Retronauts Episode 552: Phantasmagoria 2: A Puzzle of Flesh

Pet rats welcome.

Originally released in 1995, Roberta Williams' Phantasmagoria merged the then-popular point & click adventure game genre with the promise of full-motion video, offering players a gaming experience loaded with mature content presented by real-life actors. The game ultimately moved over a million copies, a massive success for PC gaming at the time.

Any publisher seeing numbers of that magnitude would demand a sequel, and one year later Sierra On-Line released Phantasmagoria 2: A Puzzle of Flesh. This follow-up told an original story with all-new characters and retained the first game's penchant for graphic violence and sexual content, but did not retain the services of Roberta Williams. As such, the game developed a troubled reputation as a knock-off, one that never matched the heights of Phantasmagoria.

Yet host Jess O'Brien has long held an affinity for Phantasmagoria 2, even making a video essay about the game's surprisingly nuanced take on sexual orientation given the widespread homophobia endemic to the era. This week, she's dedicating an entire podcast to revisiting the game, welcoming actors Paul Morgan Stetler (who played protagonist Curtis Craig) and Ragna Sigrúnardóttir (Therese Banning) to join her.

Description: Phantasmagoria 2! Jess O'Brien chats with two of its actors (Paul Stetler and Ragna Sigrunardottir) about this kinky and queer 1996 FMV disasterpiece.

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Artwork for this episode by Jess and editing thanks go to Greg Leahy.