Greetings, those who read the tiny-fonted comment section! Below, please find a link to the ultra-super-high-res version of Panel 4 from today's comic. Feel free to download it (right click-Save Image As) as you see fit.
Bang it here!
Hey! Check it out! I love you people!
Thats right, the troops were rallied and we somehow took down the towering behemoth that is Penny Arcade. I think its safe to say that its been a good week for our little operation here. Aside from the Joystiq Wrapup win, were also in the midst of a saga that fills me with utter joy. We have one more episode of Revenger Squadron and then were headed back to relative normalcy. That said, we have some big things cooking for the comic and I must say Im more excited about this project than Ive ever been before. Nothing is set in stone yet, but at the very least I think were looking at an opportunity to expand our reach a bit.
Also! If youre one of the six people that read the news posts, you might want to stop by on Tuesday because this space will feature a very special entry. Probably. Unless I get lazy.
I would be totally alright if we just changed the name of the strip right now to Revenger Squadron and concentrated solely on the adventures of these four heroic individuals. In fact, youre stuck with them at least until Saturday. In FACT Im going to brief today in order that I may finish scripting the next chapter of their adventures.
One last reminder: We are currently maintaining a narrow lead in the Joystiq Weekly Webcomic Wrapup. If you havent voted yet (on all your available devices of course) please do so and help us lock down this little competition. Trevor was promising hand drawn personal avatars in exchange for votes for awhile, which is a promise I cant match due to my lack of drawing skills. That said, Im perfectly willing to pledge my companionship to all voters. Wink. Wink.
Heres the link. Click on it, vote, and be introduced a world of pleasure you previously only imagined.
So generally I'm a lot better on this, but my blocking in Panels 2 and 3, I hate to confess, wasn't very good. So when I laid out the text, you wound up losing little details in the art. Nothing key to the jokes, but stuff I liked. And plus I think they turned out pretty awesome, so I figured I'd post the high-res versions here, in case you want Brando's man thighs or my beer gut (as dragonmaiden50 so lovingly put it) on your desktop.
If you somehow missed the media maelstrom (meaning the admin comment posted by Trevor under the comic) we are somehow in the running for the Joystiq Webcomic Weekly Wroundup (or whatever) and were rallying the troops for support. We were wisely nominated for the Love in the Age of Dragons strip and if you wish to contribute to the cause and throw us a vote or two, we would greatly appreciate it. As of this writing were holding down second place right behind a little known comic called Pennys Arcade or something along those lines. While we dont wish to steal victory from these scrappy young go-getters, the fact remains that were within a handful of votes of winning this thing. This would mean a lot to us so help us out, will ya? Make with the clicking!
If you came here looking for insights into the creation of the strip, all I have is this: I wrote it mostly in church. Theres a special place in hell for people like me.
Alright, let's get this out of the way right now: I'm a sports fan. I like sports. Those comics we did a while ago about me liking sports? Accurate. Judge me all you want; my friends do it anyway.
Brad bought me Madden '10 for Christmas, which made me happy. And I've been playing it and enjoying it well enough, until one day I looked and saw a menu option for an "Ultimate Team" mode.
Further inspection revealed a free downloadable title add-on, which changed the game by allowing players to build their own custom teams in a collectible card game type of system. "Hang on," I thought. "Football AND silly card games?? You have my attention, John Madden."
When you start the game type, you name your custom team (no swears!) and are given a "starter pack," of virtual football cards, containing just enough players to form a team, a coach card, playbook cards, and uniform cards. Now, none of the cards in the starter pack are very GOOD, mind you. Madden rates its players on a scale of 50-100 (weird scale, I know), and basically all the players in your starter pack are going to be in the 50s.
Once you've got your team in order, you can start playing with it, and as you play through games, you can earn "coins," which will allow you to purchase "booster packs" to enhance your team. However, these coins are given out at an alarmingly-slow rate. You'll have to play two or three games just to buy one of the lowest-tier booster packs. Of course, there IS the option of using Microsoft points (meaning, of course, real cash dollars) to BUY coins to spend on booster packs.
Some of you are rolling your eyes already, but remember, I LIKE this kind of thing, and the rate of exchange seemed pretty fair: There are four levels of boosters (bronze, silver, gold, platinum), and ~$5 is enough for a couple gold packs.
Stay with me here, we're getting to the point.
So anyway, initially I spent probably $10 and got some pretty good players and got my team up to the point where I felt I could be competitive against other players online. I won a couple games, earned some more coins, bought some more packs, etc. It was fun.
Now let's step back for a second.
The XBox 360 is NOT a well-made piece of hardware. I'm not breaking any new ground in saying that. I'm on my third 360, as are most of my friends. And while this one's on its last legs too, it does well enough. But like an old beater car with a degenerating engine, it has its foibles: It runs better sitting horizontally rather than vertically, sometimes the disk drive won't open on the first try, blah blah. In addition to these little things unique to MY box, it seems that EA Sports games tend to not run properly on A LOT of 360s. Specifically, they will freeze and give a "disc unreadable error" even on a perfectly clean disc (forum threads detailing this problem here, here, and here), a problem that has been rampant for several years, yet never addressed by EA.
So of course, I was in the middle of an Ultimate Team game online and got a disc unreadable error. Not only did this force me to eject the disc, wipe it clean (despite the fact that it was already clean), and put it back, but I didn't gain any coins for that game. This was annoying. When it happened two more times, I was getting really pissed off.
But a funny thing happened after the third bogus error: I turned the game back on, logged onto the Ultimate Team servers, and was met with a message: "Some of your players have contracts that are about to expire. Please go to your team management screen for details."
Confused, I followed its instructions, and was met with stomach-turning news: At the bottom of each player's card is the word "Contract" with a single-digit number after it. That single digit number represents the NUMBER OF GAMES YOU CAN PLAY WITH THAT PLAYER BEFORE HE DISAPPEARS FROM YOUR COLLECTION.
Now there are provisions against losing players from your deck: Contract Extension cards! They occasionally come in booster packs, or you can BUY THEM FROM THE ULTIMATE TEAM STORE! For more points! And like we discussed earlier, just playing games with your team doesn't earn you enough coins on its own to stem the tide of your players' contracts expiring, so after a while, you're losing players at a rate you cannot control unless you SPEND MORE MONEY.
And not only that, but every time I got an error message in the middle of a game? Yeah, it took a game off of EVERY PLAYER ON MY TEAM. If someone disconnects on you before a game is over, YOU GET DOCKED A GAME OFF EVERY PLAYER. I had one guy drop on me during the COIN TOSS and it docked a game from all my players. So now the expiration date on my players is coming up without even affording me the resources to stave it off. I was trying to think of the real-world equivalent for this, and the best I could come up with would be if two teams were playing an NFL game and one team decided to get on the buses and leave at halftime, and the owners were forced to refund all the ticket money to the fans. But even that doesn't really apply, because God wouldn't smite a handful of players off the team every time this happened.
"So just don't play," you're likely saying right now. "Just play the standard Madden game and don't worry about this Ultimate Team crap." Yeah, here's the problem: Even after reading the tutorial the first time you play, the idiosyncrasies of this game type don't REALLY become clear until well after you've invested money into this garbage. I personally had invested over $20 into buying cards before I figured out what was going on.
People have bitched for years about EA's greed and the way they fleece consumers, but this is going above and beyond, even for them. They present this game as a collectible card game, like Magic: The Gathering or Pokemon. But the difference is, if a little girl buys a pack of Pokemon cards, they're HERS to do with what she will. A Nintendo executive won't come to her house and threaten to rip up her cards unless she agrees to buy them AGAIN.
Anyway, rant over. Enjoy the comic.
Trevor prompted this comic in that he wanted to have an outlet to vent his rage at stoners (and by stoners I knew he meant to say Doug Benson). So verily I set to work putting angry little words in the mouth of his avatar. Youll see more of Trevors spleen vented in the future, and probably as soon as Saturday.
Doug Benson is not a funny man. Not that you really have to be to have a successful career as a comedian. This has been proven time and time again by people like Larry the Cable Guy, Carlos Mencia, Dane Cook, Jay Leno, Jeff Dunham and so on and so on and so on. The thing is that Doug Benson has inserted himself into the one market that will find anything amusing if pot is mentioned enough. You dont even really need jokes to entertain this audience. Case in point: Doug Benson named his recent tour, The Puff Puff Pass tour which isnt even a joke. Its just a thing people say. Along the same lines are stoner comedy movies like Pineapple Express, which is basically a comedy without any jokes in it. Its essentially a movie full of things happening and people saying things. The reason its popular within its audience is because most of the things people say involve marijuana, and most of things they do are in the pursuit of marijuana. Its not a terrible flick (Trevor hates it, while I just plain dont like it) but you can only actually enjoy it to its full potential if youve bought into the pothead culture. No, its not just funnier if youre just stoned. You also need to recognize popular signposts of stoner culture. If you have adapted the whole of your personality to reflect one little thing you happen to enjoy, then congratulations. Youre now capable of reaping entertainment from things that no reasonable person would enjoy. The only expense being that youre no longer an interesting human being regardless of how colorful you are.
The end result of legalization will be more pot smokers, and fewer pot heads. Remove the signifiers of the culture and you slowly kill the culture. After Doug Benson is gone we just have to take down Dave Matthews Band and Phish and well be just about set. I really do think pot should be legalized, but not just for the reasons presented in the strip. Luckily, somebody stole my soapbox so youre spared from my political rantings for now.
The scenario presented in the comic is pretty much what happened to me the other day. There I was romancing this sweet religious girl (a mistake Ive made often in real life) in an attempt to simultaneously protect her innocence while inviting her into my world of sin and lechery. Needless to say, these kind of things just dont usually work out.
Ive played a fair amount of Biowares games over the years and Ive learned that their scenarios can be fraught with peril and that I should be saving early and often. And I practiced this philosophy when it came to fighting dragonkin, but mostly ignored it when it came to woo-ing my temperamental Orlesian flower. Needless to say, I screwed up and now my character (a human mage named Renaldo Deeplove) is doomed to celibacy for the rest of the game. This carnal defeat must have broken Renaldos spirit in that after this rejection it seemed like I was losing every battle I came across. I knew that I had some balance issues in my party, but its almost as if my lower-case avatar had lost the will to live without the dangling carrot of digital poonanny.
Thus my new character was born! I started over as a Commoner Dwarf named Steaküm. Honestly, I rarely play as straight forward warrior types and Im really enjoying the change of pace. Ill keep you appraised of his adventures as my gallant dwarf and his loyal mabari hound, Kibbletits venture oer the land.
The (more or less) real-life adventures of four drunks from Portland, Oregon.