Welcome back to Postgame, Sidequest’s monthly Patreon-exclusive podcast, where the editors lay down hot takes on cold games. This month, we discuss the games that had the most impact on us in 2021. We played (and didn’t play) Disco Elysium, Paradise Killer, various Sherlock Holmes games, Cozy Grove, Nier, Fitness Boxing 2, Breath of the Wild and more. 

Yes we did record this well over a year ago, why do you ask?

Timestamps and topics:

  • 5:05 to 15:57: Disco Elysium
  • 16:29 to 28:40: Police in Disco Elysium and other games
  • 29:00 to 52:27: Paradise Killer
  • 52:27 to 1:05:55: Sherlock Holmes games
  • 1:06:20 to 1:09:27: Watching playthroughs of Resident Evil Village
  • 1:09:27 to 1:19:38: Cozy Grove and comfort games that keep it real
  • 1:20:04 to 1:23:15: Nier
  • 1:23:15 to 1:25:30: Fitness Boxing 2
  • 1:25:30 to 1:30:20: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • 1:30:20 to 1:34:00: Pokemon and Stardew Valley naming schemes
  • 1:34:55 to 1:39:45: Oxenfree

Pieces we mentioned:

Pieces we didn’t mention but you might like:

Theme music is Bass Thee by Alexander Nakarada, used under Creative Commons 0.

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Excerpt:

 

Zainabb Hull:I also played a lot of Cozy Grove the last few months and I found it quite comforting. I’ve written in the notes, “bear friends”—well, I said, “bear frens,” because I’m a Tumblr millennial.

[LAUGHTER]

Zainabb: But yeah, there’s fucking—there’s ghost bears in it. And they’re all really kind of goth and like, really cute.

Zora Gilbert: Yes!

Zainabb: And it makes me so happy. It’s just like—I’m writing about it as part of a piece I’m writing on games to play when you’re flaring up. But it’s very similar to Animal Crossing in how it functions. But the difference is Cozy Grove is a lot more morbid, you know. Not in like a heavy way or anything like that. But just like in that sort of gently gothic way of understanding death is real. It comes for all of us. We all experience loss and disappointment. But we can still be friends and move forward in life. And it’s great. It’s exactly what I need.

Zora: Yeah.

Zainabb: During a difficult year it’s like—sometimes you need things to be rainbows and puppies, but sometimes you just want to be like, “I’m sick and goth, let me be.”

Zora: Yeah.

Zainab: “Let me be in that,” you know?

Zora: There’s a thing I’ve been thinking about—this idea of escapism and catharsis. And kind of the balance between the two. Like, I remember in the US when the 2016 election was happening, a lot of people—this was also like the advent of the McElroys. And a lot of my friends were like, “Oh, yeah, I really love My Brother, My Brother, and Me and The Adventure Zone, because it gives me a chance to, for an hour and a half or an hour or whatever, to just like unplug from the nightmare that is U.S. politics and current events and laugh because they’re very, very funny.” And I get it. But what I was I was doing is—around the around that time I was finding the McElroys increasingly difficult to consume. Because they’re all about good vibes hilarity.

Zainabb: Yeah.

Zora: Right. And I was like, I can’t—I need to unplug, I need something to focus on that isn’t the stress of the world. But I can’t completely detach from it. Trying to just have good vibes fun times is actually too much of a lift, so I need to listen to things, watch things that actually give me something to chew on. Or something that like, acknowledges that there’s a lot of bad explicitly and throughout its vibe. Yeah. Cozy Grove.

[LAUGHTER]

Zora: What a name for something that really acknowledges that death comes for us all.

[LAUGHTER]

Zainabb: It’s an excellent get. I would recommend it to everyone. Yeah, I think what you’re describing, Zora, is like—you know, sometimes you need a way of disconnecting that doesn’t feel like you’re burying your head in the sand.

Zora: Yeah.

Zainabb: And, for me, that’s very real when we’re thinking about political situations, and you know, socio-political—all of this sort of stuff. But also, just for me on a personal level, I want to distract myself and not be so focused on pain or on exhaustion or brain fog, whatever’s happening. But I also want to acknowledge that those things are part of my reality, I don’t want to necessarily feel like I’m trying to ignore it or dismiss it. And not just my physical stuff, but also like—we are all struggling this year, like a lot, emotionally, and mentally, and to have a space where you’ve got just really cute bears being like, “You can have a hug anytime you want. You can literally ask me for a hug anytime. But also, I’m really sad because I feel insecure today.” That kind of thing is like, “Yeah! I feel you. Thanks for being honest with me.”

Melissa Brinks: I think Spiritfarer had kind of a similar feel at times, where it’s a game explicitly about death, and it’s often quite sad, but you also enjoy the moments of connection that you have in that space. And that can be a very effective means of escape also, while still grappling with reality, in a sense. And like, trust me, I’ve needed some escapes from reality over the past couple of months. So no judgement for me if you sometimes do need to stick your head in the sand, but I think it’s also good to sometimes engage with the difficult stuff in a fictional fashion.

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