I was rather shocked to discover recently that one of my best friends, who has a relatively high-profile reputation in the toy reviewing community but will otherwise remain nameless, had never heard of X-Entertainment.com. Created by Matt Caracappa around the turn of the century, X-E is the grandaddy of all geek-themed websites (Matt often referred to it as being based around “1980s kid culture,” which I think is perhaps a more accurate description).
While the site frequently covered many non-toy topics such as retrospectives on 1980s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parades, classic kid-themed junk food like Ecto-Cooler, and The Worst Witch (a personal favorite of mine), the site’s main focus was toys. In fact, it’s entirely possible that without X-E, we’d have no Fearless Photog figure today (nor would we know that the same man who created Fearless Photog also created Halo‘s Cortana – here’s a good summation of that story).
It often seemed to me that Matt was practically a long-lost sibling. He’d had many of the same childhood experiences as I had, the same toy loves, the same fondness for Ninja Turtle-themed Hostess Pies, etc. So perhaps it shouldn’t surprise me that we have another thing in common: blog burnout. While I’ve been trying to work through mine, Matt finally decided to let X-E retire gracefully and started from scratch with a new website, Dinosaur Dracula.
DD doesn’t seem fundamentally different from X-E so far – Matt’s even having his usual Halloween Countdown – but I can speak to the regenerating powers of a site redesign and a fresh start. What I do hope Matt does – as I’ve been trying to do here – is avoid getting into a rut by just doing the same X-E stuff all over again. Some new, fresh features and approaches may be just what the Dr. (Giggles) ordered.
Great spotlight! DD's been up and running and seems to be gaining momentum. Now that we're into the holidays with Halloween, Thanksgiving, Blackfridaysdaymas, and Christmas we're in for a treat!
I remember first stumbling upon X-E all those years back, most likely it was the Photog article that brought me there! I loved the Turtle Pie article — I even wrote to Hostess… those things were good! Seriously, I want my last meal on earth to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Pie.
Noticed this a while back. New site is good, I know how the burnout can be. X-E was always amazing, but we'll see how DD does, I'm sure Matt will do some great stuff as always.
I'm really loving it so far. It definitely has some of the flavor of XE, but the Vlogs really do a lot to differentiate it. Considering the site is only about 3 months old, it has a lot of time left to find its identity and evolve even more.
Dinosaur Dracula is a less embarrassing name to have in your browser history!
His recent taste-testing of 18-year-old Ecto-Cooler was particularly savory.
Hell yeah, pretty much every geek blog owes a debt to X-E.
I too just discovered Dinosaur Dracula a few weeks back. X-E has had a big impact on the world of toys & 80's nostalgia culture on the internet, It's questionable why Matt would have wanted to move is focus away to a new blog with the same content, when he could have just revamped X-E into a more Web 2.0 friendly format.
Still, I'm happy to see Matt back into the swing of things, what with X-E turning into a barren site the last few years. Here's hoping by this Christmas we'll be getting to see a new installment of the Playmobil/Lego Advent Calendar saga!
It could have been entirely a mental thing… maybe he wanted to break free of the "Shackles" of X-E and whatever expectations that people might have.
To be honest, I don't follow a lot of blogs. I don't expect there to be new content every day but its nice to have one or two pieces up every week. There are many that I only check every few weeks so I can just skim through and read what I'm interested in.