Monday, April 5, 2010


Click, Read, Love.

For some reason this comic came out of GMod really dark, so I messed with the brightness and contrast a bit. It still doesn't look as good as I had hoped but at least you can see it. I'm sure anyone who is worth their salt in Photoshop is cringing at the results of my handiwork.

If you haven't heard about the RNC's hot spending action you can read up about its latest chapter here. I hesitate to link to HuffPo because the site's layout looks as terrible as the Drudge Report's, except it's louder and more tech savvy. I don't know if this is to HuffPo's credit. Yes, it's colorful and I can connect straight from a story to Twitter or Facebook, but HuffPo's particular use of these features generally makes me want to scour my eyes with a pumice stone.

I must also register a complaint with this scandal being named "Bondage-Gate." I think we can do better that. For example, the RNC launched the very probe that exposed this hilarious spending spree on planes, limos, hotels, and of course the lesbian/bondage themed strip club. So why not call this "Trenchcoat-Gate," since RNC members were likely exposing themselves on both ends of this scandal. Or given Republicans' pension for claiming that they're the party of fiscal responsibility, strict morals, and denying civil rights to homosexuals we could call this "Irony-Gate." Then again, at this point right-wing hypocrisy is so common place that "Cliché-Gate" might actually be more fitting. Of course there's always just "Gimp-Gate." What would you lot call this scandal?

We could also call my post "Stereotypical-Leftist-Blog-Rant-...Gate."

I think I need to take a break from the political rage-ohol.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tea Party Movement Turns Out To Be An Elaborate Prank

WASHINGTON(AP)-- Thousands of aging, bitter Caucasians might have one less thing to live for. Former House of Representatives Majority Leader and Tea Party architect Richard "Dick" Armey revealed today that the Tea Party Movement was just an elaborate April Fool's joke.

"I can't believe so many people fell for it," Armey laughs. "It's been really hard to keep a straight face for this long."

The Tea Party movement seemingly began around February 2009 with calls from conservative commentators for fiscal responsibility from the Obama administration. As the story goes, this in turn organically surged into a populist uprising of hard working, real Americans who were tired of being oppressed by a tyrannical-socialist system. In reality, it was an orchestrated effort years in the making by groups such as Americans For Prosperity, FreedomWorks, Fox News, and the Palin Family Jamboree to get filthier rich by riling up "poor, dumb people."

"Populist uprising? Are you kidding me?," quips a humorously incredulous Sarah Palin. "I require at least $100,000 per speaking engagement, and that's not even my A-list material. For that kind of money I'm likely to just get on stage and fart."

The plan was born from the realization that one day George W. Bush would no longer be President, and though that prank had been both long running and very profitable, the backlash was likely going to put Democrats in power. By forming a number of PACs, the architects of the Tea Party movement were able to amass the wealth necessary to fund an artificial grassroots movement while remaining obscure enough that only the most tenacious Wikipedia browser might find them. Their only problem was that they did not yet have a sure fire way to "spook the cattle" into stampeding for their amusement and gain. Then, inspiration struck in the form of Barack Hussein Obama.

"Obama's appearance as a Democratic front runner was like mana from heaven for us on the inside of this prank," says David H. Koch founder of Americans For Prosperity and New York's 2nd richest inhabitant. "An intelligent, handsome Black man running for President is just about the scariest thing you can think of for most Conservative Americans." After chuckling, Koch added, "We knew this thing was going to be a fucking gold mine."

Indeed it seems the Tea Party movement has been an economic boon in a slumped economy for many who have fueled its flame. One example comes from the PAC Our Country Deserves Better (OCDB) who are behind The Tea Party Express. OCBD gave $857,122 of roughly $1.33 million in contributor funding to Russo, Marsh, and Associates, the conservative consulting firm who created OCDB.

"What do racism and conservative PACs have in common?," OCDB chairman Howard Kaloogian jokes, a barely concealed grin dawning on his face. "Just thinly veil both and you'll make a mint!"

No single business entity has made more money from the fomented masses than Fox News. On a list of the top 30 most watched news shows, Fox's The O'Reilly Factor, Glenn Beck, and Hannity each draw 3.644, 2.781, and 2.635 million viewers respectively. These record ratings translate into a very nice sum of money, even despite many sponsors pulling out of shows such as Beck's.

"I was never really worried about it," Beck reflects while lightly stroking his second chin. "As soon as I called Barack Obama a racist on national TV, I knew I was set for life."

When asked if he was worried about the potential retribution from the thousands of Tea Party protesters when they discover that their hard work was nothing more than a cruel joke designed to distract them while he and others got rich Beck responded, "C'mon, these are hard working, real Americans we're talking about. They should be used to frivolously toiling to make the wealthy wealthier by now."

He added, "Besides, Dick Armey only admitted that the Tea Party movement was a prank in print. If we here at Fox News don't report that he said anything, how will any of those illiterate saps know the difference? We've created a monster... all the way to the bank."

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Just out there, like the Goblin King's Bulge.

Click it to read it folks!

Again with the Gaga jokes? Geez, what's my deal with her anyway? Well, she kinda brings it on herself. I mean, when you go out in public looking like this:

How do you honestly not expect me to compare you to Marilyn Manson? I harbor neither artist ill will, just thousands of eye rolls.

Hey here are some classy GMod outakes:

A fishy, fishy, fishy, Oooh?

An unexpected and disturbing cameo:

I needed new rag dolls to pose and GMod decided to spawn them this way:

Either GMod is a handy Rule 34 generator, or it's not so subtly hinting at where it wants this story to go.

Unqualified Opinions: Torchlight Review

During the merry month of December when I was still sitting on top of a relatively nice pile of money thanks to a full time and mind numbingly boring job I fell deep in to the clutches of Steam's Holiday Sale. This digital succubus drew me in with its sleek low prices and voluptuous savings. It took games I had been eyeing for months, waved a delicate claw, and breathily whispered,"Now these are 75% off." With a coquettish wink and a come hither smile it beckoned me into its bosom and I was powerless to resist. By the time I had regained consciousness, I had purchased 22 games (only 9 of which were gifts) for a total price of $88.48. Though the math savvy might note $4.02 per purchase for games that usually range around the $20 to $50 mark is a hell of a deal, the wise person would certainly point out that even a small stream can eventually destroy a mountain. Regardless, my soul (and time) are no longer my own.

Torchlight is one of the myriad titles I picked up in my buying fugue and like many of those games I had yet to touch it. Then I noticed that the digital succubus was offering it up for a delectable $5. So in an attempt at redemption I will give my unqualified opinion and review the game.

Torchlight is a fantasy, action-RPG, dungeon crawler by Runic Games, ie some of the guys who worked on Diablo 1 and 2. Some of you might remember Diablo as "the thing you did instead of going outside for at least 2 years of your youth." The Diablo series and Torchlight are so similar that comparing the two is unavoidable. You have your OCD inspiring lootwhoring, your addictive level gaining, and your entertaining bashing of hordes of evil looking things because somebody in town promised you some exp and a new pair of shoes if you bring back a monster's knee cap. All the most ensnaring aspects of Diablo, which would later be infused into Warcraft to create the soul stealing WoW, are present within the dimly lit subterranean world of Torchlight. This even includes the Gummiberry juice health potions and tedious identification of items (a subtle nod to D&D the way that punching someone in the mouth is a subtle hint that you don't like them).

One aspect of Torchlight that differentiates it from these other games is its streamlined mitigation of these tropes. Comparing the new giant hammer that fell out of the loin-cloth-wearing man-sized-rat's pocket to your old dusty hammer is made simple by an automatic pop up screen that explicitly tells you which does more damage per second. You no longer need to play lootris by rotating items so as to not waste any inventory space. If you should run out of space, you can give items to your faithful pack dog/cat who can run off to town and sell your unwanted trinkets. Sure, you could just pop open a scroll of town portal, sell your stuff to the paralyzed shop keeps, and pop straight back but its nice to have a few options. A sentiment the developers carried on to the leveling up system, which only has a few options. That last sentence might have had the connotation of a critique but speaking as a compulsive min-maxer I assure you it was sincere praise. After a couple of levels I realized that I was spending more time determining how to spend my skill points than it took to attain them. This practice is subtly shunned by Torchlight as you're able to plow through gangs of monsters pretty much regardless of how you build your character.

Combat follows this same pattern of simplicity: either click to smash a skeleton (back) to death or push a hotkeyed spell to magic said creature till it drops. At times this makes the game feel easy. That is until all the chaos from the 20 baddies rushing you, the special effects from your magic, and the constant numerical feedback of how much damage your doing distracts you from your rapidly depleting health. At times the game feels less like an RPG than a tutorial on spinning plates. You lose focus at a crucial moment and everything comes tumbling down. Then, if you're like me, you'll have to explain to yet another sales associate that you think their housewares aisle is haunted and that they should bring a broom and check it out. Wait, was I doing? Right, Torchlight.

Torchlight's art style and tone seem to be aiming for a more broad base, family friendly appeal. If Fisher Price were to make a line of Generic Fantasy Heroes toys, the Fighter, Rogue, and Mage figures would look exactly like your class choices in this game. Whereas most dungeons I've crawled through are drab, dark, and involve a 6'2" leather clad Norse woman named Olga, Torchlight's subterranean locals are surprisingly attractive (like Olga) and have a rich palette. This is especially good since you'll be traipsing through the same 3 or 4 locals for the entire game.

Speaking of these locals I'd like to make a brief aside to address some of my niggling anthropological issues with Torchlight and indeed the dungeon crawling genre as a whole. As I traverse deeper into the world below, cutting broad swaths through hundreds of creatures, I can't help but feel as if I'm encroaching on an underground society. I mean, these anthropomorphic rat people are clearly wearing clothes, mining using tools of their own invention, and seem to have a social hierarchy based on how difficult they are for me to murder. There's something very Manifest Destiny to the whole exercise. I imagine 100 years hence someone will make a movie called, "Dances with Bats" that will include the line,"I never knew who I was, until I heard them squeak my Ratlin name."

The combination of simplified game play and "cartoony" graphics might lead many to believe that Torchlight is a kids game, and I suppose that's true in the same way that Pixar's Up was a meditation on fleeting mortality... for kids. Torchlight strives above all else to be compellingly accessible. Between the familiar game play with some nice twists, simplified interface, and pleasing animation it has something for everyone. That is of course with the exception of those who need a good (or any) storyline and decent voice acting, but time has shown that you can make plenty of money without catering to those people. I'm looking at you Avatar.

There's a lot to like about Torchlight. For me, my trusty, incredibly useful pet features high on that list. The pacing feels more like a brisk dungeon jog than a crawl. Being able to share items across your characters' games is a great feature. Talking to the horse is funny, odd they didn't try to employ more humor throughout the game. Maybe the one person with a sense of humor was stuck on horse duty? Perhaps my favorite, though utterly peripheral, thing in this game is the little steam punk robotic bard NPC. I hope it's a playable class in the inevitable MMO sequel.

For all my praise I do have to point out some glaring flaws. If you happen to play the mage, do not invest anything in minion summoning. The game is enough of a cluster fuck without having to keep track of little demons and constructs running off to get themselves mauled. It's even better when they decide to take a cigarette break while you're getting your skull smashed open by cave troll. At the risk of repeating myself I must again note that the story is nothing more than another cookie from an old, worn out cutter and that the voice acting extols the virtues of the mute button.

Here's the $20 question: Is Torchlight worth the normal price of $20 dollars? This is what I call the Katamari Damacy threshold, named for a game which broke the $50 price tag mold back in the day, both to its credit and great success. My verdict is yes, Torchlight lights up enough of my brain's happy places to justify a $20 cost. You may ask,"But didn't you say that Torchlight is only $5 this weekend?" To which I would reply,"Exactly. Also, thanks for reading, or at least skimming, this far." Until Monday you can pick this game up from either the digital succubus or Torchlight's official site for $15 off. I would implore you to take advantage of this deal quickly, then again I have a reputation for being a weak minded, soulless thrall of the digital succubus. Always take that into consideration.

On a closing note I should talk about some of the current and future steps of the budding Torchlight franchise. Giving the community access to mod tools through TorchED is a savvy, awesome move, +20 cool points and a gold star. Developing Torchlight for consoles is an admirable goal, but unless and until Rock Band comes out with a piano attachment (for the hotkeys) I don't see it working too well. Finally, making a free to play Torchlight MMO as a sequel makes a good bit of sense, especially when coupled with the data they'll pull down from the Torchlight Mods (see how releasing mod tools are savvy?), but the question still remains whether or not such a venture is profitable or indeed necessary.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


You know the drill, click it to read it.

What's this? Character development? Plot devices? It's almost like I'm going somewhere with this. Also, there are 3 deftly hidden inconsistencies (i.e. mistakes) in this comic. Can you spot all 3? If you can then you'll get an extra special prize from the Text-Based Advent store! How much do you think it costs to mail nothing?

Tune in tomorrow for either another 2 weeks of me not posting anything or a preview of the hottest new choose your own adventure novel: Rip Bicepson: Journey to Swolle Mountain by my favorite Fitness Personality, Chet McSteadfast. I'm guessing the former.

Friday, February 26, 2010

A real conversation I had tonight

This is a real conversation I had tonight. I am textbasedadvent and T-Steady is kirijini. (Edited for hilarity... to me... shut up, this is free.)

[GHTS] kirijini: yo. I am up for games. and gaming. and gamaraderie.
[GHTS] textbasedadvent: gamaraderie... wow, I really like that word
[GHTS] kirijini: vodka = inspiration
[GHTS] textbasedadvent: Ernest Hemmingway's most well known quote
[GHTS] kirijini: really? I coulda swore it had something to do with sharks.
[GHTS] kirijini: or wait - maybe it was "don't electrocute me"
[GHTS] textbasedadvent: well the whole quote goes, "vodka = inspiration... but don't try to fuck a shark"
[GHTS] kirijini: that makes me want to start a distillery with a line of vodka called... shark vodka.
[GHTS] kirijini: or, fucking sharks.
[GHTS] kirijini: Fucking Sharks Vodka.
[GHTS] textbasedadvent: I think one might lead to the other
[GHTS] textbasedadvent: but both ways
[GHTS] textbasedadvent: like the shark might go if you're lucky
[GHTS] kirijini: have you ever looked at a shark and thought "not enough ass"?
[GHTS] kirijini: hemingway did. because he's a real man. and a drunk.
[GHTS] textbasedadvent: Yes, but as a real man, Hemmingway went for it anyway.
[GHTS] textbasedadvent: Then he wrote Old Man and The Sea.
[GHTS] textbasedadvent: The secret to understanding that novella is knowing the fish was a metaphor for his dick.
[GHTS] textbasedadvent: And the sharks eating the fish was a metaphor for his sexual realtionship with sharks.

Here's another part of that conversation:

[GHTS] kirijini: birds don't have tails, so why is it (the backside of a quarter) called tails?
[GHTS] textbasedadvent: Actually, I know this.
[GHTS] kirijini: uh-oh
[GHTS] textbasedadvent: Back when the quarter was first invented, Ben Franklin suggested that the National Cat, the Tanzanian Puma, be put on the back of the fledgling coin.
[GHTS] textbasedadvent: But this, like most of Franklin's suggestions, was ignored. Firstly because there is no such animal.
[GHTS] textbasedadvent: Secondly, because Franklin did enough snuff to make Keith Richards go blind.
[GHTS] kirijini: my bullshitometer is going berserk
[GHTS] textbasedadvent: You doubt that Franklin did more drugs than Keith Richards?
[GHTS] kirijini: yes.
[GHTS] textbasedadvent: Surely Richards had access to greater variety, but in pure amounts Franklin reigns supreme.
[GHTS] kirijini: ben franklin invented bifocals. keith richards was in the rolling stones.
[GHTS] textbasedadvent: Do you know how much pussy inventers got back then?
[GHTS] kirijini: did you know that ben franklin wore a suit made out of beavers when he was ambassador to france?
[GHTS] textbasedadvent: It was to show just how much beaver he was inside of during his time over there.
[GHTS] textbasedadvent: He added a new pelt with each time he had a new lady.
[GHTS] kirijini: i got the terrible mental image of him "scalping" his ladies' nether parts.
[GHTS] textbasedadvent: Got to the point the man couldn't walk down the street without tripping.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

I only watch the Super Bowl for the sermons

Click to be able to read! Also, read the higher text balloon first (ie the Engineer's text, ie the guy with the yellow helmet for the uninitiated).

Let me just say right now that I support Pam Tebow’s brave choice to give birth to Tim Tebow despite the incredible risks posed by placental abruption if for no other reason than it was HER choice. That’s the all too ignored other side of the coin of being Pro Choice, that it’s about women having the final say in what happens to their bodies during pregnancy (and in general really) even if it means facing peril. Can we all please be honest for a second? It isn’t a matter of being Pro Abortion; no one is Pro Abortion... except for maybe those who are creepily concerned with overpopulation. What I don’t support is Focus on the Family exploiting a rare success story in order to persuade women into potentially endangering their lives. It would be despicable to parade a woman in front of a camera who made the decision to save her own life at the cost of her child’s just as it would be in poor taste to capitalize on a story of a woman who chose to keep a baby despite the risk and both her and the child died. Instead all we hear is the victorious story of the survivors, causing people’s vulnerability to selection bias to be laid bare. That just doesn’t sit right with me.

It also doesn’t sit right that my comic is somewhat extolling the virtues of Bud Light. Let me assure one and all, I wouldn’t use Bud Light to fill my aquarium for fear that even the fish would find it too watered down (and I don't even own an aquarium). I like to think that the Demoman is drinking Sierra Nevada Bigfoot in this comic (as was I whilst making it).

In comic related news, my good buddy T-Steady sent me this twist ending to my last comic. The real question is, “How did he predict that’s where I was going to take this story?” Three months of planning gone! Oh well, back to the drawing board. Here is his 4th panel to my last comic:

Also, here are some outtakes from the making of this comic. I think I speak for everyone who drinks recreationally that these pictures represent a feeling we’ve all experienced.