61 episodes

Ego Check with The Id DM is an interview podcast series hosted by a licensed psychologist, Michael Mallen, Ph.D. The podcast delves into a variety of game types (e.g., tabletop roleplaying games, boardgames, videogames) from a psychological perspective. Dr. Mallen has been interviewing members of the gaming community for articles on his blog, The Id DM, since 2011 and is now posting these interviews for others to enjoy.

Ego Check with The Id DM Dr. Michael Mallen, The Id DM

    • Games
    • 4.8, 14 Ratings

Ego Check with The Id DM is an interview podcast series hosted by a licensed psychologist, Michael Mallen, Ph.D. The podcast delves into a variety of game types (e.g., tabletop roleplaying games, boardgames, videogames) from a psychological perspective. Dr. Mallen has been interviewing members of the gaming community for articles on his blog, The Id DM, since 2011 and is now posting these interviews for others to enjoy.

    Kelly Carlin on Legacy, Purpose & Resilience

    Kelly Carlin on Legacy, Purpose & Resilience

    Kelly Carlin joins me to talk about her life as the daughter of famed comedian, George Carlin. She previously wrote a memoir, A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up with George, which was published in 2015. She has earned a bachelors degree from UCLA and a masters degree in Jungian Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Weaving in her psychological training, Kelly talks about her journey toward finding her own meaning while also managing the weight of her father's legacy. She speaks to basking in his glow as a child and later feel trapped in his shadow as an adult. She explores how we all go through confusion about our self-identity and how she pursued graduate education in psychology to further understand herself and the world around her. She talks about the powerful forces of "shame and greed" that hold us back and how we can overcome that to led meaningful lives.

    • 47 min
    Tomo Moriwaki on Designing Epic Tavern

    Tomo Moriwaki on Designing Epic Tavern

    Tomo Moriwaki talks about his career in videogame design and how his experiences led him to the latest endeavor, Epic Tavern. In Epic Tavern, players are tasked with building up a tavern to cater to adventure needs AND with sending those adventurers on quests. Tomo talks about his goals to design an engaging gameplay loop that encourages players to spend more time with Epic Tavern; it was fascinating to learn about the decisions that are made to create a successful gameplay loop that cultivates that "one more turn" feeling for players! He discusses obstacles to creating a game "like fantasy football for fantasty fantasy" and how the small team has overcome those challenges. Tomo educates me about the logic behind Epic Tavern gameplay, including the encounter system involved in questing.

    • 54 min
    Stacy King & Andrew Wheeler on Dungeons & Dragons: Wizards & Spells

    Stacy King & Andrew Wheeler on Dungeons & Dragons: Wizards & Spells

    I'm joined by Stacy King and Andrew Wheeler, two of the minds responsible for the wonderful Dungeons & Dragons Young Adventurer's Guide series. They talk about the latest entry, Wizards & Spells, and detail how they took the vast magical information in D&D and organized that into a clean framework for young readers (and us creaky adults!) to absorb. They talk about the joys of creating new Legendary Characters for the D&D universe and how choices were made to highlight specific spells and magical items. Stacy and Andrew speak about their contributions to all books in the series and explain how the books fit together to form a coherent and warm invitation to all readers to play D&D. They respond to the glowing reception the books have received by an audience ranging in age, and briefly mention plans for the next two books in the series. These books are a treasure for any fan of D&D! 

    • 42 min
    Keith Ammann on The Monsters Know What They're Doing

    Keith Ammann on The Monsters Know What They're Doing

    Keith Ammann joins me to discuss his book, The Monsters Know What They're Doing, which provides highly-detailed tactical guidance for monsters in 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons. He speaks about his interest in strategy games and how that influenced his approach to running gaming sessions. He discusses how to run monsters realistically to further engage players and make their achievement at the table more meaningful. We explore multiple aspects of combats including complexity, difficulty, and morality.

    • 1 hr 10 min
    Megan Connell, PsyD on Therapeutic D&D and Coping with Creative Burnout

    Megan Connell, PsyD on Therapeutic D&D and Coping with Creative Burnout

    Dr. Connell comes back to Ego Check to talk about the developments in the therapeutic use of Dungeons & Dragons in therapy. She talks about how the game allows players to achieve personal growth through exposure. She offers insights into how to manage an improv-heavy campaign. We talk about balancing a professional life with hobby goals and values, and explore how to navigate the fatigue and burnout that can arise from generating content.

    • 57 min
    Elizabeth & Jared Kilmer on Therapeutic D&D for Veterans

    Elizabeth & Jared Kilmer on Therapeutic D&D for Veterans

    I'm joined by Elizabeth Kilmer (soon-to-be PhD) and Jared Kilmer, PhD this week as they discuss their use of Dungeons & Dragons in clinical settings with military veterans. They present how the therapy gaming groups are structured and the themes that come up during gameplay. They present examples from past sessions including stories of how veterans have processed through challenging emotional content with the help of in-game situations. They talk about their ambitions and plans to gather more data about their therapeutic D&D approach with veterans, and how they might expand this in the future with other populations. 

    • 55 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
14 Ratings

14 Ratings

Matt from Monster Island ,

These interviews are excellent

Lots of my favorite figures in the TTRPG are interviewed on this podcast, and the host’s perspective and style really leave me enjoying the shows. Thank you for your work!

DrSinan ,

Successful Insight Check!

Dr. Mallen is doing good work with the Ego Check podcast! Episodes have featured a really diverse set of guests and Dr. Mallen asks great questions to keep conversations flowing. I’ve appreciated listening to the discussions about gaming culture, mental health, and inclusivity at the table. Thanks for providing such an insightful perspective for the RPG community!

MgD99 ,

Split audio

Having the audio split is really annoying, with the guy speaking in one ear and his guest talking into the other.

The content is good and interesting, but the audio makes it very difficult to listen to.

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