The Webcomicker

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Friday, March 17, 2006

It's kinda like Toasty Oats: Review of Press Start to Play

A classic send-up of those tedious tasks in video games we all hate, from Press Start to Play.

Remember when you were a kid, and every grocery store had it's own generic knockoff brand for practically every food product in the store? And sometimes your parents would decide to buy the knockoff brand, and it just didn't quite taste the same?

I remember when I was a little kid our grocery store had a Cheerios knockoff called "Toasty Oats", and while it certainly wasn't the goodness of Cheerios, it did have a certain charm to it. I remember it was a little more tangy than Cheerios, as if the generic-cereal-making people had left the dough out in the sun and it had sourdoughized a bit. It was really a unique experience.

Of course, then Apple Cinnamon Cheerios came out and all bets were off. But I digress.

Press Start to Play is a Penny Arcade clone. It's two guys, hanging around, making riffs about video games. No storyline, no continuity, a real sense that in any strip, anything could happen. It has the same sort of pacing in the jokes as Penny Arcade. It's pretty clear that Press Start to Play is not trying to be a knock off of Ctrl+Alt+Del or VGCats, because those strips both have a pretty clearly defined sense of style and pacing which differs greatly from Penny Arcade. Heck, the guys even list Penny Arcade as their main influence. From the FAQs: Penny Arcade are the father of webcomics, and we'll always try to listen to the advice they give, and try and hit in on whatever they're using to be so damn funny. I'd like to think our humor isn't too far off that of Penny Arcade.

But you know what? I don't care. Press Start to Play is the Toasty Oats to Penny Arcade's Cheerios. It's basically trying to copy off the success of another product, but at the same time it's got its own unique flavor. Maybe not quite as good, but certainly not bad. Here's the important thing to understand: Press Start to Play is not stealing Penny Arcade's jokes. They're copying their style. This is an important distinction to make. The jokes in Press Start to Play are fresh, they're unique, they cover a different range of video games than Penny Arcade covers. Sure, they look and sound a lot like Penny Arcade comics, but they're not.

So if you like Penny Arcade, be sure to check out Press Start to Play. You may find that if you add it to your list it'll be like having a double-shot of Penny Arcade every week. And that ain't bad.


At 1:51 PM, Blogger Kneefers said...

That's a very astute description, dude. The funny thing is that I don't really like Penny Arcade, but I really dig on PStP. I think it's because the jokes are a little more acessible to a non-gamer, as well as the fact that it's art reminds me faintly of VGCats (which is also something he names as an influence.)
So from my perspective, I think it's better than PA. :)
But that's just me. And I'm severly atypical on that issue. In any case, PStP is cool.

At 12:14 PM, Blogger Brad said...

Goof grief... it's like PA down to the irritating fact that you have to make an extra click on the front page just to get to the strip.

At 7:09 AM, Blogger Shibby Media said...

As Creator of a webcomic myself i follow the industry intricately. You mention that PSTP is almost a clone of Penny Arcade, Well i know first hand if you are interested in gaming and want to write comics about it, it is hard not to be like Penny Arcade you just have to come up with your own jokes and differ the artwork where you can. Saying that i definitely aspire to PA ha ha if you like this sort of stuff check out
Hope to hear fro myou soon.


James (Seth)


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