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August 21, 2012

Space Invaders: Feeding Your God Complex Since 1978

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There are three (and only three) things that can bring a smile to the face of yours truly. One is the gentle, serene purr of a kitten; another, the carefree laugh of a bright-eyed little scamp. Yet standing above them all - it's long, dark shadow and sunken eyes locked in a perpetual smirk - is the specter of black humor. Forsaking marriage, periods, airplane food, or any bit of trite fodder in favor of a juxtaposition of darkness and deadpan absurdity (link not entirely safe for work), such comedic loveliness positively tickles the fancy of yours truly.

Luckily, the internet doth provide, and for those of us who sail the S.S. Grim through the grey, murky waters of existential folly, Dorkly has adapted the story of Space Invaders into the aptly named, "The Invader." Following one of our blocky friends on an odyssey from birth to death, this melancholy comic paints a portrait of innocence lost, the futility of war, and naturally, the fundamental wickedness of Space Invaders fans.

So for those unafraid of the terror man hath wrought, click this link to check out The Invader!

Image via Destructoid


July 19, 2011

Poison Has High Standards

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Great little webcomic for y'all today from the routinely entertaining Manly Guys Doing Manly Things by Coelasquid. This one is all about Poison...and the way her transgendered status is addressed is not only funny, but extremely trans-positive. In a surprising change of pace for the internet, even the commenters on the comic were largely trans-positive as well, though it seems that most of them aren't aware that "tranny" is usually used as a pejorative term in the same category as "faggot", so feel free to hop on over and respectfully educate them as they've just got incomplete dictionary definitions.

I don't think I'd qualify for more than a coffee date, but what about you, gaymers? Any of you think you'd have a chance with Poison?

May 27, 2011

On Ratfist, Doug TenNapel, And Why I Won't Be Reading

Ratfist

Back in January Digital Lit brought to our attention the webcomic Ratfist, which is being authored by the creator of Earthworm Jim, Doug TenNapel. I had been reading the webcomic for a while, and generally enjoying it, though as my posting on this site has shown, have been rather preoccupied with settling my life here in Berlin for the past while.

Therefore, I was rather curious when one of our readers, Chris I., sent me a message bringing to my attention to this particular comic page. The comic in itself has nothing particularly interesting about it to my eyes, largely because I am behind and have no clue what is happening in the story. What is interesting instead is how the comments section unfolds.

The particular, telling thread is started by 21stCentury, a non-American liberal, who brings up questions of liberal politics and questioning TenNapel's own seemingly conservative ones. As these things do, the question of same-sex marriage popped up, and this led to a whole load of myself just resting my palm against my forehead and shaking my head. No outrage, I've seen this all too often before. The back and forth goes something like this:

21st: Do you honestly believe that every country save for yours is some repressive autocracy devoid of freedom?"

DTN: Just compared to ours. We kick ass.

21st:"Christianity: 78.5%"

DTN: Again, why we kick ass.

21st: "You know, if you don't have will and die right now, your wife would inherit your stuff."

DTN: Neither could my gardener, but I shouldn't have to marry him to work those details out. I don't have a problem with anyone visiting anyone in the hospital... but we both know this isn't about hospital visits.

21st: "What argument do you have specifically against letting two adult men who love each other marry?"

DTN: The same argument I have against letting a man take a dump in the ladies room. And office appropriate for one sex isn't automatically appropriate for another, no matter how much a man loves taking a dump in the ladies room.

21st: "Lastly, i'm at least thankful you're not equating gays to pedophiles or zoophiles. That's more respectful than some."

DTN: Give me some time all I'll see what I can do. You realize this conversation is going to be used by your people to justify a permanent boycott of my work. They would probably use this argument to justify me not being able to visit anyone in any hospital while they're at it. THis argument isn't about laws and marriage, it's about cultural witch hunts. THere are a lot worse things than not being able to marry your same sex.

21st: "Right now, some states are, in fact, fighting to remove rights from people. Is that right?"

DTN: America has thousands of people's rights taken away every day. Take a number.

Deep breath.

There's also some derailing above that about polygamy (my personal belief? What's wrong with that? Why are we denigrating it? What does that have to do with this particular argument?). However, after all that, I just want to link to Derailing for Dummies (particularly the Conspiracy and Agenda subheadings), throw in a measure of Oppression Olympics, and just be done with the argument right then and there, because seriously? There's also a lot of what I read as jingoism, but that may vary from person to person (as a dual citizen of the U.S. and Germany, and constantly shuffled between the two, the ra-ra Country ra sentiment has always struck me as... quaint).

Now, Mr. TenNapel talks about boycotts, and that's not what I'm calling for anyone to do. I enjoyed Earthworm Jim when I was a wee one, though I've never revisited it. The comic? I will stop visiting it, but whether anyone here who reads it does is up to them. Having the information (even if I read the webcomic regularly, I don't necessarily read comments) is something I believe people should have to make their own decisions; for which you may want to read more of the thread to get a gist of the full extent of the conversation.

January 17, 2011

Groovy! Earthworm Jim Creator Pens New Webcomic: Ratfist

ratfist.jpgWhilst perusing my Twitter feed I was reading the tweets of Kelly "Coelasquid" Turnbull of the amazing Manly Guys Doing Manly Things webcomic (seriously; read this one and try not to crack up) when one tweet in particular caught my eye:

Oh yeah, Doug TenNapel (of Earthworm Jim fame) has a webcomic! http://ratfist.com/

Earthworm Jim, while a touch wonky on the controls, was an amazing work of absurdist humor during the 16-bit era. Synopsis for the uninitiated: Professor Monkey-For-A-Head built an Ultra-high-tech-indestructible-super-space-cyber-suit on commission from the evil Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-filled, Malformed, Slug-for-a-Butt to conquer the galaxy. The suit is stolen by a rebel who is chased down and shot out of the sky above Earth by Psy-Crow. The suit plummets to Earth and happens to land on an earthworm named Jim and mutates him into a large, intelligent earthworm capable of operating the suit, when the suit isn't operating him (the suit will pull Jim out and use him as a whip for melee attacks, for example). Overhearing Psy-Crow's plans with Queen Slug-for-a-Butt, Jim decides to put a stop to her plans and rescue her sister, Princess What's-Her-Name. It doesn't get much more absurd than that.

Earthworm Jim was a game that I enjoyed during the Super Nintendo days, save for Bob the Evil Goldfish's stage, so hearing that the creator is trying his hand at a webcomic immediately piqued my interest. Sadly, there's not much to read just yet. TenNapel has just started the project, so as of this writing there are only five pages up for viewing, but the pages that are up are very entertaining. We have Ricky, a man pushing 40, dressing up in a rat costume to fight crime with his sidekick Milt, who happens to be an actual rat. I also have this suspicion that Ricky is eventually going to have a rat for a fist, though I can't be sure yet. The art is gorgeous and of very high-quality, and the talent on display makes me green with envy.

It's a touch frustrating that there's not a whole lot more I can write about Ratfist since there's so little to consume at the moment. However, the initial presentation combined with TenNapel's pedigree means that this is going in my webcomic rotation. I have high hopes for the future of this project, so go check it out and see if you agree.

April 18, 2010

Scott Johnson Brings Out The Humor In Video Game Culture

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Scott Johnson, cartoonist and hardcore gamer is a funny guy. As CEO of Frog Pants Studios he spends his time and talent producing a various webcomics and podcasts that cater to the hardcore gaming and tech community.

One of his more popular comics is the bi-monthly series Extra Life. Started in 2001, Scott's blend of wry humor and personal observations of gaming culture make for terribly funny strips that accurately express the climate of its surrounding community. This strip was published by Crispy Gamer until its closure in January of this year.

Scott also pens the popular Experience Points that draws from his apparent love of World of Warcraft and the general community surrounding all things MMORPG.

Scott's many Podcasts supplement his comic's snarky humor and are as diverse as gaming culture itself. Ranging from his now defunct Extra Life Radio to the iPhone app and tech podcast AppSlappy, Johnson covers the gamut of geekery with his affable nature and personal touch. You can tell he loves his work and lives for gaming culture.

Another of his popular podcasts, The Instance, also has a burgeoning guild in WoW named Alea Iacta Est or AIE. Anyone who listens is invited to join the 450,000 plus members in one of the largest guilds in North American servers. Scott plays a level 80 Orc Hunter named Gerp.


February 21, 2010

Read Penny Arcade's Dragon Age: Awakening Comic

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Just as they did last year for Dragon Age: Origins, the boys behind Penny Arcade have been tasked by Bioware to create a prequel comic for the upcoming expansion to the game, Awakening. The first couple pages (of 6) are up now, and feature a character from the game that hasn't been officially revealed yet. I wouldn't exactly call it a spoiler or anything, based on what I've read so far. We don't even have a name yet!

The plot seems to be about the grandson of a Gray Warden who's taken it upon himself to right a perceived wrong on his family's, or maybe his country's, honor. So he's probably not one of those fun-loving, joke-a-minute characters. Hopefully some of the new companions in the expansion will end up having a sense of humor - a party full of Stens and Wynnes doesn't sound all that appealing to me.

The Dragon Age: Awakening expansion is due out March 16 for PC, Xbox 360, and PS3, and requires a copy of the original game to play.

Penny Arcade Dragon Age: Awakening Comic [Bioware]

February 17, 2010

Webcomic Spotlight: Dark Legacy

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I just wanted to highlight to people this cute WOW-based comic that came out in relation to valentine's day. Please be aware it does have a certain f-word in it, but the comic itself is quite gay positive. Click below for the full comic, or check it out at Dark Legacy Comics, which you should find amusing if you enjoy WOW-themed humor.

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November 23, 2009

Brawl In The Family Turns 200 Comics, Gets Musically Epic

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Webcomics? Been there, done that. So what's next? How does musical webcomics sound to your ears?

Matthew Taranto over at Brawl in the Family just celebrated his 200th comic in absolute style with a super cute comic dedicated to some of the most overlooked characters just about all videogames: minions. Yeah, they might not carry the respect or the recognition that Mario or Link get, but without them those guys would be a total bore. Video game minions put themselves in harms way everyday and for what? A mild diversion for you and your character on the way to some bigger, badder enemy you say? These guys deserve better and thanks to Taranto they are finally getting the credit they have earned.

It should be noted that because this makes noise, you might want to check your headphone levels before heading on over and experiencing it yourself. It's all safe for work, so long as no one is going to mind you looking at Pokemon.

[Brawl in the Family]

October 29, 2009

Video: Zaku, The New Shmup For The Lynx

Out of all the system in my collection, the one void that I've always wanted to fill was the Atari Lynx. The oversized black brick with a color screen has been on my "do want" list since I saw it guest star on Clarissa Explains it All in that annoying little run Ferguson's hands. I sware to god that was the only thing in his school back pack. I think that's all that would fit.

My obsession with dated, slightly avant garde game hardware aside the system really doesn't have much of a place in modern society. Or does it? Development by Super Fighter Team as produced Zaku, a new "Air Zonk" style Shoot 'um up for the dated little system. Further more, the game is being launched on the system itself and not just an internet downloadable rom.

Don't believe me? Head over to their webpage. Screenshots and pre-orders are accepted.
[via GameSetWatch]


October 23, 2009

Excuse Me, Princess!

excuse_me.jpg Sarcasm and video game references are the cornerstones of all online gaming discussion. Sarcastic dismissal of someone else's outrage is even more satisfying when paired with a referenced to the shared subculture of the forum, further asserting your right to be there. Which is why a phrase as universal and annoying as "Excuse me, Princess!" is so powerful. In fact, the catchphrase from the Legend of Zelda cartoon is so easy to drop into any conversation that LinkBizarro Obnoxious 80s Cartoon Link somehow managed to say it 29 times in the show's brief 13 episode run.

But there's a problem! The Internet, and most gaming discussion, is text-based which makes it difficult to convey a specific tone. Without being sure you're conveying the proper amount of sarcasm you run the risk of sounding super polite and also confused about the monarchical system. You need to make sure that when you say "Excuse me, Princess!" people know you're not serious! That's where adding extra letters u to "excuse" comes in. By adding more letters u you can force the reader's internal reading voice to drag out the pronunciation and ensure they pick up on your sarcastic tone! But how many letters u do you need to add to convey the correct amount of sarcasm? Luckily, computational linguist, Dinosaur Comics author, and IMHO total stud Ryan North has found the answer:


This graph shows the correlation between the amount of Google results and the amount of 'u's in "excuse." Points of interest:

- "Excuuse me, princess!" is really unpopular, given its ease in typing: people either write the phrase with The Canonical Number of Letters U (that is, 1), or write it with more. I believe this reflects a tension between dictionary spelling and how the word is said: if you're going to break the rules, people break them in a way that's clear and unambiguously not a typo!

- There is a marked preference for 41 letters u: "excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me, princess!" has 3,770 results, while the results around it have tons fewer. That's that bump near the end of the graph! Clearly there is a connection here with the amount of time the average person is willing to hold down their "u" key before losing interest and seeing what the other keys do. [Note: This may be a result of this YTMND which has 41 letters u in the title]

- It took 50 letters u ("excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me, princess!") to get 0 results. I was going to stop there, but then I made the mistake of checking 51 letters u, which had a few hits, as did 52. It was at 67 letters u ("excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me, princess!") that my Google search box was mostly the letter "u" and I realized that there is no upper limit on how many letters u could appear. It's letters u all the way down, you guys! So I stopped and wished I'd written a script to do this instead, but I really thought we'd peter out before 67.

If you're still reading this post and haven't yet found this topic totally exhausting, you can check out Ryan North's original post which contains the complete data set, including the exact number of results per number of letters u.

July 24, 2008

Bethesda Launches Penny Arcade Drawn Fallout Comic

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I did not play much of the original Fallout. There, I admitted it. It was a dark time where I didn't do much PC gaming, so sue me. Ignoring this fact, ZOMG FALLOUT 3. This game is some serious nuclear chic. For serious. I will be there on release day in my cerulean blue with yellow trim jumper for this game.

Bethesda has been pretty forthcoming about content about this game. There are more trailers, media shots and general fan fluff than you can shake a stick at. They just keep pumping out more too. Today they launched their commissioned comic titled Penny Arcade Comics. Bet you can't guess who is drawing it. So far it's only one strip and it's all introduction, but it is definitely something you will want to keep your eyes on if you're a fan.

P.S.: Knowing my luck, I would be in vault 69.

Fallout Official Site

August 6, 2007

Penny Arcade Does Persona 3

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If there's one thing I've learned about life, it's that you really need to have a sense of humor if you're going to get through it with any sort of grace. Because there are a whole lot of things that are gonna go wrong (like, I don't know, sites being shut down by hackers with backwards agendas), so you might as well just laugh about 'em.

Which is why I love webcomics like Penny Arcade, which inject humor into the world of video games--a place often taken far too seriously. Sure, that game you bought that you were excited about for months turned out to total dog doo--it's suddenly okay if you know someone else went through the same thing, and laughing about it is a hell of a lot better than being bitter about it.

Not that Persona 3 turned out to be one of those games. Quite the contrary. Having received across the board rave reviews from every major gaming site lucky enough to get their hands on a non-delayed copy, it's now Penny Arcade's turn, with a hilarious look at what it must have been like to be a fly on the wall at Atlus' boardroom.

Potent Yet Troubling Imagery
[Penny-Arcade]

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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