Gaming Guardians


Gaming Guarians, when it was called "The Gaming Outpost", was the first webcomic that I gave a damn about. And this was for two reasons: 1) my friend Graveyard Greg had something to do with it and 2) a character in it was obstensibly based on me (not really in any way, shape or form, but he was based on a screen name of mine). The initial concept was sort of a "long in the text" spoof on the gaming world farce based in which guardians of th gaming order would jaunt into worlds and fix inconsistencies and would in general protect gaming worlds from those that would try and destroy systems. This is probably too-geek for you to handle, in that non-gamers do not realize that sometimes gamers take it seriously when people say "rules don't matter", and Greg did a perfect job of summing that up.

I am going to have to say that I do not recall the original artist, but soon into the mix, it was swapped out for Web Troll, and this was a good thing. Troll (if I can call him Troll) comic-infused artwork style has been a major boost to the power of the comic, making it one of the best illustrated webcomics out there, a field largely populated by stick figures and bad light-pen renditions of what the artist wants to get down.

Besides the artist, a number of things have changed over the years. It has been disassociated with the Outpost (a gaming site for indie game writers). It once had an "editor" that really sucked and quit because he failed to notice things (this jab was at myself, I helped Greg out for a bit but apparently I suck at proof-reading). It has moved websites several times. It has had spin-offs and mergers. Interestingly enough, the forum debate that was largely behind the original storyline, a debate on whether or not systems matter by a man called "Scarlet Jester", has managed to stay one of the key foci of the series. Even though the plot line has essentially changed the SJ character forever, he is still a major kicker as far as the plot goes.

One major change which has occured, and in my opinion, being the geek that I am, for the worse, is the movement away from geekery strips to a longer, more drawn out, storylines involving the lives of the characters above what they are doing. Gaming has taken a distinct back seat (though, at the time of writing this article, the storyline is moving back to involve the D'Twenty, Greg's brilliant send-up of the D20 invasion of RPGs). It is not only that the plotline has become a lot more open and a lot less gag-based (both of which are good things, especially to the average story lover, I just really love geek strips), it is also the average amount of words per comic has dropped off from the beginning, requiring two to three times more comics to tell the same level of story.

"My" character (the Dreamwyrm, by the way) may never fully show up again, and that's okay. Its part of the cycle of Gaming Guardians. One of the most intriguing parts of the comic is that, from the beginning, a good number of character (all, even?) is based on someone that Greg knows through message boards or in real life. A lot of its fans appreciate this, and it becomes an interesting act to "see your cameo". If you want to be in a webcomic, though, and a good one, get over to the message boards and be interesting. Heh.

My score: 72.

As a post script of sorts, if you would like to see some of Greg's geekery still showing, he has an alternate comic: Dungeons & Denizens.

This review written by W. Doug Bolden

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