The Surreal World of Psychonauts - A Fan's Perspective
Both a part-time student working towards an art degree and a gaming enthusiast, Andrea Benites shares her thoughts on the world of Psychonauts.
First, tell me about yourself. What do you like to do in your free time?
"Well my name is Andrea and I’m a part-time student working towards an art degree. Aside from playing videogames (and spending time online), I like to draw—whether it just be doodles or a completed piece. That’s how I like to spend my free time."
Tell me about your gaming experiences. How long have you been playing games?
"Oh, wow, since I was five I think? It was a pretty young age that’s all I remember. Unfortunately, my childhood did not include Nintendo titles; but my first console was the PlayStation. I would play game after game every day. Since then I never really stopped loving them."
Out of all the games you've played, what is your favorite?
"I always had a hard time answering this kind of question since there are a lot of games I really like but nowadays I think I would answer with Psychonauts. That’s the kind of game I enjoy playing, as well as enjoy watching other people play."
Can you tell me what's the game about?
"Well, Psychonauts revolves around this kid named Raz who sneaks into a psychic summer camp."
(Raz - drawing by Andrea)
"He does this because it’s his dream to become a psychonaut, which is basically a psychic secret agent. Everyone at the camp has psychic powers (including the wildlife) and soon people start disappearing only to come back with their brains missing. This causes Raz to decide to figure out what’s going on and put a stop to it, all while learning more psychic abilities."
I know Psychonauts is now considered a cult classic. Why do you think the game didn’t sell well when it was first released?
"I'd probably say that during the time it came out people were moving on to the next best thing. Before platformer adventure games were pretty popular but after time they just moved on to another genre of games despite all the praise the game got."
So, why is Psychonauts your favorite game?
"Well it’s the mix of artistic style, characters, and story that makes me really like the game. The character designs are also great, even those of background characters. Each of the campers have their own fun personalities. It makes it impossible to get tired of it. Psychonauts has great humor and some of the funniest dialogue I’ve heard in a game. All of this is combined with strong storytelling.
On top of that, the level designs are also successful and really fun—even my least favorite level was very enjoyable."
Would you say aesthetics are an important aspect to any game?
"Yeah I'd say they're pretty important, in the sense that you judge a book by its cover (even though you're not supposed to). It catches people's attentions and the player can heavily enjoy those aesthetics while playing. It's just great while in game to stop to look at all the work that was put into the game."
You also mention that the character designs are great. Who is your favorite character in the game?
"I would have to go with the protagonist—Raz. He’s a fearless little kid with some sass thrown in there. Some of his comebacks are very witty and makes me laugh each time I hear it. Of course close second would be Linda, a giant lungfish."
If anyone wants to find you, where can they go?
"Sure! For anyone interested: http://applenose.tumblr.com/ "