How to Waste Your Life on the Web Part 10 of 12: “My Brother, My Brother and Me”

“We’ve been using video games in a way they never, never, never were intended to used.”

It’s January, and if you’re a resolutions type of person, you’ve probably spent some time thinking about wasting time and making things. 

One person that knows a lot about both is Justin McElroy. He co-hosts the modern advicecast “My Brother, My Brother and Me” and the medical history podcast, “Sawbones”. He also writes and make videos for gaming site Polygon, which is home to the video series Monster Factory — where Justin and his brother Griffin McElroy push the limits of common decency in the create-a-character mode of various video games.

“We’ve been using video games in a way they never, never, never were intended to used,” says McElroy. “It’s probably not healthy.”

So far, they’ve re-created Garfield in Skyrim, delved into the already freaksome online virtual world of Second Life, and in their most recent effort using 2015’s Fallout 4, created The Final Pam (a post-apocalyptic housewife and her husband, Trash Hulk, along with their sons, a ghost and a coffee can).

It’s one of those things that is better experienced than explained. But what pushes someone to take a very specific flavour of goof and publish it online?

“Honestly, this is going to sound like BS, but the fact of the matter is, I like the idea that somebody could be having a bad day, and they could watch something that I made, and it will make their day better,” says McElroy. “I don’t mean to sound like a Mother Teresa of Internet Content Creation, but that’s the honest-to-God answer: I just like making stuff that makes people happy. And, for me, making that stuff is a really good release of creative energy, too.”

“[Making things on the Internet] suits me on two levels: one, there’s a fairly low bar to entry, and as someone who lives in a rural state here in America, that is really intriguing because I don’t have to be in New York or go to LA to make stuff. Two, it’s really immediate. On one day, I make the thing, and the same day, people tell me what they think about the thing. It makes it feel more like a conversation, and I really dig that.”

“So many people get hung up on how to make stuff in a way that’s going to be successful and in a way that they could make a living off of it. But the fact of the matter is, they just need to start making things.”

“My friend Liz Gilbert has a great book called Big Magic, and she talks about how people wait for permission to be creative. And nobody gives it to you. You just do it.”

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