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Zoinks! Magazine | Nerdflood

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Guitar Hero Guidelines

Posted by Dacquin at 7:39 PM
GamingPlaying this game was fun at Best Buy. Owning this game now, I realize there’s a few steps you must take to really get all the fun out of Guitar Hero. Pay attention class.

1. Buy the game. You people who play on the regular controllers because you rented this off of Gamefly are missing something. Actually, you’re missing everything. Buy the game and buy the controller. No one in their right mind plays this game without the guitar controller.

2. Wear appropriate apparel while playing. A nice vintage shirt and jeans will do. It’s incredibly uncool to play this in your pajamas. Could you imagine yourself going onstage in your pajamas and rocking to Crossroads by Cream? I didn’t think so.

3. Stand up. You do not play Guitar Hero while sitting down and playing like it was a regular video game. It’d be like you’re playing acoustic guitar. We are not wussies like them. People who rock play standing up. Just don’t break the guitar at the end of the song.

4. Start easy. No matter how much experience you have, you will be starting on easy or medium. If you’ve seen normal people playing terribly and giving these rockers sad faces because their rock bar is on red and they were trying to do too much. You have to practice to get good. Rockers do not let other rockers feel like they suck, unless it’s a guitar duel, then they deserved it.

5. Don’t kill your hands. It’s might be fun and your hands are hurting a little, but don’t overdo it. You do want to keep playing later on in life. At most, I’ve played forty minutes before taking a break.

I’ll have a review for this soon, but first I’ll have to stop playing. I’m in a middle of a break actually. Uh oh, I heard ENCORE! Gotta go!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Eric Burns New Editor of Modern Tales

Posted by Nathaniel at 8:36 PM
ComicsEric Burns is a big name in webcomics, and now he's about to become a very busy name. Joey Manley has asked Eric to take over editorial responsibilities for the Modern Tales subscription webcomic service.
And at the same time, Webcomics on the internet have also changed and evolved. We're not where we were in 2002. And so sites like Modern Tales have to evolve and change. Manley has some really, really good ideas for doing that change.

And he wants me to be part of it.
We wish Eric the best of luck in his new job (and it is an actual "job", since he'll be getting paid for his work). Congratulations, Eric!

Chex Returns! to Comixpedia!

Posted by Nathaniel at 9:43 AM
ComicsKris Straub brought Chex back before, and had promised that instead of a regularly updated webcomic, it would only appear when some kind of drama popped up in the webcomics landscape that simply begged to be commented upon in Chex's usual sarcastic, flippant style. According to today's update, it appears as though his return is no longer arbitrary, but somehow permanent. And, in addition to that, he'll be hooking up with longtime friend to webcomics everywhere, Comixpedia. No word yet on how this deal is going down, but it is definitely saucesome news.

Oh No Robot Webcomics Search Engine

Posted by Nathaniel at 8:37 AM
ComicsI haven't mentioned Oh No Robot yet, have I?

Oh No Robot is a reader-crafted webcomic search engine created through a joint task force consisting of Ryan North and T Campbell. The concept is simple. You have a webcomic, and you sign up at Oh No Robot. Put a bit of code on your comic display pages (it can go somewhere above your AdSense code but should be well below your Analytics code, and it shouldn't be placed anywhere near your Extreme tracker code). Then comes the fun part. You wait. Your readers go through your archives and will come across a button asking them to transcribe a comic, and they follow very simple instructions to do so. They submit, and now the complete text of that particular comic is fully searchable through Oh No Robot. You can also add a search utility to your own site so people don't have to go there.

When I have a few minutes to kill, I find myself often wandering over to the transcription page where you can find a listing of comics that are waiting to be transcribed. It only takes a minute or two to transcribe one comic. I've personally done about 40 or 50 since the site went live. I even do it for comics I've never read. Why? Because it's a worthy effort, and I like to feel as though I'm contributing to a very worthwhile webcomics cause.

So, if you're a webcomic creator, make use of their free services and sign up your comic for full-text searching. If you are a webcomic reader, see if your favorite webcomic needs your help. You'll be glad you took three minutes out of your busy day to help build a webcomic's search engine.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

IT Most Wanted for 2006

Posted by Nathaniel at 10:22 AM
TechnologySince this relates to my particular line of work, I thought it would be interesting to note Computerworld's pick of the top IT career prospects in 2006. Evidently there is expected to be a great demand for developers, project managers, and security experts, and judging from our own IT environment (wherein I am a project technical analyst), I agree with their thoughts. They are definitely good areas in which to specialize. The article is a good read on the why's and how's of these specific areas gaining such credibility in the industry. category: technology

New Alliance WoW Race Revealed?

Posted by Nathaniel at 9:26 AM
GamingA World of Warcraft-playing friend of mine will be interested to know this tidbit that's floating around the net today. Evidently, WoW players will be looking forward to the Draenei as their new Alliance race. Though, I'm not sure how Draenei will fare against the already-confirmed new Horde race, the magic-immune Blood Elves. My guess is that this is a good first step to getting players to switch sides from the over-populated Alliance races to the beleaguered Horde.

Of course, now you're just going to see a hell of a lot of Blood Elves all over the place.

Thanks to Kotaku for the tip category: gaming

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Silly Us! We're running a website!

Posted by Nathaniel at 9:41 AM
Evil NetworkHow rude! Here we go, taking a few days off for the holidays, and we don't even bother to let everyone know we're out. Inexcusable behavior! We deserve public beatings, and dammit, I intend to make sure Dacquin gets beaten severely for our negligent actions.

In the past week, we've enjoyed our Christmas holiday, as I'm sure you have, also. I managed to score some excellent gifts this year, and I've spent all my Christmas wads of cash and gift cards already. My 3-year-old son once again received far too many toys. But enough about me:

How was your Christmas?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Google 2005 Zeitgeist

Posted by Nathaniel at 4:00 PM
InternetGoogle has released its annual search engine wrap-up for 2005. Nothing too terribly interesting of note, though the zeitgeist in and of itself is usually a nice reflection on the events of the past year, and the things that have piqued our collective interest.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Dealing with Death

Posted by Nathaniel at 9:44 PM
ComicsThere's been some very serious issues rising up in webcomics recently. We've seen love, and we've seen hate, and then, we've seen death. I'll admit, I'm not a regular reader of Todd & Penguin.

But I am a regular reader of Anywhere But Here. Monday's comic should show you exactly why.

So while this really did nothing to move me emotionally, since I am so distanced from the characters, this did everything for me. As a current and expecting father, this sort of thing means everything. Jason Siebels not only gives a fitting tribute, he hits me personally with more emotion than the original. I like that.

With the instantaneous response times of the internet, it's interesting to see how a reaction to existing content can be echoed so quickly. This is just one of many examples, and I'm glad to have it here.

First Impressions: Shadow of the Colossus

Posted by Dacquin at 9:08 PM
GamingIco was fun, it made me cry. Any game that can successfully make you cry earns a spot in my heart for actually trying to make a good game. Anyway, the people who did Ico, have now went and made Shadow of the Colossus. I can tell you one think. This game is going to be such a pain the butt, I can only imagine how hard it's going to be.

In a nutshell, girl died, boy wants girl resurrected, god tells boy to kills Colossi and he'll bring her back. You've got a horse, a sword, and a bow. Find their weakspots, exploit them, and kill them. Yeah, that's going to be easy. I played against the first colossus, and he wasn't tough, BUT, judging by how I fought him, I knew that this game was not going to be a cakewalk.

You have a stamina meter, basically telling you how much energy you have to hold on to ledges and colossi. Plus, there's also a matter of reaching those weak spots. They aren't joking when they say that killing each one is a puzzle. Oh man, when I complete this game, I'm giving it high marks no matter what (unless the ending sucks, but it shouldn't if they could make Ico make me cry).

Back to gaming. down, my bookmarks...gone

Posted by Nathaniel at 11:53 AM
InternetThis really shouldn't be news, honestly. Except that I'm personally in a unique situation with regards to the status of Don't bother to follow the link at the moment; their site is currently down.

When I first discovered, I thought it was actually too cumbersome to be useful. I thought that the benefit to bookmarks were that they were easy to get to, not randomly posted to some slow-moving website. I understand there's some social aspect to the bookmarking site; if you're specifically interested in such things, more to you. Not me. I wanted bookmarks.

I was ready to write the site off as not for me, when I discovered their RSS feeds. Their RSS feeds for every category and/or combination of categories for your bookmarks. The site gained new credibility for me, and I gained insight into its usefulness.

I thought I was being adequately nerdy when I captured the RSS feeds via Firefox's live RSS bookmark functionality, and taking those categories of bookmarks I had posted to the site, and turning them into my own personal bookmarks stored in the Firefox browser. For example, my bookmarks for daily webcomics. It was brilliant in its simplicity. Everytime I added a site to one of my categories in, it was also automatically added to my Firefox browser live RSS feed, and subsequently, to my Firefox bookmarks toolbar. This process works great.

Until went down. Now, I have no bookmarks. At all. The 100+ webcomics I read daily? I can only remember about a third of the URLs. It's atrocious, really. So, I'm no longer a big proponent of this process, as slick as it seemed at first.

In any case, I'm really behind on life in general at the moment. I'll get back to you later, approximately one to one-and-a-half hours after comes back online.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Ratio of Ideas to Words

Posted by Nathaniel at 1:03 PM
ComicsThere's an argument brewing in the webcomics community, and everytime an argument appears, I'm there to offer my screams of disapproval. It's the least I can do. But I'm hoping you can stomach this, because I think this discussion is a very valuable one that we should be having. This particular discussion revolves around the idea of webcomic discourse. Some webcomic artists are trying to say that there shouldn't be any discussion on the topic of webcomics, at all, ever, which is laughable. From Scott's own commentary (which I've quoted previously):
From the public displays of dirty laundry to the self-important internalization and faux critical review of the work that's out's all making me sick to my stomach. Can't you guys just let the work speak for itself? Seriously. The comics are going to do a much better job than you guys ever could.
Now, I agree with Kurtz that it was careless of Manley to discuss the idea of webcomics drama so early in his series of articles. That's not the face we want to present to the larger internet universe, beyond the pockets of webcomic warmth we all tend to hide within. However, I disagree with everything else.

You want to consider webcomics an art form? You want legitimacy and recognition and value? Then you have to be ready to accept the fact that so long as there is art, there are people discussing said art. People discuss movies, people discuss literature, people discuss architecture. People discuss webcomics. If you don't like it, enter another industry where there is no discourse whatsoever. Like, underwater basket weaving. I minored in that in college.

T Campbell has a more appropriate thoughts on the subject:
I'm really starting to tire of webcomics roundtables, honestly. They were always long-winded (and I take my share of the blame for the ones I participate in), but it feels like they're not getting any shorter and the ratio of ideas to words is slowly decreasing. Asking so many people to participate tends to exacerbate the problem.
And more:
But ultimately, I got to give Kristofer Straub a nod on this one... these huge, undigested masses of words are difficult even for webcomics aficianados to follow, and completely impenetrable to everyone else.
Now, understand that T is mainly speaking with regards to webcomics roundtables, but consider some of these thoughts on a grander scale, encompassing all of the webcomics discourse category. I've said before (and Daku backed me up in the roundtable), I will read all of Eric Burns words, written anywhere, regardless of length, because I admire his skill at voicing his thoughts. He has droves of adoring fans that pour into his website at every update to hear his opinion of the latest webcomic, or--maybe even more significantly--his opinion on the latest webcomic drama.

And part of Eric's draw is his ideas. His perception. His point of view. There have been numerous times I've come away from Websnark with a deeper understanding of something I had previously thought trivial. He changes my perspective. Often. And I think that has to be the point from now on. That has to be the focus.

I'm beginning to feel like there are times that people are putting words on their websites not to present an idea but to simply feel important. I'm guilty of that more than probably anyone. The most important thing I took from my experience in the Comixpedia roundtable is contained within that simple phrase from T Campbell: the ratio of ideas to words. He said it's decreasing, meaning there's more words, and fewer ideas. We need to change that. If we want Scott Kurtz and others in the webcomics universe to accept us meddling in their creations, we need to offer them all something more.

The sad part is, I haven't the slightest clue how to do that. This is just a noisemaker. I'm going to sit and think on this a while. Maybe I'll come up with an idea.

EDIT: I'll include Straub's comments on the subject here, as well, because they're completely valid:
Maybe what's not needed is a clamping down on overlong webcomics dissection. Maybe what's needed is a clamping down on the length! God knows the first thing that stops me from wading through critical review in webcomics is the fact that one must often wade.
There's a subtle difference in the thoughts expressed by Straub from my own rambling musings: where Kris says we need to say less, I say we need to idea more. Or something like that. In any case, I think we all agree that the idea to word ratio needs to be more idea and less word. Word.

Game Politics Adds Political Cartoon

Posted by Nathaniel at 10:04 AM
ComicsGamingFurther establishing the ever-expanding relationship between the webcomics medium and the gaming universe, Game Politics has added a gaming-related political cartoon to its pages. The cartoon will be crafted by the talented Chris Malone of Blue and Blond. No word yet on how often the cartoons will be making an appearance.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Penny Arcade Raises Tons of Cash for Child's Play Charity

Posted by Nathaniel at 6:07 PM
I don't know if anyone can add anything to the amazing piece of information Gabe has posted on Penny Arcade regarding their annual charity dinner.
To say that the evening was a huge success would be the understatement of the year. Just to give you an idea of how incredible last night was let me give you some numbers. At the dinner last year we raised just over $17,000 which we thought was a respectable amount. This year we raised $82,100.
This puts the total raised this year over the $300,000 mark. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: these guys are now mega rock stars in the gaming/webcomic combined universe. Thank the lord they're using their powers for good, and not evil.

Congratulations, guys, and thanks for giving us gamers an outlet for our own generosity. If you haven't donated yet, there's plenty of time left.

Ico Review

Posted by Dacquin at 7:23 AM
GamingWhen my friend said he loved playing Ico over and over again, I kept thinking, what would possess a person to do that? Of course, I had to try it out. The group has also made Shadow of the Colossus, which I'm going to try also, but, for now, I wanted to see what he saw in the game.

The basic storyline is your a kid named Ico. You're being exiled from the village because you're a boy who, for some reason, is growing horns. Three men take you to an abandoned castle where you're going to be imprisoned the rest of your life. When they leave, you struggle in your cell and break free (kinda make sense or else there wouldn't be a game here).

While exploring the castle, you find a girl in white named Yorda who's imprisoned in a cage. When you release her, a spirit comes out of a black portal trying to take her away. Grabbing a nearby stick you fight to save the girl. Now, your goal is the save Yorda and escape from the castle prison.

This is a beautifully designed puzzle game. They put a lot of effort into creating the castle, all the rooms, and the puzzles. In the beginning, you're starting to learn a little about what you can do. There will be moments where you will be stumped and have no clue what to do and then slap yourself silly thinking, 'Why didn't I think of that?'. About halfway through the game, you should have learned all you need to know about your character to progress through the game.

One of the nice things about this game is you have no life bar, but that doesn't mean you can't die. You can be killed if you fall from too high a place and if the spirits are able to pull Yorda into a black portal. To kill the spirits, you start with a stick (which will be your primary weapon through most of the game), and get better weapons through the game, making fighting the spirits much easier. If you leave a room without the girl, only do so for a short period of time, because if you aren't keeping an eye on her, the shadows will easily take her. That means only leave her alone when you ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO.

The only reason I dislike this game a little bit has to be Yorda. When you call her to follow you, it takes a while for her to respond. Also, if you want her to follow you with a respectable speed, you have to grab her and run instead of just calling for her. The other nuescence is having to keep her by your side the entire game. It's a puzzle to get her to go to certain places, but it's a bare not being able to explore so much having to keep her near you all the time.

The main reason to like this game is because it's very graphically appealing. The designers of Ico took their time to design the castle and the puzzles that you see. There'll be moments in the game where you would just love to take a snapshot and frame it up on your wall. There's even one place where you can see the entire layout of the castle that will blow you away.

I wish the game was longer and there was more replay value to it, because graphics won't bring you back to play a game over and over again (despite what my friend says). But, it's still a worthwhile game to play. I give it a 7.8/10.

Edit: It's now an 8.2/10. In beating the game, I cried during the ending. If you can create a game that makes you cry, you deserve many more points.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Webcomics 2005 Roundup Roundtable

Posted by Nathaniel at 9:45 AM
ComicsYours truly participated in a webcomics 2005 roundtable discussion with several notable webcomics figures for an article for Comixpedia. Thought you might be interested in checking out our opinions on what's happened this year, and what's likely to happen in 2006. Appearances by Eric Burns and Wednesday White, Daku, Karl Kuras, Bob Stevenson, Ping Teo, Gilead Pellaeon, the William G, Phil Kahn, and Xavier Xerexes.

Xavier refers to William G and I as two of "webcomics more outspoken personalities". I think I'm putting that on my business card.


Monday, December 12, 2005

Mom, this is what I want for Christmas

Posted by Dacquin at 8:54 PM
TechnologyI was looking at the most expensive children presents on MSNBC for the heck of it, and I couldn't imagine getting one of these for a kid. First off, it's $300,000. If you're a parent and you're willing to get this for your kid, we need to cut you off your Christmas spending limits unless your name is Bill Gates. Secondly, could you imagine getting one of these? Where would you put in the mansion? How hard would it be it keep it up? Third, how long would it keep that kid entertained? Sure, it looks nice, but how long would they play with something like that.

Last, but not least, you know how many people you could feed with that? Those people, who would benefit so much, would lose a meal just so one kid could get a 3-D Motion Simulator.

$300,000. Dang.

Virtua Fighter 4 Hack Review

Posted by Dacquin at 7:17 AM
GamingVirtua Fighter 4 is a game that I still can't grasp. I played Virtua Fighter in the arcade, so I thought buying this would be worthwhile. Plus, Game Rankings gave it a 92%. I, myself, give it nothing more than a 5%, hence why I'm doing a hack review. If you can't hold my interest for more than one hour, you've failed me as a game.

Virtua Figher is one of the many fighter games that exist today. One thing that I can't stand is the unbelievable amount of moves each character has. I like Street Fighter's easy button mashing and Soul Calibur's weapon usage, but Virtua Fighter doesn't deliver in my opinion. Virtua Figher characters are so complex, you'd probably only want to stick with one character rather than learn all about each individual one. I, personally, can't stand that. It didn't even seem like a fun arcadish type of fighting to me.

After boredom of trying to play the Arcade part of VF4, I went to Kumite to try that out. It's basically a city where you play at many arcades which have VF4 against, at first, newbies and then more experienced players. I quit this after a bit. The first challenge is beating fifteen people in order to open another arcade. After three matches, I wanted to quit and was told that I'd have to redo the challenge if I left. So, I did.

I played some Soul Calibur 2 and some more Street Fighter to try and get some juices flowing. I went back to VF4 and I still couldn't get into it.

Virtual Fighter 4 - FAILED

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Drunk Duck Down for the Count

Posted by Nathaniel at 9:42 AM
ComicsDrunk Duck webcomic hosting service has been spotty at best for some months now. And now we get to see what's been going on as DD finally admits defeat and heads into oblivion. As with many iconic figures in the past, DD does vow to once again return in a thousand years when someone figures out the old witch's riddle and retrieves the sword of power from the fairies of the forest.

Sam and Max comic

Posted by Dacquin at 3:55 AM
ComicsA good sign of things to come, hopefully for Telltale Games. They've released the first page of a Sam and Max comic. Telltale, as you know, are going to start producing Sam & Max games, ever since that evil Lucasarts dropped it after deciding that it should be spending 100% of their time exploiting the Star Wars franchise. I don't know when they'll update the comic next, but I'm going to bookmark it and keep an eye out for anything that pops up. I'm definately looking forward to seeing what's going to happen.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Of Sicknesses and Kings...

Posted by Nathaniel at 8:42 PM
Evil NetworkI'm down with the flu today. And, as if that wasn't enough, I've also got a very busy Christmas shopping weekend planned with the family, and then on Monday morning, I leave for my third trip to Mexico. Immediately upon returning to the US, I take a weekend trip to visit more family for the holidays. So, in other words, I likely won't be around for quite a few days. But rest assured, I will be back before Christmas. Possibly, I don't know. I guess I shouldn't make promises.

In the meantime, Dac will hopefully fill in some space around here. Otherwise, I give you permission to visit Phil Kahn's site, but I caution you to completely stay away from the William G, unless, of course, you're there to check out his amazing webcomic. Then, you know, that's all right.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Google Transit

Posted by Nathaniel at 10:34 AM
InternetCurrently making its debut in Google Labs is Google Transit, a variation on Google Local that allows you to better schedule your travel on a city's public transportation system. The current version of the tool only allows one to look up Portland, Oregon, but expansion is obviously in the works.

Kurtz Thumps Manley on the Webhead

Posted by Nathaniel at 9:27 AM
ComicsAnd the world rejoices:
When given the opportunity to present our community to the world, why in the HELL would Joey decide to display us at our worst? The drama and infighting and petty bullshit that the best of us participate in all too often? Joey, that's what you want the world to know about webcomics? What were you thinking, dude?
I came to the same conclusion last night. I was even tempted to remove my previous post. But then I saw Scott Kurtz post his wonderfully eloquent rant to Manley on his site, and figured it better to simply quote him. However...
Look, I didn't vote for any of these guys to be my representation or PR manager to the rest of the world. It really irks me how so many of them have just stepped up and taken ownership of that role. From the public displays of dirty laundry to the self-important internalization and faux critical review of the work that's out's all making me sick to my stomach. Can't you guys just let the work speak for itself? Seriously. The comics are going to do a much better job than you guys ever could.
Yeah, he's talking about sites like the Evil Network and Websnark there. Ouch.

Crawling into hole...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Webhead: Top 5 Webcomic Troublemakers

Posted by Nathaniel at 4:12 PM
ComicsI'm reluctant to post to this column, possibly due to the fact that I'm largely appalled by its content, and even though it's intended to educate "comic book readers" on the marvelous world of webcomics, it's apparently only appealing to current webcomic readers. Go figure.

But in Manley's current column, he's going over the hit list of the top five webcomic drama "troublmakers", which is an interesting path to go down having introduced your "audience" to webcomics just two columns ago. That said, I overwhelmingly agree with his list, including his narrow exclusion of Straub. Yeah, I love the guy, but he just isn't instigating like he used to.

In any case, everyone else is linking to this, so, you know, trying to stay topical here. The kids love that these days, apparently.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Get ZOINKS! for Cheap During the Holidays!

Posted by Nathaniel at 4:23 PM
Zoinks! Webcomic Magazine!Well, it's official. Bill's finally gone completely bonkers. Maybe it's the stress of running a bi-monthly newspaper that brings the world of webcomics to the printed page with interviews, reviews, and pages full of fantastic (ordinarily "web-only") comics. Or maybe (like he claims) it's the holiday spirit. Or maybe he just stinking drunk. Who knows? But we ZOINKS!sters received this cryptic email in our inboxes today:
Maybe it is the holiday spirit, maybe it's too many concussions, but we have a bit of a subscription drive during the month of December by reducing the price of ZOINKS! Magazine to only $1.00 per issue (plus shipping) when you subscribe for 6-issues. The special reduced price is only valid between December 4th, 2005 and December 31st, 2005.
That's six bucks (plus shipping) for a full year of ZOINKS! So, if you've been holding back on that subscription waiting for some outragous deal, I think now is the time.

Cause, who knows? Maybe he'll come to his senses in January and double the price. Better get it cheap while you can!

Webcomics Examiner Best of 2005

Posted by Nathaniel at 10:50 AM
ComicsAn absolutely fantastic list of the perceived Best Webcomics of 2005 has been posted to the Webcomics Examiner, chosen in secret by their own exclusive elitist club. The list is phenomenal and includes some items that I hadn't had the opportunity to peruse these past few months. Some of my personal favorites that made the list include Copper, Dicebox, Perry Bible Fellowship, and Jellaby, in case you cared.

Also, just in case you care, I'll be posting all the "Best of" comics to the listing, because, well, that's what it's for.


Dandy & Company to close for now

Posted by Dacquin at 5:13 AM
Comics*sigh* One of my favorite strips has called it quits, for now. My recent interview subject for Zoinks!, Derrick Fish, creator of Dandy & Company, feels that he's unable to produce the good quality Dandy that he wants to create right now and is bringing Dandy to a halt.

While he might be down, he's not entirely out. What he is going to do is start to rerun the archives of Dandy & Co. next week and will continue to update the site and keep posting on the forums to update people on the current situation of the comic.

We'll be ready to read again when you decide to come back, Derrick!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Five Years of Voices

Posted by Nathaniel at 6:02 PM
ComicsVoices in my Hand turned five years old today! Webcomic veteran and VIMH creator Bill Charbonneau celebrated by giving his readers an extra comic this week! It makes me proud to know that the Evil Network has been there for every one of Bill's exciting five years, and every single fantastically morbid comic he has created.

In addition to the extra comic, Bill has also unveiled a new Zoinks!-inspired shirt design that every webcomic artist should probably have in their collection.

Congratulations, Bill!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

KeenSpot Comics Added to Listing

Posted by Nathaniel at 6:29 PM
ComicsI always strive to make good on my word. This case is no different. I've added every one of the four hundred and fifty seven KeenSpot comics to the listing. Okay, so maybe there's a few less than that. I'm actually not sure how many there are; I just know that it took me an abnormal amount of time to get them collected and formatted into the listing. But, there they are.

Of course, I've heard that Chris is still without power and heat. So, you know, if he dies, I'll be removing those comics immediately. Because that wasn't part of the deal.

I'm kidding, people. C'mon.

Holiday Content for City of Heroes

Posted by Nathaniel at 5:18 PM
GamingOn the City of Heroes website there is a transcript of a radio address from Atlas Park level-maiden, Ms. Liberty regarding some upcoming holiday-themed content for the Christmas season:
To encourage a holiday season full of good cheer, we have contacted the top technological minds across the city to develop a special treat for every hero! I won't ruin the surprise, but I will tell you that these technological marvels are only the beginning of our upcoming festivities.

To get your well-earned reward, be sure to join us anytime after December 8th.

But don’t to wait too long, we will surely run out of gifts by January 2nd!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Great Debate: Video Game Legislation

Posted by Nathaniel at 1:25 PM
GamingPoliticsThe Great Debate is an ongoing feature from the Evil Network where we present arguments for and against a controversial issue. This current debate is regarding the proposed legislation legally forcing retailers to abide by the ESRB video game ratings system.

Doctor Setebos: For
Any time there is news that breaks within the gaming community that contains the phrases video games and legislation in the same sentence, the news is always met with less than enthusiastic reaction. That's a bit of an understatement. Calls of "death to the infidels" are common, along with "big brother is watching", followed closely by "why does the government need to stick their nose into everything?" The part that surprises me is how so many people can be against this idea. In the following, I present my reasons why I think this legislation is not the harbinger of doom the games industry is making it out to be.

1) It gives strength to the ESRB and validates their ratings system. Senator Clinton presents the ESRB ratings system as a golden standard against which all games should be held accountable. And this is a good thing. Gamers have been proclaiming for a long time that more people need to pay attention to the ESRB ratings, and this bill legitimizes those recommendations.

2) It forces retailers to be more responsible. Let's face it. It's easy for some 14-year-old kid to walk into a Wal-mart, grab a copy of GTA: San Andreas, and take it up to the counter. At this point, some Joe Schmo minimum wage register monkey talks to this kid about how cool this game is, and rings it up. The kid who shouldn't be allowed to purchase this game, just did, because retailers aren't responsible enough to educate their chains on the ESRB ratings system. Government legislation makes this illegal, just like underage alcohol and tobacco purchases.

3) It gives parents a reason to pay attention to the ESRB. The main argument against this legislation is that parents should be responsible for what their kids are playing, and I don't disagree with this at all. But the biggest problem parents face is that they have no idea what the ESRB ratings are, or how those ratings apply to the games their kids are playing. This bill not only gives the ESRB ratings more clout, but also, more recognition. This bill becomes national news, and soon parents begin to learn about this wonderful ESRB system that rates games in a similar fashion to the MPAA movie ratings system with which they are infinitely more familiar.

The games industry--especially publishers and distributors--are up in arms regarding the legislation, mainly due to the fact that it could potentially harm their sales. It will force publishers to better control the marketing of their M-rated games, and distributors and retailers will have to more tightly monitor their outlets to stamp out regulatory offenses. All in all, it will likely have a positive impact on the industry. If only people will allow themselves to recognize that fact.

Dacquin: Against
My side of the story is that even though the government wants to get legislation on controlling video game content towards minors, that’s not the problem right now. While there are some things children shouldn’t play, the problem doesn’t lie with the kids playing these games, but rather the stores and the adults that are letting them get away with it.

1) Gaming stores should already be accountable for their actions in selling minors these games. The fact that it hasn’t already is a poor sign on how they’re run. Places like EB Games and Gamestop continue to let minors purchase games rated Mature and AO. I would never want a kid to play Killer 7 and watch the scene where a woman is having sex with an old man. *shudder* That still frightens me today. On the Media Family Report Card, it states that through its research, almost 50% of gaming retailers are ignoring store policy and selling these games to minors. While legislation will assist in bringing this number down, the fact that stores will let a child procure these kind of games is pathetic.

2) Parents are letting kids play these games. In cases where teens have murdered someone and parents want to put the blame on violent video games, who bought the games for them in the first place? Who is supposed to be monitoring them? My parents wouldn’t let me have Phantasmagoria 2 because of how sick and violent the game was. While I was upset about not getting to own it, they were concerned parents, not letting me buy a game that I wasn’t old enough to play. On the opposite side of that, a teenage friend in Tae Kwon Do told me all about his adventures in GTA: San Andreas and told me his parents didn’t care about the ratings and just bought him the game. While the government has a partial role in aiding of selling these games, parents need to realize that they are the ones who control the kid’s content.

3) The ERSB needs to educate the parents about the ratings system. In the MFRC, it’s mentioned that 40% of the parents know what their ratings stand for. 40%. “Mom? Can I buy this game? It’s rated M for Magnificent!” Of course, I wouldn’t fall for that. But it does mean that 60% of said parents don’t have a clue about what the rating system is. Every store should have a sign or two indicating what the different ratings stand for. I want people to know what these ratings mean instead of gullible parents buying a game and not paying attention to that letter in the corner.

I believe that this legislation is a good idea. There are many games that I would never let my kids play and I wish other parents would see the light. However, the information isn’t out there and companies don’t care because they’re making revenue off of it. WON’T YOU PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN??????

What are your thoughts on this issue? Post your comments, and let's start a discussion. We haven't had a good flamewar around here in quite some time...

Checkerboard Nightmare Mocks CAD Animation

Posted by Nathaniel at 10:25 AM
ComicsTalk about being topical! News just broke this morning regarding CAD Animation, and Straub is already beating it down.

Yay for webcomics drama!


Posted by Dacquin at 6:23 AM
ComicsOk, this is awesome. Incredible. Spectacular. And the trailer is... AWESOME!!! Ctrl-Alt-Del is becoming animated. I can hear angels singing somewhere right now.

Well, now to the bad news (isn't that always the way?). These monthly (oh yes, monthly) episodes are $2.99 for each. Ctrl-Alt-Del is starting a premium package that lets people who want the exclusive content, such as sketches, wallpapers, and the ability to sign up for special contest, to purchase a premium membership for this deal.

We'll still get Ctrl-Alt-Del comics for free, but man, animated Ctrl-Alt-Del? That makes me curious enough to cough up $2.99. I'd probably waste it on fast food anyway. However, you can buy a full yearly package for $19.99. Oh man..... video game, yearly subscription... video game, yearly subscription....

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