Episode 100 of The Gaming Persona Podcast – Reflections and Projections
We have made it to Episode 100 of The Gaming Persona podcast! Join us while we celebrate the show’s past success and future potential.
The three hosts – Dr. Gameology / Dr. Daniel Kaufmann, Jenny Lebron, and Gene Wong – reflect on where the show started and where it is headed in the future. It’s a special edition of The Gaming Persona podcast that you don’t want to miss!
Download & Listen to this episode of The Gaming Persona Here:
Fatal Frame 4: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse, Resident Evil 4 Remake, WWE 2k23, Elden Ring, Final Fantasy XIV, The Last of Us, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Devil May Cry, Bioshock Infinite, Devil May Cry 4
So what are we talking about in the world of video games today?
Ah, we are going to do like an overview of the past 100 episodes. And also talk about our future.
Yes, we absolutely are. And I have. Okay, Jenny. You’ve seen all the show notes. Right. So Gene, you’ve seen the last like 30 Show Notes? Sure. Since the very beginning, I had the foresight of all of our episode numbers being three digits and just having a zero. So we never had show notes that said episode one. It said 001. So it’s like we were always meant to make it to today. Oh, and I didn’t realize that until I used that hundred digit for the show notes about an hour ago. And the dopamine release of just we did that. It’s I know it’s silly. But I play video games that sometimes involves spreadsheets. So come on, what do you expect? We’re using the hundreds digit now. So exciting.
Episode 100 of The Gaming Persona Podcast: The Ordinary World
And now we’re going to go into the real ordinary world where we can share our everyday life through our video games. All right, I have so much to put into this section. But we have a time budget as well. So what are we up to with video games this week, friends?
Well, I played zero video games in the past three weeks since I’ve been on two weeks since I’ve been on. But I’ve got good reason. I was on two different cruises back-to-back. The first one of which was a Star Trek cruise, the second one of which was an 80s themed cruise. And it was such an incredible experience. I was worked to the bone. For those that don’t know I was hired photographer for both of these cruises and were hired by the production company He for basically photos of pretty much every event and also for marketing purposes. We, my specific task is capturing the guests and the people just enjoying themselves enjoying their time on the cruise. And so that was not that difficult to find photos of people smiling and enjoying themselves because specifically for the Star Trek cruise, it was the like environment and just the overall demeanor of literally everyone that I came across was so positive, so loving. So caring the community was like, incredible, like anything I would imagine a fandom community to be. It was that and I’m not sure which agency or what company, their slogan within the Star Trek universe is Be kind. But that really truly was like the embodiment of everyone’s interactions that I had that week. And it like it just had my heart it was I there were so many times where so I have never watched an episode of Star Trek.
Not even in preparation for the cruise Jenny? Now are you insane?
And to top it off, I brought so it was on the chillier end of climates. And I brought my Gene jacket, which is a Star Wars jacket. Oh, it was so I figured it would either be very annoying or kind of fun. And it ended up being kind of fun. It was a conversation starter for a lot of people. Yes, so but anyway, it just like I’ve never I don’t belong to that world. And so I don’t know anything about it. I don’t know the characters. I don’t know the actors and actresses. I don’t know anything at all.
For people who are listening. She did the Vulcan finger spreading thing.
Yes. The Vulcan thing. But yeah, so I found myself in multiple instances being feeling like I wish I was part of this because it seems so cool. And everyone’s dying of laughter. And I have no idea why they’re laughing. And I wish I knew I wish I was part of it.
So, Jenny, you telling this story made me remember our episode that was titled there’s an imposter among us. And how we didn’t actually talk about among us in this episode. And it ended up being the most downloaded episode in the first week of existence, because we tricked everyone into thinking that we covered among us. So I’m fixing that mistake on episode 100. I just imagine you playing as the imposter and among us sneaking around the ship. But instead of murdering people viciously, you’re snapping a photo of them. But the reason I’m thinking this way is because Gene played a game in his ordinary world that we’ve been talking about for months, where you have to battle people by snapping their picture. And so like, I have the camera being a weapon already as a metaphor in my head, and I just see you like stabbing and sniping people with beautiful imagery all across this boat because you don’t fit in with them. You’re not one of them. You’re like the crazy weird alien that wants to get them in their happiest moments. Exactly. And that’s what you made me think so we just covered among us. It’s amazing fun. You can play it with your friends and Jenny was playing it with a bunch of Star Trek people.
Exactly. That’s exactly how it felt. I was just capturing joy all week.
Awesome. All right. Gene, you and I both have a new game we’ve been playing this week. So why don’t you go first?
Oh, yeah. I just started the remaster of Fatal Frame 4: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse.
It’s, it’s fine? It’s fine?
It’s I mean, it probably does have the proper horror elements. But the issue is it is clearly a Wii game that just has been prettied up and rereleased, you know, 13 years after the fact. Yeah, actually, I don’t know actually when it originally came out. But yes, it was like 2007.
Or 2008, right? Yeah. Something like that. It’s like that persona three portable era.
Let’s see if I’m ready for original release. 2008.
Yeah, go me. All right. So Gene, have you played the demo for Resident Evil 4 remake?
I’m not actually playing it, but I watched some things.
I have played it and I did not beat it. I died so much. And I don’t know if I talked about this last episode or not. Because I don’t remember timeline wise if it happened already. But my very first death was just a real regular guy in the main village area. So you still go through a few houses go down a path, get to the police officer gang sacrificed on a pyre. And then they see you. And then you go inside the house to get the shotgun and the chainsaw man shows up. So it is just a PS5 prettier version of the game we’ve been playing since we were teenagers, basically. So you would think that since I’ve beaten this area so many times including on my meta quest to in VR, I should be fine, right? No, I am not fine. The chainsaw guy killed me so many different ways. That was not cool. But the very first death made me think of The Last of Us, because Pedro Pascal is playing Joelle. And how does he die when he’s Oberyn Martell in Game of Thrones, thumbs to the eyes, everyone on YouTube, you can see me doing this in reverse to myself. If you’re listening, you have to imagine it. That is how the random regular dude with no special abilities killed me in Resident Evil for it’s like, I had this weird moment where it just like connected that memory of seeing it in Game of Thrones. And then seeing Pedro Pascal on all my favorite things, the Mandalorian Saturday Night Live, The Last of Us, he’s everywhere. And then I died that way in Resident Evil. And I was just like, man, they are putting some extra time thinking of ways to kill us. And, like gigabytes worth of time into how we’re gonna kill us.
That was one of its main marketing features, and the original release the all the ways Leon can die. There was like a whole montage of it. Oh, one of the ads.
I missed that. But I saw many of them on my own in the demo. And I decided the difficulty level and these guns like I never felt like I even did anything to the chainsaw guy. And there was one life where I was super smart. I went on top of the house and I unloaded every shotgun shell directly down onto his head. And he was fine. Oh, boy. He I think I knocked him down once. But he was fine. So I think that game is going to be difficult. And I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to play. And I think you’ll have a lot of fun going straight to professional difficulty.
Is that available?
I don’t know. I’m assuming it will. Why wouldn’t it be?
Oh, all these games, you know, but I forget if Resident Evil four had it where you had to beat it. And then I liked the higher difficulty.
Oh, it might but you’ll go to the highest one first. I know you will. So that actually isn’t the game that I played brand new this week. That’s just a demo. WWE 2k23 is in early access for pre orders. And I pre ordered it and it is amazing. I love it so much. They updated a lot of the modes with extra things in it. And the modes that I really enjoy, also have new things in them new matches live updates to matches every day so that you can play different things and unlock more or get rewarded for more things. And it’s just a lot of fun to have new match types a new roster. And it’s focused on John Cena. And when you when you complete his entire retrospective on his 20-year career, you unlock a version of him that is transparent, because you can’t see me and I’m not making that up. Isn’t that so amazing?
Is he okay?
Is he like literal? Is he an outline transparent? Or is he actually invisible?
It’s just as clothes running around in the rain. So I haven’t gotten that far in the game yet because you have to win all or you have to beat him in all the matches where he lost in his career. So his retrospective is not about all the times where he was great. It’s about all the times where he was defeated. In the completely scripted sport that we all love to watch, right? Like I’m not getting into that argument. It is an amazing thing to watch. Now, ordinary world also involves things that happen to the actual person that we call Daniel right. Megacon got back to me today. And I haven’t talked to anybody about this that’s related to the show. Three of my panels got accepted this year. Plus, I’m on Chris Ferguson’s panel about orcs being racist in D&D. So I will be at four panels across three different days of mega con. And we’re going to be covering Elden Ring, Final Fantasy XIV and The Last of Us.
Oh, I’m so sad.
I know you would have been there, Jenny and Gene, you have been there too. If you hadn’t moved and gone after good things in your life, you could stay in Florida and had more suckiness but been at Megacon? Yeah. So I think that we’re gonna have a good list of panelists. You know, I know that they’re scheduling conflicts this time. But do you remember Jenny when we would do episodes, and we’ll be like, “Someday I really would like to do a fan convention.” And I just, why couldn’t I? Yeah, like, I’ve been waiting for weeks. And I was in my mind, “Yeah, they’re probably not gonna pick me.” It’s taken way too long. And then they actually extended the deadline for them letting us know. And then so then I was like, “Well, I guess I still have hope. But I’ll just go there and be a fan this year.” And then I’m not going there to be a fan!
That’s so exciting. If any of them are on the outlier days, let me know and I might be able to make it work.
My panels are on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
Okay. I might be able to do Thursday or Sunday.
Okay, I know which ones are on which day but off the top of my head. So I think it seems like Final Fantasy you would be able to contribute. I think The Last of Us, you could because I included the HBO show as part of the description. And what’s the other one? Oh, Elden Ring.
Not when I’m out.
Yeah, you probably wouldn’t know much. But then again, we’ve had people on our panels that never played the game they were supposed to be talking about and didn’t tell me. Which that’s super rude. But oh, no, you know, like, you wish that wouldn’t happen. And they just say I’ve never played that one, Doc. But yeah, it’s okay. So ordinary world has been really awesome in both playing video games, and also the academic side and doing things. I also bought Final Fantasy 14 on the PS five because the spring sale, put it at 50% off. I got all the Collector’s Edition mounts for all the expansions for that price. And now I can play Final Fantasy 14 in my living room with a controller. How’s that been? It’s been really cool. I’m learning how to do it. I created two new characters. Did I talk about my new characters last week Gene?
You sort of you talked about that it exists.
So my Cat Boy I created another boy Jenny, but this time he’s a Cat Boy. So I think I’m gonna love it. His name. Did I say his name last week Gene?
I don’t remember the name.
Oh my gosh, you’d remember it’s amazing. It is Dr’game O’logy with apostrophes! Yes. So that Cat Boy is a conjurer and he’s in Gridania right now learning how to learning how to be a conjurer and Kyphia Sage is in Limsa Lominsa learning how to be an arcanist and it’s just been great. Did you know that in all three openings to the game. Alphinaud and Alisaie are in the vehicle with you sleeping off to the side?
Yeah. Oh, you get to relive the section of the game where Alphinaud is basically meaningless.
I did not like him in A Realm Reborn.
He is the worst character until even all the way until the end of Heavensward.
But then I realized that the reason I don’t like him is because he’s doing what I would be trying to be doing if I was in that exact same situation. And then I was like, I can’t dislike him anymore, because then I dislike myself.
He’s a freshman in college who changes the major like six times,
Oh, I did not change my major since fifth grade, I knew exactly what I was doing, which also is not good, like, parent child dynamics are definitely in play there like, I will fix the world with amazing powers of thinking and solving problems. All right, well, I think that sums up ordinary world.
Episode 100 of The Gaming Persona Podcast: The Call to Adventure
So let’s do The Call to Adventure and get into our topic for the week. All right. We have talked many times, so many episodes, hours and hours of conversation about gaming motivation. It is the backbone of this show. And I want to do some fun things with gaming motivate motivation in this section. So the three primary categories of gaming motivation, or achievement, socialization, and immersion. And I think between the three of us, we all really check boxes in an interesting way. And don’t check boxes for us in interesting ways in the way we overlap. Actually, Jenny, last week’s episode was about the types of gamers between casual mid core and hardcore. And I actually drew up the association that between the three of us I think that that is what we are as a show. Yeah, with you being hardcore Gene being casual. And me being hardcore. I mean, yeah, right? Yeah. So just shuffle that and you get what I actually meant last week. So what I want to ask each of us to do with our time tonight is all three of those motivations can be interacted with by anyone who plays a game, even if it’s not their favorite thing. But what are some of our best gaming memories in those categories? So our biggest most important memory with achievement, with socialization, and with immersion for us, and there are subcategories in there. And if we want to get more specific, get bonus points from the imaginary professor for this course that doesn’t exist, then we can associate things like game mechanics or competition or role playing or, you know, discovery or things like that, too. But the three overarching achievements, socialization, immersion class who would like to go first? I’ll go, all right, which category are your most powerful memories coming from Jenny?
Um, I’m gonna say socialization and achievement.
Oh, you’re double dipping your goals, or your memories? All right, tell us.
So for achievement. I can remember distinctly the first time that I beat a raid with a raid team. And that was in Star Wars. The Old Republic. It was with you. It was before anyone else was playing with us. It was just you and I, and we were in Old Republic Dads, I think was the guild we were in.
I remember them. Yes. Wow. That’s a long time ago.
I know, and we beat Terror from Beyond. Um, and I was so bad. Like, I just remember getting like, the reason we couldn’t get through the last boss was directly my fault, because I didn’t know what I was doing.
Oh, yeah. This was 2014. Neither of us knew what we were doing.
Yes. So we were on probably not discord, maybe like Ventrilo or something. And I know, it was very go Teamspeak. And I think you were trying to help me out. But like, maybe it was that you also didn’t know what was going on. But I remember the little power balls were just like, I just couldn’t, I couldn’t figure it out. And so, but we ended up despite my horrible contribute contribution. We ended up beating it and I remember feeling so good. And so excited about that. And that to this day is my favorite dungeon in that game, even though I’ve beat it a billion times. I love that one.
Oh, I miss some of the raids in SWTOR. I actually wait. I miss doing the raids in SWTOR with the people that I used to do those raids with?
Yes. Yeah, that’s the other part of it with socialization. I loved having our first guild together. All three of us were a part of it. It was some of the like, I feel like one night we have a broke night and we played until like, 5am one night and you’re like, “This is when I normally would be writing.”
You said, like really close to that evening that you would never play SWTOR with me at 5am.
No, no, no, that’s not what it was. I said I would never be awake at that time.
Right. Okay. Well, I was saying how I have been playing SWTOR in the morning, because I never feel awake enough to play it at night because of work and exhaustion. And you had said something like that. And then I just pointed out after the fourth or fifth raid of the evening, like, “Hey, you’re playing with me at 5am Jenny.” That, by the way, is the only time that I’ve ever had enough energy to pull an all nighter as an adult like, it has never happened. I couldn’t even be awake when Rian Johnson walked through the line at Star Wars Celebration, handing out pizza like that moment just walked right over me and never happened.
That may have been for the best. In hindsight, yeah, it definitely.
I felt like I let myself down so bad when I woke up, though.
No. Yeah. But yeah, those moments were some of my favorite moments in gaming in terms of socialization. And then also, in Final Fantasy, we built such a lovely group of people, and played with such wonderful people. And I miss them all the time. And it’s a lot of fun.
Did you know Jessica is an officer in AIE now and organizes events for the guild now?
That’s so cool.
They are doing that. They are doing the Final Fantasy XII Alliance raids next week as a like, play and learn kind of thing. Anyone in the guild is welcome. We’re gonna teach the fights. And it’s at 9pm Eastern Time, next Wednesday. And I told her, I would love to just transition from the end of our show, to streaming that, like, so I can play and be a part of it and connect our show with AIG for that night really directly beyond just plugging them. But I think that’s really great. I so basically, I’m saying they’re still playing in they miss you.
They will update my game and just have it be a natural transition next week.
Yeah, you should. There’s some new stuff and you can always get involved in playing super seriously and upgrading your gear so you can play savage raids.
That will also never happen.
That’s what you said about playing SWTOR at 5am. Gene What gaming motivation categories have created some of your best memories in video games?
Yeah, I was trying to really differentiate but I think it’s also socialization, because basically, all of my friend group is as a result of video games, but you know, you and Resident Evil.
Your marriage kind of is the result of video game too!
My marriage… The reason I didn’t become a weird hobo loner in freshman year of college. Yeah, basically. So my freshman year of college when I first got there, that dorm there was a weird dorm snafu where there they didn’t set the rooms properly. And so they put me and like eight other guys in this one really large room. It was basically like a converted storage closet. Night put us in there for like two for a week.
Where was this, FSU?
Yeah, it was at FSU. So we were there for a week.
Oh man rearrange things.
Welcome to Episode 100 Everyone!
But yeah, my roommates. So like because I was bored by it. And also they have my own spy. I just set up my crappy little. There’s back in the day. So it was like crappy little like 12-inch TV, the one with a VCR combo. I had that too. Yeah, I just set that up in the middle of the room. There was only one real table in the room. I just set it up there and I started playing whatever I wanted to play. And most people didn’t care but the two guys that did care, they end up being my roommates for the rest of my career until they graduate for me but yeah, so it’s the reason And I was not living by myself being a hermit.
Yeah, so you had a shared interest. And actually, the cool thing about that memory Gene is it doesn’t matter what you were playing.
Yeah, it’s just that they were interested that I was interested, or that we had a shared interest in any game.
Yeah. Plus, you’re saying, I don’t care what you guys think are cool. I’m gonna do this. And if you don’t think it’s cool, then I don’t need to know you ever.
Yeah, I’m just killing time until they give me my real room. That was my initial outset.
Yeah. Hear that everyone, even people that are not gamers, but somehow are listening to Episode 100 of The Gaming Persona. Video games are a way to communicate what you’re interested into other people, and form connections. How wonderful. Okay, so socialization is a prominent feature in my favorite gaming memories as well. So maybe we’re making the case that at least for our group, here, it’s the most important one. But you know, that’s not an open and shut case. And it’s not a universal insight that works for everyone. But, Jenny, there are five moments of me playing video games that really highlight what I love about being a game player. And at least four of them are that social raid boss achievement, socialization, achieving more together than you ever could, alone kind of thing.
So I remember, the first time I beat story mode Revan, in Temple of Sacrifice with Gene, and Alex, my wife, you, Jessica, and a couple people that we didn’t play with for too much longer after that. Cypher was one of them, as well, and I miss him. So that fight was so tough at the beginning, you know, and just for us to pull through and do all the mechanics well enough, in that Shadow of Revan time period, when it was the current hardest Story Mode Operation. That was really cool. And then, about five years after that, being able to beat it with Death Star Troopers, with a completely different group of people. But we worked on that fight really hard to beat it in hard mode. And so that fight shows up twice in my list of different difficulties. And then Leviathan and Final Fantasy XIV…
I was going to put that as one of my achievement focused ones,
And you weren’t even playing Jenny even though it’s
just in the room, I happen to be in the room too, because I just like was gonna go home. But I was like, I couldn’t
That was one of the that was one of the coolest streams too, because you were you were over for dinner. And I just said, I’m supposed to stream tonight. And you’re like, “Well, you can stream.” So. So I did. And so that was that was really surprising. That was my first ever savage raid when with level sync. So that was really cool. And I’ve only had a handful of those in Final Fantasy 14 Anyway, up to this point, and just raiding in general, one person cannot beat those bosses, if the fight is fair, and everything is all equal level. And so anytime you’re able to have a victory, it’s because of the social aspect of playing games, the teamwork, the communication, the planning, the execution of the mechanics and the strategy. It’s just such a complicated thing. And so because of that, those are my favorite motivations. Those are my favorite gaming memories.
Then the only things that really hit the list that are like that are when I beat something that is that difficult, but it’s a challenge that is meant to be alone. Like when I beat Hell or Hell difficulty in Devil May Cry 4 you know, that was a moment that meant a lot to me because that felt really hard to do. And, you know, professional difficulty and Resident Evil 4 and 5 and 6, Platinum trophy and Bioshock Infinite things like that are all in that list and Elden Ring most recently beating. Beating Elden Ring the very first time was just I couldn’t believe it right like that moment where you realize I’m not gonna die right this second. I could swing the sword. I was shocked that I didn’t die yet. So those are those are my important memories. Yeah, so we all shared, we all connected our gaming motivation categories, socialization got the most impression points here. How interest we even talked about immersion, none of us are playing for psychological escape, or I have to play games a lot because “my boss is trash” or anything like that?
No, I’m my own boss. So that would be tragic.
You could still play because your boss is trash. I actually love my bosses right now, it’s such an amazing thing to be able to say that out loud.
Yeah, that makes like such a difference in your entire life.
Yeah, that’s the whole reason we came to this state.
Because all bosses in Florida are trash?
My wife was having a miserable time. And we’re like we’re gonna go to decidedly, you know, arguable, arguably, you know, the best school in the nation. Yes, either. It’s always one, two, or three. Like, that’s where they fluctuate from.
Episode 100 of The Gaming Persona Podcast: The Road of Trials
I’m not arguing at all. I’m jealous of her job all the time. And I just can’t think about it. So we’re gonna go on The Road of Trials. To get my mind off of that before I start escape playing my video games face our challenges and discover our strengths. One of the best episodes we’ve ever done, Jenny is about to make a comeback. And we’re gonna force Gene to participate in it this time. And we are going to be talking about the dark timeline. football ball. Yep, you did to see we’re, we’re the same. We’re equal amounts of here on this show. All right. So the dark timeline gene is one of my favorite episodes from like, in the first 10 episodes we ever did. Jenny and I talked about what our life would be if we never played you know, the most important video game to us. Now, I’m going to use my mystical and terrifying psychological superpowers to go into all of our pasts and remove your cherished memories that you just talked about. On episode 100 of The Gaming Persona now, if those memories never happened, and everything connected to them never happened, because that initial memory didn’t happen. Where would you be as a person right now?
Oh, for me, I think one of my friends from college he. He basically, like never pursued a career and then we can we were in Japanese classes together at FSU. So you didn’t complete it. You never pursued a real career. He instead just kind of took his Japanese knowledge and apply to an English teaching course. And moved out to Japan. And it’s like I mean, he’s having a good time, but it is a directionless life. Not trying to insult them or anything.
Does he listen to our show?
I don’t think so.
Insult away Gene!
but like I feel like that’s kind of where I would be because without my games, I wouldn’t have my social circle. I wouldn’t have my wife. I probably had direction as guy just having an okay time hanging out in Japan like but not really. I wouldn’t have a career because that’s not a career path teaching English in Japan. It’s an okay job, but there’s no advancement.
Oh, so the thing you’re doing is what you will always be doing.
Yeah, you can I guess you know, get more certifications, and get to charge higher rates. But it’s not like you’re always us, English teacher like you because you don’t have the same credentials to get you into like a Japanese university to continue to teach a real core versus you’re just teaching these ESL type courses or doing private tutoring, stuff like that. So I see.
Okay, so your career and your social circle, and possibly even your marriage, because if you’re not wearing that Junpei hat, yeah. You’re not even interesting.
I would just be hanging out. Probably. I mean, I assume I would have other friends and a whole different friend group, I assume? I don’t know. But yeah.
Okay. All right, Jenny, do you? Do you know what would happen if my dastardly and villainous superpowers removed those memories from your timeline?
Well, the earliest one was us playing SWTOR together. And…
We have a paradox because you can’t talk about that on this show!
Well, I wouldn’t be here, I’m pretty sure if we didn’t build a relationship outside of work by playing SWTOR together. I don’t see like a path to where I’d be here with you outside of work talking about video games.
Yeah. Yeah, that’s very true.
And most of the other instances that came to mind for me were a direct result of our friendship. Like, I only played Final Fantasy 14, because you played Final Fantasy 14. And you brought me in and all of these memories I made with Gene never would have happened. All these memories that I made with our entire guild in Final Fantasy never would have.
So this is what happened?
Well, now we’re getting into the different kinds of time travel and how you are talking about the Back to the Future time travel, where once something becomes a paradox and is impossible, anything that existed prior based on the things that are now deleted, vanishes, which is one style of time travel, but not the one that I think makes the most sense, because everything that it took for that thing to exist already happened in their timeline. And just because that timeline is no longer possible, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen to them. I just have a hard time believing things will vanish for no metaphysical reason.
Yeah, I don’t believe that.
Well, I’m not really saying that I’m just saying our relationship wouldn’t have gone beyond being coworkers.
Oh, I would just be another Cedric?
Yeah. There were many of you.
Okay, so that’s, that’s the name. That’s the name of the person who did the job that I got hired to do. That led to me meeting Jenny. Okay, so just to clarify, because nobody knows, everything that we know. So there we go.
Yeah, their friendship from that. From that position, which I still remain friends with. We connected on a photography level. Outside of work.
Yeah. So you only connect with people who are clinicians, but have a passion for something else?
Okay, so I think if you remove oh my gosh, if you remove Hell or Hell difficulty, like that is the moment where I learned that I can be anything if I want to. And that thought is again, I say this like every five episodes, we have a moment like this. But without that thought and thoughts related to that. There’s no reason for me to go get a PhD. Meaning I could just be a like $25,000 a year underpaid counselor at Park Place Behavioral Health in Central Florida, right. Like, I really love the experience I got there. But monetarily and experientially there’s no reason to do that for longer than your internship. Because you don’t grow and right after I left, that’s when I started meeting the people that helped me understand that there’s so much going on in video games that relates to what you do as a counselor figure that out. And so the doc program started that led to me having more confidence to apply for better looking jobs, which led to me meeting you, Jenny. So in Gene you and I were friends in high school, but you are the reason I ended up even playing games like Devil May Cry in Resident Evil in the first place. So the two of you are woven into these critical memories. That led to me becoming a counselor who likes to talk about video games. And just having the confidence of saying, “No, that’s not silly. It’s not a joke,” For real, video games will teach you the most important messages about what you are as a person if you’re looking for those messages. And in a way where you’re allowed to fail 1000 times without the consequence, like, can you imagine if you failed a college course? 1000 times? Yeah, right, like video games are a chance to do that. But with no risk, you’re supposed to fail, and you’re supposed to feel stupid and powerless. But you know what, we created this game, and we put you in this room with this boss, figure it out. And there’s a lot of people in this world that don’t want to figure things out. They just want the answer. And I don’t get along with that mentality. And maybe that makes me cranky. A lot. But I’m that way, because of Capcom, and two people named Gene Wong and Jenny LeBron. So The Gaming Persona exists, 100 different conversations. I would have never ended up on Ootinicast, I wouldn’t have met Chill and to I wouldn’t have been on Death Star Troopers, I wouldn’t have become friends with Marcus from Working Class Nerds. I’m not functionally the same human being without those memories.
I feel really empty inside right now. I think this dark timeline is no joke people.
It is the opposite effect on me. It made me feel full, like, love and experience.
Yeah, I need the bonus round on this. So now that we’ve looked at what the dark timeline could take from us, what are some of the ways video games have taught us who we are as people?
Well, for me, at least I know. So in real life, and even just doing this podcast, like it was really hard for me, for I don’t know, like the first 50 episodes or so.
All of season one?
I don’t know how long it took, but to actually feel confident, and know that like, I can go in here and talk about anything, it doesn’t matter what it is. And I have a perspective that’s valuable. And something to say. And so it’s, it’s, it’s always been very difficult for me to make friends and relate to people and like come out of my shell, because it’s the most comfortable place for me. And for me, video games really helped with that, because I’ve met a lot of new people that in real life would be a little bit more difficult for me to meet, because I don’t know where to start, like, I’m not going to small talk and you know, all these anxiety things. But when it comes to video games, like that just is the starting point. And for the most part, I don’t know what I’m talking about, or what I’m doing. So it’s really easy for me to be like, “Hey, can you help me with this? Because I don’t know what’s going on.” And people love to help other people in some games.
Probably not Star Wars The Old Republic. In some games they do.
Well, anyway, in that game, I had the experience where most of the people that I played with, I knew through you so but with Final Fantasy, like, I made lots of new connections to people and enjoyed speaking with lots of new people that it would be hard for so that’s definitely life changing. For me. It just helped build my confidence.
Yeah, I’ve been playing healer and a lot of leveling Roulettes and Expert Roulettes recently, and sometimes there was one last week, Jessica, one of our very good friends on the show and in life made a comment that messed me up as a white mage. She said I was healing wrong, and then I did a dungeon without her. And I was the worst I’ve ever been as a game player. I died nine times in one dungeon. And the people there we’re trying to figure out what’s going on. And I was like, I’m so sorry. All of my moves are in different places, because someone told me I was healing the wrong way. And they’re like, “What do you mean healing the wrong way? Everyone was alive until you moved your moves.” So, you know, video games teach you to have confidence to problem solve, and to just have fun filling a role and understanding how, what I do affects other people. And actually, oh my gosh, that’s the concept of Area of Effect Counseling. The name of my private practice is because of what I do in video games affects other people. And so if I’m healing, then maybe the people around me are healing too. And that’s what I wanted people to get by choosing to pursue therapy and choosing to do that with me. Gene, what are some of the things video games have contributed to you becoming the person you are?
So I guess, I feel like to me, video games have gotten to that point where it’s kind of I don’t want to say replace, but it’s become a thing that’s, like, you know, books, when we were younger, like, say, the first time reading Lord of the Rings, or something like that. Those are giant, fundamental ways of how we view life, right? Yeah, I feel like video games stories have reached that level of comparison. Like, you know, for reason, God of War Ragnarök. That’s an amazing story.
You mean, like they’ve become the modern mythology?
Yes. And so like, at least with my friend circle, it’s like, it’s no longer I don’t have to be like, did you watch X random TV show like The Big Bang Theory, or friends, or something like something very generic like that. I can just play video games, doing what I love. And it’s still a relevant point of conversation, to at least people. Not, you know, not everyone, but I have I know enough people that care.
Yeah. Also playing something and feeling like you had to solve the problem is very different than watching a movie like escape room or escape room to where it’s interesting, and you see them complete the puzzles, and some of the characters don’t die. But at the end of that two hours, you didn’t solve anything, and the movie was going to end whether you’re awake or asleep. Whereas in video games, it’s your mental processes, solving those problems and advancing to the next room. I think that’s a really important distinction. By the way, Jenny? We didn’t mention Magic the Gathering this episode yet. And that’s become a staple of our show. And did you see that they have started a Lord of the Rings crossover. And that they’re, they’re making a one of a kind one ring card in there’s no idea where it’s gonna end up in the world.
I can’t wait. I just saw a YouTube video like a preview for like some stuff. I guess that has been leaked. But I don’t like to look at like spoilers or anything like that before. Things officially come out. So I didn’t click on it. But I can’t wait. I’m so excited about it.
Yeah, but card spoiler free has gotten way out of hand.
I just close my eyes look the other way.
That’s probably smart with anything that’s on the internet.
Now a little the cards for the thing is kind of bogus in in magic sense. Because it’s like the people with $1,000 of spend. They’re like, “Oh, yeah, I know. Every card that’s gonna come out next week. I’m buying all the copies I need. I have an unbeatable deck.” They won’t have this release. Yeah, that’s, that’s beyond spoiler.
Yeah. I don’t play in any level that where that would matter in my life. But if I did, I’d be annoyed.
Well, I’m annoyed for you because I don’t play. But I just think Lord of the Rings is cool. So anything that wants to crossover with Lord of the Rings, I think is noteworthy. And Gene, I think that what you said about reading The Lord of the Rings, before video games really became narrative and cinematic. that turning point is really what I was thinking about so heavily when I decided to write my book. And so somewhere In the next series of time, the book will come out and we’ll have episodes of the show still happening. And people will actually get to directly see what I’m talking about. But anyone who’s watching on YouTube or Twitch saw me like, being so excited when you mentioned that because video games really have taken that spot where the big stories about humankind occur in video games now.
Episode 100 of The Gaming Persona Podcast: The Ascent
So I’m going to move us into The Ascent, to give us ideas for elevating the topic. We have had 100 episodes of the show. And I always wanted it to get there. But I didn’t know how it was going to end at this point. It’s not only clear that video games have helped the three of us to become the contributing adults in society that our parents always doubted we would be, but also has helped us find things about us, that make us feel good being who we are, and even inspiring to other people, which is a huge bonus to any stats that we bring to the table. In the encounters of life. I just want everyone to think about the things you do for fun, that fulfill you that make you feel complete, they inspire you to think differently about the things you’re facing in life, and believe in yourself. And no matter what other people tell you the worth of that activity is believe in it. Because one year down the line five years down the line, even 20 years down the line, you have no idea where that journey is going to take you. I went from playing video games in my bedroom as a child, my dorm room as a college student, and even my living room watching my son as an infant sleep. And now video games have led to me writing in books, doing panels, meeting my research heroes and leading research teams to do things that are actually really important that as a student years ago, I always thought someone should be doing this. And then the world asked me to, and I can’t even wrap my head around that every single day when I wake up in the morning. And that’s because I played video games and had the right people in my life saying, keep going. continue the journey.
Episode 100 of The Gaming Persona Podcast: The Return
So I would like for everyone to think about that, while we go on The Return and take these ideas with us back into our daily lives for each step forward. So let’s talk about the first 100 episodes that we’ve done. And Gene, I believe I brought you in as a as the third host of around 70. Does that sound right?
Sounds right. I don’t Yeah, I don’t remember exact number either. But I don’t know what number it was.
But I think we did the Persona episode. And Jenny, you had said you have like two out of three weeks where you had weddings. And so I just asked Gene come every week. Let’s just do it because I want to keep the momentum going. And I’ve really loved the show with three people. It’s so much fun.
It feels like you’ve been here forever.
Yeah, I feel like there’s something wrong with the audio when I’m doing some editing on the old episodes. Like where’s Gene? So, Jenny, you’ve done? I didn’t do stats. I should have done stats like Gene you have been on 36 episodes. Jenny, you have been on 84 episodes. Doc, you have been on all 100 episodes because you have no life. So what are some of your favorite memories, Jenny, from the inception of the show, all the way to where we are right now with this conversation.
I’m so anytime that we’ve had a guest on the show, it’s always felt like, like there’s something special happening, you know, like getting to talk to you too, every week that obviously is special and is in and of itself. Like it’s not. I don’t do anything else every week at the same time for a few hours. Like it’s just such a huge part of my life. But anytime we have someone new and different and like a different perspective on the show, it’s always really exciting for me. I’m always so like so enthralled and interested in what they have to say about whatever topic it is that we’re talking about. Like I get lost in it sometimes, especially in the beginning when I wasn’t as confident, I would just be like sitting there like listening and not forgetting that I actually have to talk and contribute to the conversation. But anyway, it’s, it’s really I feel like that has changed our show in a really positive way. And I’m really excited every time it happens. And then beyond that, specific episodes I can think of off the top is actually had this in here before you brought up Magic the Gathering. But the Magic the Gathering episode was really special to me. I love that game. It’s probably the one game that I have played for the longest in my life. Because I started that game in high school. And I’m 36 now and I still play it. So it’s, it’s definitely something that has my heart and I love play every time I play it. I have a great time. So. So the magic episode was really cool. And then also, the episode where we talked about video games as art was especially exciting for me. I love thinking of video games in that way. And it helped me to kind of see the art in lots of different things, not just video games.
Yeah, I agree. I think it’s been a lot of fun bringing in guests. And you know, our first guest was Nick Yee. And that was such an awesome experience for me. Because his motivation scale even has been the foundation of this conversation in a lot of ways. And then we’ve had Marcus from Working Class Nerds, Adam Hill on Magic the Gathering. We’ve had Dr. Stephanie Diaz Morel, Anthony Bean, Mxiety, Shane Tilton. We’ve had Jessica from AIE and our good friend. We’ve had Matt and Dr. Goku. We’ve had Wes also from well, I know him from AIE. Let’s see we had Michelle Fynan. Who else I want to give everyone? Yeah, Chris Ferguson. Yes. We had Jamie Madigan from the Psychology of Games Podcast. ESA president Stanley Pierre Louis. Dr. Lennart Nacke. Yes. I can’t say his last name.
Still, it’s been two months of c’est la vie. But that’s a really awesome list when you look at all the different expertise, all the different contributions to the psychology of playing games in different ways, how we view relationships, and how we create goals for ourselves in life. Also, my wife was a guest on the episode that was on it takes to and for me, that was one of the coolest experiences in the show. And a lot of a lot of comments and messages actually came back to me about that one, which was really great. So and then we had Gene, which led to Gene being on all the episodes. So guests have been really important part of the show since the endpoint of season one when we started doing that. And we’re on season three. I don’t think we’ve missed any weeks so far in the third year of the show, either. So that’s really cool, too, that we keep going. Gene, with you being the relatively new coming person and getting to do the last end of season two, and all the way through what we’ve done in season three, where some of the things that you’ve enjoyed about the show so far.
Yeah. Yeah, I want to say the guests here like I mean, of course in my line of work, which is not related to this at all, I would definitely not have had those experiences talking to these kinds of people.
You are a professional Game Completer Gene. Okay. Your ability to beat things that I cannot beat has always been something that I’m envious.
That’s, I mean, it’s not that great. I do it in a very inelegant way. It’s not. It’s not like those people that you see on the internet that beat millennia while taking hits. It’s nothing glamorous.
I take all the hits and that’s not glamorous either. Oh, also Ricardo Williams from two weeks ago for Nerd Nite Orlando. It’s so recent that I forgot to mention it.
I would like to say that I’m very upset that I wasn’t there for that episode.
Well, too bad. You’re such a big Star Trek fan, Jenny.
Yeah, who knew? I’m very sad.
Listen, I was…
A good point. Shara in the chat just mentioned that. His that their favorite thing is that you started streaming the episodes live after he hopped on it. So I love that. I love that we’re doing these Live episodes.
There were attempts to figure that out. I just needed to figure the technology of it out there. There are actually weeks of the show with audio that could have been episodes, but the technology led me down because of trying to do this on Twitch. So just trial and error we got where it works. And I’m super happy doing it live too, because we’ve had the show on YouTube now for about two months, I think. So that’s a lot of fun. And I think that it appeals to different people as well. So I would like to hear at least one thing from everyone. While we wrap up the show for tonight. What is on our vision board, just just your own personal preferences. For any time between now in Episode 200, what do we hope might happen?
I hope that we play more games together.
I hope that eventually we actually are all physically together in a con again.
Like doing The Gaming Persona live on stage?
Or I mean, or even a panel or anything because I still haven’t done that with you guys yet since I’m new to the show.
Yeah. Do you want to fly down to Florida in two weeks?
Not sure I can do that one.
Well, you don’t want to do it that much, Do you Gene? That was a real invitation. Now I have an ego wound. Okay, Jenny, what do you hope happens in between now in Episode 200?
I said I hope that we play more games together a more game like an entertaining way.
So like play them here?
Share it with people. Yes, that’s fair. It was people and have it be part of something.
You want to be part of something? That’s so nice.
I think I need practice with it. Because I am not a streamer. And so I playing games for people’s entertainment is something that I’m not used to. And so I’d have to flip some sort of switch where not as many F-bombs come out. But I think it would be really fun.
Yeah, I mean, now that we have a Patreon, if you really need to have some Not Safe For Work episodes, then that’s where we can drop them. So the more you swear, the more money we make. Yeah, that probably is the formula for some people.
So for me, I just want I want to have the episodes of the show that happen after The Gamers Journey comes out. Like I just don’t know what that even looks like. You know, we’re going to be editing it like it’s probably going to be a crazy 2023. But that book exists because this show exists. But this show exists because I was trying to figure out how to write that book. And like it was all happening around the same time is just when I was on Nutini cast, the thing that was hard was, I wanted to talk about so many different things. But that show is all about Star Wars: The Old Republic and the news and patch notes for Star Wars, The Old Republic. And so I left that show. And I like to think that I left in a nice way, even though I was very frustrated by the game at that point in time. And, you know, Chill was super awesome as a host for that show. And I think he understood what I was trying to figure out. But I feel like a lot of those things I have figured it out is, you know, Final Fantasy XIV. So far for me has been a very different experience than playing Star Wars: The Old Republic. And I think it’s just the community seems more polite, seems to be more aware that you don’t have to be this super nightmare raider to be of value as a human being. And whether they don’t insult you because there are rules in place, or they don’t insult you because they’re a genuinely good human being. Doesn’t matter. The end result is still they don’t tear you apart as much.
Yeah, in that game, like my first raid with Old Republic Dads and SWTOR.
Oh, you did get yelled at. I’m so sorry, Jenny, you should have left that guild. They died. It’s fine.
it wasn’t that bad. But they were definitely yelling at me. They weren’t like trying to help me understand. I just kind of like, eventually figured out I’m just gonna stand still and not die. Yeah.
I just I think that this show has helped me work through a lot of things in trying to figure out what do people want to hear in the conversation about video games as a psychological experience. And then as I learned that more, I tried to give back more and then I learned more about what people want to hear. And it’s, it’s helped me figure out a lot of the goals I had as a professional who didn’t want to only be a counselor. And that’s just so exciting to me, is to take the little things I do when I’m a black mage, and or, you know, scorpion or subzero, or some random soldier with a sword in Elden Ring. And just figure out a way that that can mean something to people and help them learn and insight to get through their day easier. So that’s meant a lot to me. I’m looking forward to doing 100 more of those. And we’re going to meet more people and get them on the show and have more topics and yes, sky’s the limit. So if these conversations sound fun to you, and you’re looking for some great people to play online games with, checkout AIE at AIE-Guild.org.
I have one last quest for everyone to collect for the day. Whatever brings you joy, do it 100 times. And as always…
Continue the Journey
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