Actress Kate Walsh is best known for playing Dr. Addison Montgomery on ABC shows “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice.” Walsh recently donned the doctor’s coat again for a viral video featuring YouTubers Rossana Pansino and Joey Graceffa to promote the new in-game treasure hunt for Seriously’s free-to-play iOS and Android mobile game, “Best Fiends.” Walsh talks about her own gaming background in this exclusive interview.
Q: What are your thoughts on how far mobile video games have come since you were growing up?
A: Considering I grew up playing “Pong” to “Centipede” to “Asteroids” to having it on an iPhone that I can take wherever I go. What I love about “Best Fiends” — other than it is insanely addictive and fun — is it’s very much built around positive reinforcement. I’m not the best gamer in the world, but it makes you feel good about yourself. Maybe that sounds really corny, but I feel like everybody wins. Not like you get a trophy for 9th place or anything, but it’s about positive reinforcement. Video games are just more addictive now that it’s in your hand, but in a great way.
Q: How good have you gotten at this game since getting involved with Seriously?
A: I started playing it a lot, which is not to say I’m that good because that’s just not true. But I love playing it. I’m flying all the time for work right now because I was shooting a movie in New Orleans and I’m working on a show up in Northern California, so there’s my humble brag for this phone interview. So I’m on a plane and at the airport a lot, so I really like it when I’m not trying to read books and scripts and be involved. It’s fun because I don’t have Wi-Fi a lot, so I am playing quite a bit, but I wouldn’t say I’m an expert. I still have to ask people like Rosanna Pansino when we were shooting the commercial for tips and tricks because she’s so good at it.
The other trend that “Best Fiends” taps into is the huge female gaming demographic that’s out there today where half of all gamers are female.
I don’t know if I’m the norm, but when I grew up in Tucson, Ariz. I would go to the arcade. We would walk down to the arcade and go and play video games, just like the boys. We didn’t hang out with them. But then in terms of gaming at home, it was always the boys that liked that. I was like, “Ew, not interested.”
But it’s awesome that women are into games too, and that they’re good. In some ways you think of it like, “Oh, it’s a guys world.” But really it isn’t. “Best Fiends” and mobile gaming, in general, is something everyone is into. When I sit on a plane and look around, everybody is playing a game – male and female.
Q: Do you have a favorite memory from back in those Tucson arcade days around gaming that you can share?
A: I was good at “Centipede,” so that was my game. I feel like we might as well be talking about the horse and buggy days with how far technology has evolved. It’s such a hugely different space. But the ritual of actively deciding to walk three-quarters of a mile to the arcade from our little neighborhood with a Slurpee, getting quarters from our parents and going to play video games — it was the “funnest.” It was just so old school and fun. It felt pure. Of course, it’s easier to romanticize now. I’m sure someday we’ll be like, “I used to play “Best Fiends” before we colonized on the moon.
We’re talking about playing games in the real world, but everything in the future is going to be playing games in virtual reality.
That’s insane. That’s really going to be crazy. Some friends of mine in Asia sent me pictures of their kids with VR stuff on. I’m like, “I think it’s seriously already happening. It just hasn’t become mass yet.”
JG: Sony is launching PlayStation VR in October so it’s around the corner.
KW: Oh, my gosh. Wow. Brave new world.