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Fear, Disney, positivity, Zynga and more with Erin Reynolds

4:00 PM on 03.04.2014 // Jonathan Holmes

Get to know the people that make great videogames

Last Sunday on Sup Holmes (now on iTunes) we welcomed Erin Reynolds of Flying Mollusk to the program. We talked about so many things, like the influence Ecco the Dolphin and Gremlins had on her formative years, why she got into game development, that jerk from Fox News (my words, not hers), her work at Disney and Zynga, her thoughtful-but-dead baby drawings, the Michelle Obama awarded student game Trainer, depicting mental illness in games, the idea of "positive games," and of course, Nevermind -- the biofeedback-integrated horror game she's been working on for the past few years. 

Nevermind is designed to make you feel uncomfortable, but the real goal of the game is to help players learn to be aware of their own anxiety and learn how to manage it. You play the role of a new kind of mental health counselor who enters the subconscious minds of their clients, in an effort to help them work out repressed memories of trauma. It's your job to stay calm in the midst of a world teeming with surreal threats. If you can't do it, how can you expect your client to? 

That's just the tip of the iceberg on what Nevermind has to offer. Check it out on Kickstarter here, and back it while you still have the chance. Erin tells me that even if they don't make their funding goal, that backing still helps them immensely, as the closer they get to their goal, the better they'll look to potential publishers. Backing any amount will help them to make their game, regardless of how much funding they get in the end. 

With so much to talk about, I failed to ask Erin an incredibly obvious question. What are the fears that she's had to overcome in her life, and how might they relate to Nevermind? Erin was kind enough to fit that question in after the show was over. You can find her answer below. 

"I rarely talk about this, but I'm actually pretty shy by default. Painfully shy sometimes. When I first started making games, everything scared and overwhelmed me. I loved making games and working directly with the people who made games alongside me, but socializing, networking, just reaching out and saying 'hi' to fellow game developers was super scary and uncomfortable for me.

However, I knew that I wouldn't be able to achieve many of my personal goals if I stayed in my limited comfort zone. So, I decided to dive head-first into the terrifying and worked my way up to be the president of an 800+ student organization (SCFX) toward the end of my undergraduate career to force me to have to constantly be pushing beyond those boundaries. As a result of that experience, I became less afraid of meeting new people and more comfortable with professional social settings in general. I even gained leadership skills that I never thought I had. I'm still secretly pretty shy, but I've been fortunate enough to have had enough opportunities to learn how to cope with that for the most part. Thinking about it, there may have been some subconscious inspiration for Nevermind in that journey.

In terms of other fears - I have a few! Can't stand spiders (like many folks), I tend to have a ton of anxiety issues when driving, and I have one pretty odd fear that developed when I was a small child... but unfortunately I can't share that one just yet as it's a Kickstarter stretch goal reveal!"

Thanks again to Erin for appearing on the show, and tune in to Sup Holmes with Sunday at 1pm PST/4pm EST when we welcome Jane Jensen to the program. 

Jonathan Holmes, Bad Joke Uncle
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