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Episode 47

The Indoor Kids

Guy Branum and the Birth of …

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The Indoor Kids #47: Guy Branum and the Birth of the Homosexual Option

This week, Guy Branum joins us! He was one of the original employees of TechTV and the former head writer of X-Play, and he and the Kids talk about how video game entertainment has changed, his place in it, and whether or not the online gaming world needs Moms. Plus also we discuss nerds and being a minority. Pretty heavy stuff, guys.
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41 comments

  • Black women are very unique and, they are a really
    different type of women. There are so many stereotypes
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    The ladies can be discovered in all parts of the world and, the most popular black girls are African Americans.

  • This was an awesome episode, definitely one of the best on nerdist. The discussion with Guy was interesting and excellent. Not only the discussion about homophobia, but the nuanced and thoughtful way Guy explains it. Well done! And more Emily upskirts that arent really upskirts :)

  • I liked the discussion of gender. On girls who don’t like video games being fashioned into fake nerds for TV — yeah, it always bugs me how this myth of “Well, no girls are really into nerdy things” keeps being perpetuated. It’s like how I see married dudes who are like “Oh, I’m not gonna go to one of her CHICK movies” or “She won’t watch movie X with me” and I just end up scratching my head because I married a person who shares my interests and we generally like the same things so this issue doesn’t really come up. Sure, we don’t have to like ALL the same things — he likes platformers, I like RPGs — but there isn’t this clear division of “husband stuff” and “wife stuff” that you see in mainstream culture. I sometimes think it’s a generational thing, but I hear couples my own age talking like this. Weird. Marry someone you like, guys!

    I shared Emily’s experience of believing that girl stuff is not cool when I was growing up. From a very young age — 3 or 4 — I liked to dress up in animal costumes, but I would always stress that I was a BOY bunny or a BOY kitty, because I wasn’t interested in any of that stupid pink frilly crap — I wanted to play with dinosaurs and bugs and rocks, not be a girl. Funny how these things are engraved on your psyche so early on.

    Great episode, but I do have to second what some other commenters said about Guy’s eagerness to cut people out of the “nerd” group. Music nerds aren’t nerds? I don’t know what to call behaviors like sitting and meticulously transcribing a Bach fugue by ear or listening to five different recordings of “The Rite of Spring” to decide which one is best, if they’re not nerd behaviors. An old fellow music nerd of mine called himself a wonk; maybe we can have that word. Maybe we don’t need to call it anything, but it’s a little sad to be cut out of what should be a joyous fellowship of persons with intense interests that others would consider strange or boring.

  • @Elliot, recently our NES broke, and I went to the local gaming concern looking for a new one. They didn’t have any, but for $60 I picked up a thing called the Retron 3 Trisystem. It has an NES slot, an SNES slot, and a Genesis slot, so it seriously reduced the number of cables coming out of our TV. Mostly it works well, the only caveats being: 1) the wireless controllers that come with it are crappy and have a time delay — they work in a pinch, but you gotta get the real controllers (you can use all the classic controllers with it, though I found that third-party NES controllers did not work with it — real McCoy only); 2) the sound mixing is a little weird, but not a deal-breaker; 3) some Genesis games don’t work on it, giving a message saying they were designed for NTSC systems only. Sonic 1 and 2 worked but Sonic 3 didn’t. Weird. But I recommend this machine in spite of those drawbacks. It’s super convenient.

  • “If you’re a nerd, tell it to me in Elvish…”

    I have a saying written in Tengwar tattooed on my forearm. People typically ask me if it is either Hebrew or Sanskrit. Rarely do people recognize it is Elvish. :)

  • Loved this episode. Guy’s POV on being gay in a swirling sea of teenage “faggot”ry was down to earth and refreshing; I’ve always thought that unbridled anger at the callousness of internet anonymity, while understandable, is typically not constructive at all, especially considering that the comments of the coveted 15-year old WoW demographic has always seemed to me less rooted in real hate and more rooted in immaturity, attention-seeking and the ignorance of youth. I guess I think they say that shit because they don’t know any better, not because they actually believe it. It doesn’t make it okay, but it can help dull the sting–consider the source, if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter, etc….

  • Dudebros….

    Fantas is your classic internet troll. He shits on stuff to get attention for himself. Do not fuel his posting by paying any attention.

  • I really liked this show. Good joorb K & E! I would be delighted to hear another podcast with Guy. It doesn’t seem like you finished business with him.

    When you guys are coming up to Seattle?

  • Great episode overall! I’ve never heard of Guy Branum, but I will be sure to keep an eye out for his name from now on.

    But there was a point in the episode that really got to me. There was a discussion about being a nerd that requires a history of marginalization, being excluded, etc. Basically, being a nerd is something that should not come easily, should not be walked into, and should be considered a badge of honor earned from braving undesirable situations. People shouldn’t just be able to call themselves nerds and try on that identity for whatever it is.

    It’s ironic that nerds who consider themselves appropriately titled as such due to braving exclusion would turn and exclude others.

    It’s disappointing to see that it has come to this, and Emily and Kumail are not alone in perpetuating the attitude of, “It’s our thing!” As people who have come to appreciate who they are and how they identify themselves after all of those experiences, wouldn’t you want the whole nerd realm (nerdom?) to be more welcoming? Who cares if it’s a fashion statement or phase or whatever? It’s not yours alone, and you cannot tell other people how to appreciate or be a part of it. Accepting these people under the label does not devalue the nerd label.

    But what’s becoming quite clear is what does devalue the nerd label…

  • A+ episode.

    I love that Indoor Kids constantly mixes video games and culture / lifestyle / experience rather than just a huge discussion about “that new 30-second video game teaser that makes no sense.”

    Emily and Kumail: you have a wonderful thing going here and thank you for keeping it going.

  • This is an excellent episode! Kumail and Emily, you are both very funny and forthcoming with personal experiences as always. Guy’s honest stories from G4 and X-Play, World of Warcraft, and life are lots of fun and he has a great point of view on everything that comes up. I laughed and I learned, and that’s why I keep listening.

    Josh, any factoids about a town named Bundanoon are gold in my book.

    Elliott, I’m sure no one here would condone doing a Google search for ROMs and Emulators for the SNES, NES, and Genesis to turn your laptop/PC into the best retro gaming console ever, but its been known to happen, and plugging in a SNES style usb controller is easier than hooking up 3 different systems to your TV. I like the slim PS2 to play original Playstation games on, since its so small and it plays all the original PS games. You can find all these consoles used and very affordable on amazon.com (the usb controllers are there too, as are classic games, cat food, and almost everything else sold in the galaxy) a convenient, and Indoor Kids sponsoring, banner is right here on this page, so that would be a good thing to click on to check it out! As for games I’ll recommend a few personal favorites: Chrono Trigger (SNES), EarthBound (SNES), River City Ransom (NES), Castlevania Symphony of the Night (PS), and a game Kumail has often referenced: Secret of Mana (SNES). All these titles should give you a good amount of gaming for your money.
    “Game it up!”

  • Elliot:

    The internet has some great places to get older systems from, like eBay and such…a seller on there I can vouch for (since I’ve met the man in charge at his retail location in Northern New Jersey) is digitalpress…they also have a site, digitpress.com, with a pretty extensive forum that will help you get the retrogaming going…I imagine there’s also regional subforums that will point you in the direction of stores near you that sell games from the mid-nineties. Hope this helps.

  • @Fantas!

    @Chris Hardwick wrote to you on the Scott Aukerman nerdist episode comment thread, “Sidenote: if you post even one more negative comment on my site, I’m going to replace the entire comment with weird factoids about random things, just so your posts will be of some use to someone.”

    I’d like to offer the first drafts for your two posts above:

    Comment #1: In 2009, the New South Wales town of Bundanoon voted to outlaw bottled water. It was the first town in the world to do so.

    Comment #2: When people first began to switch from horses to cars, neophyte drivers commonly shouted “Whoa!” instead of pressing the brake petal.

    What do you think, all? Wanna offer any edits?

  • I can’t stop listening to this episode. It’s great. Thank you Guy, Kumail an Emily for putting on a truly awesome show. I’m not sure if it’s the gossip about how horrible Olivia Munn is or how well and deep you all analyzed it and just what gaming culture could mean for young boys, but this is a fantastic episode. I hope future episodes are this great. (Do not disappoint me guys. JKing…or am I?)

    Also, I am thinking about getting into Retro Gaming, does anyone have any insight on where to start and find consoles. I need an NES, SNES, Genesis and Playstation.

  • Fantastic episode, it’s always great to hear new (to me) perspectives on gaming, how it informs our culture, and our navigation of that culture. This is where this podcast nails it — but it’s a funny line to walk because on occasion it gets mired down in armchair philosophy. (Not this one! Actually, it’s been a while).

    Keep up the good work and thanks.

  • Kind of weird how Guy was willing to throw Tina Woods and Laura Foy under the bus but didn’t name the guy that he talked about. Especially since he mentioned that he didn’t know much about video games when he was working on g4tv.com.

  • Looking forward to this listen and to balance this shit out guys, been listening since episode #1, love it, seriously appreciate Kumail & Emily and all of their great guests. Sincerely, thank you guys for all the free content and just being awesome.

  • I love the episodes where you go beyond the pure gaming realm. You two have a lot of interesting opinions and stories to tell about growing up and finding one’s place in society, Emily and Kumail. Every time you have a guest on who has something to share about, well, “being different” the podcast really shines. Absolutely fantastic. I can’t thank you enough.

    Now about Olivia Munn — those were some choice words. I don’t know her so I can’t judge her, but from what I’ve heard … I guess those things needed to be said. I know you try not to put anybody down on your podcast but I’m kind of glad Guy was as candid as he was.

    Oh, and interesting to see that Fantas! is trolling this podcast as well. Chris already opened a can of whoop ass on him in the comment section of Nerdist’s Scott Aukerman episode. He even promised to replace his troll bullshit with random factoids if he continued. I hope me makes good on that promise. Either way — just ignore him, like the pathetic troll he is. Not worthy of your attention.

  • Up until Giant Bomb, X-Play was always my favorite place for gaming coverage because of the humorous take on reviews that were still pretty informative. I wonder how often Guy gets to dress up as Cupid nowadays (spoiler alert: not enough).

  • This was a very fascinating episode for me. I find Guy’s viewpoint about the online behavior and absolutely commendable. To take such an absolutely positive outlook despite the slurs thrown out with such liberal delight by most “kids” with anonymity, and not get sucked into the “online players are typically bad apples” type attitude, or getting sucked into becoming a troll himself. Much kudos to you sir (Guy).

    The whole story with Olivia Munn was quite sad to me. It was obvious that her departure from AOTS wasn’t on good terms since it became increasingly obvious that she didn’t care as much and AOTS had a whole string of co-hosts to Kevin, yet it also felt like she was stringing her followers along with (now seemingly shallow) promises of a return. I normally try to think the best in people. With Olivia, my opinion of her went down at E3 a few years back where she interviewed David Jaffe (God of War, Twisted Metal) where he was trying to talk about the (new) Twisted Metal game, but was absolutely overpowered by her when she dominated to interview by asking about extremely inane things.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIUt-a7iKac

    I have a feeling that the fight that Guy described happened on that same E3 (which again further lowered my opinion of her). The ‘lifting’ of Morgan’s old previous interviews is just disgusting. I respect career oriented people as I absolutely respect people with drive. But some of the practices described seems borderline psychopathic (which Kumail had a quick quip about).

    As for the ‘hot chicks being fit into nerdom’ action, I’m not big on that either, but what I do like is the person being honest with themselves about being weak in the ‘nerd’ areas, but show an interest in it. Think about getting someone into Dr Who, whom normally would stay away from that sci-fi stuff. I mean as a gamer, I’m not a fan of every single genre of game (say like Emily not being a fan of sports games that isn’t SSX), but that doesn’t eliminate me from being a gamer. As (our leader) Nerdist points out, you can be a nerd about all sorts of things, but you doesn’t make you any less of one if you aren’t nerdy in ALL things.

    Whew, that felt overly vitriolic. (Think positive thoughts…). Oh, I know. Since you guys had Alison Haislip appear on the video show, it would be great if you had her on as a podcast guest!

    Keep up the great work guys! Love that you guys are getting the attention from some of the ‘industry’ people (as seen with some of the recent guests)!

  • I’m loving this episode…but why is it that whenever people affiliated with X-Play/G4 are on the show, some of the nastiest people jump in the comments section? Are these all the angry 15-year-olds who never got into the whole “growing up” thing?

    For the people hating on the usage of the word “minority:” You ought to pay better attention, frankly. Not one of the three people on this episode is straight, white, and male…Christ, as I’m typing this, Emily says the same damn thing at 64:20. Even when a show IS only consisted of that majority, everyone still has moments where they feel like they’re being marginalized, and another important part of the human experience is to discuss these moments.

    Interesting take on the whole…open mic, open server, testing boundaries thing – which definitely includes a lot of homophobia, but also pretty much any kind of hate speech one can imagine. But this idea that immature kids are gonna be like that, and they need to get it out somewhere…I never thought about it like that. I still hate hearing some of that filth, and I mute or filter it when I can, but it makes it a bit easier to deal with; thanks.

    Talkin’ games:

    Guy’s story on getting hate for how he was healing…I feel like the healer/white mage type in games ALWAYS gets the most flak. And sometimes that’s the power, showing your asshole teammates how much they should value and respect you, when you get fed up with it, run off by yourself, and leave them to die.
    Is SSX3 that much better than SSX Tricky? That’s the one I always played at my friend’s house, back in the day. That intro cinematic with the actual song, Tricky, by Run DMC…so well done.
    Also…the original Harvest Moon for SNES is just fantastic, girly game or not. It’s an RPG that made me care about FARMING AND GETTING MARRIED. When I was, what – 12 or something?

    I thought this was a great episode, good mix of behind-the-scenes talk about X-Play/G4 and not-too-heavy discussion of the meaning behind interactions in gaming. Also, Emily: When I started listening to this show a few months ago, I went back and found some clips of G4′s Feedback; it’s main impact on me was feeling like, “Oh, wow…Adam and folks over there actually have real feelings about games, and interesting opinions;” which I didn’t feel like I got from the main G4 segments – it’s possible I just didn’t watch enough to begin with, BUT…Thanks for that, if you had a hand in helping that come across.

  • Justin, did you listen to the episode? I don’t think we ever wallow in negative experiences. In fact, Guy even says how people using homophobic slurs in gaming can be a positive thing. So I don’t know where you’re getting this. I think you’re putting a weird filter on things coming from your self -imposed ban on complaining due to your male whiteness. Everybody has it hard sometimes; don’t have a chip on your shoulder because of your demographic, no matter what it is.

    Kumail

  • Interesting show. Still, I’m a 30 year old white male, and while I appreciate that there is an intensity to racist, homophobic, and sexist experiences that I clearly don’t understand… 95 percent of what you reference is simply the human experience. The rest of us just aren’t allowed to complain about it. I’m sorry if that seems callous or ignorant. I try not to be, but it seems to me like you’re wallowing in negative experiences instead of trying to move past them.

  • Great episode! Guy really hit the nail on the head with what pisses people off about video game television. I also enjoyed hearing about Guy’s experiences playing WoW, as I have shared some of them myself. It can be hard to enjoy the MMO experience when some people criticize your playing style almost constantly. It helps when you find a good group (guild) to work with.

    And I have to say it…For The Horde!

  • Pretty girls faking it on nerdy shows = kill me, please. I don’t know what will happen with AOTS when Kevin leaves. Sara and Candace have zero knowledge or interest in any stuff brought up on the show.

  • Hey Fantas!, it’s not required listening. If you don’t like it, be our guest and turn it off.
    Even embarrassing thirty-somethings know that.

    Love always
    Emily

  • >nerds
    >minority

    zzzzzz. This shit is played, done and dead. Years ago. Just stop. I don’t think you 30-somethings realize how embarrassing you are.

  • So cool to hear from Guy. My favorite period of X-Play by far was when they were doing lots of silly sketches and Guy always made me laugh. Great dude.