The Problem Machine Random Routine


So, last week at around this time I made a post discussing how trying to control how we experience things too tightly can easily lead into us never experiencing them at all. I trailed off at the end with a vague resolution to do something about it, but the truth is that a solution had already occurred to me, I just needed a while to work on it first.

Thus, it is with great anxiety/pleasure and anticipation/trepidation that I announce The Problem Machine Random Routine – or ProMaRaRo. Starting with my steam library, I have collated a giant (around 400 entries) list of games which I own or could easily gain access to, put each title on a slip of paper, and put them all in a jar which used to be full of jelly beans. Then, because fuck it why not, I also went ahead and wrote down every book, movie, or television show that has been recommended to me or that otherwise has caught my attention over the years, which it turns out adds up to a lot.


Previous tenant: Jelly Beans.
Future tenant: Telekinetic chimp brain.

Each week, I’ll be drawing one slip of paper: I’ll be drawing it on Monday or Tuesday and when I do I’ll write up everything I know about the game/movie/book/show in question. In some cases this will be a fair bit, in some cases almost nothing, and most likely in some cases I will be hilariously wrong and completely have it mixed up with something else. Then, I spend all week playing or watching or reading it, 2-3 hours a day. In most cases this will be enough to reach completion, or at least enough to get a real solid idea of the content, but in cases where it takes longer to complete something to my satisfaction (as in the case of long running television series or giant novels) I may dedicate more than a week.

At any rate, once I’m done with it, or once I have something interesting to say, I will write something about it which will go up on Monday. It might be a review, it might be a meditation tangentially related, it might just be a funny story that came up during it, but it will have something to do with this piece of culture I’ve drawn out of a jar that still smells like jelly beans.

(It should be mentioned that the Wednesday piece won’t be affected: It will be just whatever I’ve got going through my head, same as always)

I’m really excited about this! I feel like this is going to kill several birds with one stone, prompting the formation of a cult of conspiracy theorists who find the ‘lone stonesman’ explanation absurd. The first bird in this strained metaphor is the problems I encounter finding time and energy to consume interesting art: The second is the increased difficulty I’ve been having in finding interesting and new topics to write about: And the third is that I often learn so much about whether I’m going to enjoy something or not before I find it that the thrill and wonder of discovery has been lacking. So, uh, basically, fuck birds, bring on the surprise art.

Without further ado, let’s draw to see what the first entry is on the ProMaRaRo docket!


Cthulhu Saves The World!

Here is what I know about this game: I know it is styled after the classic SNES-era JRPGs, from a studio which I forget the name of and which has done several games in the same style, most recently continuing the Penny Arcade series of games. As might be inferred by the title, their games are somewhat tongue-in-cheek, and I have heard they are quite amusingly written.

I think this will be fun. I’ll start it later today. If you’re interested in checking out the game as well, it’s available packaged along with another game from the same developer on Steam for $3.

Let’s do this thing.

  1. It is nice of you to create Problem Machine Random Routine. This reminds me of fortune cookies, which help someone to win something because of the prediction that he will have a lot of gold. I am not familiar with the Cthulhu Saves The World but computer games are a lot of fun. Have fun playing the game.

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