My claim to fame is that I fused Tabletop Role Playing games with Drinking Games. And now we live in a world with comedy games called ‘Drinking Quest: The Original Drinking RPG’ and “Drinking Quest 2: Yeddy Vedder’s Yeti Adventure”.
I always describe punk rock as a hidden influence in the Drinking Quest series. It’s influential both in the attitude and in the sense that it physically motivated me to do the work.
Here are ten inspiring records and how they influenced my creative output:
10. Straight Ahead – Pennywise
This is the first “real” punk album I got into after a friend told me “They sound like the Offspring”. The first time I heard it, I was blown away. It had an energy on every single track and the melodies were solid but never so strong that one song was better than the rest.
Straight Ahead has a flow through the entire record that is really consistent but always interesting. Breaking out of your format can be an artistic approach but staying within your style and staying relevant is where the real challenge lies.
9. Dookie – Green Day
1994 was a gateway year for many of us and one record that keeps coming back to me is Green Day’s Dookie. This album was lightning in a bottle. It had many things going for it like a talented band, hungry for success signing to a major and being paired with a talented producer.
Dookie offers 14 songs in about a half an hour with no real filler at all. Every song contributes to the whole but also stands on it’s own. When designing the Drinking Quest games I took this approach with the cards of the game… I wanted to each one to tell a story but also contribute to the bigger fantasy world I had created.
8. The Decline – NOFX
NOFX is funny. I’ve always appreciated how the band talks down to their fans at shows. I think they do it more out of a desire to entertain rather than just being big fat jerks. They’re funny, condescending and DIY. This blueprint was imprinted in my head at a very young age and lo and behold I was able to apply these underground punk rock concepts to tabletop gaming.
So it’s also kind of funny that their best release is the most serious work they’ve ever done.
7. Collapser – Banner Pilot
People often say I’m an intense guy so when I want to stop pretending I’m a creative gaming mastermind I throw on Collapser to bring me back to my human side. It’s a feel good punk record to say the least.
When you’re making a comedy game where drinking is a big part of it, it’s useful to have any album that reminds you of how your early 20’s were equal parts Drinking-All-The-Time and What-The-Hell-Do-I-Do-With-My-Life? Also “Pensacola” makes me happy every single time I listen to it.
6. …Is Dead – By Crime and Stereo
Sometimes you want to stimulate the mathy part of your brain… but I’m also a sucker for melody so thank the Math Gods for this album!
… Is Dead has a sense of urgency but isn’t a chugging, one note blast in your face. It’s powerful but there’s a lot of depth and quiet parts to balance it out.
This is an album that inspired me to get things done. This is the perfect record for when you have a deadline to meet.
5. Live the Party – The Guys
They’re fun, they’re snappy dressers and their stage names are Johnny Kikx, Barry Fuse, Thomas Love and Rick Daniels.
I’ve always been a fan of having a punk rock stage name (Hence my Game Industry trade name of Jason Anarchy) and The Guys know how it’s done. I apologize if any of those are your real names.
Also the music is like drinking a cold PBR on the hottest day of Summer.
4. Songs of Leonard Cohen – Leonard Cohen
This is the only entry on my list that isn’t punk but it’s really influential. I don’t care what kind of artist you are; Leonard can be an inspiration to all of you. If you’re ever feeling eccentric and misunderstood, Mr. Cohen is there for you.
In 1967 Leonard dropped his first album and introduced a bizarre kind of “Gypsy Folk” to the masses. He has a knack for poetry and writing clever lyrics that make listeners think dirty thoughts.
This year he is 78 years old and in these 12 months has probably slept with more women than I will in my entire life. Leonard inspires the “Sexual Prowess” saving throw in Drinking Quest.
3. Boys & Girls in America – The Hold Steady
When it comes to the concept of “Cool” The Hold Steady really have it nailed down. Being a pretty big geek in my youth, this is something I enjoy listening to. NOFX has a song where they describe music as “The Best Times I’ve Never Had” and that’s exactly how I feel about Boys & Girls in America.
Drinking Quest sometimes uses a tone of “cool language” as a comedy tool and nobody is cooler than The Hold Steady.
2. No Control – Bad Religion
No Control is an exercise in economy. At less than 27 minutes, No Control belts out 15 fast songs to make you question your day-to-day life.
It’s short but without a second of filler. I love “Suffer” but No Control always wins in my heart.
1. Good Mourning – Alkaline Trio
This album does everything. Start to finish there isn’t a single weak moment. The production and sequencing are perfect and create a constant flow of the band making depression and despair seem fun.
Also Matt Skiba’s voice was shot for this album so it shows that something can be flawed but still kind of perfect.
Jason Anarchy is the creative force behind ‘Drinking Quest’. Find out more at www.drinkingquest.com