BEST BETS: "Jessica Jones," "Big Trouble/Escape from New York" & More October 2016 Highlights
Gamers have waged an ages-long battle against public perception that video games are detrimental to the world’s youth: They’re time wasters that promote anti-social habits and glorify violence. Gamers respond to that pressure in a variety of ways, with some lashing out against their critics. That was true of several webcomics in the mid-2000s, which unleashed their invective anger on popular political targets. “Don’t f*** with us,” said one popular webcomic. Others reacted by calmly suggesting aspects that could be improved in gaming. The crew behind the Extra Credits series, for example, often examines positive aspects of gaming that can help elevate the form from its sometimes adolescent levels.
And then there’s Zac Gorman’s Magical Game Time. If I were to divine a thesis from its comics, it would be “video games are good.”
The comic strip/webcomic documentary Stripped opens with an idyllic scene straight out of the Hallmark Channel. A little girl runs into the kitchen and sits on her father’s lap; he opens a newspaper, and together, they flip to the Sunday funnies, a well-remembered moment of childhood made possible by the magic of comic strips. It’s a scene that rings true, because many viewers have had similar experiences. Maybe you weren’t sitting on your father’s lap; maybe you just ripped through the paper, trying to separate the cartoons from the classifieds. Anything to get at those comic strips.
It’s a scene that may accidentally have put a chink into the “webcomics are the future of the newspaper comic strip” argument.
Although Zac Gorman has been posting his video game-themed webcomics for awhile now, I only recently discovered Magical Game Time, where you can read comic strips about Galaga, Zelda, the guys from Double Dragon, Shy Guy from Mario Bros. and more. In particular, the above Skyrim-themed strip really hits home.