Announcement - A Rut

I'm in a rut.

I like writing game reviews. But now and then, I just get bored. I have dozens of games I love to play, but I never have time because I'm always playing the new crap that shows up in the mail. I have to write about these games, and I've set myself a pretty lofty goal of three articles a week, which is sometimes pretty tough to do. When I'm tired and dragging and working on deadlines, I just don't feel like making boob jokes about board games.

And then there's the fact that I've been doing the same thing for three and a half years. I checked a few days ago, and I've got more than 550 reviews, rants or announcements. The jokes are not getting more interesting. They are just variations on the same stupid gags, and I'm getting tired of my own jokes. I can only say 'bunghole' so many times before it's not shocking or amusing. It gets to be more like a talking parrot repeating a pirate's bathroom habits.

Finally, this feels more and more like a vanity project. It's the Matt Drake Show, where I use this space to brain-dump whatever I feel like discussing without even trying to get anything interesting happening here. Crude gags fill out drive-by discussions of whatever I played that weekend, and they're getting a little old.

I know this is starting to sound like a big fat 'I quit' notice. But it's not. I don't intend to quit writing reviews. In fact, I plan on writing just as many as I ever have (which would be three a week, unless I feel like talking about something else). I'm still going to get free games in the mail, and I'm still going squeeze humor out of prostitution, drugs, and human suffering. The fix to my problem is not to do less. The fix is to do more.

What I want to do is create something with a little more life of its own. I would eventually like to see Drake's Flames be a place where game nerds come up with off-the-wall ideas and build those ideas into something useful (or at least amusing). Here's an example of one idea. I call it The Game Building Game.

First, I get everyone who wants to be involved to submit ideas for a wacky/stupid/crazy/hilarious theme for a game. Bums playing ice hockey, for instance. Then I put all the ideas into a poll, and we all vote for our favorite. Once we have a theme, we submit ideas for game mechanics, like flicking wooden discs into miniature trash cans. We vote on those and pick three, which we combine to create the game. Finally we have everyone send in art, and then I build the whole thing into an actual game, which we can all download and play whenever we want to play a game that could have been designed by a team of acid-dropping squirrel monkeys. The point is not to create a game that wins awards and sells a million copies. The point is to have a bunch of people put their heads together and come up with something truly horrible.

I've got other ideas, and loopy stuff I want to do on top of talking about whatever I'm playing. They're all just bouncing around my skull like a tennis ball in a paint mixer. I want to try some of them, ignore some of them, and flat-out reject a whole bunch just because they're only there due to sleep deprivation and reality TV.

What I don't want to do is make some lame website that tries to be Fortress Game Geek Info. I'm not looking to be a catalog, or a database, or a happy community of like-minded Chatty Kathys. What I want to do is something different, something I haven't seen before, something more like a mad scientist's laboratory crossed up with a mushroom hallucination.

Here's the problem, though - I can barely manage to work this Blogger site. I was writing here for almost a year before I fixed the graphic at the top and made it a full-page layout. I surely don't know how to make a site with a forum, a chat area, regular news releases and all the other crap I would need to turn Drake's Flames into a gamer version of Pee-Wee's Playhouse. Lucky for me, though, somebody else does.

I don't know who that might be, just yet. It might be you. If it is you, and you know how to put together a website with all the bells and whistles we need to turn this into an experimental drug den for game geeks, let me know. I can pay you in games. God knows I have enough of them. Plus you can be the Wizard of Oz, the man behind the curtain, the magician throwing all the smoke and mirrors while I come up with ideas that sound so ridiculous that people stop and throw spare change.

At this point, more than any article or piece I've ever written, I need some feedback. Where do we go from here? Brave new world, or more of the same? Is the answer a simple, 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it', or is there potential for insane genius? And are there enough goofballs and wackadoos out there to make something this wildly bizarre actually work? Use that comments section. That's why it's there. Plus I never could figure out how to turn it off.