"More Than a Little Gamey"

2008
May
31

Based on my recent comments here and elsewhere, you might think that I didn’t have anything but praise for every webcomic on the Internet. PUH-LEEZE. Sturgeon’s Law (“90% of everything is crap”) applies to webcomics and then some (more like a 99% ratio), and I am deeply underwhelmed by some of the “institutions” in the field. But I don’t like to trash-talk; making fun of the low-hanging fruit among the comix is for lazy cynical assholes, and I’m not quite ready to get in an argument with the rest of the web over whether Penny Arcade or Achewood are overrated (oops). But you know what? There are a bunch of comics that I consider crappy that I include in my comic surfing at least once a week, because either (a) they are popular enough that I can’t totally ignore them, (b) once in a while some of them do succeed in providing some entertainment and (c) often they make me laugh for totally different reasons than they intended to make me laugh (yes, I am capable of the Nelson Muntz “Ha ha, you look stupid”).

One of those comics is “Little Gamers”, and on Friday, it achieved a level of suckiness that has rarely been reached by the talentless souls who haunt the webcomics world.

Coming across as Another Penny Arcade Clone (and I’ve already confessed to be a PA non-fanboy), substituting cute little Fisher-Price-esque characters seemingly for the shock value of “oooh, those cute little kiddies are using all the bad words!” (and really, doesn’t South Park OWN that schtick?), Little Gamers uses well-drafted but oversimplified characters lacking basic features like mouths (severely limiting their emotional expressions, compared to Diesel Sweeties’ amazing use of pixel minimalism I noted before) and fingers (a recent series involving a character with both arms wrapped/bandaged up so he can’t play games didn’t work for me, and why the “Argh! My spine!” if he’s getting arms broken?). Maybe I’m expecting too much. Maybe nasty negative commentaries of video games are enough – it works for Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw’s Zero Punctuation, but he has things going for him like animation, a narration voice with an interesting accent and one other thing – FUNNY.

Meanwhile, anybody who follows webcomics knows the surprising (and to many, annoying) success of xkcd, the “webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language” – to which you can add science, pop culture, pop science, the internet, programming, dreams, fantasy, practical jokes, hats, fruit (odd combinations of the above) and very badly drawn stick figures. While not the consistent work of genius its rabid fans consider it, xkcd is funny more often than not, thanks Randall Munroe’s obsessively geeky interest in all of this stuff and his sharp sense of humor. (And yet, with all these obsessions and scientific interests, he doesn’t bother to learn how to draw? Nice irony there.)

One of xkcd’s signature strips is…

…which, in theory, was only funny to computer geeks who knew what sudo means, but inspired others of us to go and found out, resulting in a time-delayed chuckle. And less than a week after that particular joke was featured in a New York Times article about xkcd, who would be so clueless/crazy/prickish to copy it?

You guessed it… Little Gamers.

They even added verbal awkwardness to the gag with the word combination “sudo do”. More like Soo Doo Doo, I’d say.

Of course, I had to comment, and since I knew the Twitter username of one of LG’s co-authors, I did:
wendellosity @MrMadsen I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU COPIED ONE OF XKCD’S MOST CLASSIC NERD GAGS. http://xkcd.com/149/ BAD LITTLE GAMER!

…to which he replied…
MrMadsen @wendellosity AND INTENTIONALLY TOO!! Prick 🙁

Well, if I’m going to have an enemy in the webcomicking universe, it’s good to have one who’s both obnoxious AND dumb.

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