What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve always felt that video games use the concept of mythology to help us follow the journey in her favorite stories even since the time I was young. As I grew older and became more educated, I started reading different books about mythology and philosophy for fun because I felt like they helped me process ideas better as a graduate student. Once I read Hero with a Thousand Faces, I had this feeling inside that someone needs to write “this book, but with video games.”

After I got published in the Psychology of Pokémon with Leyline Publishing, I started to feel like maybe the person who should write that book is actually me.

What characters in your own life helped bring this to life?

My wife and my son are so supportive of everything that I do. Without them being understanding and believing in me, I would never set aside the amount of time it took to write this book.

If we are talking about videogame characters, there are so many that left a mark on my growth as a person that come through in my persona as a mental health professional. People will just have to read the book in order to figure that out.

What is your favorite area of geek culture?

Video games are by far my favorite area of geek culture, but I also use movies, comics, TV, and anime to make many points when I’m public speaking or talking with people about the principles of psychology.

When did you first get published? And has this been different this time around?

Although I have been published in academic journals, my first book publication was my chapter in The Psychology of Pokémon.

It is much different this time around because in the other books (Pokémon, Elden Ring, The Witcher, and The Last of Us) I was only writing one chapter. For this book, every line of every section is my responsibility. I also felt a deep responsibility to all game players who will read my book. I wanted to do my best to pick game examples that reflect what they experience as a game player too.

In the end, this book reflects my experience while I think about other people as well. It is impossible to tell the story of the mythological journey in a way that does not involve yourself . I had to just give myself permission to write and believe that people will see how the path relates to their own lives.

What was most challenging when crafting this narrative?

The narrative for this book follows the stages of the monomyth. That means that I needed to cover every stage of the hero’s journey that we all know and love from our favorite movies, comics, and of course, video games. The problem is, depending on how you break the stages up, there are either 12 or 17 stages, and this book needed to be closer to 15 chapters.

In the end, I decided some stages could be smaller and grouped together into bigger themes with the chapters around them. I settled on a total of 19 chapters as a compromise. Every stage of the hero’s journey is in the book, and I’m very proud of the analysis to apply the lessons from the story excerpts into our mental health journey as readers and game players.

I’m especially proud of how the book ends, because I believe this is the best way to explain the final phase of the journey, which is known as The Return.

Are you clinical and if so, how do you see your book helping others?

My primary role these days is providing supervision for licensed counselors, training for certifications like the Geek Therapy (CGT) and International Gaming Disorder Counselor (IGDC) credential. As a result, I work with many mental health professionals, parents, and gamers who do not necessarily see video games as a source of academic enlightenment.

My goal with this book is to show people that the stories we experience in video games have meaningful messages, powerful life lessons, and can change the way a person lives life if they take the story seriously as a guide for how to find success in the face of adversity.

Most people seem to not see this the way I do. This book is a way for people to hear my discussion on how to make this a part of your life even if they never get to meet me.

What do you want readers to get from this book?

Playing video games is a worthwhile challenge, and helps us connect more deeply with our truest motivations for who we want to become in life. We just have to take the time to translate those motivations into our real life context and not leave them only existing in the videogame world.

If you could tell your 12 year old self one thing about geek culture in the future, what would you tell them?

Keep playing these games. It’s okay to let them inspire you. Someday, everything you are thinking about when you play these games (Zelda, Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, etc.) is going to have the potential to make a difference for somebody.

Any advice for new and aspiring authors?

Set aside time every day to create something. This could be a new sentence, paragraph, page, or even if it’s just reading something that might be a new source or scribbling a new idea in your notebook.

Every single day leave the project a little bit better than it was when you woke up. Eventually you will be able to read the whole thing and it will blow your mind what you were able to put together.

Can you share with us your most favorite part of this book?

There is one particular quote from the PS4/PS5 era that made me cry on stream one night when I was playing on twitch. This quote makes an appearance a few times in my book in different ways. If I am not emotionally ready to read those sections and then I come across them, it unlocks the full power of that memory again. I even cried a few times while I was editing that chapter.

These games really matter to me because without them I would never have pursued my PhD, I would not be Dr. Kaufmann, and I definitely would not be Dr.Gameology.

If something speaks to you, and you can feel it making a difference inside of you. Keep going. That is what “Continue the Journey” is all about. That is why I give my viewers that call to action every day.

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