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Go to the graveyard! Dig him up! Oh, you’ll find something all right, but it’s neither man nor milk.

Boyd Cooper

The Milkman Conspiracy is a level in Psychonauts. It is the mental world of Boyd Cooper, a (now formerly) paranoid security guard of the asylum. The area has unusual gravity, causing Raz to be pulled towards different roads when he is near and walking at unusual angles.

Description

The Milkman Conspiracy, like certain other areas in Psychonauts, takes place in the mind of a person, that of paranoid security guard Boyd Cooper. Boyd is tasked with guarding an asylum and makes frequent references to "the Milkman." The area in his mind is depicted as a suburban neighborhood where the roads are impossibly twisted and cameras can be found everywhere. As players control Raz through this world, the gravity may pull them to different paths and angles. The world is populated by G-Men, who watch protagonist Raz suspiciously while using tools incorrectly in an attempt to blend in while looking for someone called the Milkman.

Players collect various tools to try to blend in with G-Men holding the same tools in order to gain access to more parts of the level. In addition to the G-Men, there is also the Rainbow Squirts, a group of children led by a woman called the Den Mother. Raz discovers that the G-Men wish to remove the Milkman from Boyd's mind, while the Rainbow Squirts were trying to keep him contained. The Milkman escapes and Raz is ejected from Boyd's mind. Boyd assumes the persona of the Milkman in reality before burning down the asylum with a Molotov cocktail. The world has various objects called Figments scattered throughout the area, representing different images such as lawn chairs and children.

Psychonauts

Once Raz arrives at the asylum, he is stopped by the locked gate at the entrance. Next to the gate is the security guard, Boyd Cooper, who is busy writing conspiracy theories onto the stone walls. Raz asks the guard to open the gate so he save his friends, but Cooper dismisses him, saying, "The Milkman holds the key". Raz, curious on who the "Milkman" is, dives into Cooper's mind using his Psycho-Portal.

Twisted Roads

After Raz enters Boyd's mind, he is treated to a twisted version of a suburban neighborhood. Within it, various roads are split with houses down the middle. G-men and Rainbow Squirts populate the area.

Found Out

After overcoming the various obstacles of the G-Men, Raz encounters the Den Mother, the woman in charge of the Rainbow Squirts, and the Milkman's protector. The G-Men, with enlisted help from the remaining Censors, follow Raz to the Den Mother's hideout in hopes of exterminating the Milkman. Once they arrive, The Den Mother retreats into her basement for safety. Raz follows her into the basement and two battle.

Rise of the Milkman

After the Den Mother's defeat, the Milkman is awoken. A fight breaks out between the Milkman, the censors, and the G-men. The intense face-off knocks Raz out of Boyd's mind and back into the real world. The Milkman wins the fight and takes over Boyd Cooper's body. Both identities struggle for control as the Milkman tries to burn down the asylum.

Points of Interest

  • Boyd's House
  • Graveyard
  • Post Office
  • Book Depository
  • Den Mother's House

Enemies

  • G-Men
  • Censors
  • Nightmare(s) (Boss)
  • Den Mother (Boss)

Gameplay

When navigating Raz through the Milkman Conspiracy, it is mandatory to have Clairvoyance, Telekinesis, and the Cobweb Duster. Raz must sneak past the G-Men who serve as obstacles throughout the course of the area. To disguise himself, Raz must get each item required to blend in with the appropriate disguises of the G-Men, or else he will be interrogated.

Collectibles

Figments

Emotional Baggage

  • Steamer trunk 
    • Bag: Behind the book repository.
    • Tag: Behind the house with the Rainbow Squirt selling cookies.
  • Suitcase
    • Bag: Inside the post office.
    • Tag: In the backyard of the house with the hedge clipper G-men.
  • Hatbox
    • Bag: Behind a cobweb in the garage of the house past the sewer workers. 
    • Tag: Slide across the powerlines near the first phone worker to reach a park. The tag is located on the island.
  • Dufflebag
    • Bag: Behind the graveyard, outside the fence.
    • Tag: Inside one of the houses near the sewer workers.
  • Purse
    • Bag: Inside the house guarded by the hedge clipper G-men.
    • Tag: On the roof of the house to the left of the Road Crew.

Mental Cobwebs - 4 Cobwebs

The Neighborhood - 3 Cobwebs

  1. This cobweb is blocking the front door to the third house.
  2. Past the sewer workers, there is a house on the left with the cobweb blocking the garage.
  3. There is a house just before you reach the door locked with the numpad. The cobweb is blocking the front door.
  4. Use clairvoyance on the spy at the post office to learn the door code. Once inside, the cobweb is in the next doorway.

Book Repository - 1 Cobweb

  1. This cobweb blocks the door to the book repository

Development

The game's director, Tim Schafer, was responsible for the level concept and its dialogue. He decided to create a conspiracy-based level around "I am the milkman, my milk is delicious," a phrase made up by a staff member at Double Fine. Schafer found fascination with conspiracy theorists, trying to create comedy with mental illness without punching down at those with mental illnesses. Art director Scott Campbell wanted to emphasize the paranoia Boyd experiences, accomplishing this by adding G-Men and the feeling of being watched to the level. Concept artist Peter Chan depicted roads twisting in the sky, wanting to reflect how Boyd's logic and reason were twisted. Erik Robson, who handled game design, designed the level to resemble a traditional adventure game, having players collect items to solve puzzles.

"Milkman Conspiracy" has been generally well-received, becoming a Psychonauts fan favorite. Game Revolution and The Escapist writers praised it as one of the best platform levels in gaming, while author Daniel Hardcastle called it one of the best areas in video games. Its world design was praised by Eurogamer staff, which felt it is what made the level stand out so much. It has received attention for its depiction of mental health, with author Alice Brumby discussing how Boyd's mind is the most "disordered" among Psychonauts' cast.

Trivia

  • While invisibility is technically necessary to get pass the Rainbow Squirt's den door, this can be bypassed by using Marksmanship while facing the door, which will place Raz's head through the wall and above the game trigger that opens it.
  • Various objects such as Trashcans and Mailboxes seem to have a creature or person inside. They will follow Raz around and take pictures of him using cameras. Talking to them will result in Raz asking, "Hey, are you following me?"
  • Boyd does not have Censors in most parts of his mind. Having almost no censors means he is not able to suppress unwanted thoughts. The G-Men partly take over the role of the missing censors. Additionally, The G-men, though twisted by Boyd's psychosis, are later revealed to be allied with the remaining censors.
  • If the player enters Boyd's mind without Telekinesis, a sign will pop up warning the player the level will not be completable without it.
    • Additionally, if the player does not have a mental cobweb duster, a sign will pop up warning the player that some areas will be inaccessible without it.
  • If the player attempts to use Pyrokinesis on the crow in the puzzle maze it will die. The player will be unable to use Clairvoyance on the Crow Feather to solve the maze puzzle. If the player leaves Boyd's mind and comes back, the crow will reappear.
  • The G-men use disguises to blend in with the neighborhood population, although no regular neighborhood residents can seen anywhere, save for the Rainbow Squirts.
  • Boyd's suburb is flavored by 1950s cold war paranoia.[1]
  • The wanted posters in the post office are identical to the wanted video screens in Ford's Sanctuary and in the Motherlobe.
  • The cry of each Emotional Baggage in this mental world sounds more like nervous laughter than crying.
  • Although most censors break into positive mental health when killed, not all of them do in the Milkman Conspiracy. If Raz returns to the level once it has been completed, the corpses of dead censors can be found littered around the Rainbow Squirt's hideout.
  • The interior of Boyd's house was inspired by the office of paranoid mathematician John Nash from the film A Beautiful Mind.
  • Multiple games have been compared to "Milkman Conspiracy," including Jazzpunk, We Happy Few, and Super Mario Galaxy.
  • "The Milkman Conspiracy" has received generally positive reception, identified by multiple critics as a fan favorite of Psychonauts.
  • Boyd's mind featuring a book depository, as well as the building having a sniper inside it, is a clear reference to the assassination of American president John F. Kennedy in 1963, an event that gave rise to one of the most well-known theories of government conspiracy. However, the idea that the assassin fired from the book depository is not part of any such theory, but rather the American government's official explanation of the murder.

Gallery

Concept Art

Screenshots

Textures and Model Screenshots

Other

References/Notes