The Great Step Forward

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Vault101:
but....I LIKE top 5 lists...

Cool. Which five are your favorite?

I like to think the guy was told to write about gaming cupcakes so he had to work his ideas into that article. :p

Shiro No Uma:

Imp Emissary:

Shiro No Uma:
Wow, this is the first one of these that I've looked at that doesn't have an essay attached to it explaining why it's so funny/relevant. Which is so ironic because I don't quite get it and think I need it explained.

:D OKAY!

1. Guy trys to make games journalism better (Not so crap filled).

2. Guy thinks he has finally done it! :) YAY!

3. Soon finds out that nothing has changed. AW... :(

Any questions?

Oh...got it. I can see that, and I'm very sad I had to have it explained. Almost went the hater route a la "It's just not funny," but your explanation does it justice! Thank you.

No problem! Ya can't get every joke without help. And this one actually has a few neat interpretations you could go with.

Personally I like the tiny articles at the end because usaully they come with a nice story. Like that one last week about how to punish your kids with their games.

>_> Well, that one wasn't so nice, but rather scary.....

Vault101:
but....I LIKE top 5 lists...

:D That avatar is AWESOME! (No offence Daystar/Okami/Amaterasu.)

D: AW...Now I miss Top 5 with Lisa Foiles.

Moonlight Butterfly:
I like to think the guy was told to write about gaming cupcakes so he had to work his ideas into that article. :p

:) Hehehe. I like that interpretation the best.
:( It's the most sad, and the most cruel.
A few other people seem to agree.

After seeing it explained in the comments, all I can is...

It's funny until you think about it. ... Then it's depressing.

Gaming Pancakes are better then cupcakes, just saying.

Imp Emissary:

Shiro No Uma:

Imp Emissary:

:D OKAY!

1. Guy trys to make games journalism better (Not so crap filled).

2. Guy thinks he has finally done it! :) YAY!

3. Soon finds out that nothing has changed. AW... :(

Any questions?

Oh...got it. I can see that, and I'm very sad I had to have it explained. Almost went the hater route a la "It's just not funny," but your explanation does it justice! Thank you.

No problem! Ya can't get every joke without help. And this one actually has a few neat interpretations you could go with.

Personally I like the tiny articles at the end because usaully they come with a nice story. Like that one last week about how to punish your kids with their games.

>_> Well, that one wasn't so nice, but rather scary.....

Pardon the following if you have sensitive hearing, please!

*clears throat*

Jokes should not require explaining!!! Yahtzee did a spiel on that!!!

*pant-pant-pant*

Sorry, Imp! This wasn't directed at you but at Grey. I like Critical Miss, but as I said earlier and as many here have mentioned Grey's jokes don't work 25% to 33% of the time!

I love xkcd and have no problem when some computer/engineering/mathematical inside joke goes right over my head. That's niche writing. My problem stems from Grey's consistent tendency towards blatant ambiguity.

He reminds me of a friend from high school who wrote fiction but left out key points in his stories that rendered his stories pointless or stupid. But when such a problem was pointed out to him he'd say "I'm sure someone out there would get it, if enough people read it."

My friend never made it as a writer because nobody read his stuff because he didn't appreciate the fact that confusing readers didn't result in a growing fan base.

End

ThunderCavalier:
After seeing it explained in the comments, all I can is...

It's funny until you think about it. ... Then it's depressing.

:( True......

Copper Zen:

Imp Emissary:

Shiro No Uma:

Oh...got it. I can see that, and I'm very sad I had to have it explained. Almost went the hater route a la "It's just not funny," but your explanation does it justice! Thank you.

No problem! Ya can't get every joke without help. And this one actually has a few neat interpretations you could go with.

Personally I like the tiny articles at the end because usaully they come with a nice story. Like that one last week about how to punish your kids with their games.

>_> Well, that one wasn't so nice, but rather scary.....

Pardon the following if you have sensitive hearing, please!

*clears throat*

Jokes should not require explaining!!! Yahtzee did a spiel on that!!!

*pant-pant-pant*

Sorry, Imp! This wasn't directed at you but at Grey. I like Critical Miss, but as I said earlier and as many here have mentioned Grey's jokes don't work 25% to 33% of the time!

I love xkcd and have no problem when some computer/engineering/mathematical inside joke goes right over my head. That's niche writing. My problem stems from Grey's consistent tendency towards blatant ambiguity.

He reminds me of a friend from high school who wrote fiction but left out key points in his stories that rendered his stories pointless or stupid. But when such a problem was pointed out to him he'd say "I'm sure someone out there would get it, if enough people read it."

My friend never made it as a writer because nobody read his stuff because he didn't appreciate the fact that confusing readers didn't result in a growing fan base.

End

Actually wasn't Yahtzee talking about that games shouldn't make you have to read/view other materials to understand the story in the games? Oh, whatever same difference, and no problem. I understand what ya mean, Zen.

That said this joke isn't so bad in that way. I think people are getting confused because you can come up with a few things with what is going on, and still have the main idea of the joke kept intact.

But like I said, I don't like the extra writting for the explanations, but rather the little stories that add a bit of extra background to the comics.

Evil Smurf:
Gaming Pancakes are better then cupcakes, just saying.

Donuts beat them all. Why?

Copper Zen:

Jokes should not require explaining!!! Yahtzee did a spiel on that!!!

*pant-pant-pant*

Which is odd, because Yahtzee tends to litter his work with clever jokes most of his audience won't get. Good jokes don't require an explanation. They require thought. Thanks for reading.

Grey Carter:

Copper Zen:

Jokes should not require explaining!!! Yahtzee did a spiel on that!!!

*pant-pant-pant*

Which is odd, because Yahtzee tends to litter his work with clever jokes most of his audience won't get. Good jokes don't require an explanation. They require thought. Thanks for reading.

Grrrrr!

I disagree with you saying that good jokes require thought. Why, many of my favorite comedians' jokes are perfectly suited for IDIOTS!

...wait a minute...th-that wasn't--that didn't come out right...

Welllll, now that I got my hissy fit out of my system I want you to know that I DO enjoy Critical Miss and that I'm going to continue to read it--and occasionally complain about the jokes that are too oblique.

Which is different from the inside gamer jokes that I naturally don't get because I don't play the games in question. Like I said about xkcd that's niche writing and I don't expect to get those.

Harrumph!!! I'll be watching you, Grey!

Double-Harrumph!!!

P.S. Just to twist your knickers--I do get most of Yahtzee's jokes.

*blows raspberry*

Copper Zen:

Grrrrr!

I disagree with you saying that good jokes require thought. Why, many of my favorite comedians' jokes are perfectly suited for IDIOTS!

...wait a minute...th-that wasn't--that didn't come out right...

image

Grey Carter:
snip

What I want to know is why the objects were floating around the writer in the second panel.

Answer, please?

EHRGHMERGHERD! KEHRPKAEKS!!!

Good to finally see a nod to cupcakes throughout gaming history. Hasn't droning about "ethics in game journalism" become old hat yet?

Grey Carter:
Which is odd, because Yahtzee tends to litter his work with clever jokes most of his audience won't get. Good jokes don't require an explanation. They require thought. Thanks for reading.

Most of what Yahtzee does doesn't even fit the joke category. Zero Punctuation is funny because he can deliver a hundred colourful rants in 5 minutes. The biggest barrier to understanding everything that goes on in those videos is the insane speed at which speech and content is delivered. The second biggest barrier is his broad vocabulary and penchant for using complicated metaphors. Though he is not actually saying anything on a particularly high level, he just wraps it up in fancy words.

But the biggest difference between Zero Punctuation and Critical Miss is that Zero Punctuation deliver a big bunch of funny moments in a single video, if a viewer miss a few it's no big deal. But in Critical Miss you have only got one shot per strip, and when you try to deliver a joke it has be understood instantly or it falls flat. This is not about intellectual level, the actual story that the strip represent is not clear. Is he reading that article in panel 3, or writing it? And in either case, why? It's too many unanswered questions, and while several combinations of answers could make a joke it doesn't work unless the reader is lead to a specific one of them.

Quit bitching about bitching readers and work on your joke delivery. You have often got some great stuff, unfortunately you also miss critically fairly often.

eBusiness:
Quit bitching about bitching readers and work on your joke delivery. You have often got some great stuff, unfortunately you also miss critically fairly often.

Whenever I agree with you or not, I GOT YOUR JOKE, that of this weeks strip i did NOT; and that I think says it all.

eBusiness:
Most of what Yahtzee does doesn't even fit the joke category. Zero Punctuation is funny because he can deliver a hundred colourful rants in 5 minutes.

This is the single best description of what ZP is all about I have ever read.

Please allow me to steal this in case someone asks me.

I also agree with your assessment on the kind of humor needed in a webcomic versus the kind of humor needed in a video review show. On the other hand though, not every joke you make has to be a hit - in fact, it's alright to be ambiguous sometimes. It's only when it's paired with the impression that the author tried to be "deep" and "meaningful" but failed (read: comes across kind of pretentious, as sometimes happens in Critical Miss*) that this becomes a major problem...

* - every work of art has a major flaw, and so does this one. I still read it regularly and find it entertaining (i.e. worth my time), but you have to admit that it's sometimes very far up its own rear.

Grey Carter:

Copper Zen:

Jokes should not require explaining!!! Yahtzee did a spiel on that!!!

*pant-pant-pant*

Which is odd, because Yahtzee tends to litter his work with clever jokes most of his audience won't get. Good jokes don't require an explanation. They require thought. Thanks for reading.

Thought huh? Well we all know what happens when you ask a guy with a DJ set for a brain to think; but let me refresh your memory.

This comic comes across as a nihilistic, meta critical interpretation of the nature of life itself. That we are all needlessly running pointless errands for others that have arbitrarily been placed as our higher ups, and whatever grand plans we have to change the world will ultimately be pushed aside by the attention deficit masses who simply want to have another distraction from the pointlessness of their existence. And this need is readily fed by the executives who deny the requests of the more morally sapient of their workers to get good articles published, and instead go for pointless confectionery articles to entertain the brain-dead masses.

And looking deeper, seeing that the article may indeed be the "Grand article", except masquerading as a pointless article about something stupid. Showing that the nature of humanity is such that it seems the only way to get something great out there is to disguise it as worthless, time-wasting tripe. Heralding some kind of fact that apparently people only seem to care about pointless stuff to the point they will rage over the smallest of things, but completely ignore the bigger picture; which may or may not be visible by looking out the window.

With the apathetic atmosphere being so hard to freaking penetrate through all the horrendously dense skulls of the average populace, it takes the work of practical master manipulators and idea planters to change the world, working at such a level that they must freaking use totally innocuous words to create the inception of a grand idea. Somehow they have to use words like "Cupcake" or something equally banal, as some kind of euphemism for a much higher concept that won't penetrate anyone's head unless it's done in the form of a food metaphor that rarely lets on that its a metaphor. Essentially making them freaking mind infiltrators just to do what would otherwise be a simple task, and all just because nobody wants to help the good guys. And even worse, the facts point out that the chances of any of this being likely is RUBISH!

So in the end, the only ones who anyone seem to be able to get their freaking voices heard are those with psychic abilities that can bust into your brain directly to deliver the stupid message of moral uprightness and Ethical Standards! And even more, it's like one would have to be absolutely monk like in enlightenment to be able to put up with the horrendous obstacles that would get in your way if you even TRIED to do something right.

I'm seeing evidence of some of this already; as one of the most popular topics I can see from here is:"NASA DOWNPLAYS EARTHSHAKING DISCOVERY ON MARS" I mean, "Downplay"? What the mental F is wrong with people to have to downplay the situation in order for people to even notice what is going on?

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS WORLD?!!!???!?!

.....

*pant* *Wheze* *Pant*

And that... is why you don't ask a guy with a DJ set for a brain do too much thinking. Stuff gets really... really out of hand.

eBusiness:
Most of what Yahtzee does doesn't even fit the joke category. Zero Punctuation is funny because he can deliver a hundred colourful rants in 5 minutes.

I think you have a fairly narrow definition of what a joke is; Chances are, you're thinking of a basic reversal, which is just the most common type of joke. There's more to Yahtzee's work than absurdist metaphors. If there wasn't, any of his many imitators could enjoy the same level of success. In most episodes he layers irony, observational comedy, straight-up puns and character comedy on top of one another. The structure is actually quite traditional, with multiple reveals, triples and call backs. Assuming his timing would hold up, his act would work well on the stage.

But the biggest difference between Zero Punctuation and Critical Miss is that Zero Punctuation deliver a big bunch of funny moments in a single video, if a viewer miss a few it's no big deal. But in Critical Miss you have only got one shot per strip, and when you try to deliver a joke it has be understood instantly or it falls flat. This is not about intellectual level, the actual story that the strip represent is not clear. Is he reading that article in panel 3, or writing it? And in either case, why? It's too many unanswered questions, and while several combinations of answers could make a joke it doesn't work unless the reader is lead to a specific one of them.

Quit bitching about bitching readers and work on your joke delivery. You have often got some great stuff, unfortunately you also miss critically fairly often.

Now nine times out of ten, when someone breaks out the "critical miss" joke, I immediately wish them dead and move on with my day, but this one is worth talking about. I'm not going to defend my work. In fact I agree with you that sometimes a punch just doesn't work due to vagueness (sometimes that's shitty writing on my part, sometimes it's because Cory and I didn't have the same vision on how a strip should go. That's one of the dangers of working as a team) but you raise an interesting point about comic theory.

The internet has not been kind to our attention spans, and it shows in the type of humour we consume and the demands we make of it. Paced humour, with a slow burn and a big payoff, is being shunned in favour of faster, more obvious skits. Those single panel meme jokes are a perfect example. They're basically jokes condensed into their purest form; They come pre-packaged with context and the build and punch are always clearly marked.

"A joke has to be understood instantly or it falls flat," is a succinct summary of this attitude, but I'm not sure I agree. The most rewarding jokes, in my opinion, are slow burners which "dawn" on the audience. There's nothing better than seeing a confused shrug turn into a laugh as someone figures it out. Of course, some people aren't going to get it (usually because they lack the background required, a danger whenever you're making a joke about relatively niche subjects) and they aren't going to like it. A great example is one of my comedy heroes, Stewart Lee. Ask people what they think of Lee and they'll tell you he's either a genius or about as funny as an impacted bowel. I occasionally make strips aimed directly at fans of that kind of humour, but they're rarely huge hits with my main audience. Still, one of the advantages of the webcomic format is I can try different things every week.

Again, this isn't a defense of this particular strip, I'm just addressing your points about humour. Thanks for reading.

Edit: it occurs to me that Yahtzee is also a great example of my second point. His show is basically a comedy routine sped up.

Grey Carter:

Now nine times out of ten, when someone breaks out the "critical miss" joke, I immediately wish them dead and move on with my day, but this one is worth talking about. I'm not going to defend my work. In fact I agree with you that sometimes a punch just doesn't work due to vagueness (sometimes that's shitty writing on my part, sometimes it's because Cory and I didn't have the same vision on how a strip should go. That's one of the dangers of working as a team) but you raise an interesting point about comic theory.

On a more lighthearted note, would it be more or less irritating to start getting jokes cast at you referencing "Out of Tens"?

Griffolion:
Sorry, I don't get the last frame. Is that cupcake article what he wrote or something he just went onto afterwards (to symbolise the irony that he's just written an amazing 40K word exposition and then completely backslid into a ridiculous article on cupcakes).

I'm stupid.

Not sure, but I remember when Kotaku made a big deal about changing their format and be more journalistic (something Stephen Totilo (sp?) was championing, only to return to the usual. Also The Verge / Polygon built up their website quite a bit, and it's pretty-formatted same old same old.

Darth_Payn:
Save Gaming Journalism: check.
Make it more relevant to nongaming readers: In progress.
Does the "Hack" in Hackgamers.com refer to the skill level of their writing staff?

Actually Hack started as just a term for journalists back in the day. It's come to mean "incompetant" journalist, when really it just means any ol' journalist available in the bullpen.

Grey Carter:

Copper Zen:

Jokes should not require explaining!!! Yahtzee did a spiel on that!!!

*pant-pant-pant*

Good jokes don't require an explanation.

And this strip was nothing like a good joke. =P

I am still waiting for someone to explain the floating objects in panel 2. Was it supposed to represent the writer achieving godlike power and authority?

Grey Carter:
 

Seems like we disagree on the definition on the word joke. In any case, unless I got it completely wrong, I guess it would be fair to refer to the strip as intended as a "punchline joke". For that purpose, it lacks clarity. That is my point.

There are lots of other types of strips that are less clarity demanding, in some cases ambiguity might even be desired. But in this case, and many others, you did not produce one of those.

Of course we are all just trying to help you improve your comic. I hope that if we write enough posts to reach a critical mass it may help you get rid of the cases where there is something crucial missing.

The Pumpkin Witch:
I am still waiting for someone to explain the floating objects in panel 2. Was it supposed to represent the writer achieving godlike power and authority?

They are certainly visual metaphors, not for his power directly, but for the divine power of the article he has just written. However, as that article obviously won't change anything, the whole power thing is ironic.

Wait...what's the joke?

Did the guy write the Cupcakes thing, or is it implying that he truly wrote something profound, simply for it to be displaced 5 minutes later by something that's "relevant" to the internet?

Was there some large commotion about Gaming Journalism recently? (besides that slight hashtag thing?)

Griffolion:
Sorry, I don't get the last frame. Is that cupcake article what he wrote or something he just went onto afterwards (to symbolise the irony that he's just written an amazing 40K word exposition and then completely backslid into a ridiculous article on cupcakes).

I'm stupid.

His forty thousand word essay is 'saving games journalism' by apparently taking it seriously and providing quality content and analysis. But this is contradicted by him seeing another article on the top 5 gaming cupcakes, which clearly does not take gaming seriously and is irrelevant to gaming. With the end result being that it is clear that games journalism is mostly irrelevant fluff and despite the best efforts of some, it will always be that way.

So "something he just went onto afterwards" is my answer.

RipVanTinkle:

Thyunda:

RipVanTinkle:
I smiled.
However, I'm not sure why.

I didn't quite get it, did he write the cupcake article or did he switch over to it for the sake of irony?

Why did I smile at this!?

oh god, this is how it starts...hold me ;_;

I figured it was because he wrote a whole new standard for gaming journalism, and despite all the effort and his high hopes, the 'Top 5 Gaming Cupcakes' still made it onto his recommended list.

Thanks, that actually makes a lot more sense.

Now I feel like a stupid-head-dummy-butt >:(

Note to self: Take it easy with the Vodka

If a comic is not well crafted it is not the reader's fault when it is unclear.

Copper Zen:
He reminds me of a friend from high school who wrote fiction but left out key points in his stories that rendered his stories pointless or stupid. But when such a problem was pointed out to him he'd say "I'm sure someone out there would get it, if enough people read it."

My friend never made it as a writer because nobody read his stuff because he didn't appreciate the fact that confusing readers didn't result in a growing fan base.

End

I kinda suspect his inability to make it as a writer had more to do with not being able to take criticism. If, as a writer, you ever have someone come to you and say "there's a problem with this", the absolute worst answer is "no, you just don't understand my genius" or any variant of that sentiment.

Had to zoom in and read the little article at the end to get it. He had to write an article on cupcakes, and it turned into a huge rant about "the ethics of game journalism", or how he hates his career.

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