Monday, October 8, 2012

Monster Bash Interview Smash: Play Attention Games

Welcome to more Monster Bash, now with fewer calories! Actually, it has no calories, unless you've been licking the screen, and if you've been doing that, I think you have bigger problems than weight loss.

ANYWAY. Today, I'm super happy to bring you a new monster-related interview today. This one is with my old friend Matt McFarland, with whom I once played a tabletop RPG in a hot tub, and he killed me. I was NOT happy about that. Well, I was happy about the hot tub, but otherwise it was made of suck. Now he's an owner of Play Attention Games, a new company that makes awesome creature-related games.

For those of you unfamiliar with tabletop RPGs, you really need to try them out. Think of it like an exercise in storytelling. You and a group of friends act out your characters, while the gamemaster/dungeonmaster/minor deity in charge gives you situations to deal with. RPGs have really grown since the days of old school D&D and its focus on gathering gold and killing gazebos. At least 3/4 of what I know about writing dialogue came from roleplaying. And it must work, because a lot of bookish peeps are into gaming. I once wrote for White Wolf games along with Dawn Metcalf, Ari Marmell, and Jim DiBartolo. I'm sure there are more, but those are the people I can think of off the top of my head.

ANYWAY AGAIN. Matt and I have been friends for ages. Long enough, in fact, to have once created a Batman parody in which he was Mattman, our friend Mikal was Robinson--his last name, and I was Poison Carrie. This is one of the only things I will ever have in common with Uma Thurman. He also came to one of my murder mystery parties in a kilt. I'm going to talk more about those later on in Monster Bash, so stay tuned for that!

But for now, here's and introduction to Play Attention Games, and their first game, curse the darkness...

POISON CARRIE: Tell us a little about Curse the Darkness!

MATTMAN: *curse the darkness* (lowercase deliberate) is a post-apocalyptic roleplaying game about hard choices. The basics of the setting are: ideology (including religion, politics and national identity) are outlawed and punishable by death, enforced by a mysterious dictator and monsters from the shadows. The players set up the details about the scenario, including the goal, but before they can reach that goal each one needs to make the essential choice: give up and admit that the world is what it is and can't really be changed, or refuse to quit fighting and try to exert some control. In essence: Light a candle...or curse the darkness?

What's your favorite monster-related RPG that ISN'T curse the darkness and why?

MATTMAN: Ooh, wow. I think probably the World of Darkness in general. That's actually a collection of a lot of RPGs using the same setting, but eh. The World of Darkness has some great themes to it - humanity, hubris, secret conspiracies, morality vs. practicality. Plus it's fun to pretend to be a werewolf for a while. 

POISON CARRIE: What would you like to say to people who haven't played a tabletop RPG before?

MATTMAN: Try it! It's awesome! There are games where you can play monsters, mermaids, adventurers, pirates, professional wrestlers, and even cats. Really, contact me on Facebook or through my company ( and I'll help you find one for you and your friends.  

POISON CARRIE: If you could pick three people--alive, dead, imaginary, whatever--to be in your zombocalypse survival team, who would you choose?

MATTMAN: Wow, that's a wide net. OK. Definitely my brother; he's a badass cop and he's a good shot. How about Geena Davis? Not only is she an awesome actress, she's an Olympic archery competitor. And my daughter, Teagan. If I'm in a zombie apocalypse and I'm still alive, so is she. 

POISON CARRIE: You really enjoyed killing my characters when we gamed, didn't you? ADMIT IT!

MATTMAN: I always enjoy killing characters. If it's happening in my game, there's some drama to the moment and it's a cool story (unless we're playing Paranoia, in which case it's...just a game of paranoia).

POISON CARRIE: Where do we go to learn more about curse the darkness. GIVE US THE LINKS. WE WANTS THEM.

MATTMAN: Hot diggety!

Our company website:
You can buy the game here:
Our new game, A Tragedy in Five Acts:


So there you go! I hope you'll take the time to check out curse the darkness, and like Matt said, if you're intrigued by the idea of gaming but ctd isn't for you, contact him or me and we'll recommend something that's more your speed. There are LOTS of options out there, and it really is a great way for creative types to learn something new.

And as always, don't forget that Monster Bash is celebrating all things monstery....including the release of BAD HAIR DAY and BAD YETI on November 14th! Leave a comment on any Monster Bash post (or all of them) to be entered into a random drawing for all three Grable books with my name on them. And I'll even write my name myself! And then I'll write your name, which means you'll be in a book, and that's pretty awesome. I still get a kick out of seeing my name in books.

Yeah, I'll shut up now.


Ray Veen said...

Posting to say:
1. I'm posting. (And I want those books)
2. Very cool interview -- curse the darkness sounds amazing and I have the perfect gaming buddy to play it with.
3. My town is hosting a zombie apocalypse AND a monster prom, in the same day. Don't believe me? Here's a link:

Unknown said...

After reading this article... ::Dashes off to find the mother and her credit card to buy this game:: :D