Dr. Rachel Kowert is the host of Psychgeist, a YouTube series that examines the psychology of video games. In her videos, Dr. Kowert examines such concepts as escapism, flow, esports, and Animal Crossing. She is also the research director for Take This, a non-profit that seeks to destigmatize mental health issues in the gaming industry; and she is the author of Pragmatic Princess, a children’s book about empowerment and self-reliance.
In this interview, Dr. Kowert and I talk about the role of MMORPGs during a pandemic, and what the long-term effects will be on our social skills; why the moral panic over video games has seemingly lasted longer than previous ones; how escapism can be a way not just to get lost, but also to be found; whether escaping into books are subjected to the same judgment as escaping into a video game; how Take This has adapted its AFK Rooms to online events; and what the best Final Fantasy is (and why it’s VI).
Stream the audio edition of this interview below or from Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Spotify, Overcast, Pandora, Pocket Casts, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, RadioPublic, or the Internet Archive. Click past the jump for a transcript and links to resources mentioned in this episode.