How I Play: HEALTH's John Famiglietti on VR Porn, PC Gaming and 'Dark Souls'

Credit: Getty/Rob Ball

The Los Angeles noise rock band are best known to gamers for their Max Payne 3 soundtrack, but what does the gang's gamer play at home?

The Los Angeles noise rock band are best known to gamers for their Max Payne 3 soundtrack, but what does the gang's gamer play at home?

HEALTH's name might not be familiar to everyone, but their sound almost certainly is. The legendary L.A. noise-rock band scored Rockstar's Max Payne 3 – easily the best entry in the hard-boiled series – back in 2012, lending its heavy guitar sound to the story of the battle-scarred former detective. Albums Health, Get Color and Death Magic are full of heavy synth, beats and guitars paired with soft vocals that can haunt your brain for weeks.

Bassist John Famiglietti is the group's most dedicated gamer and was happy to chat Sega Genesis, his home gaming setup and working his way through the best games of 2016. Also, it's impossible to talk with any gamer these days – legit rock star or otherwise – without eventually enthusing about the possibilities of virtual reality. And then, inevitably, VR porn. Famiglietti is no different.

Probably the best place to start is what's your first memory of video games? What was the first thing you played
Oh, shit. I think the first thing I played, like pretty much everybody, was the original Super Mario Bros. on the NES. Someone had that at their house and you know you're like, "holy shit."

I never had one at that age, I got one later and I didn't have a NES, I had a Sega Genesis. Those hallmark video game moments, I think, if you're a certain age, they're pretty much the same for everybody. Street Fighter II comes out and you see it at 7-11 and just say "that's really crazy shit in there."


So the Sega Genesis was your first console…
A big thing for me actually was PC gaming, and that's what I got probably the most into. I was just absorbed with it.

If we're going to talk about the fucking '90s here, it was about really good strategy games and those amazing RPG games where you could just play forever and forever. So the only consoles I ever had were like I had a Genesis and then I played all PC games. I played consoles at my friends' house, they let me borrow them, but I didn't have a console again until I bought a fucking PS3 honestly.

What were some of the PC games?
Oh yeah,it was like Baldur's Gate, the Diablo games, all the big ones at the time. They were really, really good. Civilization II. Those kind of things too, SimCity, those kind of shit, you know, shit you'd spend forever on.

How does gaming fit in when you're touring? Do you take a console with you?
No. I would actually love to do that, because if you're driving forever, that would be the fucking most amazing thing to do. I do have my laptop and I have a Steam controller. The funny thing with that is I usually end up playing the emulators, so playing old-ass games, but I don't actually do that much gaming on tour because you really can't.

Gaming for me is like a really sacred thing when I'm really hungover. That's a great day to get through a lot of video gaming, because you're not going to do shit anyway.

What about at home?
I like the comfort, I like being on the fucking couch. I have a huge TV, I have one of those NZXT super buff gaming PCs that are all pretty right next to the TV, I've got my PS4.

So what are you playing right now? What's on the Steam Wishlist?
I'm just kind of going down the best of 2016 list. I usually do. Actually, what I like about video games is you can trust game reviews. It's not super subjective and it's way more trustworthy than a movie review. Which is like 10 million times more than a music review.

I want to find the games I missed. Doom, stuff like that. I've been playing my favorite game, Dark Souls 3, Uncharted 4. What else is big this year? A lot of them have been PS4 because they're exclusive.

Dark Souls is pretty hardcore.
That's the best game to come out in forever. It's my all-time favorite. I've played every one of them. They're just a-fucking-mazing. What I like about all the Japanese games is the scary Japanese perspective. They pretty firmly make it this really Western fantasy thing, but they have that Japanese influence, so they get that weird shit in there and it's amazing.

Yeah, it's so rad. I don't know. I think it's just like the quality of the art direction. It's just so fucking cool and the game itself is just amazing. They nailed it. Everything looks awesome. The armor and whatever and it's just so fucking depressing and bleak. It's fucking amazing.

What about VR? Have you tried it yet? Have you got any of the stuff at home?
I need to beef up my PC if I'm going to do the Oculus. I know a bunch of artists, people in LA who get that Oculus developer's kit and they have these horror games that are just fucking terrifying. I don't know if I could really handle a full-on horror game, especially if things get a lot better. That immersive of a horror in a VR thing. That sounds like fucking hell. Yeah, really excited to check it out.

I haven't jumped down the rabbit hole, but I had a buddy saying that he's tried VR porn and he said he changed perspective where he's a female and he smoked some weed and he was really profoundly weirded out.

When it's in VR you're seeing angles that no one's ever really meant to see in porn…
It kind of breaks the illusion. I like the thought that if you could put on a VR porn helmet so it's like you're at the porn thing and you're watching a couple have sex and then you can look to the right and the craft services table is there, and the crew, and the lights so you can just walk around the set.

This interview has been edited and condensed.