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Episode 53: The Indoor Kids
Gaming School with Adam…
The Indoor KidsThe Indoor Kids

The Indoor Kids #53: Gaming School with Adam Sessler

Kumail and Emily welcome Adam Sessler to the show to talk about how he became one of the most well-respected industry voices (hint: it involves banks), what he plans on doing next, and what he thinks the gaming industry needs to continue evolving as an art form and an entertainment form.


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  1. Betzoo says:

    Guys sorry to double post but I just felt like such a douchebag by referring to Kumail and Emily as ‘everyone else’ – I just felt like I should mention Adam ’cause he was the guest – but ANYWAY what I meant to say was that the discussions in this podcast were riveting and I thoroughly enjoyed them and great points were made by all. Ok self-conscious posting over. Thanks.

  2. Betzoo says:

    I just started listening to this podcast and this was the first episode I listened to and this whole show is hands down the most intelligent and stimulating thing about video games I have encountered possibly ever. Thanks so much guys for making something of such a high standard which is also loads of fun and not pretentious! A really great episode, with some wonderfully put points from Adam and everyone else! Thanks!!

  3. Lydia says:

    “The way you guys were talking it seems like you don’t think female characters can have a journey? Why couldn’t Samus or Lara Croft grow into their badass roles by having some traumatic experiences? Doesn’t that add weight to the character and give them a reason for the way they are?”

    They didn’t say this at all — they were criticizing the idea that that traumatic experience is almost always rape or the threat of rape, which is unimaginative (not to mention problematic, given the issue of sexualization of women in video games). There are a lot of formative experiences women can have that don’t involve sexual assault! I haven’t played as many games as our righteous nerd hosts have, of course, but I can think of two characters that use this trope off the top of my head — the badass lady soldier in Fallout New Vegas and Sapphire in Skyrim. Games that allow the player to choose their gender are much better about giving gender-neutral scenarios that are relatable to anyone (such as looking for your missing father in Fallout 3), but it’d be nice to see more tough female characters with a different kind of story. I’m sure there are tons of exceptions already; they’re just pointing out a trope.

    I agree – great episode! I love when you guys get all deep and stuff.

  4. nickyp123 says:

    Amazing episode the guest is terribly well informed and got into a good discussion without sounding too pretentious.

    Love it!

  5. Al says:

    Great episode. I was wondering why the Keith Apicary character recieved such negative comments, but I get it after hearing Adam Sessler. It’s a pleasure to hear a well informed person discuss a subject matter that they TRULY enjoy. There is no need for negativity, or for wasting time talking about X-Play like a stepping stone. Sessler was a great host, and I look forward to whatever he does in the future.

  6. Bob says:

    First time listener. I liked the show, but please stop stepping on the guests answers. Give them a chance to complete a thought.

  7. Dave says:

    I enjoyed the podcast but I would like to hear a little more discussion rather than you guys seeming to agree on everything. I don’t necessarily disagree with the points made but having someone play devil’s advocate could get the conversation to go a little deeper.

    The way you guys were talking it seems like you don’t think female characters can have a journey? Why couldn’t Samus or Lara Croft grow into their badass roles by having some traumatic experiences? Doesn’t that add weight to the character and give them a reason for the way they are? I don’t disagree that it could’ve been handled better in the games but don’t you think the effort to give them an arc of some kind is important?

  8. erratic gorilla says:

    I’ve been looking forward to this episode for a while now, and it did not disappoint! This is three of my favorite people who discuss video games, in the same room, chatting, joking, and making me more intelligent than I was before the conversation began. Thank You!
    Video game tropes and storytelling are two major issues in the medium moving forward and there is no one I’d rather have take on this topic than Kumail, Emily, and Adam.

    I’m glad Adam is getting some well deserved time off! In his clips from E3 he looked happier, healthier, and more tan than I’d seen in any Sessler’s Soapbox. And judging from the sheer amount of guest spots that Sess has tweeted, the prospective employer line up really must be huge! (And well deserved!)

    And Emily’s previous “Dennis Miller of video games” joke? Tremendously accurate. In an hour, Sessler mentions John Carpenter, Samuel Beckett, Roland Barthes, Jean Baudrillard, Ben Fritz, Patrick Klepek, John Webster’s Duchess of Malfi, A.O. Scott, Eli Wallach, Abbie Heppe, and more! If anyone can absorb half of that, they have superhuman synapses.

    notaquestion: Thanks for the link! I really wanted to hear the Blair Butler diaphragm joke!

    Dishonored does look quite good.

    You know what else looks good? (Segue!!!)

  9. Kumail Nanjiani says:

    Thanks so much you guys! I personally was extremely teemed to have Sessler on. I have been watching him on tv for years, and it was truly an honor and a thrill to have such an in depth conversation with him. Passion and intellect in equal, and extremely high, parts.

    And yes, we are going to be at comic con! Both Emily and I! I am hosting a comedy show at the WB stage on Thursday at 7 pm, and generally running around to do a ton of stuff. Say hi if you see me!


  10. John G. says:

    This was a pretty fuckin’ good episode yous guys.

  11. Pete says:

    Embarrassed to say I’ve never been a huge fan of Sessler on TV as I found him too animated, but this was a great interview. Sessler’s Soapbox and some of his writing I’ve seen around are what gaming journalism seriously needs – thoughtful analysis rather than just a basic review or cleaned up press release. I definitely think this was the best discussion you guys have had (no offense to you) and I hope we get to hear Sessler again soon.

  12. Eric Shaddix says:

    Great show! I’m looking forward to Adam getting back on his soapbox again.

  13. kevin says:

    as someone who grew up there in cleveland i have say that you weren’t a special case, the city really is that dreadful. but, as someone who has been stabbed three times there, I can say that it could have been worse. great episode by the way!

  14. Alec says:

    The way you guys described more subjective, experiential reviews sounds like New Games Journalism.

    You should check out this classic example of a guy’s fight with a griefer in JK2: Jedi Outcast:

    (and yeah, the expletive is integral to the narrative)

  15. Aaron says:

    I think this is the first time I’ve ever heard either Kumail or Emily admittedly praise or even recognize the Giant Bomb crew. I’m glad you guys can address the “elephant in the room”, as it were, since you both specialize in video game podcasts. I listen to both, because they have their own merits each, and I don’t consider you as competitors, though oftentimes on topical game information I will heard the same information or similar points of view.

    Anyway, just thought it important to note that listening both your podcast and the Gian Bomb podcast do not need to be mutually exclusive; you can enjoy and appreciate both.

    I love you guys! Are you going to be down at Comic-Con?

  16. Michael P. says:

    Holy crap! that was a fantastic episode! ‘Love that Sessdawg!

    If by some miracle and the stars aligned to make it possible, would you guys ever do an episode of the Giant Bombcast?

  17. Manfriend says:

    Remember my comment!

    This episode is brilliant. Thank you.

  18. Roxanne says:

    I stopped watching X-play a few years ago, but I was definitely watching during its best years. I thought the humor in the reviews were hilariously dark. Sessler and Webb always knew the exact amount of sarcasm to deliver them with too. I look forward to seeing what you do next.

  19. Aubrey says:

    I’m sure this has already been stated, but that downloadable game about being alone that you mentioned around 30 min? You are thinking of “Lone Survivor.” Great game, would recommend.

    Also, would you guys ever be up for putting links up to the things you mention in the podcast like game trailers and what not?

  20. notaquestion says:

    Looked all over for it…

    Thought I’d share it.

    I’m a nice person, love me?

  21. patastic says:

    Adam Sessler is one I would pay to listen to.

  22. Livius says:

    I’m having another psychic episode.
    I was just thinking the yesterday, ” I wonder what Sessler is doing now, maybe he should do an episode of the podcast.”

    Downloading now :]

  23. Aj says:

    The Bechdel test for movies, could really be applied to all forms of media, but it really is a great way to look at how movies are presented to & absorbed by society, without really considering the female voice.

  24. Spraynartatum says:

    best episode yet. I love this kind conversation. Plus I saw Kumail last week at UCB and I was experiencing true joy. Such a funny stand up comic.

  25. Christian Fernandez says:

    Sessler is God

  26. Keith says:

    Huge Adam Sessler fan! I could simply sit and listen to him talk all day every day about anything… Is that creepy? Oh well.

  27. NeuroMan42 says:

    One of the best and most honest game journalist on the Earth.

  28. Twunt says:

    I was struck with curiosity when Adam said that the outcomes of the Mass Effect series can vary significantly based upon the choices the player makes.

    I’ve played two different Shepards through the entire trilogy, on whom I made very different decisions. I played a paragon DudeShep in which I was a total completionist, and a renegade FemShep on which I was something of a murderous psychopath. These two playthroughs could not have been more different, yet somehow the stories still seemed totally identical to me. My choices seemed to affect nothing more who appears in which cameos, or which color palette was used. I was left thinking that my choices didn’t mean much of anything.

  29. Dave says:

    I was surprised that you mentioned the ambient misogynist chatter of Arkham City, and proceeded to talk about True Lies without mentioning it’s misogynist slant. It’s pretty striking. (I would guess the cable version might edit out the constant use of ‘bitch’, but I do not know)

  30. Brian O says:

    Brothers Karamazov shout out! Seriously though, amazing book if you have the time…

  31. Luke says:

    This was a great episode. I’ve always like Adam Sessler because he manages to engage with games in a smart way without being pretentious. His point about encouraging discourse was especially good. Also, on a totally unrelated note- for some reason I laughed really hard when Emily starting eating ‘dry bread’ in the intro.

    Thanks for the show!

  32. gary says:

    Could you use a sort of combination of Usability and Narrative review of a game? Usability testing of games as a way to review a game would be interesting…sort of something like New Games Journalism or Travel Writing. I think that might be your template: a sort of Travel Writing narrative that reviews a place rather than the narrative of the object.

  33. Got to second Men, Women and Chainsaws. Did film study in college, and it was one of my favorite reads.

  34. Daniel G. says:

    I have to give you guys credit I stopped listening for a long time, mainly due to my preference on going more in depth on deconstructions and themes of video games at times. Last one I listened to was the Mass Effect 3 podcast, maybe a few after can’t really remember.

    Point being is that this is episode is what I always wanted to hear from you guys, and Adam was a perfect guest to have for it. Great great interview and discussions. I hope you guys can have many more episodes like this. You should totally convince Adam to have a super serious video game podcast here on Nerdist, while you both take care of the more casual fun side!

  35. Larry says:

    Lord Sessmongus!

  36. Brodie Spears says:

    You should have come a little more south to Columbus…we are soo much better.

  37. clivodimars says:

    “squee!!!” I missed adam so much after the g4 thing. I watched feedback and sesslers soapbox every week. Thanks for this you guys!!

  38. Kyle S. says:

    The Cider House RULES! Fuck yeah, Cider House!

  39. Captain Slaw says:

    I feel for you two. I lived in Cleveland for two years and what you described was my exact experience repeated on a loop for 730 days. If Cleveland rocks so much, why doesn’t Drew Carey live there anymore?

    You know where it rocks? Nashville. Metaphorically rocks. It is literally a bit country, but I still think that Kumail should do a show here.

  40. Pedak says:

    The Sess!