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Fridge Brilliance

  • One thing that pleased me about the "Black Velvetopia" section of Psychonauts was how all the different elements, each one bizarre on its own, added together — the paint, the cards, the luchadors, the toreador, the high school paraphernalia — to tell Edgar's story, piece by cryptic piece. Except there was one thing bugging me, even after completing the chapter: what's with the talking dogs? They didn't seem to have anything to do with anything. Then days later, once I'd finished dealing with Loboto, Pokeylope et al at the top of the tower, I was treated to a cutscene that showed Edgar finishing his masterpiece...dogs playing poker. Of course. - Whogus The Whatsler
    • As an FYI, there was a bit of Foreshadowing with that bit - in one of his dialogue responses, the St. Bernard offhandedly mentions the poker nights he had with the other dogs. - Neo Chaos
  • Something that struck me when playing Psychonauts was the lack of Censors in the minds of the Lungfish and Boyd, something that we were told existed in every mind (the censors, not the others). It took me a little while to realize that this was not only intentional, but a very clever decision as the first had had their mind crushed under the dominion of Oleander and thus would have had all their censors repressed and/or destroyed and the second, thanks to his overly suspicious mind, always incorporated different aspects of the world into his conspiracy. In effect, there is no difference between "good" and "bad", so there are no censors, presumably destroyed when he finally cracked. - Kaiser 6012
    • It's also noteworthy that many psychologists believe people with schizophrenia lack the ability to 'censor' their own mind and have trouble controlling their thoughts. Boyd's lack of censors is this idea made literal.
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    • Though Boyd does have censors.
    • and so does Fred! Of course, He seems to realize that he's not quite sane, so that could explain why he has them, despite being a patient.
      • Although, it would go with that theory. They only show up after the squirts are found. Then they only try to attack the squirts. Remember that Boyd was hypnotized (from the looks of it, it may have been actual hypnosis as Boyd isn't right in the head), and it appears the milkman personality was Boyd's inner arsonist suppressed. It's likely that Boyd's lack of sensors were either because suppressed or just cooped up in the first place. After all, would somebody who has normal censors be able to pull up the kinds of ideas Boyd does?
    • Sasha's Exact Words were "any sane person's mind." The lack of censors in the minds of the asylum residents foreshadowed a bit here.
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    • Also, Coach Oleander's Basic Braining Course didn't have any censors, though whether this was foreshadowing his insanity or a conscious act to keep the Psycadets in relative safety is unclear.
      • Though with being highly trained teachers, chances are Oleander, Nein and Milla have their censors under relative control. Sasha Nein's only come out when provoked and he says that he had kept them under strict control along with everything else in his brain
  • When you're in Boyd's house (in his mind) you can see ashtrays and cigarettes scattered about. A common trait among people with schizophrenia is nicotine addiction.
  • Lake Oblongata... Hey, wait a second! The medulla oblongata is a part of the brain.
    • Related: Of course Sasha and Milla are a team! Sasha represents the left side of the brain (mathematical, analytical, logical) and Milla represents the right side (creative, emotional, expressive). -Governor Explosion
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  • Spoilers about in this one, so beware: I used to wonder why did Coach Oleander go nuts, when he was one of the most trusted Psychonauts in the U.S.? They put him in charge of children, for crying out loud, and the government usually doesn't put children in the charge of someone they suspect might go crazy around all that psytanium. One argument is that it was prolonged exposure, but I never bought that argument, after all, the camp is obviously frequented by other psychonauts. Sasha and Milla are probably there on a fairly regular basis as well. Then I realized, Sasha and Milla both learned to keep their minds under strict and careful control. Milla because of her nightmares brought on by her orphanage burning down and all of the kids dying, and Sasha because of the incident with reading his father's mind when he was young. Oleander, on the other hand, apparently never gained that sort of control, and in fact obviously had a chip on his shoulder for being rejected from every branch of the army for being too short. He may have repressed that chip fairly well, being both locked up and buried under cobwebs, but it was still there. So the psytanium never affected Sasha or Milla because their mental defenses were too strong, but Coach had cracks that the psytanium would eventually work around to drive him mad. Tim Schafer, you... are... a genius! -Cpt Sqweky
  • On Elton's facebook, it says that after his father died, he lived with his mother in a "special hotel for ladies only" and that "lots of sailors came to visit her". Remind you of anything?
  • Why is it that the only battle you get help in is the last one? Simple: no one else could overcome their personal demons and neuroses on their own... why should you be any better? They needed help... so do you.
    • Speaking of, given that it includes Raz's own demons, it's surprising that (even with the help of a much more powerful and experienced psychic) the Meat Circus ends with such an Anticlimax Boss. Except the main help isn't the psychic assistance, but what it represents: love, respect, and admiration from Raz's real father, a display of raw caring and emotion that easily disproves (and thus vanquishes) the false image.
  • The appearance of the Nightmares in Boyd's inner world seems to come out of nowhere. After all, they were manifestations of Milla's survivor's guilt after the orphanage she worked at burned down. What does Boyd have to do with guilt and... fire... oh, right, that whole "Milkman" thing!
    • For additional Fridge Horror, we never see HOW Milla's children burned. Wanna bet Boyd did it?
  • A small one, but notable nonetheless. The Censors' rather appropriate catch phrase is spouting the word "no" over and over. Where do you first face off against them? Sasha Nein's brain, of course.
  • I finally understand the nature of Boyd's mind. This is gonna get a bit spoliery. Alright, so Boyd's mental world is a 50's suburbia filled to the brim with conspiracy, the goal of the level is to find and wake up the milkman so he'll unlock the gates in the real world. Well, I finally understood what the story was by looking a little deeper.
    • The important part is the question being asked. "Who is the milkman?" You would think an arsonist would remember any persona they took, even if they have gone mad, yet Boyd seems just as confused about the milkman as the players are, he just sees it as another conspiracy. Then I got the vault showing Oleander hypnotizing Boyd and it hit me. Boyd has no idea who the milkman is because he's a constructed part of Boyd's personality. Boyd would honestly have no idea who the milkman was because he wasn't a natural part of him, and on getting it, he wasn't aware. Instead, when said hypnotist worked on Boyd, he could most likely go inside his mind, see what the mindscape was like, and construct a way to hide that part of him until it was needed. Boyd accidentally hid it by coming with paranoia; asking about the milkman sounded like just another babbling theory from him, hiding it from anybody who would question him. Why were there no censors until the final battle of the mind? They were suppressed. Boyd's mind would still have defenses against outside influences, in the form of g-men, but the most omnipresent part of any mind would have been suppressed so they don't just teleport right into the milkman's chamber. Instead, the g-men were a kind of backup defense system that was made unique to Boyd's mind, but the rainbow squirts were also a more natural part of the mind, fitting in with the 50's suburbia concept, so the G-men, while they questioned them, they didn't see them as an outright alien entity.
      • Which brings us to the final part. What the hell was the milkman's mission? Well, pay attention. His mission is to remove all traces of the asylum after Oleander was done with it. His mission, which was hypnotized into him, was to clean up the asylum, which was holding the plans and evidence of Oleander's involvement with the brain snatching. Boyd was to stand ready to "clean up" the asylum after it was cleared of inmates. It would explain why the den mother, another part of the construction and why she was so hostile the second the guise was broken, was to wake up the milkman when everybody had left the grounds, allowing him to burn up the place without causing any deaths.
    • Book depository in Milkman Conspiracy with a sniper sitting in it? Will sound familiar to all Conspiracy Theorists.
      • Except the sniper in the book depository is the official explanation.
      • The sniper is a girl scout. And if you've played the level, you know that the girl scouts are the only ones that are really dangerous. So EVEN MORE fridge brilliance.
  • The bull that pushes you back and forces you to redo parts of the level reflects the obsessive-compulsive nature of Edgar's mind. It's running the same circuit constantly, a lot of powerful anger going in circles without deviation. The bull could be doing something else, but it is compelled to charge along the same rut. And while it is doing so, it causes the inhabitants of Velvetopia to do the same actions constantly. The bull also prevents Edgar from reaching Pasionado by blowing down his card staircase with its passing, whereupon Edgar just sighs and tries to build it again in the exact same way each time. This is foreshadowing Edgar's hangup at being dumped by his high-school crush for the cheerleading captain, and how Edgar is unable to let it go without outside help. The repressed anger is preventing him from doing anything but stewing on a specific sequence of events that he can no longer change.
  • If you watch the memory reels in Lungfishopolis, you'll see how Linda originally looked. That means that in her mind, you haven't actually increased in size at all, the citizens are just normal-sized, unmutated lungfish. Veers right back into fridge logic when you start wondering why, if this is the case, his personal gravity is still wonky.
    • The mental world is constructed with each little lungfish as the "normal" size. SO even though you're the same size, you're still too big for their world.
  • When playing the Milkman level, I was always annoyed by the strange, forced perspective that happens whenever you enter a house. It doesn't do this at any other point in the game, making it even weirder and more out of place. Until today, when I realized — you're looking down at Raz from ceiling height in a corner, exactly where you would place a security camera.
  • It's a stretch, but maybe the reason Raz gets so excited at the idea of controlling fire is because fire is essentially the antithesis of water.
  • A minor one, but there's a Running Gag in Lungfishopolis involving the Navy bringing out military hardware that is increasingly not-boatlike, eventually leading to deploying airplanes. Seems like another throwaway gag until one realizes how much naval power is provided by aircraft carriers.
    • That increasing military firepower is can be seen as subtle foreshadowing for who the Big Bad is. Why would a Lungfish even know what a Navy or airplanes even are? Coach Oleander wanted to be in the military, and was roundly rejected by all of them. He acts like a sergeant, and makes his mindscape into a raging battlefield. He also severely messed with the Lungfish's mind and body, so Oleander would do what he thought would make the Lungfish more likely to fight off a Psychonaut.
    • It could also be considered another bit of foreshadowing in regards to Coach Oleander's nature as a phony war veteran. After all, while it is true that the Navy does use airplanes via aircraft carriers, the fact that he claims airplanes are what the Navy is known for, despite that mostly being the focus of the AIR FORCE, hints that he was never part of the armed forces at all. And that's not even getting into the Navy having a TANK division... Granted it could be argued he just conflated all the branches of the armed forces together just for the sake of simplifying things, but still. -A New Enigma
    • I always thought it was for the very simple reason that this is the mind of a fish. Naturally, an aquatic creature would place greater emphasis on naval forces, regardless of where it actually turns out to be.
  • In the early stages of the game, after Maloof recruits Mikhail as his bodyguard, you can see them hang around. If Raz asks Maloof if he can join in, Maloof replies "Sorry, Raz, but this is our thing". The fridge brilliance comes in when you realize that "Our Thing" ("Cosa Nostra") is a Sicilian term for The Mafia, and that Maloof's attempt to wire Coach's jeep to explode near the end of the game, and the line "This is how we do things in my family", hint at his Mafia connections.
  • In the intro, when Raz quotes the front of Oleander's pamphlet at him ("To soar across the astral plane? To wage psychic warfare against the enemies of free thought?"), Oleander's reaction is subdued, to put it mildly ("That is what I wrote on the front of the pamphlet.") This makes more sense when you realize that Oleander was in the process of betraying those ideals, and probably felt guilty at being reminded about it. Furthermore, he becomes enthusiastic when Raz quotes the inside of the pamphlet — which emphasizes his grudge against the normal world.
    • Another way to look at it is that Oleander is legitimately surprised that someone truly read and believed in what the pamphlet said. Just from the way the other campers act, it's pretty clear that they for the most part see it as a summer camp that just happens to involve psychic training here and there, and for the most part goof off. Oleander, even in his mentally warped state as the Big Bad is probably joyful that someone actually takes the whole thing as seriously as he does, hence why even though the counselors technically claim that Raz isn't allowed to take part, Oleander has no problem letting Raz into Basic Braining. He was probably gleeful at finally being able to teach someone who gives a damn and probably had plans on making Raz his most powerful psychic death tank soldier for his Evil Plan.
  • This has been discussed elsewhere, but Raz is the flippant, somewhat snarky go-getter he usually is throughout most of the Milkman Conspiracy, often getting impatient with or cracking jokes at the expense of Boyd or the figures in the guy's mind. After getting inside the asylum and meeting them, by contrast, he's inviting, patient, and almost tender when talking to Gloria, Fred, and Edgar as well as most of the occupants of their respective minds (which results in him developing a pretty pleasing-to-watch dynamic with all of them) - as if unlocking Boyd's Milkman persona was a lesson in exercising maturity and care when you've got the ability to both figuratively and literally get directly inside people's heads.
  • Gloria's diagnosis is all but explicitly stated to be bipolar disorder. As this Youtube reviewer notes, Gloria's on-a-dime mood swings aren't characteristic of the condition (manic or depressive episodes can last for months each before switching) - but seeing as irrational aggression and paranoia can be features of manic episodes just as abnormal happiness and grandiosity can, they do fit with interpreting her as in a manic phase when Raz meets her.
  • Fred's having velociraptor arms conveniently lends to his and Raz's torsos being about the same size - and therefore to Raz being able to fit nicely into his straitjacket.
  • The fact that Boyd's censors come looking for the Milkman once his location is discovered and that attacks the censors makes sense if you consider the Milkman to be an artificially-induced personality that Oleander brainwashed Boyd into possessing. The Milkman is attacked because he's a foreign object, but unlike the others he's powerful enough to overcome the censors and pull a Split-Personality Takeover, essentially subsuming the original Boyd until his purpose is complete.
  • Sasha is a scientist whose last name is "Nein". So... he's Dr. No?
  • "Fred"'s an unassuming, affable-enough-sounding name that was probably picked to give the Nice Guy with a Famous Ancestor an inverted Sesquipedalian Smith kind of name. Turns a little ironic when you consider that Napoleon was actually a pretty big fan of a guy named Fred.
  • So, Sheegor goes and gets the brains that you didn't and puts them in the appropriate children. Boy, it's a good thing there's a photograph with each brain's jar! Imagine if you just broke the jars and took the brains with you with no indication of which one goes where! That'd just be... eheh... silly... But really, if you did do something so foolish as that, making Sheegor run around to their various hiding places for nothing, you've got Sasha, Milla, and Cruller around. They'd be able to figure out whose brain is whose, presumably. Which is why this is in Brilliance and not Horror.
  • The music in Ford's Sanctuary is solemn, yet surprisingly somber. This is Foreshadowing for Ford Cruller's own backstory. He's basically confined in it, both because of his literally-fractured mind; and because he has been removed on active duty, forcing him to investigate potential missions from the Sanctuary and send the coaches in his stead, who claim all the merit.
  • During Basic Braining, Coach Oleander warns you to stay clear of mental cobwebs. But they don't actually hurt you. Later, you gain the ability to clear the cobwebs in the Coach's Basic Braining dreamscape and discover a memory safe behind them that reveals that he was never actually in the military at all. The untruth suddenly makes a lot more sense...
  • So, I was thinking about Raz's mental shielding and how he is, in Oleander's words "armored like a tank" and I had a bit if fridge brilliance: of course he is, he was an acrobat, which means his day-to-day life involves scaring people by flying through the air with only minimal safety. He's so heavily armored because without it he would be constantly absorbing the various thoughts, fears and worries of the crowd during his performances, which could easily throw him off and cause him to fall.

Fridge Horror

  • Touched upon in Psychonauts' own Nightmare Fuel page, but once you get past the "OMG this is hilarious" part of The Milkman Conspiracy, and start thinking about it, things get pretty creepy pretty fast. Particularly if you listen to Boyd's monologue. Some of the lines that make you pause and go "What." include:
    • “Hi Mom! Look at me, I’m tangled in a web of deception! How’s Uncle G?”
    • “I scream, you scream, we all scream, we all scream…”
    • And (bearing in mind that the arson is Boyd's thing) “The fire will start in menswear”.
  • Given that the "milkman" appears to be a past version of Boyd, it can reasonably inferred that the rainbow squirt leader protecting him is or was his wife. Considering that those in charge of scouting activities tend to be parents of participants, this suggests that all of the rainbow squirts are modeled after his daughter. Despite the fact that they are swarming the place, the current Boyd does not understand their connection, meaning that this man cannot even remember his own wife and daughter.
    • It also suggests his wife was Cheating with the Milkman.
    • Another possibility is even more disturbing. The Milkman is instead an alternate personality that Oleander programmed into Boyd, a foreign object in his psyche, hence why the censors come after him and why Boyd is tormented by paranoia. On this reading Oleander basically shattered a man's psyche to clean up after himself, and arranges for a man to be essentially subsumed by an alternate personality (though thankfully this proves temporary).
  • The Nightmares in Boyd's mind come out of nowhere and seem to have no reason to be there. The only other place you see them is in Milla's nightmare room. Now, what do Milla and Boyd have in common? Places burning down. How many arsons did Boyd commit before he was himself committed?
  • Sasha's aversion to Tiffany lamps becomes a lot less funny when you realize there was one near his mother's deathbed.
  • The Meat Circus is already terrifying enough, but you have to wonder what it must have been like from Raz's point of view. We already know that he's hydrophobic, but considering the fact that a watery grave was sealed as his fate long before he was born, its probably not just your average everyday fear. To him, doing anything remotely near water is a gamble with death, so just try magnifying that to the degree it was presented in the Meat Circus. I'd be surprised if the poor kid wasn't emotionally traumatized by that experience.
  • "Sasha's First Loss." So... does that mean there were more...?
    • He’s a middle aged man and secret agent. With that line of work and that age, there is always loss.

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