Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Comics: Gamer Comics

Since the podcast was canceled this week and I had a rant I wanted to get out, I'll vent here.

Today we were suppose to review a comic called "GG-Guys". Don't ask what "GG" stands for I couldn't find out. :(
I won't give my full review for this yet but here's what I first thought after reading through the archives: "Another one?"

Yes. Another clone of the ever popular formula of "gamer comics" as set forth by the Gamer Comic Gods of Penny Arcade.
The formula can be expressed in colorful/non-work-safe language here: Zero Punctuation.

In My words, which will be work safe here is what the formula is.
Two guys, usually roommates living out their gaming fantasies. Usually there is one angry girl character to represent the entire female demographic of gamers. (insert many frownie faces).
She will also be one of their girlfriends.

Two Male-Dominant Industries in One
Comics and the Game industry are two largely male-dominant industries now. So I guess that makes sense to have two male characters as the stars right? (I'm just noting something ironic in that).

And what I notice is that these two industries are falling into this vicious cycle of making more of the "same thing". More first person shooters and more two guys playing video games living out the dream.

It's very rare you find a GEM in the mix. But you can find them.
My problem though is the "sameness" of the genre. (can it be called a genre if they're all the same?)
Stray from the path a bit. I haven't found a single comic where they change up the personalities of the characters even.
The girl is ALWAYS angry. She's either a gamer or completely inept OR a booth babe. (It's like feminism never happened.)

Maybe that's just the way we always come off when females encounter chauvinism found in video game related culture. I feel angry sometimes. Sometimes I play games when I'm angry to let off steam. Sometimes the game makes me angry. And sometimes reading research makes me angry. But mostly the difficulty I'm having trying to get a foot in the door in this industry makes me angry.

Some Changes
F@nboy$ is one of those rare webcomics where sometimes the comic gag is not about the games at all, but the relationships between all the characters. Granted it starts out a VERY cliche formula, but the artist has matured in both style and humor. The characters seemed like self insertion but end up being representations of the various console fans. What is unique is the female character is the Xbox fan. She is just as in-touch with the gaming culture as the boys and even lives out her own in-game fantasies. Then she started dating the Nintendo fanboy and the story tangents.

Gold stars for good character development, non-game related comics, and jokes about working at a game store.

My Idea
I was actually so put off by the comic we were reviewing that I was typing out my thoughts as to what I would do if I made a gamer comic.
I'm sure there are some girl-gamer comics out there in the web-comic world. I just haven't found them yet.

Going with the classic formula, the comic would be self-insertion. And instead of living out my gaming fantasies (although that may become a part of it) it'll be about the gender research I did, trying to break into the industry and all the demographics that the game industry is failing to reach.
I may also add my favorite mascots who happen to be guys but they're mostly non-gamers. And certainly outside the demographic...because one is an elf.

So even more of the classic formula would be the two guys and one girl syndrome but because that's a trope of the genre I'll use it.

And to top it all off I'd use sock puppets instead of drawings. :)

I get really sad when I don't get this out on podcast day.

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