that

Spencer:

you wanted to say about Persona?

Jamie:

I mean, I played the original Persona 5, when it came

Jamie:

out and absolutely loved it. I agree with everything that

Jamie:

you're saying. And yeah, the story of that game is so

Jamie:

engaging, and I really love the way it oscillates between the,

Jamie:

you know, you're going into the, you know, the personified spaces

Jamie:

like the inside of people's heads and inside of their dark

Jamie:

desires. But then, like during the day, you're just a

Jamie:

normal-ass teenager going to school. And you have to take

Jamie:

quizzes.

Spencer:

Yeah.

Jamie:

And you have to like answer questions from your

Jamie:

teachers. And if you're on your cell phone, they'll throw their

Jamie:

chalk at you. And yeah, I don't know. It's just really cool the

Jamie:

way it balances those two things. The way you're building

Jamie:

up both like your own High School, like human being social

Jamie:

stats, and then how those impact what you're able to do in the

Jamie:

personified world, like you have to build up your charm. And you

Jamie:

have to build up your proficiency and stuff like that.

Jamie:

And then all of those skills aid you in the personified world as

Jamie:

well. I'd never played a Persona game before, but I'd been

Jamie:

interested in them. And yeah, 5 really got me hooked. I really

Jamie:

want Persona 4 to come out on something that I can play it on.

Jamie:

I know it's on Vita, which I do have an old Vita I could pull

Jamie:

out and dust off. But I'd much rather played on my TV and they

Jamie:

did just remaster it for PC. And I really-I'm just like, "Bring

Jamie:

it to PS5, bring it to PS4."

Spencer:

Guess, I gotta buy a Persona machine.

Jamie:

Yeah. But I'm similarly really excited for Strikers. I

Jamie:

love the world that they built. I love the characters. I'm a big

Jamie:

Ryuni stan, and I love the design and aesthetic of the

Jamie:

game. It's just a really special game. I did start Royal but I

Jamie:

have not finished it yet. Maybe that's gonna be the thing I

Jamie:

hunker down and do over the holiday break finally.

Spencer:

You need to just for that Akechi storyline that you

Jamie:

I know, I've heard that, like, yeah, that they made a lot

Jamie:

get.

Jamie:

of like quality of life improvements in the rerelease of

Jamie:

Royal, like throughout the game, but you have to push through

Jamie:

like 150 hours of content before you get to like the new content,

Jamie:

like the really new content. So-

Spencer:

It's a light 150.

Jamie:

It's a light 150. I do love the game, though, I have

Jamie:

every intention of finishing it. I've just been kind of like,

Jamie:

I'll take like a few months break. And then I'll come back.

Jamie:

And I'll do like one palace at a time. So I will get back to it.

Jamie:

Great game. Great choice.

Spencer:

What's next for you, Jamie?

Jamie:

The next award that I'm going to give is the game that

Jamie:

felt most like an indie movie. And I'm going to give that award

Jamie:

to Wide Ocean Big Jacket. Wide Ocean Big Jacket is-it's

Jamie:

essentially a text based game.

Spencer:

Like a visual novel?

Jamie:

It's kind of a visual novel, there is some moving

Jamie:

around in it, but it's pretty much you're mostly experiencing

Jamie:

a story through text. It's developed by developer

Jamie:

Turnfollow. And it's a really short game. It's like 90

Jamie:

minutes. I think it took me to play it. But so impactful. I

Jamie:

really, I really recommend this. You can get it on iOS, you can

Jamie:

get it on Switch. That's where I played it. And I'm thinking you

Jamie:

can get it on Android as well. You can get it on PC. But the

Jamie:

the narrative of this game is that you're along on a camping

Jamie:

trip with a young girl, she's 13, and her boyfriend and-Well,

Jamie:

he's sort of her boyfriend, right? Like they're, you know,

Jamie:

they're 13 year olds so it's kind of like-Sorry, the girl's

Jamie:

name is Mord. And her longtime friend turned boyfriend is Ben.

Jamie:

So they're like right on the cusp of becoming boyfriend and

Jamie:

girlfriend. And they're on this camping trip with Mord's aunt

Jamie:

and uncle.

Spencer:

Okay,

Jamie:

Who are like 30 somethings who don't have kids.

Jamie:

And I don't know, it just really captured-for one thing, I played

Jamie:

it like literally the week before you and I went on a trip

Jamie:

this summer, like we went with our partners to do this, like

Jamie:

kind of camping trip in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. So I

Jamie:

was kind of like already feeling like camping vibes, like wanting

Jamie:

to like sit by a fire, and just have like, weird conversations

Jamie:

into the night. And it really captures like that feeling of,

Jamie:

first of all, being at that age that like teenager preteen age

Jamie:

when like, you're kind of weird and like too honest, and like

Jamie:

put yourself out there. And like just ask questions, you know,

Jamie:

more like there's a moment where Mord's like asking her aunt

Jamie:

about sex that just felt really authentic. And her aunt like not

Jamie:

having kids and not even really wanting to have kids like kind

Jamie:

of like having to struggle through that conversation and

Jamie:

not sure what to say. I don't know, it really resonated with

Jamie:

me of like taking these trips with people who, you know,

Jamie:

aren't your parents. And how kids kind of will like ask any

Jamie:

adult anything. And like then how adults can be put in that

Jamie:

situation of trying to answer something when they don't even

Jamie:

feel like they have it figured out either. And how we all kind

Jamie:

of navigate that. So it kind of just captures this like two

Jamie:

little, two day camping trip. There's some really beautiful

Jamie:

quiet moments in the game where you're just sitting with the

Jamie:

characters. And I really love the way they do the

Jamie:

conversations around the fire. You don't necessarily play as

Jamie:

any one character. You're kind of making dialogue decisions for

Jamie:

everyone.

Spencer:

Kind of like Kentucky Route Zero.

Jamie:

Yeah, kind of like Kentucky Route Zero in that

Jamie:

sense. And I don't know it just, it was super impactful to me and

Jamie:

it did feel it felt like a little indie movie experience

Jamie:

except that I got to influence the direction that it went and

Jamie:

like kind of decide how these characters were going to relate

Jamie:

to each other. And I highly recommend it.

Spencer:

Beautiful.

Jamie:

It was, it was a really special little game. What's your

Jamie:

next award?

Spencer:

Yes, so I guess speaking of a special little

Spencer:

game, this next one I am naming best medicine for 2020. This is

Spencer:

honestly like a late game, like Game of the Year for me. And

Spencer:

it's new to PS5. But PC gamers have had early access to it

Spencer:

since the beginning of 2020. But the game is Temtem. And I

Spencer:

mentioned Temtem in our last Patreon only Co-Op Mode bonus

Spencer:

episode if folks, just so you know that that's a thing that

Spencer:

exists. But like I wanted to take a minute to talk a little

Spencer:

bit more about it, just cuz I was really surprised by it, I

Spencer:

was really caught off guard, like I had not heard much about

Spencer:

Temtem. And essentially, it's an MMO creature collecting game,

Spencer:

similar to Pokemon, which I resent because I think Temtem

Spencer:

has done something. I think that they've made Pokemon better.

Spencer:

They have become what Pokemon would be if they hadn't become

Spencer:

like a cash cow just trying to release more and more titles for

Spencer:

more and more money. Like I really think that Temtem feels

Spencer:

like a game for people who grew up with Pokemon generations one

Spencer:

through three, specifically generation three, which was

Spencer:

Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald. And it was a game that

Spencer:

introduced a lot of new concepts to the Pokemon universe. It was

Spencer:

the first Pokemon game that had 2v2 battles, it also introduced

Spencer:

a lot more content to the Pokemon world. It had a 40 plus

Spencer:

hour main quest, it had this really rich, mysterious world

Spencer:

with a lot of diverse landscapes, and introduced

Spencer:

aspects that would make the game more conducive to replayability

Spencer:

or continued play beyond the main quests with like these

Spencer:

beauty contests and, and breeding opportunities that

Spencer:

really made Pokemon feel like a richer world. And the sad part

Spencer:

is that after that generation, they didn't really continue to

Spencer:

pursue and build out these things that they introduced in

Spencer:

generation three. They kind of just seemed to really lean in to

Spencer:

making more and more Pokemons and make it so that you needed

Spencer:

to get the next game and, you know, updating for the latest

Spencer:

consoles or whatever. There's actually been a lot of

Spencer:

complaints about how Pokemon hasn't really grown up, it

Spencer:

hasn't really grown with the players that you know, have

Spencer:

grown up loving it. Like there's, it's sort of stayed the

Spencer:

same. And I think Temtem, it really took the magic of

Spencer:

generation three Pokemon. And it was as if a design team really

Spencer:

sat and thought about what it would take to make a game that

Spencer:

was engaging and had all of these elements. And I guess

Spencer:

these elements, I mean, at its core, it's a game where you are

Spencer:

a tamer, not a trainer, a tamer, and you go around on this

Spencer:

adventure, catching and taming Temtem. You fight in these

Spencer:

battles, you are engaging on this quest to be the best tamer

Spencer:

in the land. But what Temtem has is just this really unique

Spencer:

personality that I really love. It's a, it's a really beautiful

Spencer:

world, really taking advantage of the PS5 graphic capability.

Spencer:

It's really colorful and thoughtful. It's surprisingly

Spencer:

detailed. Like even though it's a soft, like cel shaded, bright

Spencer:

world, there's little details. Like from stuff from like a

Spencer:

remote control hanging on someone's desk to like little

Spencer:

drawings on the fridge to a box of snacks on the counter or a

Spencer:

loaf of bread that they were halfway through cutting, like

Spencer:

the game feels littered with little touches that make it feel

Spencer:

alive. The battles are closer to the type of strategy that you're

Spencer:

having to think about in a Persona game more so than the

Spencer:

type of melee fighting that you expect from typical Pokemon.

Spencer:

Like I guess I feel like in Pokemon, I could pretty much

Spencer:

just train up one, one strong Pokemon and brute force my way

Spencer:

through all the battles. But in Temtem, it really forces you to

Spencer:

think not just about elements-like water is powerful

Spencer:

against fire-but they also introduce like time based moves

Spencer:

like, oh, you can only use this move after two or three or more

Spencer:

turns have passed in the battle. Like certain moves take time to

Spencer:

charge. The way they treat energy and stats. The way that

Spencer:

they involve-like certain combinations of Temtem will

Spencer:

unlock different power ups. Because of this 2v2 battle

Spencer:

system, like they've just really created a system that rewards

Spencer:

you. Like it's a lot to wrap your brain around at first. But

Spencer:

once you understand the fighting system, it's incredibly engaging

Spencer:

and rewarding and it, it really makes the whole experience of

Spencer:

finding training, catching, fighting with Temtem just a lot

Spencer:

more engaging than a game, where I feel like all I need to do is

Spencer:

just get one strong fighter. It's been described as hard

Spencer:

because it's a lot more built out. But I really think for

Spencer:

people who grew up loving original Pokemon, like for me,

Spencer:

it was really nostalgic. It was really exciting because I

Spencer:

recognized elements, especially from Ruby and Sapphire and

Spencer:

Emerald, like, like, yeah, like I would say, it's definitely

Spencer:

heavily inspired. I think it's not totally unfair for people

Spencer:

who are drawing parallels to Pokemon. But I really see Temtem

Spencer:

as a gift. I think too it reflects a more contemporary

Spencer:

audience, a more diverse audience. Like this is the first

Spencer:

type of Pokemon-ass game where I've run around seeing

Spencer:

Indigenous people and Black people, and Asian people and

Spencer:

White people. Like, like, it's not just-we're not accepting

Spencer:

White as the default. And the game just really nods to its

Spencer:

cultural diversity. There's a mountain called Anak Mountain,

Spencer:

and the people who live around it look like Indigenous

Spencer:

Filipinos. And there's a land I haven't visited yet called

Spencer:

Uhuru. And there are a lot of like Black trainers out and

Spencer:

about where like, it's just like, it's just really cool.

Spencer:

It's a really sweet game, the character creation, I really

Spencer:

credit for showing how easy it is to create inclusive character

Spencer:

builders. Something we were talking about recently. But

Spencer:

like, you can pick any hair, any body shape, any walking style,

Spencer:

any voice-none of those are assigned to a specific gender.

Spencer:

And then all you do is pick your pronouns and your name. There's

Spencer:

no like, I hate when character builders force you eventually to

Spencer:

put yourself into a box. Like this shows that like you can

Spencer:

really bring your full self to the game, and it doesn't make it

Spencer:

hard to do so. Um, so I just love Temtem. It's really been a

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balm these last few weeks of the year. I am also playing like

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Assassin's Creed Valhalla at the same time, but I found that I've

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been drawn more and more to Temtem because it's just so darn

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delightful. And I think for anyone who is nostalgic for

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early days Pokemon and is looking for something that an

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adult can enjoy. I definitely highly recommend Temtem.

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Especially the fact, I didn't really mention this, but the

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fact that it's an MMO it, it makes sense. Like I'm running

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around as a trainer, and I'm seeing other trainers running

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around and battling and stuff too, like it just makes that

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world feel all the more rich. So really enjoying Temtem. Yeah,

Spencer:

pass it back over to you.

Jamie:

That's great. Yeah, I have no touchstone for Pokemon

Jamie:

at all. I tried to play the newest release, and it just did

Jamie:

not connect with me. But everything you're saying about

Jamie:

Temtem sounds very cool. So maybe I'll have to check that

Jamie:

one out. The next award that I'm going to give is best NPC hugs,

Jamie:

best hugs from a non player character. And that goes to

Jamie:

Spiritfarer. We talked Spiritfarer to death several

Jamie:

episodes ago. So I will not do that again here. But for as much

Jamie:

as like, I have issues with this game. And like some of the

Jamie:

mechanics and the way they laid it out, I would be remiss to not

Jamie:

include it on a list of games that impacted me the most this

Jamie:

year. It made me incredibly sad, but it was at a time that like I

Jamie:

was feeling incredibly sad and like having something that just

Jamie:

allowed me to like, be sad, and for that to be okay, was really

Jamie:

important to me this year. And more games should let you hug

Jamie:

the NPC characters. Those hug animations were like, my

Jamie:

favorite part of the game. And it just it felt. I don't know,

Jamie:

you know, it's like we can't go see people and spend time with

Jamie:

them and hug them outside of the people that live in our homes.

Jamie:

And there's just something really powerful about you know,

Jamie:

within the first 10 minutes of that game, being able to wrap

Jamie:

your arms around another character that you had a

Jamie:

connection with and give them a hug and have them hug you back

Jamie:

and the way they like lean into the hugs. Yeah, it meant a lot.

Jamie:

That game meant a lot to me this year.

Spencer:

Yeah, I-that resonates. Like touch has been-we're all

Spencer:

pretty touch starved, I'd say. And yeah, there was something

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really simple and powerful about the connection, that feeling of

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connection that that game gave and such simple gesture. But

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yeah, we all needed hugs this year.

Jamie:

Absolutely. 100%. What's your next award?

Spencer:

Yeah, so this is my second to last award, and it is

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for what I'm calling unexpected pixel therapy. And I'm giving

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this award to God of War 2018. God of War 4. A game we talked

Spencer:

about a lot in episode nine. And I'm giving it the unexpected

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pixel therapy award because I think that, I don't know. I was,

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I was surprisingly struck by like, I guess I felt like when I

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first started playing God of War, I did not like Kratos. Like

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I was actively against him. I did not trust him. I didn't, I

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was kind of like, I got nothing else to play and everyone keeps

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telling me to go play this damn game.

Jamie:

By "everyone", you mean me.

Spencer:

Yeah. You're the only person I talk to. And like, I

Spencer:

just, I felt like over the course of the game, just as we

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were understanding more about Kratos and in turn Kratos was

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growing and changing as a father, I felt like it was a

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parallel for-so a couple years ago, I went, and I just, I knew

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something was wrong. I didn't know what. I just didn't feel

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good. I mean, this is my whole life, I guess. But like, I just

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things were bad and dark. And I wanted, I had been diagnosed

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formally with generalized anxiety and depression when I

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was like 13, or 14. But I hadn't really given much thought to

Spencer:

that diagnosis since then. And I had just kind of gone on living

Spencer:

my life getting traumatized here and there, and just trying to

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deal with it along the way. And so I finally-here in Boston,

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there is a center that does like full psychological, neurological

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testing. Like I did everything from-they would show me a

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picture and then tell me to draw it from memory, to they would

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ask me to define certain words that they would read from a list

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or they would read a list to me and then tell me to try to

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remember like, it would be different memory things,

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different IQ things different, like, they would intersperse it

Spencer:

with these interviews, they'd ask me a bunch of questions, and

Spencer:

then I would have to take these quizzes. It would be like, how

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much do you agree or disagree with this statement? At the end

Spencer:

of the day-so a few weeks later, I got called in and they gave me

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this like, 100 page report of like, who I was basically, what

Spencer:

was my deal. And my diagnosis, expanded to generalized anxiety,

Spencer:

major depression, I'm a major now.

Jamie:

Congrats.

Spencer:

And chronic, post traumatic stress disorder. Um,

Spencer:

and something that the doctor felt a need to note on in the

Spencer:

meeting when he was going over my results was that he said that

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he and the team were struck by the amount of times that I had

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indicated in quizzes, or in interviews, the statement that I

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deserve nothing. I hate myself. I'm worthless. I deserve to die.

Spencer:

Everyone will leave me at some point. And I remember, I started

Spencer:

crying, like tears like rolling down my cheeks hearing these

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statements repeated back to me, because I didn't, I didn't even

Spencer:

think of it. Like I didn't go into that room thinking "I feel

Spencer:

like shit today so I'm just gonna be mean to myself." Like,

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I was just answering the questions, honestly. And when

Spencer:

they laid it out in front of me, how often I had self assessed

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that I was worthless. And how much I hated myself. Like he

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said, like he was-the doctor was talking to me about how like, he

Spencer:

was like, "You know, for someone," like, I didn't know

Spencer:

this guy. He was like, he was like "That drawing you did-"

Spencer:

There was an activity, I said earlier, where I had-they showed

Spencer:

me a picture and they asked me to draw it. He's like, "I've

Spencer:

seen maybe two people who drew it with the care and specificity

Spencer:

that you did. I've never seen some-" and he's like, "At the

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same time, I have never seen a drawing where someone was so

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clearly so hard on themselves." Like he was like, "It felt like

Spencer:

you were so afraid to make a mistake to do it wrong." And

Spencer:

he's like "For someone with such, with so much to offer.

Spencer:

It's like surprising to me how, how low you think of yourself,

Spencer:

like how distorted yourself view is." I'm like, looking back I'm

Spencer:

like, Damn is that some-like are psychologists usually that

Spencer:

opinionated when delivering results? Anyway, but um, but it

Spencer:

really struck me. And, um, you know, I guess in a lot of ways

Spencer:

when I think about how I was playing God of War, I think that

Spencer:

maybe Kratos and I, of course, I haven't murdered entire villages

Spencer:

of people, nor would I ever think of doing that. But I think

Spencer:

in terms of hating ourselves so much and displacing that hatred

Spencer:

of ourselves to others, I think I hated Kratos so much because I

Spencer:

didn't want to see the ways that like, I could be just as violent

Spencer:

to myself as he is, and in turn, like isolate myself from others,

Spencer:

just because I truly believe deep down even subconsciously

Spencer:

that I am worthless. Like, I'm bad about keeping in touch with

Spencer:

friends, I'm bad about always remembering to text, I'm bad

Spencer:

about just like always being there. And it's not because I

Spencer:

don't care. I care so much. I love the people in my life so

Spencer:

much, I would give them anything they asked for. But I just don't

Spencer:

understand why they would waste time on me. And so playing God