Meet the Team for Issue 55


Each week we ask a question of our staff and featured writers to learn a little bit about them and gain some insight into where they are coming from.

This week’s question is:

What’s a game idea you’ve dreamed up that no publisher in their right mind would option?

Allen Varney, “Raph Koster on Fire”

Let me tell you about my Japanese flower-arranging simulator …

Shannon Drake, “20 Million Dollar Failure”

Melville Online, a massively multiplayer online whale-hunting simulation (MMOWHS). In Melville Online, players will take on the role of an 18th century New England whaler, sailing the Atlantic on a rickety ship in search of marine mammals. It’ll be like Pirates of the Burning Sea without the pirates, and with a lot more standing on the bow of a small boat, peering into the Atlantic mists and attempting to harpoon a beast from the deep that could crush you with a single lash of its mighty tale. Pure fighter players will enjoy a life model I call “Rum, Sodomy and The Lash,” while crafters will experience the joy of a flensing mini-game, stripping the blubber from a dead animal in real time to earn the coveted title of Whaler. Above all else, we will strive for authenticity in our descriptions. Much like Dungeons and Dragons Online, we’ll have a voice that reads out the description, but since the description will be from Melville, it will take approximately 30 minutes to look at a single item.

JR Sutich, Contributing Editor

I’m not in the business of creating games. I’m in the business of destroying them.

Lara Crigger, “The Short, Happy Life of Infocom”

A sim game about the silver vs. gold standard debate. Activities include: carrying William Jennings Bryan’s Cross of Gold, searching for The Wizard of Oz, and wallowing in abject poverty.

Russ Pitts, “John Romero: The Escapist Interview”

You’re a member of a rock band trapped in a haunted amusement park, being chased by some kind of “phantom.” And you’re wearing leather. And spikes. And you can spit fire. Add crazy midgets and it’s a win.

Joe Blancato, Associate Editor

It was a warm September night. Our very own Shannon Drake and I jokingly brought up the concept of what would happen if Michael Moore ate Ted Nugent, only to have Nugent’s ego bore its way out of Moore, causing Nugent’s head to poke out next to his. The new creature would be called “Nugemoore,” and he’d rule over the Rust Belt with an iron fist. Soon after, we began dividing up the rest of the country as we dreamed up a dark look at the near-future, when American extremists have shatter the country with their own absurdity. Amerikkka: The Tabletop Game was born. The sad part is we’re actually looking for a publisher.

Jessica Fielhauer, Layout Artist

It’s called Words Online. You lay out really long articles all day. Alternative name: Designer-itis.

Now, we put the question to you: What’s your zany game idea?

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