Penny Arcade - Comic - Unready

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edited November 2020 in The Penny Arcade Hub
imagePenny Arcade - Comic - Unready

Videogaming-related online strip by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins. Includes news and commentary.

Read the full story here

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  • ZomagicZomagic Registered User regular
    I too, wondered why Ready Player Two wasn't treated like the gamer version of 50 Shades or Twilight. I read the first page. That was enough.

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  • NashKnightNashKnight Registered User new member
    Wait this is real

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  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    I seem to remember Mike gushing fairly enthusiastically about RP1 back in the day.

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  • OctoberRavenOctoberRaven Plays fighting games for the story Skyeline Hotel Apartment 4ARegistered User regular
    Still sounds better than the movie.

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  • TheSchaefTheSchaef Registered User regular
    Zomagic wrote: »
    I too, wondered why Ready Player Two wasn't treated like the gamer version of 50 Shades or Twilight. I read the first page. That was enough.

    Yeah, the author caught a break with RP1 because everybody loves nostalgia, and while it has its... moments... people like me enjoyed it as a guilty pleasure read.

    Then I read Armada and I was instantly over his writing style.

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  • Kipling217Kipling217 Registered User regular
    TheSchaef wrote: »
    Zomagic wrote: »
    I too, wondered why Ready Player Two wasn't treated like the gamer version of 50 Shades or Twilight. I read the first page. That was enough.

    Yeah, the author caught a break with RP1 because everybody loves nostalgia, and while it has its... moments... people like me enjoyed it as a guilty pleasure read.

    Then I read Armada and I was instantly over his writing style.

    Same, I was so over it. Honestly I was tired after reading RP1, like I had run a race, but instead it was because I kept trying to keep track of all the references.

    Communicating from the last of the Babylon Stations.
  • rcattrcatt Registered User regular
    That's enough of a review for me. No, thanks.

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  • T-DangerT-Danger Registered User regular
    I guess he decided to double down on the references to cover the fact this seems to be just the exact same plot at the first book.

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  • DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    RP1 (the book) happened before GruzzleGroob, which radically altered how we look at people like Kline's protagonists. There's not a lot of goodwill remaining for the "look religious I am about pop culture" crowd.

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  • BropocalypseBropocalypse Registered User regular
    I wonder if Chuck Tingle has made an erotic parody of Ready Player Two yet.

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  • Anon von ZilchAnon von Zilch Registered User regular
    I don't usually read these comics in the guys' voices, but the words "this Malefactor" immediately switched on the Jerry Voice in my brain.

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  • Zoku GojiraZoku Gojira Monster IslandRegistered User regular
    Sounds like he made it farther into List of Things Two than I did into List of Things One.

    "Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are." - Bertolt Brecht
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  • SpinelesSSpinelesS Registered User regular
    edited November 2020
    I liked the book (RP1, didnt even know RP2 existed), even like the movie a little.
    That said, I admit my like bar is very low... though my love bar is very high.

    For example, I can't think of a single movie release that I considered great since 'The Shawshank Redemption'

    SpinelesS on
  • ZenigataZenigata Registered User regular
    edited November 2020
    As someone who never keeps up with modern books, TV shows or movies, I honestly never feel like I am missing out. I'm back here still enjoying 30+ year old content which is taking me quite some time to get through. It is amusing to watch commercials try to get people interested in their shows, it completely goes in one ear and out the other.

    I do want to watch Black Mirror though, that's a newer show that has interested me. But the plots of most things anymore don't seem all that interesting, especially TV/movies which are more just an example of how we can flex our production budget on effects (I honestly do not care one bit - "old" effects were much better). Like in the horror genre, can someone name me one newer one that is actually good? I haven't heard of any iconic horror movies since The Ring or SAW (which isn't even to say of their quality, just that they're somewhat memorable where most are completely forgettable).

    Zenigata on
  • Radiated RoninRadiated Ronin Registered User new member
    Well, not every series can be about incestuous dragon families that span 5 books and go nowhere, or about how sexy monsters can be and how they make you have the feels. I guess some people write about things they love. We should punish them most severely! Who writes about video games and pop culture anyway?

  • StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    I really hope you’re not using Twilight as a piece of pop culture literature that got like, a free pass from criticism or something. Because that has been such low-hanging fruit for hacky comedy bits that it might as well be the ornament on Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree.

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  • SatsumomoSatsumomo Rated PG! Registered User regular
    Well, not every series can be about incestuous dragon families that span 5 books and go nowhere, or about how sexy monsters can be and how they make you have the feels. I guess some people write about things they love. We should punish them most severely! Who writes about video games and pop culture anyway?

    That sounds a lot like "Ignore the plot/writing on whatever you're consuming, as long as it's about X thing you like."

    H3KnucklesTofystedeth
  • YoungFreyYoungFrey Registered User regular
    Sterica wrote: »
    I really hope you’re not using Twilight as a piece of pop culture literature that got like, a free pass from criticism or something. Because that has been such low-hanging fruit for hacky comedy bits that it might as well be the ornament on Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree.

    For all the criticism Ready Player One got (which is way higher now than when it came out), it got a massive pass compared to anything aimed at women.

    To quote a classic tweet from 2017 “I arrived in my flying model of the Thelma & Louise car. I’d installed a Polly Pocket dashboard AI, and, to complete the look, slapped some Lisa Frank dolphins on the outside”

    H3KnucklesRhesus PositiveCambiataShadowen
  • BropocalypseBropocalypse Registered User regular
    edited November 2020
    The problem isn't *that* it references these things, but that it does so with no particular reason other than for the sake of referencing them. When a work does this type of thing without an obvious reason in the narrative, it's easier to start looking for reasons *outside* the narrative that it was done. "What is the authorial intent of this namedropping?" Because simply naming names isn't a form of entertainment in and of itself. It's the textual equivalent of salt, grease, and sugar in fast food- Elements that exist not because they are interesting or healthful, but because they trick our brains into *thinking* that they are.
    Which is not to say that it's shameful to eat fast food necessarily, because at this point I think it's widely acknowledged that this is sin, and sin that we mock *ourselves* for commiting before, during, and after we commit it.
    The point is, this is junkfood, and we can consume junkfood as long as we don't deny that it's junkfood. It's not shaming the consumer, but a self-deprecation(in good fun or not)of our own world for having such junk in it.

    Bropocalypse on
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  • PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
    The problem isn't *that* it references these things, but that it does so with no particular reason other than for the sake of referencing them. When a work does this type of thing without an obvious reason in the narrative, it's easier to start looking for reasons *outside* the narrative that it was done. "What is the authorial intent of this namedropping?" Because simply naming names isn't a form of entertainment in and of itself. It's the textual equivalent of salt, grease, and sugar in fast food- Elements that exist not because they are interesting or healthful, but because they trick our brains into *thinking* that they are.
    Which is not to say that it's shameful to eat fast food necessarily, because at this point I think it's widely acknowledged that this is sin, and sin that we mock *ourselves* for commiting before, during, and after we commit it.
    The point is, this is junkfood, and we can consume junkfood as long as we don't deny that it's junkfood. It's not shaming the consumer, but a self-deprecation(in good fun or not)of our own world for having such junk in it.

    Reminds me of a clip I saw from Big Bang Theory where they literally just spam references to things.

    "hey I've seen those things they are talking to me!"

    I would like some money because these are artisanal nuggets of wisdom philistine.

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  • Phoenix-DPhoenix-D Registered User regular
    The problem isn't *that* it references these things, but that it does so with no particular reason other than for the sake of referencing them. When a work does this type of thing without an obvious reason in the narrative, it's easier to start looking for reasons *outside* the narrative that it was done. "What is the authorial intent of this namedropping?" Because simply naming names isn't a form of entertainment in and of itself. It's the textual equivalent of salt, grease, and sugar in fast food- Elements that exist not because they are interesting or healthful, but because they trick our brains into *thinking* that they are.
    Which is not to say that it's shameful to eat fast food necessarily, because at this point I think it's widely acknowledged that this is sin, and sin that we mock *ourselves* for commiting before, during, and after we commit it.
    The point is, this is junkfood, and we can consume junkfood as long as we don't deny that it's junkfood. It's not shaming the consumer, but a self-deprecation(in good fun or not)of our own world for having such junk in it.

    Also I've seen the referenced page. It not only namedrops it does it very, very badly. Hell a few weeks ago I got done reading about a zombie outbreak during Comic-Con. I'm not adverse to references. :P But this is just constant and it calls them out immediately afterwards. It's like this:

    Hello, this is a reference (this is a parenthetical where I explain the reference in detail). Hello, this is another reference (another another parenthetical)

  • sokpupetsokpupet Registered User regular
    As an author that loves to work references into his books, Cline's way isn't the way.
    Yeah, I liked Ready Player One, but it was the same as liking a simple magic trick; seeing it again only reveals how it works and it's boring now.
    If I reference something it's usually a one or two-word clue to an aspect of the world or character's past that sidesteps a paragraph-long infodump. Kinda like that inspirational iceberg poster your high school counselor had on their wall. Anything else is in service to or propels the story forward only.
    Anything in the "'memba this?!" category is like using Carolina Reaper chilies in a recipe. You can, but dude, c'mon, seriously, it still has to be edible.

    Tofystedeth
  • flamebroiledchickenflamebroiledchicken Registered User regular
    Zenigata wrote: »
    As someone who never keeps up with modern books, TV shows or movies, I honestly never feel like I am missing out. I'm back here still enjoying 30+ year old content which is taking me quite some time to get through. It is amusing to watch commercials try to get people interested in their shows, it completely goes in one ear and out the other.

    I do want to watch Black Mirror though, that's a newer show that has interested me. But the plots of most things anymore don't seem all that interesting, especially TV/movies which are more just an example of how we can flex our production budget on effects (I honestly do not care one bit - "old" effects were much better). Like in the horror genre, can someone name me one newer one that is actually good? I haven't heard of any iconic horror movies since The Ring or SAW (which isn't even to say of their quality, just that they're somewhat memorable where most are completely forgettable).

    Horror movies are going through a bit of a renaissance actually, there has been plenty of great stuff recently: It Follows, The Witch, Hereditary, Midsommar, Get Out, and so much more.

    y59kydgzuja4.png
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  • Zoku GojiraZoku Gojira Monster IslandRegistered User regular
    edited November 2020
    Zenigata wrote: »
    As someone who never keeps up with modern books, TV shows or movies, I honestly never feel like I am missing out. I'm back here still enjoying 30+ year old content which is taking me quite some time to get through. It is amusing to watch commercials try to get people interested in their shows, it completely goes in one ear and out the other.

    I do want to watch Black Mirror though, that's a newer show that has interested me. But the plots of most things anymore don't seem all that interesting, especially TV/movies which are more just an example of how we can flex our production budget on effects (I honestly do not care one bit - "old" effects were much better). Like in the horror genre, can someone name me one newer one that is actually good? I haven't heard of any iconic horror movies since The Ring or SAW (which isn't even to say of their quality, just that they're somewhat memorable where most are completely forgettable).

    Horror movies are going through a bit of a renaissance actually, there has been plenty of great stuff recently: It Follows, The Witch, Hereditary, Midsommar, Get Out, and so much more.

    Agreed. Throwing some more out there:
    • It Comes At Night (which hits a little close to home in 2020)
    • Parasite (by Bong Joon-ho of The Host fame)
    • Resolution & The Endless (same writer/director team behind these two)

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  • dennisdennis Registered User regular
    edited November 2020
    I feel like Theodore Sturgeon might have an opinion relevant to this discussion...

    dennis on
  • RingoRingo He/Him Bury me at Lone Tree DenRegistered User regular
    Get Out was incredible

    Sterica wrote: »
    I know my last visit to my grandpa on his deathbed was to find out how the whole Nazi werewolf thing turned out.
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  • KagatoACKagatoAC Registered User regular
    gotta admit I was looking forward to a sequel when I first heard about it, but once I read some more of the details of the plot I was over it pretty fast. Will probably still read it eventually, but I got plenty of other books to read.

    zepherin
  • H3KnucklesH3Knuckles Jack of all interests... ...master of noneRegistered User regular
    edited November 2020
    I avoided the movie because the trailers struck me as an insincere pandering cash-grab, but man, excerpts like this one from that tweet @YoungFrey linked above just read like the worst sort of "gamer" fanfic (or basically every 'jumpchain' fic I've seen), where a (usually self-insert, but not always acknowledged as such) character crosses over multiple worlds to munchkin their way to godhood, often behaving in a sociopathic manner along the way, in some narcissistic pursuit of gratification or catharsis.
    6shbnaqp5kep.jpg
    You can't parody that. It's already hit peak absurdity.

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  • NoisyPerlinNoisyPerlin Registered User regular
    edited November 2020
    H3Knuckles wrote: »
    I avoided the movie because the trailers struck me as an insincere pandering cash-grab, but man, excerpts like this one from that tweet @YoungFrey linked above just read like the worst sort of "gamer" fanfic (or basically every 'jumpchain' fic I've seen), where a (usually self-insert, but not always acknowledged as such) character crosses over multiple worlds to munchkin their way to godhood, often behaving in a sociopathic manner along the way, in some narcissistic pursuit of gratification or catharsis.
    6shbnaqp5kep.jpg
    You can't parody that. It's already hit peak absurdity.

    That is horrible. It requires a pop-culture reference of my own:

    That writing makes my brain feel what Chekov must felt when Khan stuffed that worm in his ear. Sutekh the Destroyer has shredded my nervous system into a million fibers. Klytus has used the bore worms on my head. I am on Mustafar and Obi-wan has just told me that he has the high ground. Or, to quote Doctor Smith from Lost in Space:

    "Oh, the pain, the pain of it all."

    NoisyPerlin on
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  • HevachHevach Registered User regular
    YoungFrey wrote: »
    Sterica wrote: »
    I really hope you’re not using Twilight as a piece of pop culture literature that got like, a free pass from criticism or something. Because that has been such low-hanging fruit for hacky comedy bits that it might as well be the ornament on Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree.

    For all the criticism Ready Player One got (which is way higher now than when it came out), it got a massive pass compared to anything aimed at women.

    To quote a classic tweet from 2017 “I arrived in my flying model of the Thelma & Louise car. I’d installed a Polly Pocket dashboard AI, and, to complete the look, slapped some Lisa Frank dolphins on the outside”

    My wife has an opinion on the whole "80's guy nostalgia" thing - when we were kids, girl stuff SUCKED. Most of the shows were boring compared to "boy" shows, except for She-ra which was a spin-off of He-Man and she still liked He-Man better (and all the boys she went to school with considered She-ra a boy show anyway).

    Boys had three whole aisles at Meijer and the whole left side of Toys R Us, girls had the back half of the aisle behind the video games at Meijer and two aisles that overlapped with baby toys at Toys R Us. And they didn't just have way more toys, they had way cooler ones and they weren't more expensive. He'll, the exact same thing routinely cost more in pink than blue just because (I still see this shopping for our kids).

    My mother-in-law STILL gives her shit for watching Transformers (her little sister was allowed to watch Power Rangers without comment though) and wanting boy toys for Christmas.

    I tried to find the PA comic showing this phenomenon ("It's a doll!" "What can it do?" "Be a doll!") But Pipe Four failed me.

  • OctoberRavenOctoberRaven Plays fighting games for the story Skyeline Hotel Apartment 4ARegistered User regular
    I chanced on the movie on like IFC or something and decided to give it a look, expecting it to just be mindless nostalgia porn.

    Which it was, but I was still disappointed for two reasons. One, they used the Michael Bay Ninja Turtles, and two, it was really really REALLY dumb.

    To say the plot is full of holes is too much of an understatement. It's more like it's a big mass of anti-plot, with pinholes of occasional coherence.

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  • Rhesus PositiveRhesus Positive GNU Terry Pratchett Registered User regular
    If anybody's interested in a book that's both a "person in virtual world with loads of references" plot and actually a good read, then I can recommend Bedlam by Christopher Brookmyre

    [Muffled sounds of gorilla violence]
    H3KnucklesRingo
  • MercadeMercade Registered User regular
    RP1 was a terrible book, but I found myself laughing at the ridiculousness of it all so I had to finish it out of sheer curiosity. I didn't know the movie could be that much worse, but hoo boy was it.

  • Zoku GojiraZoku Gojira Monster IslandRegistered User regular
    edited November 2020
    Mercade wrote: »
    RP1 was a terrible book, but I found myself laughing at the ridiculousness of it all so I had to finish it out of sheer curiosity. I didn't know the movie could be that much worse, but hoo boy was it.

    I give the movie more of a pass because at least Gundam fights Godzilla.

    But seriously, while it leans heavily into the novelty of all these IPs clashing, it is impressive, at least, for the effort that clearly went into making this happen behind the scenes. None of which is needed to name drop things on the printed page.

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  • bwaniebwanie Posting into the void Registered User regular
    i'm sure superXXsayan$ephirothKilla and his ilk enjoyed that "book" immensely.

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  • DratatooDratatoo Registered User regular
    H3Knuckles wrote: »
    I avoided the movie because the trailers struck me as an insincere pandering cash-grab, but man, excerpts like this one from that tweet @YoungFrey linked above just read like the worst sort of "gamer" fanfic (or basically every 'jumpchain' fic I've seen), where a (usually self-insert, but not always acknowledged as such) character crosses over multiple worlds to munchkin their way to godhood, often behaving in a sociopathic manner along the way, in some narcissistic pursuit of gratification or catharsis.
    6shbnaqp5kep.jpg
    You can't parody that. It's already hit peak absurdity.

    To quote Penny Arcade: “ It's like trying to make fun of a clown. What, are you going to make fun of his tiny car? His floppy shoes? It just doesn't work.”

    H3KnucklesRingoMagicalGoatsMoridin889Incenjucar
  • OctoberRavenOctoberRaven Plays fighting games for the story Skyeline Hotel Apartment 4ARegistered User regular
    Mercade wrote: »
    RP1 was a terrible book, but I found myself laughing at the ridiculousness of it all so I had to finish it out of sheer curiosity. I didn't know the movie could be that much worse, but hoo boy was it.

    I give the movie more of a pass because at least Gundam fights Godzilla.

    I could have enjoyed moments like that more if I wasn't trying to figure out if the bad guys were too competent to resort to brute force method at the third challenge, or too incompetent that there's no way they could have ever figured out the second.

    I ended up leaning on the latter because the movie didn't even bother trying to explain how they managed it.

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  • ShowsniShowsni Registered User regular
    H3Knuckles wrote: »
    6shbnaqp5kep.jpg
    You can't parody that. It's already hit peak absurdity.

    Don't worry, I'm sure this sequel is much better.



    Well, dang.

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  • H3KnucklesH3Knuckles Jack of all interests... ...master of noneRegistered User regular
    edited December 2020
    From the YouTube comments for the video @Showsni posted:
    It reads more like American Psycho, idk. I just can't keep track of these descriptions, any attempts at recreating them in imagination fail utterly.
    oh my god it does. This feels like the neurotic over-analytical ramblings of Patrick Bateman but played absolutely strait. I never made that connection and I'm never going to unsee it.

    Also, I really liked the closing statement of that video, which start at ~4:10:
    That is an excerpt from Ready Player Two, the new novel by Ernest Cline. Yes, a published novel. Again. [...] And... look, don't let anyone ever tell you, that you can't write a novel. Don't you dare let anyone get away with telling you, that you can't write a novel. If someone says that you don't have what it takes to write a novel, you show them this. You show them this, and tell them that this is a published best-selling novel.

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  • YoungFreyYoungFrey Registered User regular
    I feel like Ready Player # gives reference and nostalgia a bad name. I think it's just because Ready Player Whatever is bad, not because nostalgia is bad. Stranger Things is a nostalgia fest, and yet it didn't forget to include likable characters and a compelling story. The Simpsons (seasons 3-10 for the purposes of my argument) is full of references but it is also hilarious, quotable, and has characters and story. Neil Gaiman's work is beloved by nerds everywhere, but is quite allusive (when you are classy, it's called "alluding" and not "referencing"). Reference and nostalgia are tools to be used in making a story. It's like Kline built a house out of hammers instead of using hammers to build a house.

    Another thing. I learned people consume nostalgic media as a way to make themselves feel better. Reminding themselves of happier times. It makes me feel no small amount of empathy for Ernst Kline. I mean, not as much as the actually good writers who didn't get deals because he did, but I can't help but picture him as guy desperately trying to recreate the 80s as a way to avoid living today (which was going on well before 2020).

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