The promise of the Internet was that unlimited information and experiences would draw us together. But instead it seems to have driven us apart.
For years I've observed this behavior but haven't been able to vocalize it correctly. Originally I called the behavior of collective opinions as "the hive mentality" of the Internet. But that wasn't exactly right and I often got called out on it. The most prominent example was when I made a comic about a guy disagreeing with opinions and being shouted at till he remained quiet, eventually fading into the background with everyone else. The consensus of that comic was that if you disagree with someone you aren't bullied into not speaking, but instead are free to go someplace else where people who do agree with you exist. And you know what? That wasn't what i was trying to convey, but is sadly true. The Internet is not a hive mind. It's many tiny pocket echo chambers of mutual agreements.
And this is becoming a growing problem, I think, because no one wants to ever compromise or try to come to an agreement on anything anymore. Want to bitch about a movie? Find a group of people who hate it and join in. Conversely did you enjoy something but see everyone hating it? Find others who enjoyed it and bask in their mutual appraisals for things you like.
I feel like this is where a lot of the internet's smugness and snarky attitude comes from. Because the only time "drama" appears is when these widely different groups butt heads with each other, usually to the point of completely ignoring the other side simply for being ON the other side.
I can't help but feel that when people cozy up to other like-minded individuals and use that as their justification of their actions, that we are taking a sever step backwards. I think it's very important for us to learn how to deal with and come to terms with issues without constantly flying off the handle.
Disagreeing doesn't mean there has to be a fight. You can disagree while also being respectful and inoffensive. And just because someone might disagree with you doesn't make them automatically wrong or their attempts to explain why they disagree as a personal attack upon you.
I've been ruminating about this for a while, but it wasn't until the reviews for Star Trek: Into Darkness and Iron Man 3 came out that I've been able to make sense of it. Both films have been widely polarizing and it seems like no one is trying to come to see from the other side. Rather its become opposing sides fighting back with one another, with no room for serious discussions.
I don't like this echo chamber the Internet has. I don't like that If you disagree with someone you can just hide behind others who agree with you. It's cowardly. It prevents us from having to deal with other people's opinions while heightening our own. It's a tremendous ego boost, but a terrible social hindrance.
And just so we are clear, I'm entirely guilty of this as well. We all are. And to be honest... I don't know how we fix it. It's reached a point where I don't know if its possible TO fix.
The world is not black and white. I really wish we could stop trying to compartmentalize everything into yay or nay categories. And the worse part is that I think a lot of it is done subconsciously.
What do you think? Have you experienced the irrational one sidedness I've spoken about? Agree disagree? If so, why and how? Lets discuss this openly as I feel it's a very important issue we need to address.
New SYAC Up! Hey guys, new strip for SYAC is up today and we've added a new character! Come check it out! syacartoonist.com/ There will likely be a couple new episodes going up in the next few days as we introduce this new character and what he's about.
CGI Zelda Movie Shut Down... 6 Years Ago
Imagi Animation Studios, the company responsible for the CGI Astro Boy and TMNT movies, made a 1 minute test reel to show to Nintendo trying to pitch for a Legend of Zelda movie. The pitch made in 2007 was ultimately turned down by Nintendo, likely due to Nintendo being extraordinarily squeamish about letting an American animation company handle one of their properties after the abysmal failure of the live action Super Mario Bros movie. And hopes that this project would ever be looked at again were rendered null and void when the american branch of the animation company was shut down back in 2010.
But the good news for everyone is that you can see this 1 minute pitch reel Imagi showed Nintendo now online after it got leaked recently. Keep in mind this was just a pitch, not actual movie footage and designs could've changed over the course of production (and it also looks like they were using assets from their TMNT movie to help). So enjoy the demo for what could've been The Legend of Zelda's first big budget movie.
I want this... with Minecraft. I want to exercise while playing video games and avoiding creeper deaths. This is the closest thing to a holodeck that I've seen thus far. Now all they need to do is add Disney's aireal tactitle feedback system ( www.gizmag.com/disneys-aireal-… ) to it and we'd have a working prototype for one of the most immersive holodeck experiences EVER! The future is SOON!
Mirror's Edge 2 Honestly didn't see that one coming, but I am happy nonetheless. While the first game wasn't very remarkable, I just love the art style and the stark contrast the game presents compared to every other post-apocalyptic-near-future-world that exists. Chock me up to interested.
Killer Instinct Didn't see this one coming either. Quite surprised, but personally don't care. I've never really paid attention to fighting games much, yes even Super Smash Bros. I have a feeling this will be one of those games that we think will be amazing, but the newest generation of kids won't understand why they should care (kinda like DuckTales).
Sidenote: Quite disappointed with the way they handled the demonstration by bringing out a woman to play multiplayer with and "destroying" her while simultaneously saying shit like "just give up... it will be over soon." Scripted or not, that scene was appalling.
Minecraft on Xbox One I'm... actually quite disappointed by this as well. Setting aside the hilariousness of how all the devs up on stage talk about "realistic graphics" only to trot out one of the most unrealistic styled games ever, the fact that Minecraft is on the Xbox One kinda feels like a let down. Last I heard, Notch was highly disappointed with Windows 8 and was considered not porting Minecraft to Microsoft based machines. I think there would be so many more opportunities for Minecraft to appear on things like the 3DS, or Vita, and it's disheartening to see none of those visions come to light. I love Minecraft and I want the potential of the game to be explored, not hindered.
Xbox One for $500 Not surprised at all. I knew they couldn't keep it under $300, despite what everyone else was saying. I'm sorry Microsoft but $500 for a souped-up TV system is insane, especially in this economy. If the PS4 can't somehow come under the $500 pricetag, I'm going to be very disappointed this gen.
Xbox One In General All our fears were confirmed. The Xbox is capable of all the worse DRM anti-piracy bullshit we all were begging them not to implement. Their only saving grace was that they're gonna let the publishers decide to implement the features if they want, meaning that no two game for the system will be alike and that companies like EA and Ubisoft will likely leap at the opportunity to squeeze as much money out of consumers as possible.
While Microsoft DID show off a lot of games, many of which are exclusive, I am sorry but I can't justify this system. I can't justify a console that won't let me play games I bought if I don't have an internet connection. I can't justify a $500 machine that will render both the console AND the games it plays obsolete the second Microsoft decides to shut down their servers come next gen. I can't justify the creepy "always watching" Kinect or the complete lack of indi game development and backwards compatibility. I also haven't watched TV in over a decade since I got Netflix and started streaming video online rather than paying for cable. Even with the exclusive games... I'm sorry but I just can't do it. There's nothing of value here for me personally. Of course you are free to disagree, but from my point of view this is the worse console I've ever seen produced. I'd rather play a CD-I game than the Xbox One.
Not out of the woods yet I know this is gonna make me sound like a Nintendo Fanboy but... why aren't more gamers siding with Nintendo this gen? Even the PS4 has pulled some really bad stunts and while they are making up for it simply by virtue of "not being Microsoft," there is still a lot wrong with the PS4 as a device. Meanwhile Nintendo has backwards compatibility to 30 years worth of gaming history, it's DRM free, it supports indi development, it features a controller more-so than motion controls, you can play games away from your TV, the ability to switch between gaming and your TV is far less intrusive than the Xbox One's, there's a strong online community, the online is free, and while not AS tech-heavy as the PS4 and One, it's still a very impressive machine. Seems to me like everything gamers want is in the Wii U, yet no one is talking about them at all. It's all about how the PS4 will "beat" the Xbox One. Wii U isn't even brought up as a side note. I don't get that...
Anyway, we still have Sony's press conference and Nintendo's livestreaming event. Don't forget you can go to select Best Buy's in North America and demo Nintendo games!
SimCity could've worked offline EA refuses to waver from their stance that the always-online DRM for SimCity that's caused so many problems is absolutely necessary to the functioning of the game. However, a modder by the name of UKAzzer has proved that EA is basically full of shit. UKAzzer discovered that the code which checks for a connection every 20 minutes could be changed to 0, resulting in no checks at all. The game still plays and functions perfectly offline, with only minor hiccups.
On a side note, EA's CEO John Riccitiello has resigned. I wonder if the SimCity debacle is in any way related...?
TMNT Movie Still On Megan Fox has been cast as April O'Neil in the Michael Bay TMNT reboot movie that we all thought was shelved months ago. So... yeah, this project is apparently still gonna happen. Co-creator of TMNT Peter Laird had some... less than flattering things to say about the casting decision: movies.yahoo.com/blogs/movie-t…
Movie studios, please think about this: When the original creators themselves are pissed off, that's usually a sign that there's a PROBLEM.
DUCK TALES! WOO-HOO!
HD graphics. Hand drawn artwork. The original voice cast. God bless you Wayforward.
Looks like it's coming to practically every platform available. My only criticism at all is that the beautiful hand drawn characters don't mesh as well to the generically rendered 3-D backgrounds. But outside that... F*CK YEAH!!!
Flattr SYAC's website is now compatible with flattr.com, a microdonation support site. With flattr you can add money to an account, then by simply clicking on the flattr button located on a page you donate a tiny portion of money to the things you like. The point is to encourage supporting the things you enjoy, even if it's only in pennies a day.
The green flattr button is located directly to the right of the descriptions on the SYAC website. syacartoonist.com/
Nerd Girls: Nothing to Prove So this music video has been circulating the web recently about the whole stupid "nerd girls" problem and I think it's pretty cool. Some of the more famous people in the video include Kelly Sue Deconnick, Amy Berg, John Scalzi, Josh A. Cagan, Adam Savage, Paul & Storm, Wil Wheaton, and Marian Call.
COD Death Threats and The Vocal Minority Recently Treyarch design director David Vonderhaaf tweeted about a patch to Call of Duty: Black Opts 2 which modified certain guns. The purpose of his tweet was to explain that the new patch would change the DSR fire time from .02 seconds to .04 seconds and that the rechamber time was 1.0 seconds and is now 1.1 seconds. www.escapistmagazine.com/news/…
Immediately his twitter account was flooded with hate messages and death threats. He tried to make light of the situation by saying "Not sure these fractions of a second are worth the threats of violence," but the hate kept coming. Finally Activision community manager Dan Amrich was forced to make a statement:
"Vonderhaar often gets told he should die in a fire or kill himself or is a horrible person. If anybody thinks for a second that this is okay, it is not. But if the loudest voices in the Call of Duty 'community' act like an angry mob instead, guess how the entire world views Call of Duty? Now consider that these Internet Tough Guy rants and demands are not unique to COD, but exist everywhere, in many gaming communities. This is why the world often does not take gaming seriously; this is why gamers are assumed to be immature, whiny assholes. Because the immature, whiny assholes are louder."
And you know what? He's right. The problem isn't that they're a minority, it's that they're so vocal about their hate. Because they're so vocal and in your face, it presents an air of intense hatred all around, encompassing the good people who aren't assholes into how the general public sees them. On the one hand they shouldn't "feed the trolls" as the saying goes, but on the other hand nothing is gonna change if we don't shine light on this ugly side of gaming culture and shame people for doing it.
Criticism =/= Censorship So after the last batch of comics about women's rights in video games and comics, a distressing amount of people seem to think that any form of criticism against something automatically means you want to outright censor it. As an artist myself I can't help but feel really depressed that so many people think in such stark black and white terms.
When I made a comic being critical of MGS's new "Quiet" character, I was not asking for her design to be changed. I was not demanding Kojima alter his work. I was not asking gamers to not support the game. Yet to read all the defensive comments that seems to be what a LOT of people think I was aiming for.
Let me be VERY clear here: Criticism is NEVER censorship. As much as I don't like a lot of the criticism that's been lobbied against my work, I've never considered people's criticism to be a form of censorship. I've never felt "oppressed" by people's harsh words, and in those rare instances where I have made changes to my work as a direct response to criticism, it's because I was growing as a person and changing my views accordingly. That is not, and never has been, censorship.
Being critical of content put out by video game publishers is not censorship, and it seems to me that the people who want to SILENCE the criticisms are actively practicing censorship more than those who are simply offering an opinion on work presented to them. I don't like Quiet's design and I feel that, despite Kojima's stated remark that there's more to her than her "sexy" looks, it's in bad taste and pandering to the lowest common denominator. BUT... I do not want to actively FORCE Kojima to change things if he feels it's right for his product. I'd like him to reconsider shallow pandering for future products, just like I would anyone who produces content like that, but I would not dream of actively FORCING him to make changes. That would be censorship.
This is why I primarily disagreed with the "retake mass effect" campaign. I felt that WAS an active form of censorship by having the fans demand the ending be changed. I agreed that the ending sucked and that fans were right to complain and be critical of the ending, but the line stopped for me when it crossed into outright trying to FORCE EA to change the ending to suite the fan's wills. That's not just being critical, that's outright censorship.
I hope I made that clear enough for people, though I won't doubt there will be people trying to tell me otherwise...
Justin Beiber as Robin There's a rumor going around that Justin Beiber is going to be playing Robin in the upcoming Batman/Superman movies or whatever. I haven't heard if this has been confirmed or denied yet, but that of course doesn't stop the internet from freaking out.
Personally, I've never really cared one way or the other about Beiber. Like the whole Ben Affleck Batman thing, I can't help but feel like people just WANT to be angry over nothing. I don't think he can act, and I think he's an odd choice for the role, but overall I never had much faith in DC and Warner Bros in the first place so... bring on the train wreck.
THIS WAS A TROLLING, PLEASE IGNORE
Alex Ze Pirate I said that my goal with Alex Ze Pirate was to try and get up to 2 comics a week. That was 2 weeks ago and so far only one new strip has gone up. I would like to apologize for that, though I am trying. Part of the delay was due to the Harley Quinn thing that happened, something I wanted SYAC to pick on to stay topical. But the other part of that is that I've just been going through a very bad art rut lately. SYAC is quick and I can churn those out easily (that's how they're designed after all), but Alex Ze Pirate takes a lot more planning and finding the energy and passion while in this rut is proving to be difficult.
Worse still, I am trying to make sure I keep producing quality artwork for it and the pencil sketches for the next strip weren't up to snuff and I've had to go back to the drawing board to try again, further pushing things back. I'd just like to let everyone know it's coming... It just might be a bit.
Commissions I want to start taking commissions again, but at the moment I'm still working on a commission that I started several months ago. It's a fairly large commission and I've only been able to work on it intermittently between all the things that have been happening this summer, but I want to finish it before I start asking to take others. To the person who commissioned me, I am very sorry it's taken this long for me to get through it. I'm gonna try to work on it any chance I get because I want to get it done and open myself up to taking other commissions. So look forward to a commissions journal in the future.
Sorry Mario Bros Say what you will about Anita Sarkeesian, you gotta admit that people do take note of what she says for good or ill. In this piece of news, it's for the good.
As you might already know, in her latest video she outlined a simple "damsel frees herself" video game. Nothing too spectacular but it showcased how one can subvert the typical trope and make a strong female character out of it. While many were quick to criticize her for not making the game herself (given her kickstarter success), others took a more direct approach and actually made a game in 2 weeks.
The game is called "Sorry Mario Bros," and the plot is that Princess Peach decides to rescues herself by leaving Bowser's castle in world 8-4. You progress right to left through familiar, but slightly altered, original Mario Bros. worlds working your way backwards towards world 1-1. Along the way you can take detours and use Peach's float ability to reach hidden areas and collect "princess coins." There are 10 coins in the game and they are often well hid, giving you incentive to take your time and roam these redesigned version of classic levels.
The game is humorous too, as you'll pass Mario on his way to rescue you while you're stomping goombas and traversing through levels he's already cleared. It's the little touches like that that make this sort of game more than just a quick gimmick. It is a rather short game, the controls are a little slippery, and the graphics are modified to be recognizable but not exact (probably to avoid any copyright infringements), but outside that it's still a very admirable attempt and I'm sure we'll see more like it soon!
Looks like I need to remind people about this again, as yesterday I got several comments in a row from people who assumed that me being critical about something automatically translated into me outright hating it. I don't know how to stress this enough but that's not the case... You can be critical of stuff you like and not hate it. I don't know why our culture tries so hard to force everything into such black and white terms but come on guys, really... being critical and smart about what you love doesn't mean you hate it.
Take the Dragon's Crown comic, for example, in which I was critical of the Sorceress's design. From that someone hypothesized that I must HATE the game, and that's farthest from the truth. I know full well that Vanillaware is an amazing studio and they do fantastic work. One of my favorite games of theirs is Muramasa the Demon Blade. Dragon's Crown has scored really highly and it's most definitely worth your money to buy/download it if you can. BUT... I can still be critical of the Sorceress's design because while I understand Vanillaware's intentions to ironically satire and parody established fantasy artwork, I don't feel that that satire actually succeeds. When it's surrounded by hundreds of other video games that unironically thrust big boobed sexy women in their games, I feel that Dragon's Crown isn't saying anything NEW with the Sorceress's design, it's just giving us more of the same. THAT is why I don't feel that she's a good design... BUT the game itself is still AWESOME.
I can do the same thing with Disney movies. Robin Hood is my absolute favorite Disney cartoon outside of Aladdin, BUT... I can be critical of it because I know it was made on a budget and is the most heavily recycled Disney cartoon ever (reusing animation from previous films and using run cycles over and over again). I can point out the flaws and acknowledge that the movie was cheap while still appreciating it.
Or, hey, the new Inafune Mega Man game Kickstarter. I can be HAPPY that he's still trying to make games he loves to make and not be stressed out by Capcom's demanding corporate infrastructure... but at the same time I can be SAD that he's not allowed to keep the rights to Mega Man and is forced to make a spiritual successor rather than work on what he REALLY wants to work on. As a creator being put in that situation would bother me quite a bit and I wish Inafune didn't have to resort to quitting Capcom to keep making great games. I'm sure the spiritual successor "Mighty No 9." will be awesome, but I can still be disappointed at the overall situation because it shows me that the video game industry is grossly broken and in need of fixing.
And the same thing goes for my SYAC strips. The whole PURPOSE of the series is to point out weird trends in web comics and make fun of problems that being a webcomic artist entails. This means poking fun at things YOU MIGHT LIKE. That's OK, though. You don't have to HATE the series for it, nor do you have to agree with my opinions. They're meant to be lighthearted and fun (for the most part) and more or less raise awareness of some of the pearls and pitfalls we all go through.
Bottom line guys... if I ever say I'm critical of something, that doesn't mean that I absolutely HATE it, nor does that mean that you can't LIKE it. It's an opinion, and like many have said, we all have them. It's OK to disagree. It's OK to not like the same things. It's OK to be critical of things we LIKE. The world is not so black and white and restrictive, and when people try to keep it that way, it destroys real conversation and discussions we could be having about the things we like and how to make them better.
Just for fun I thought I'd do a rundown of the most common forms of humor, their definitions, and examples. This is not a complete list by any means, but they are a list of many forms of humor and literature discourse which often get confused of mixed up.
Parody An imitative work created to mock, comment on or trivialize an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of satiric or ironic imitation.
Example: The movie "Airplane" is a parody of 1970's disaster movies. Many of Weird Al's music videos are parodies of other more famous music videos.
Pastiche A work of visual art, literature, or music that imitates the style or character of the work of one or more other artists. Unlike parody, pastiche celebrates, rather than mocks, the work it imitates.
Example: The movie "Super 8" is a pastiche of 1980's adventure films, specifically imitating the style of Stephen Spielberg's early career, because it celebrates and embraces the style unironically.
Pastiche and Parody are often confused because they both involve imitation, but the easiest way to distinguish the two is this: Pastiche embraces the imitation through general affection for the source material, whereas Parody is meant to mock and make fun of the source material.
Satire Satire is a genre of literature, and sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, corporations, and society itself, into improvement. Although satire is usually meant to be funny, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit as a weapon and as a tool to draw attention to both particular and wider issues in society.
Example: The movie "Starship Troopers" is a satire of fascism and fascist war propaganda. Likewise the movie "Sucker Punch" is a satire of the supposedly empowered female sex symbol in geek culture. Both address specific ideas and attempt to say something about them in a rather critical fashion.
Poe's law (named after its author Nathan Poe), says that an Internet adage reflecting an idea without a clear indication of the author's intent, makes it difficult or impossible to tell the difference between an expression of sincere extremism and a parody of extremism. I believe this is why satire is so difficult for people on the internet to grasp, because a lot of satire revolves around being seeped in a specific mindset that, while designed to mock or say something more about the given subject, is often seen at face value and the broader subtext is ignored.
Irony The expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.
Example:The Titanic was promoted as being unsinkable, but the ship sank on its maiden voyage.
Cynicism An inclination to believe that people are motivated purely by self-interest; skepticism. An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of others
Example: You can be cynical about the successfulness of the US Congress to actually achieve a goal.
Sarcasm The use of language which, on the surface appear to be appropriate to the situation, but are meant to be taken as meaning the opposite in terms of face management. The distinctive quality of sarcasm is present in the spoken word and manifested chiefly by vocal inflections.