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.