Game Dogs

By Shamus
on Feb 6, 2010
Filed under:
Movies

At the start of the year The Escapist launched a new animated series. The pilot episode:

We eventually learn it’s about game developers, which I think is a nice angle. We have enough comics and shows about the people who play, but few of them ever pretend to look inside the sausage factory.

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From the Archives:

  1. Jattenalle says:

    Your writeup makes it sound interesting. It did not prepare me for the “lol furry comic!” with “haha nerd jokes!” and “lol strained laughter and slapstick!” that it turned out to be.

    I am disappointed in you Shamus! I’ll only give you 99 more chances to please me before I write an angry blog saying very mean things about you!

  2. Monkeyboy says:

    There is some good subtle humor in there. Episode three seems to be a realistic view of how we end up with games like “Darksiders”.

    It hasn’t hooked me yet, but I like where its going.

  3. Gahazakul says:

    That was pretty terrible.

  4. Daviot44 says:

    http://www.inktank.com/category/comics/angst-technology/
    is also a comic that looks at the developer side of things, in case anyone’s interested.

  5. GTB says:

    Ugh. I’ve seen better crap on newgrounds.

  6. Josh says:

    Hmmm… Not sure why this is supposed to be funny. Maybe it gets better?

  7. Nyaz says:

    I’ve tried liking it, but it just doesn’t have the “awesome” that comes with the stuff the LoadingReadyRun crew does, or what Yahtzee does (or what Shamus Young writes and / or grabs screenshots from games into AHEMCOUGHCOUGHAHEM moving on…)

  8. eri says:

    Honestly, I find most of the stuff on The Escapist to be of a pretty low quality. Outside of MovieBob, Yahtzee and your own stuff, I really have trouble watching any of it without cringing repeatedly.

  9. Ben Bane says:

    It’s funny you should mention the /people/ who play, because this show is about a bunch of goddamned furries.

  10. The Negi Leek says:

    What Ben Bane said. I was so disappointed that the escapist would run this kind of thing that I wished it were possible to subscribe, just so I could cancel my subscription.

  11. Old Cheevers says:

    Sorry Shamus, but this is pure shite.

  12. Quincey Barber says:

    The whole show can be summed up by the part where the sword falls on the argyle dog’s tail. Furry, lowbrow humor, peripherally associated with something nerdy.

  13. Twosday says:

    Wow. It kind of reminds me that without you, LRR, and Yatzhee, Escapist wouldn’t really have anything going for them. I guess they just got incredibly lucky.

  14. Sausage Factory says:

    Sausage factory.
    Sausage

    Also Furries.

  15. WILL says:

    I don’t get the furry comments – they’re animated dogs, we’ve seen this before.

    The problem with the series is that it’s not funny and just plain bad.

    • Ian says:

      Didn’t you know? Animated anthropomorphic animals on TV = not furry. Animated anthropomorphic animals on the Internet = OMG FURREH. It’s really quite childish.

      • Gahazakul says:

        Says the man with the Hedgehog pic! I kid, I kid…

        Really though I think mediocre anthro drawings ring the furry bell in peoples minds. On popular cartoons, Warner Brothers old stuff for example, the characters are way overly stylized. Yes Bugs Bunny is a rabbit but looks nothing like a rabbit. Him being a rabbit is not referenced constantly so he is just a character. In this it is a constant deluge of dog references and the designs are still very “dog-like” so it isn’t very stylized so you don’t see a character you see a dog. “Furry” art does this also, they don’y want to distance a character from the animal.

        • Mark Wilderman says:

          Another easy way to tell is furries have non-stylized animal faces and wear human clothes.

        • Taellosse says:

          You haven’t actually seen a lot of furry art, have you? It runs the gamut, but from what I’ve seen, furries are into heavily anthropomorphized depictions of animals far more often than they are into relatively accurate ones. Furries are not into bestiality, they’re into people with fur (and maybe tails and a few other animal traits). Typically the only part of a furry character that isn’t TOO heavily humanized is the head.

          • Gahazakul says:

            Actually that is exactly what I meant. Bugs Bunny isn’t furry art, his face is not like a rabbits, it has rabbit features. He has hands not paws and his proportions are human cartoony. The glut of generic furry art sticks with a very animal face, animal legs and what not.

  16. Rutskarn says:

    I haven’t watched it, but I do think it’s interesting that they’re doing it from the dev angle, at least.

    That’s one thing that irritated me about the webcomic contest. I was actually contemplating a submission, but then I got to the part where it had to be about the “contemporary gaming culture,” if I’m reading it right.

    There’s two obvious ways to approach that:

    *Two roomates sit on a couch and talk about video games
    *Perspective of the game characters

    They’ve already got the second one, care of you yourself, and do we really need another one of the first one?

    I might submit something crazy anyway, just for the hell of it, but I’m not sure I’d want to read what they’ll probably end up picking.

    (I guess you could do a different approach, like gaming from the perspective of an elderly lawyer or something, but that gimmick would doubtless run thinner than a squirrel jaywalker before long.)

    • Shamus says:

      I think the requirement is that it has to APPEAL to gamer culture (the site’s audience) but I’m 99% certain it doesn’t have to be ABOUT it. You can make it about Extraplanar tap-dancing trial lawyers in ancient Rome, as long as you can get people to read it. :)

  17. SatansBestBuddy says:

    Sorry, Shamus, but this is a Russ Pitts production, which means it kinda sucks balls.

    I mean it, everything I’ve seen that had Russ in charge of results in some of the worst garbage Escapist has out right now, and I know the only reason he gets away with it is cause he’s Editor-in-Chief of the site, which is a job he’s actually pretty good at, but unfortunatly it seems he doesn’t want that job, he wants to be one of the funny writer guys the site already has a ton of so he can be popular like them.

    Sorry, Russ, but you’re comedic timing sucks.

  18. Neil Polenske says:

    Yeah, it’s just not funny. Not even ‘not very funny’. It’s just NOT funny. Funny is not present…at all.

  19. Hairius Maximus says:

    Um… Yeah, that was really quite bad.

    Oh well, one more thing to avoid on the internet I guess.

    EDIT* I’ve just noticed that the only thing you say about it is that it has a good premise. I’m interested as to whether you actually liked it yourself Shamus.

    • Shamus says:

      I wouldn’t have linked it if I thought it was crap. :)

      I liked the running “D&D kills” joke.

      And I like the character designs. Very strong. After one viewing you could identify the whole cast by silhouettes alone, and probably a few things about the personality of each. I’m certainly willing to give it a chance for a few episodes.

      • Saturn's Caretaker says:

        I worry about you sometimes.

      • Count Bean says:

        Friends, consider: Shamus easily recognized and incisively explained the complete lack of humor in Champions Online. For him not to do the same to this flaming glob of toenails, forces must be at work beyond our understanding. Say, forces of the Escapist’s accounts payable.

        • Shamus says:

          That’s about as close to calling me a liar as you can get.

          If you really think I’m a dishonest hack, then there is nothing either of us can gain from reading the other.

        • krellen says:

          FWIW, I found the pilot funny as well. In fact, I cannot fathom the amount of vitriol in this thread. Even when I find things unfunny that are supposed to be funny, my reaction isn’t close to this.

  20. Rutskarn says:

    Keep in mind that The Escapist is a respect his employer; it employs him, and pays him money to make their site more popular. Writing long essays talking trash about the other things they run on their site is probably not a good idea.

    Not saying that’s necessarily what’s going on here, just wanted to point that out.

    • Neil Polenske says:

      It makes me wonder…did they require him to post this?

      • Shamus says:

        Of course not! Nobody even asked. It was just… I thought it would make a good sat. morning vid.

        I mean… tabletop roleplaying? Is that really out of place on this site?

        Geeze.

        • Neil Polenske says:

          Okay, fair enough. I didn’t mean anything by it…well actually, I guess I did, but issue is cleared.

          From what I can tell, people aren’t taking issue with the concept, but it’s a pretty clear consensus that it’s the EXECUTION that is sorely lacking. Simply put, this has the POTENTIAL to be very funny. Currently, it is very not.

          If that changes, gimmie a heads up and I’ll give it a second chance.

          • Rutskarn says:

            And on that note: I didn’t mean by my statement that this was Shamus shilling for The Escapist, or that he clearly hated the thing and was just trying to say something nice. I was just pointing out that asking him to write an essay panning it when a.) he seems to like it and b.) that’d be a stupid thing to do was not an activity with much profit in it.

  21. WILL says:

    MovieBob, Yahtzee, Shamus, LRR and Unskippable. That’s pretty much all there is to the escapist to me.

    Otherwise, Rebecca Mayes does look okay, apparently Apocalypse Lane has gotten much better and I guess ENN is somewhat funny.

  22. MadTinkerer says:

    While the Game Dogs pilot is a bit underwhelming compared to, say, the Doomsday Arcade pilot, the series is growing on me. I think they should have made ep 2 the pilot, since it sets up the actual situation for the rest of the show and the “pilot” is actually some kind of prologue thing.

    They should definitely drop the “animated before a live audience” gag, though. It was semi-amusing the first time and getting old fast. In fact, the whole sitcom shtick is threatening to get tiresome: if you’re going to the trouble of writing a deliberately sitcom style show, then why not film actual actors instead of wasting the potential of the animated format? Like, the Loading Ready Run guys already do? Or just do something that makes more sense in animation than a live action show.

    But still, I am liking it more with each episode.

    Incidentally, I’m also really liking Doraleous & Associates as of the Troll Bridge episode. Now that’s a show that takes proper advantage of the fact that it’s animated to show you something that would be more expensive to do live.

  23. Rutskarn says:

    Just watched the link episode. I mean, it wasn’t great, but I don’t quite see why you guys hate it so much. Heaven knows I’ve seen far worse on the Internet, and as long as it’s got a decent premise, there’s plenty of room for it to improve from here.

    • Shamus says:

      Yeah. I can understand people saying it’s not funny. But I simply do not get the burning hostility.

      I think this show is funnier than, say, Freeman’s Mind in an overall laughs-per-minute. Freeman will spend five minutes rambling and swearing before he connects with my funnybone.

      There is something about this show that actively irritates a large number of people. Is it the “dogs” angle? Is it because this is seen as a professional effort and not an indie / hobby / fan production? I don’t know. The level of offense expressed is greater than you’d expect for people who just didn’t find the show amusing. I’ve watched a few videos that didn’t wring a smile out of me, but didn’t anger me.

      There is more to this than there seems at first glance.

      I shall think on it more.

      • Gahazakul says:

        The problem is the comedy lies in the “LOL VIOLENCE” kind of territory. It also felt more like they were making fun of the material “NERDS LOL” instead of having fun with the idea. This seems to be geared toward fans of say CAD, which is also painfully unfunny to me.

        The dog aspect also feels very tacked on. Within the first 60 seconds they seemed to shoehorn every reference they could to it. They even called the game Dungeons & Dogs, which makes no sense if the hero characters are dogs.

        Call me picky about my comedy but there seems little substance to this.

      • Wayoffbase says:

        It was clearly professionally done from a visual standpoint, but the jokes were terrible even for something completely amateur. The production value just draws attention to the poor writing in a way that something with an indie/hobby/fan type style wouldn’t. I’m 31, I’ve been tabletop gaming for 20 years, those jokes were worn out when I heard them for the first time two decades ago.

      • Luke Maciak says:

        Yes, I think the “dogs angle” rubs people the wrong way. The character designs are very reminiscent of what you see in the type of artwork that is produced by the universally hated and stigmatized “furry” community. Only, you know – without the bizarre sex fetishes.

        See, if someone actually see me watching this video without knowing the context (ie. that it is an Escapist production that was linked from here) they could probably jump to some wrong conclusions and I would likely never hear the end of it.

        The humor in the video is ok, but I found it rather on the mild and genetic side. Like they were skimming along the “geek” humor but were afraid to dive deeper into it not to alienate potential mainstream viewers. IMHO their humor was not geeky enough considering the topic.

        I mean, if you make a show about video game designers who play D&D you go full-on-nerd. Otherwise it usually ends up coming off like a shallow, patronizing towards your core audience (ie. gamers and software engineers who also like D&D).

        I think those are the two rage inducing factors here.

        • wererogue says:

          “Universally hated”? This thread is crazy, and totally out of character for Shamus’ usual comment threads. Some people have a weird hobby and/or fetish, and now they’re “universally hated”? O_o

          Funny, sure, sometimes. Hateful? I really don’t think so.

      • Jattenalle says:

        Personally, it made me “angry” because you give it such a nice synopsis, and the first episode has nothing at all to do with anything.
        They play Dungeons & Dogs, which doesn’t even make sense. But hang on! They don’t even play it, they just throw giant dice at each other and cause pain randomly, with tacked on poor laughter and horrible dialog.

        It’s just not funny. And most of the things you link are usually funny/interesting or at least of some standard.

        This show is cheap, has poor jokes and lame dog references shoved down my throat. No thanks.

        As I said, you have disappointed me Shamus.
        I think that’s the reason why people get upset, they’re disappointed. Had I come across this randomly and not so well recommended by you, I wouldn’t have cared the least. Now I care, because it’s you pointing me to it.

        You should be honored ;)

        • asterismW says:

          I agree. People are overly upset because it’s YOU, Shamus, who’s linking the show. It’s as if Pixar had recommended Shark Tale. If the writers of Bee Movie had recommended it, no one would be surprised nor care.

      • Hacky Sacky Lackey says:

        Why does it irritate people? Because it’s furry. If it weren’t furry, it would just be an easily-ignorable, unfunny show.

      • Galad says:

        It’s the comedy value that’s lacking in it. Listen to a random ZP episode. It’d be safe to say you’d laugh at least several times. Listen to a random Unskippable episode; read a Stolen Pixel(one of the funny ones, not the deliberately serious ones), or an episode of “Let’s play”. Same thing, comedy abounds. Listen to game dogs. Yep.

        That being said, I somehow connect to the female dog, and I’m still expecting this show to get better – which for me would be to get at least one genuine laugh

        The other new escapist show – Doraleous and associates is clearly a disappointment to me. Now I get it. It must be the voice acting. Pretty much everyone in that other show has a terrible voice over. While the female dog has at least an ok voice over to me..

        Last, but not least, I think a significant part of the negative response to it is due to the fact that people have something better to compare this show with (see my first paragraph)

  24. Shamus says:

    Also, I’d ask that you guys not make this personal. Hate on the show all you need to, but remember that some of the folks over at Chez Escapist are people I consider friends and seeing them personally torn apart does not feel good.

    I know some of them read this site. Give constructive criticism if you have any. But let’s not make this personal.

    Thanks.

    Usual disclaimer: I do not speak for Themis et al, they didn’t ask me about this and I didn’t say anything to this. As far as I was concerned, this was just another Saturday movie post.

    • SatansBestBuddy says:

      Sorry for name dropping, and I know I gave a bad opinion on Russ, but it’s true; the man can’t write comedy.

      I read his editor’s note every other week, I read his articles, and I can honestly say I’m interested in his opinion on what’s happening in the games industry, but everytime he tries to be funny (like in the Escapist Show) he comes off as a lot less talented than he really is.

      I didn’t mean to come off as angry, I’m not, really, just expressing an opinion, it just happens to have more swearing than needed.

    • Allan says:

      On a completely unrelated note, could you ask who it was that made it so that the site stopped requesting 50-80 cookies? And then thank them for me?

      Cheers. :)

      As to the video: I myself didn’t enjoy it, but I think they just missed me rather than were terrible.

    • Mark Wilderman says:

      Soooo… I shouldn’t mention that Russ Pitts is a lobotomized furry?

  25. Lee says:

    I gave it three episodes before I was unable to bring myself to load the fourth. I just didn’t find it that funny. I could go on about minor details… the characters are well-designed but have no articulation below the eyes (they even South-Park waddle), the “drawn before a live audience” was done before in the animated Clerks show (and done better… when they repeated the gag they changed it up, i.e. “drawn by a live audience”), the highlights in the script were crude violence or punchlines I can’t help but associate with other, funnier shows, the inter-scene riff that sounds identical to the one I remember Dilbert’s show having…

    At the end, though, I didn’t have a fully-reasoned argument in my head. I just stopped watching because it wasn’t funny to me. As I work in the field and have seen much of their source material in person, I found that surprising.

    The most damning evidence to me lies in the “making of” interview, where a creator explains that they just made everyone dogs when they realized the show wasn’t very funny.

    • bbot says:

      >where a creator explains that they just made everyone dogs when they realized the show wasn’t very funny.

      Wow.

      • Yar Kramer says:

        Yeah, uh, if the creator is openly admitting “we didn’t think it was funny, so we added a gimmick (in this case, making the characters dogs),” it comes off as more of, “we didn’t think it was funny at all, but look! The characters are dogs! Dogs are funny, aren’t they? You’re supposed to laugh now!” and it gives me the impression that the creator doesn’t actually have a sense of humor — or, worse, he merely thinks he does. Now I’m even further discouraged from watching it than I was from all the other negative reviews I was seeing.

        Um … I hope this doesn’t come off as too review-like, considering I haven’t actually seen it …

  26. Davie says:

    Eh…I don’t know. I’m probably just repeating what others have already said, but I just didn’t find it that funny. I like the developer angle, and it would be interesting to see a show from their point of view, but maybe not one about lazily animated canines. Perhaps live-action would have suited it better.
    It seems the Escapist has lowered the bar a little bit recently, adding in several new shows that are by no means terrible, but they just don’t seem to be up to the standards of, say, Unskippable or Doomsday Arcade. Slightly disappointing.

  27. Shinjin says:

    For what it’s worth, I found the first episode funny. Going to check out additional episodes later on.

  28. Dix says:

    Sure, the concept has promise. Making fun of developers sounds great to me. But this isn’t executing the concept well at all.

    The pilot is entertaining, but it’s not about the concept! (And its entertainment relies largely on violence and on the ‘haha D&D is dangerous’ trope.)

    Once they get into ‘strained office humor’ it’s sort of like Dilbert, only (theoretically) about video game development. Oh, and not funny.

    I don’t have any opinion one way or the other about the dogs. I don’t think it would be funnier or more insightful with humans, or cats, or robots, and I would probably not be bothered by any of those choices either. It is definitely not furry, it’s just making characters who look like dogs, and then using their dogness as a crutch to make some jokes when the core of the script isn’t any good.

    The writing and the delivery are where work is needed. Basically – the pacing needs half a cup of Yahtzee and the writing needs several pounds of Shamus. The good folks at the Escapist have what it takes to make this thing work, but I don’t think they’re using it!

  29. Kdansky says:

    After I turned about 10, I found it weird that cartoons had to be about mice, ducks, cats and dogs instead of humans, when all the character had clearly human personalities. If there is no reason why you need some animal for the message or the art, then people (rightfully) will be quick to shout “furry”, such as in this case. If it did not have dogs, I would just file it under boring, but somehow the dogs really make it disgusting. Take any other “work of art” (games, movies, books, pictures, music) and replace the actors with dogs. All of them get worse. Some slightly (it might work for games), some quite a bit (imagine LotR with dogs) and some frightingly so (imagine porn with dogs. Or rather don’t. Too late. I’m sorry I did this to you.)

    The jokes are mediocre at best in this video, the characters are generic (nerd, boss, girl, guy who the audience identifies with) and there is really nothing new, nor is it interesting. “You get 100 XP for the critical on Gary.” NOT FUNNY. I’ve seen the trailer when it was released and I have watched it a second time now. It is still terrible.

    • swimon says:

      It’s the uncanny valley effect, by making the characters less human they seem more so. Also making them not human means it is easier to differentiate between the diffrent characters without it being weird. As an example having one really small dog and a really big one works but having a human that is about an 8th the size of another is weird, unless we’re having a fantasy setting (not that game development with hobbits wouldn’t be awesome).

      Sure it doesn’t work for everything but for comedy cartoons it usually work quite well IMO.

  30. ima420r says:

    I watched the first 2 episodes and I have to say I found them mildly amusing at best. I will continue to watch a few more episodes though, as I know many shows tend to improve as the go on.

    Also, they can’t animate in front of a live studio audience… it puts a tremendous strain on the animators wrist.

  31. JoshR says:

    Like most of the new stuff, it just doesn’t do anything for me. I really liked the whole Desertbus thing, but I can’t get into anything by the LRR crew. I think they’re funny guys, with a writing style that doesn’t appeal to my sense of humour.
    Doraleous and associates, ENN, LRR, Gamedogs, even if you add up the times i’ve laughed at all of these, you don’t come anywhere close to how much i laughed at the first episode of Unforgotten Realms.
    But i may just be being bitter that they killed my favourite series.
    As far as the first video was, i didn’t think this one was that bad, but when i went on to the other ones it became apparent that after they stopped joking about hitting each other with dice it was awful.

  32. GM says:

    skipped it after finding game dogs.

  33. Mark Wilderman says:

    If they’re going to do it in a sitcom style, why not make it live action? They can get customized fursuits for each character a table of fuckable plushies instead of crafts.

  34. Hairius Maximus says:

    Welp, since we’re trying to be constructive… :)

    I think it comes down to the fact that the show, at least in that episode, has no hook.

    We’re not given any narrative or setup, we’re just thrown into a random gaming group. None of the characters are interesting or engaging. On the contrary, they’re as clichéd and stock as you can possibly get. We have The Gamer Geek, Chick Who Needs To Be Taught About Nerdom, The Straight Man and “Comedic” Relief. I really can’t emphasise enough how tired and predictable that line-up is.

    Sure, the (imo) lack of humour and, almost as important, the lack of pacing pretty much gamebreak it for me anyway. But if there was something, anything creative I could respond to then I figure my reaction would probably go from a ‘hate it’ to just a ‘meh’.

    Take Unforgotten Realms for example. (No huge reason why, it’s just the only other comedy-narrative thing on Escapist I’ve ever followed) Straight away in the first episode they setup just enough plot to make the series feel unique and to act as a good backdrop to the jokes, the characters are, if not exactly ‘likeable’, shown to be distinctive and (relatively) unusual, the jokes come thick and fast, and, well, stuff happens. Nothing happens in GD, and worse, it’s the kind of nothing that I’ve seen many times before over the internets.

    Really, I guess the thing that annoys me about Game Dogs is how little effort seems to have gone into making it. There’s no setup, stock characters and only the feeblest attempts at making the funnies. (Seriously, Dungeons & Dogs?) Heck, even the dogs thing itself seems to just be a lazy transparent gimmick; it really doesn’t add anything.

    Now, this is probably a very unfair judgement, and I do apologise if so. But that’s what I get when I watch the video, and that perceived lack of effort is (ever-so-slightly) annoying.

    (I also wasn’t a fan of the animation and thought that it resided vaguely in the uncanny valley, but I figure that’s personal taste and all that stuff)

    Finally, if I’m honest Shamus, I thought that show was terrible and I guessed that the only reason you posted it is because they also worked for the Escapist. I’m glad that that’s not the case, and I’m also glad that you stopped by to respond to me, your perspective on things is often an interesting one to hear. :)

    • Hairius Maximus says:

      I just checked out the second ep. to see if the show gets better. It really doesn’t. It’s a bit unfortunate because it IS a novel ideal for a webshow, it’s just a shame about everything else. Oh well, I guess…

      (As an aside, it might just be me, but isn’t Bob just a ripoff of Keith from The Office?)

    • Monkeyboy says:

      Shamus, I visited your site and received my free ice cream cone. I would like to make severl comments about how underwhelmed I am with both the size and shape of my free ice cream. Your hand churning is mediocre at best and the flavor is absolutely not one I would have chosen were ever to make my own instead of relying on receiving free ones here.

      Please improve the overall flavor of your free ice cream, or I will continue to make snide comments every time I come for another cone.

      Yr Mst Hmble & Obt Srvt.
      Monkeyboy

  35. TehShrike says:

    To quote his Neutralness: “I have no strong feelings one way or the other”.

    I was somewhat entertained by everyone else’s strong opinions, though.

    Carry on.

  36. DogmaticDharma says:

    Surprised no ones made a lame joke about it being ruff or somesuch.

    Joking aside that was pretty much garbage. Dont put rubbish like this on your blog in future, it makes you look bad.

  37. Danath says:

    I quite enjoyed it honestly, was an entertaining little romp that wasn’t laugh out loud hilarious but mildly humorous and actually sort of reminds me of actual D&D sessions I’ve been on, very informal and random (And I was the total noob).

    Also the chick seems to be acquainted just fine with nerdom, just not D&D, they aren’t equivalent statements. I like how people throw it in as a cliche as I have real friends who talk like that, so the conversation to me felt fairly natural, despite the occasional foray into randomness (broken nose, sword), but the slight breaks from “normalicy” made me smile, so yeah, there you go!

    I’m noticing some absolutly pants shittingly HILARIOUS backlash that the characters are dogs, I mean really? REALLY? Jesus people, this is a blog that brings up videogames, where women use their hair as clothing while giant rock golems fight orcs for you while you storm grim batol on the back of dragons who are being controlled by Cthulu. And you bitch about dogs? The personification helps lend an air of brevity and ups the absurdity, which allows you the viewer to have a larger suspension of disbelief while watching it than if it had been with actual people. Personification on animals is also fairly common and more than a few things have been hilarious thanks to it. I’m assuming people have heard of Watership Down or the Redwall series, or perhaps bugs bunny? The Animaniacs? Anime? Mangas? Just cause it’s dogs doesn’t mean we suddenly have to contemplate that they have sex and are “homg furry!” Just take it at face value, just a way for them to animate it and make it humerous. Heck the use of animal styles has been used for HORROR, like in the manga Doubt, where a murderer wears a bunny head.

    I only watched the first ep though, I’ll have to check out others to see if they build on this one.

    • Danath says:

      As an additional note, these are the kinds of posts that made Spoony over at Spoonyexperiment tell people to start being civil because there would be trolls who would RAGE hard anytime he had a guest video. I’m almost getting the feeling shamus is getting the same thing simply because it’s a escapist video that is NOT his, and not developed by some indie group.

      • Gahazakul says:

        Actually I think the backlash is from it not being very good. It is actually pretty bad. Even if you go check the Escapist forums and comments over on the actual site people don’t like it.

        • Danath says:

          Yeah, I’m watching the other episodes now, this first episode posted here was pretty good though. The second episode has a tendency to run its jokes on a LITTLE long, the rant from the tiny dog was funny till he brought up the “bite people”, and then just ranted on and on. The dog jokes are not funny, and then the sword joke was lame. But the ending “idea” and what to do was well done. I can already see the inherent problem though, it’s not very funny because it tends to overdo it’s jokes, running them on a BIT too long. I’m thinking this will happen in episode 3 and 4 as well. Ep 2 ended strong, and started strong, but about a minute and a half shorter would have kept it good.

          Also my big last paragraph was on posts in THIS comment section where people rage on it SIMPLY for having dog people in it. Not the merits of the show, but just for having dogs and thats making it worse.

          Episode three is decent, but the old guy “explaining the joke” and slightly off tangent forgetful old man is both funny and not funny depending on the joke. The shirt thing was good for instance. The satan thing was not, it was too blatant, and the girl saying “I’m the token girl”, although the old mans response was good… this is a combination of good and bad ideas and lines thrown together, which is a bit dissapointing.

          Satanism in Antartica… haha, good. But then that small dog talked too long again, argh.

          • Rutskarn says:

            Besides: even if the show was the worst thing EVER, which I don’t personally think it is, this comment section would seem excessive.

            The people saying, “I don’t like it,” are one thing. The people saying, “I don’t like it, and it’s ruined my life, and Shamus is a bastard and a shill for linking it,” are absurd. This is the Saturday link, guys. I haven’t liked every single thing every single site has linked on their off day, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to declare a vendetta against the site in question and start burning things.

            If you like the content hosted on a site, it’s not because you and the creator both have identical sensibilities, it’s because the content put up on the site represents the overlap in tastes and preferences that the two of you share. I’m sure some of my readers would hate 8-Bit Theater, or Freeman’s Mind, or any of the other stuff I enjoy perusing when I’m not writing or working. That doesn’t mean they can’t like the stuff that I create, and it sure as hell doesn’t mean either of us are idiots or philistines.

    • swimon says:

      wow… just wow people.

      For me the escapist is an interesting site. It has an odd mix of things that are awesome (ZP, all things LRR, the articles, shamus comic, Alt-Escape and moviebob) and things that are horrid (pretty much everything else) with very little middle ground. Game Dogs is thusly revolutionary to me in that it is decent, watchable and somewhat entertaining but not really great.

      I think this is a reason as to why the escapist is great, because unlike the industry it covers it takes risks. It tries new things sometimes those things are bad and sometimes they’re great.

      Also I realise it is a bit of a double standard saying that the comments were needlessly color- and spiteful (implicitly at least) and then using words like horrid but there it is ^^.

      Edit: huh… I really didn’t mean to use this as a reply, it was supposed to be a stand alone comment. Oh well.

  38. Ramsus says:

    Well at first when I saw the link I was thinking to myself “Meh, I probably won’t care”. Then I saw the number of comments and thought I’d see what people said…maybe my apathetic attitude was unwarranted. Then I read some of said comments and patted myself on the back for not caring. Then I read the rest and decided I had to see what was so freaking horrible, really it’s like someone telling me there was an accident and then the person next to them correcting them and saying it was a train-wreck, I just had to see.

    While I might not have found the videos themselves funny at least they created several laughs for me as a byproduct. Seriously some of you guy’s responses were wonderful or so terrible you deserve a prize.

    I think the jokes and characters could be more original and I agree I need to be given a better hook. The dogs thing doesn’t bother me (except for some reason it felt off to me when they mentioned Dungeons&Dogs and then mentioned in universe dogs). It’s like how VG Cats has cats….I don’t really know what this accomplishes besides possibly alienating cat or dog haters. I don’t see a need for my people analogs to not be people…I already find people pretty funny. On the other hand I don’t need them to not be dogs either. It didn’t strike me particularly as a furry thing though.

    I can see it being a let down from people expecting Shamus to give them something they liked but not everything one person likes another person does. Maybe Shamus like myself just has gags that are old that he still loves because he associates them with some fond memories or whatever. It can’t really be the first time anyone here has disagreed with him on his stance about something. Seeing people seemingly question his ethics over it had me in a laughing fit.

  39. Jeff says:

    It isn’t very good right now, it’s okay. Maybe kind of bad, but not terrible either. I agree that it does have potential. What I don’t get are the same people complaining about how much they hate it, on every single one of the videos. Those people should probably realize if they absolutely hated the first one enough to complain about it in great length, they’re probably not going to like the rest of the videos either.

    Also, I really don’t get the whole furry-hate thing. I think it’s an internet meme sort of thing, where people have an irrational hatred of something that really doesn’t affect them in the slightest. From what I read, the “dogs” part was an homage to old cartoons and it was easier to make it look good. It certainly doesn’t make the show any better imo, but it does seem to turn apathy into hatred. Clearly this didn’t involve any mention of sexuality. Actually none of the episodes have, and I’m pretty sure the makers are smarter than to try to put anything like that into a cartoon like this.

    It confuses me. I think that to some extent it has its roots in the same sort of “persecute sexual deviants” meme, which stretches from gays to pedophiles. Here people are saying that they dislike a cartoon, which they CAN choose not to watch, in part because it contains animal cartoons which people think are equivalent to furry fetishists because it is the internet, and furry fetishists exist on the internet. I say poor inductive reasoning.

    Hatred of Thundercats, Rescue Rangers, Talespin, Duck Tales (whoo-ooo) etc are all in order if you dislike this cartoon for that reason. Don’t complain that furries ruined cartoons for you, so you now suspect every cartoon animal is a furry. Rule 34 ruins everything for everbody. Deal with it.

    There are plenty of good reasons not to like Game Dogs, but complaining about the animal part weakens your argument.

  40. Razhem says:

    What I find most irritating about this show is that apart from being horrible (and using dogs and dog puns are the least of it’s problems) is all the publicity it got. Doraleous and Associates came out almost at the same time without any huge banners all over the place and is a hell of a lot funnier than Game Dogs. It was over hyped by the escapist themselves and it isn’t worth a quarter of the publicity or effort.

  41. Zem says:

    I found it quite funny.
    Don’t really get why the response is so overwhelmingly negative, but I guess that means I belong to a cool and coveted minority now.
    Works for me :)

    I also quite liked that the escapist flash app only asked me twice to store information on my pc before giving up. No really, most other flash video players are much more aggressive. And some cease to work at all if you disallow them.

  42. silver Harloe says:

    If everyone had the same tastes, the world would be a sad, boring place.

    Even if Shamus amuses you 99% of the time, he is still NOT you, so occasionally he’s going to like something you don’t. This doesn’t make him right or wrong (or stupid or disappointing) because taste isn’t objective.

    Incidentally, a cliche is only cliche when you’ve heard/seen/read it over and over and over. Someone else’s cliche is a brand new, fresh joke to someone else. Is it possible that Shamus hasn’t had the exact same experiences you have had in your life?

    • Katesickle says:

      Seconded.

      Personally I’ve been enjoying Game Dogs. Not my favorite thing on the web, but still worth a chuckle or two. Not as good as, say, LRR’s stuff, but maybe it’ll improve with time. If not *shrug* its free, I really have no room to whine anyway. Don’t like, don’t watch. Simple.

  43. Robyrt says:

    Thanks for linking this – as I don’t visit the Escapist main page (I get the weekly email instead), I would never have known about it otherwise.

    That being said, Game Dogs’ pilot episode is a serious waste of potential. No dog-themed jokes like “You sniff each other. Roll a diplomacy check.” No evidence that the characters have more than one dimension each. Repetition of the same jokes for no additional payoff, like “100 XP again. Now I like it again.” But the production values are blessedly high, and the concept is great. Hopefully later episodes will be better!

  44. wererogue says:

    I’m not sold on the jokes, but I’m interested to see what they do with the game developers concept, so I’ll stick with it until they get a little deeper into it.

    They’re pretty spot on with the “this is your game concept. Make it sell” scenario… but it’s not that funny. Maybe because a lot of people know that’s how it really is – it’s not some over-the-top crazy scenario, it’s real life.

  45. Amarsir says:

    I wasted 3 minutes watching that video.

    But then I wasted 10 minutes reading the comments, and now responding. So really, I have only myself to blame.

    Actually, I’m glad Shamus brought up the video. I’d been curious but hadn’t watched yet, so a catalyst to finally check it out works for me. I didn’t care for it but that’s always a risk.

  46. Danath says:

    This is an amazingly disproportionate response to a saturday video, I think someone linked here maybe, judging by all the incredibly hateful trolls in what is usually a fairly tame comment section?

  47. Eric says:

    This is going to sound super elitist. To me it just came off as “dumb” comedy, like the Scary movie franchises, and dumb and dumberer. With these types of comedy’s it takes a lot of skill to make the deliveries work, and write the material. Unfortunately for the people working on this, they do not seem to have the skill to pull it off, nor does it look like they can pull it off. They might be able to get a cheap laugh out of me ocasionally, but I’m not going to make a point to watch the show. This might have come of harshly, and I really wasn’t trying to slam anyone. I probably could’ve worded this better but I’m tired, and this is what I felt when I watched this.

  48. someboringguy says:

    Ok, after reading the other comments I need to explain the cause of my outburst, which is NOT related to the animation containing furries.
    It’s about the blood. I play some very violent video games, but the insertion of all that gore in this animation seems out of place and creepy.Why?I don’t know. I expected someone to have his arm cut off along the way and another character remark something like “lol, critical hit” or “I hope he’s not a dual wielder, as this would surely force him to multiclass into something else”.
    The animation is damn good, but the jokes are poorly inserted.There are some guys playing D&D and they deny the fact that this game makes you violent while harming eachother by mistake and finding pleasure in that. Good ’till now. But do we need all that gore? It simply sticks out like a dead bug on a delicious cake.And some jokes are forced, like dungeons&dogs?Acording to this dungeons and dragons should be played by dragons or change it’s name to dungeons&humans.

  49. Mike Has Answers says:

    Would it be premature to call this the worst-received post that’s yet been made on this blog?

  50. Alex says:

    I decided to give “Game Dogs” a chance. I wound up skipping around a lot and watched less than half of each episode. My reaction:

    “PLEASE let me fix the dialogue for you! PLEASE! I don’t want any money or any other compensation, I just want the stiltedness and the trying-way-too-hard to STOP before my ears start bleeding! It’s like latter-day ‘Family Guy’ cranked up to 11!”

    I think modern entertainment has taken postmodernism, meta-storytelling and ironic distance as the default stance WAY too far, and this show is a prime example. After watching this kind of stuff for a while, I can’t help but start to think, “if you don’t believe in it, why are you doing it??” That’s part of the reason why most people on this thread prefer things like Zero Punctuation, Unskippable and the “Let’s Play” stuff – they’re open mockery and satire rather than smug English-degree puffery, and while they ridicule gaming culture, they still position themselves as within it rather than above it.

    Storytelling that doesn’t build rapport with the audience doesn’t get very far outside of the postmodernist niche. You have to have something to tear down before you can tear it down, and nothing about Game Dogs is funny on its own – the humor is built entirely on subverting conventions that the show assumes, not only familiarity with, but festering contempt for in its audience. In fact, having something this cynical appear on a website called “The Escapist” that elsewhere takes the view that games and gamers are worthy of respect and serious analysis is both jarring and a little worrying.

    • Unlikely Ordinance says:

      Do you have a blog or anything? I want to read more of you.

    • Danath says:

      Amusingly I find Unskippable bland and incredibly boring, with ridiculously obvious observations disguised as pointed satire, while occasionally throwing in an incredibly off the wall jibe at something random. ZP has gotten a little long in the tooth, and I’ve noticed some problems crop up, but it’s still pretty good. Although I feel your last few sentences, while they have merit, are perhaps overanalyzing it, as our culture tends to be one that pretty much thrives on self-deprecation over everything. Making fun of our own nerdiness and D&D has existed for a long time before Game Dogs came out, and as such I will attribute it’s problems to poor scriptwriting rather than festering contempt, because the show does have a few gems in it.

      • Alex says:

        >>>Amusingly I find Unskippable bland and incredibly boring, with ridiculously obvious observations disguised as pointed satire, while occasionally throwing in an incredibly off the wall jibe at something random.<<

        Well, I’m a big fan of randomness and rapid-fire references – I was a big MST3K fan back in the day – so I guess that’s the appeal for me and others on this thread. That’s another thing about Game Dogs, incidentally – pacing. Each character’s line goes on for way too long, and the viewer gets the gist long before each character is done speaking. It feels like disconnected statements rather than conversations.

        >>Making fun of our own nerdiness and D&D has existed for a long time before Game Dogs came out, and as such I will attribute it’s problems to poor scriptwriting rather than festering contempt, because the show does have a few gems in it.<<<

        But that's just it. The very artificial dialogue and voice-acting introduce, deliberately or not, an ironic distance that suggests that these are targets rather than characters. As somebody pointed out upthread, the characters have exactly one dimension each, they're behavior patterns rather than complex individuals, with no real exploration of WHY they do what they do.

  51. someboringguy says:

    I am going back to this thread because I still can’t comprehend how can someone be a great artist, animate his characters in such a realistic and sugestive way despite the fact that they’re nonhumans and still fail so greatly?
    Case study: The Mastermind series (4 episodes total) on newgrounds.In is about a Bond villain character that wants to destroy the world, so the author already assumes that you are familiar with this trope, but still the jokes don’t seem forced. They flow so natural.Why does he succeed, him not being a profesional team?

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