Co-op Mood

Co-op Mood is a podcast about video games and why we play them. Every other week, co-hosts Sally Tamarkin and Shane Vaiskauskas talk about video games, exploring topics and themes as well as the stories they tell, the worlds they create, the characters who live in those worlds and the gameplay mechanics and story structures that make it all possible.

Sally Tamarkin

Shane Vaiskauskas

Sally is co-host of the Co-op Mood podcast on the One Shot Network, a former community organizer, and an avid collector of polyhedral dice sets. When she’s not (video or tabletop) gaming, she’s either trying to figure out the 5e build for each character on Brooklyn Nine-Nine or co-hosting the advice podcast, the Struggle Bus. Her favorite video games of all time are Def Jam: Fight for New York, Telltale’s The Walking Dead, and any game that centers queer or gender nonconforming characters. She lives in Philadelphia, PA.

Shane is co-host of the Co-op Mood podcast on the One Shot Network, author of the micro-RPG Wreckin’ is Racin’, and a very mediocre Overwatch player. When he isn’t playing or talking about video games, he hosts of the ENnie Award-losing podcast Total Party Thrill. A lifelong gamer, he now resides with his wife and game collection in New York, NY.

Co-op Mood 10: Detroit: Become Tabletop

In this episode Sally and Shane talk about Sony’s weird lottery system for preordering a PS5. Then they talk about the video games they’d like to play as tabletop RPGs and share their thoughts and ideas for just how to do that, from adapting lore and worldbuilding to implementing gameplay and mechanics. They also talk...

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Co-op Mood 9: You Will Be Deceived

In this episode Sally and Shane talk about a few different news items (including Stardew Valley update 1.5 and a certain big company suing a certain giant company). Then they discuss the 2019 game Interrogation: You Will Be Deceived, from the noir mood and rotoscoped aesthetic to the mechanics and themes, as well as what worked...

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Co-op Mood 8: Tabletop Roleplaying Video Games

In this episode Sally and Shane talk about the Nintendo gigaleak, why it matters, and ask the question “Does anyone care about the plumber’s brother?” Then they talk about the tabletop roleplaying games they’d like to see adapted in video games and how those concepts would be executed. They also talk about the games they’re...

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Co-op Mood 7: You Have My Divided Attention

In this episode, Sally and Shane talk about casual co-op games, when they work, when they don’t, why they’re great during the pandemic, and more. Then they discuss their all time favorites of the genre and also kind of change their definition of the genre. They also talk about speedrunning and Games Done Quick 2020...

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Co-op Mood 6: Myers–Briggs, But Video Games

Sally and Shane talk about Quantic Foundry’s gamer motivation profile survey and how it attempts to distill gamers’ personalities and playstyles and recommend games. They talk about the benefits and the limits of the survey model and then discuss their own results. They also discuss Amazon’s new recent released (and more recently un-released) game Crucible, as well...

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Co-op Mood 5: The Best of Us

Sally and Shane talk mostly about Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Part 2. Although they skipped big story spoilers, there is plenty of discussion of how the game feels to play, the richness of the environments, and the exquisite storytelling. They also discuss whether video games have any place in high school curricula, the simple...

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Co-op Mood 4: Jones in the Fast Lane

Shane and Sally open by talking about the Madden player who won the Madden bowl without having a QB or even throwing a single pass. Then they dive into the genre of games that includes Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing—known as “tend and befriend”—that are all about doing a job once your IRL workday is...

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Co-op Mood 3: Enter the Dungeon(s and Dragons)

Shane and Sally open the episode by talking about the billion dollar (billion! Dollar!) video game coaching industry. Then they talk about the video games that provide a damn good simulacrum of sitting around a table playing D&D with buddies. Read More: Bloomberg: Billion Video-Game Coaching Business Ramps Up During Lockdown Contact Us: Sally on...

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Co-op Mood 2: War is Hell (of a Good Time)

After discussing the Nintendo PlayStation and how weird and (apparently) valuable it is, Shane and Sally talk about how video games explore and portray war, from the jingoistic gun porn options to the games that are grounded in the brutal reality of combat trauma. Read More: Engadget: Bidding for the ‘Nintendo PlayStation’ prototype is already...

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Co-op Mood 1: Social Distancing Together

In the premiere episode of Co-op Mood, Shane and Sally talk about gaming in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. From game delays and Switch scarcity to the games that are bringing us comfort, joy, and immersion and all the co-oping we’re doing while sheltering in place. Contact Us: Sally on Twitter: @sallyt Shane on Twitter: @mundangerous...

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