The contest is now closed and the contestants are waiting on the judging. The judges have been announced:
- Senior Editor Susan Arendt, Brand Manager Spinwhiz, Community Manager Kuliani, Affiliate Relations Manager Encaen.
- Ryan North of Dinosaur comics.
- Brian Clevinger of 8-Bit Theater
- Shamus Young of Stolen Pixels
This is the “secret project” I alluded to on Monday. And it really is a project. In total, people submitted three hundred and forty six comics, most of which were four strips each. Applying the power of mathematics to these numbers, we discover that there are 1,384 pages of stuff to review. Over half of the submissions came in the final weekend of the contest.
A few years ago most new webcomics revolved around the Two Gamers on a Couch trope. (The gamers were both dudes in 99% of the cases.) This year it looks like the new trend is “Two Dudes who are Game Designers”. Reading through the list, it’s interesting (and saddening) to see the same comedic mistakes made again and again. So many people, all freely and creatively choosing to tread the same ruinous path as a hundred other entries.
I’m not quite done going through the list. I think I’ve at least glanced at each entry once, but I’d like to give them all a second look. I try to read them in a different order each time, just to give them a fair shake. It’s easy to dismiss one as “crap art” if you were just looking at gorgeous artwork. I don’t want to miss some undiscovered XKCD because of this sort of thing. I’m reminded of the Penny Arcade story where their comic was rejected by an editor. From the perspective of Gabe & Tycho it was simply another trial to endure, another slope on the way to the summit. But for someone trying to pick a winner it can serve as a cautionary tale. Odds are very good that one of the three hundred and forty five non-winning entries will go on to find some sort of success. They’ll probably do it just to spite me. Their merchandising alone will exceed my household income, and their biggest selling item will be their logo with a “Rejected by Shamus Young” stamp over it, a satirical jab at my failure to detect their greatness. I’ll be known as the hack who didn’t realize that “Two Game Designers on a Couch with a Cat” was destined for world-class greatness.
That’s the nightmare I keep having, anyway.
I will say that good writers seem to be rarer than good artists. I’ve witnessed a lot of great art married to unworthy writing, but I can’t think of any instances of brilliant writing with terrible art.
I don’t know when the winners will be announced. I’m trying to get my side of things finished up this week.
The Best of 2014
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2014.
Diablo III Retrospective
We were so upset by the server problems and real money auction that we overlooked just how terrible everything else is.
The Plot-Driven Door
You know how videogames sometimes do that thing where it's preposterously hard to go through a simple door? This one is really bad.
Grand Theft Auto Retrospective
This series began as a cheap little 2D overhead game and grew into the most profitable entertainment product ever made. I have a love / hate relationship with the series.
A Lack of Vision and Leadership
People fault EA for being greedy, but their real sin is just how terrible they are at it.