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He's written about the gaming webcomics issue (particularly his issues with CAD) before. Quite an interesting read. He mentions his own terrible webcomic in a footnote at the bottom.

23/3/08: You Cad

Review this week was Turok, for anyone who didn't notice. Watch it and let's all get on with our lives.

As a recent interview with me over at Gamespot and several references in previous reviews and writings may have informed you, I have a long-standing hatred of the webcomic Ctrl-Alt-Del. I thought I'd take a moment to explain it a bit better.

You see, I have this theory that the internet is causing a general mediocritisation of human culture, because you can put pretty much any piece of work on the internet and no matter how hugely it sucks dolphin jizz you'll find some dick who's prepared to tell you it's brilliant. This is the principle on which Deviantart appears to be founded.

But the cruellest thing you can do to an artist is tell them their work is flawless when it isn't. It gives them no incentive to improve or try new things, which a creative person must always strive to do. And it tends to foster the kind of monstrous egos the webcomic sphere grows like mushrooms in the shit-spattered dark. Tim Buckley of Ctrl-Alt-Del is notorious for having a zero tolerance for any criticism, constructive or otherwise, often deleting it unregarded from his forums, or declaring them invalid for half-baked reasons. It seems blanket praise has already done its damage to this fevered ego.

I don't hate Buckley. I look at CAD and I see a lot of misdirected potential. I know, that sounds hilarious even to me. But if you look at Buckley's art blog, you'll find that he's actually a pretty decent artist when he wants to be. But the promise of easy praise and popularity keeps him mired in his copy-pasted shoulder-hunched droopy-eyed slack-jawed magnum opus.

Not that copy-pasted art need necessarily ruin a comic - Dinosaur Comics is one of my favourite regular reads. It's the fact that for having run a gag-a-day strip for however many years, Buckley still has no idea how to structure a joke. I've never known an artist so determined to never learn anything about their craft. His usual response to this sort of thing is that he just has his own style and that there's no such thing as a 'right' or 'wrong' opinion, but the fact is, while humour is a flexible harlot, it still has rules. Rules which can be broken in the right contexts; contexts which don't include anything Tim Buckley has written.

I'm going to post a link now to a Ctrl-Alt-Del comic from July 2007. Don't let the fact that it's old excuse the mistakes; this is still very typical of Buckley's current work.

http://www.ctrlaltdel-online.com/comic.php?d=20070718

Here's another comic, this one a Penny Arcade strip from early the same year. The subject matter and joke are the same (Puzzle Quest) but it's a fairly obvious joke to make and I can easily assume both writers came up with it independently.

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2007/03/28

Both comics identify the humour in the situation - that the rules of a game world seem absurd when applied to the real world - but while Penny Arcade understands that the crux of a joke should be reserved for the final panel, Ctrl-Alt-Del is apparently so excited about the idea that it blurts it out right away, leaving three more panels to flounder in excessive dialogue and pointlessness.

A punchline should be equated to an actual punch in the face. That's why it's called a punch-line. You deliver it and run. You do not hang around explaining how you did the punch and that the recipient should probably be in a lot of pain now.

Identify the funny part of the idea and save it for last. Leave with the audience laughing. If you do nothing else, finish strong. That's a rule any humourist will agree with. But with the centrepoint of the gag already uselessly spent, Buckley's comic is forced to fall upon its old standby of violence as a sort of prosthetic punchline. Now, violence can certainly be funny, modern cinema was virtually built on the tradition of slapstick, but it doesn't work in static, non-animated media. There is humour to be found in shock value, but most people have been on the internet long enough to not be shocked by anything as mundane as a claymore through the sweetbreads.

But even if the joke were structured properly, there is still far too much dialogue. This is a problem common to a lot of webcomics, but since we're already in the CAD-bashing groove we'll stick with it. Shakespeare wrote that 'brevity is the soul of wit'. He did not then add 'unless you're writing a webcomic'. It applies to everything, and don't tell me you're arrogant enough to claim to know better than Shakespeare.

A gag strip has a very simple formula. Buildup. Buildup. Buildup. Punchline. Anything that does not in some way build towards the punchline can safely be removed. If any dialogue can conceivably be replaced with a gesture or facial expression (visit Perry Bible Fellowship for a crash course in this), do so; this is a comic, a predominantly visual medium, not a fucking essay. Additionally, any dialogue pertaining to either ninjas, pirates, monkeys or Jesus should be excised, sealed in resin and buried in an undersea volcano.

This is why Ctrl-Alt-Del is a blight, and the fact that it remains crushingly popular despite making mistakes that a child would be brutally caned for on their first day at comedy school is one of the main reasons I openly weep tears for the future of human culture.

I know that an opinion can't technically be wrong and that there could be people who still like CAD for the characters or the art, but if you genuinely think that it is well-written, then you are demonstrably wrong. That's all there is to it.

* (Yahtzee is well aware that his own previous webcomic efforts aren't necessarily any better but reminds you that they came out of a dark time in his life from which he has determinedly moved on without a backward glance.)

- Yahtzee

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Yeah, he pretty much hit the nail on the cliched head when it comes to webcomics.

And as far as the applying game or other specialized logic to the real world, The Far Side wore that schtick into the ground years ago.

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Wow, this one actually got me to LOL. Yahtzee hasn't done that to me in a while.

I loved his "logic armor". Somebody should direct me on where to get my own, since almost every friggen person on the internet has some.

BTW, did you know that the cake is a lie? LULZ!!!1! :tomatoface:

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While this was mainly an excuse just for him to rant about how much CAD sucks (not that I mind), I think the most interesting part of this "episode" was towards the beginning, where he talked about gaming as an "art", mainly because it was spot on.

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Well, those idiots are lame. Granted, I liked the little changes in music because they made for good gags, but I understand with Yahtzee's growing popularity he has to try to be a bit more self-sufficient, especially if he's selling merchandise of his work and all. There are less risks involved for him this way and I fully support it. Even if this means we have to sacrifice a couple of good gags now and then, it's hardly affecting us otherwise, so people who are complaining should just bugger off.

Anyway, I'm actually a bit surprised that Yahtzee had fun with a Lego title. Doesn't seem his bag, but hey, glad he doesn't completely shoot it down. Good stuff.

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Well, those idiots are lame. Granted, I liked the little changes in music because they made for good gags, but I understand with Yahtzee's growing popularity he has to try to be a bit more self-sufficient, especially if he's selling merchandise of his work and all. There are less risks involved for him this way and I fully support it. Even if this means we have to sacrifice a couple of good gags now and then, it's hardly affecting us otherwise, so people who are complaining should just bugger off.
Well, I would be able to tolerate it I suppose if the "theme song" or whatever it is wasn't such generic crap.

I swear, if I here one more Internet series or podcast with a personality-less, instrumental rock intro...

Do you think one or more music companies took him up on his offer to request he stop using their songs, or is he just getting "self-sufficient"?

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The more popular you become, the bigger a target you are for legal threats. I'll miss the theme-relevant intro/outro clips too, but I can see why he wouldn't want to push his luck. Hopefully, he'll find better intro music eventually.

At least his reviews are still top notch.

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I swear, the amount of ads is getting worse each week. The video clocks in at 8:52, and the review runs, from opening credits to the very last frame of the ending credits, for 4:50. Throw in the 18 seconds of him not talking afterwards, and you have over three and a half minutes of ads.

Thank god they're at the end, though. If you had to watch them at the beginning, I'd stop watching completely. Free entertainment isn't enjoyable if yo have to sit through a bunch of shit first.

You hear that, The Escapist? You keep those ads at the end of the video!

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I swear, the amount of ads is getting worse each week. The video clocks in at 8:52, and the review runs, from opening credits to the very last frame of the ending credits, for 4:50. Throw in the 18 seconds of him not talking afterwards, and you have over three and a half minutes of ads.

Thank god they're at the end, though. If you had to watch them at the beginning, I'd stop watching completely. Free entertainment isn't enjoyable if yo have to sit through a bunch of shit first.

You hear that, The Escapist? You keep those ads at the end of the video!

Seconded. The amount of adds starts to be even more then the actual reason why you even got there.

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As his popularity goees up, more and more people go to the site and download the flash files, making bandwidth needs go up. Bandwidth isn't exactly cheap, so The Escapist has to make ends meet by upping their advertising, even if it means advertising their own site.

By advertising their own site they get more hits in other areas and can start putting more third party advertising around the site in general and make ends meet. Hopefully this situation will resolve itself. It's just too bad that most of the other features on the escapist really suck = \

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