Monday, May 23, 2011

Madrid Protest Strip

I know, it's in Spanish. But it's a new strip I made in support of the Madrid Protests in Puerta del Sol. Hopefully they'll be able to provide some change!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Surviving the Dead

I feel great respect for Yahtzee, the videogame reviewer of “0 Punctuation”, in "The Escapist Magazine" website. He’s a bright guy, with a fantastic sense of humor, who shows in every scathing review that he truly loves videogames and the industry they represent. Recently I re-watched a few of his older videos, mainly the one where he talks about the Left 4 Dead series.

Tom Bissell released a book recently called “Extra Lives: Why Videogames matter”. It’s a good book, not great, but good. In a pathless train of thought, Bissell relates his thoughts on several issues related to the videogame industry and he compares them to other media, with interesting results. One of them was focused on story in games. Now here’s where Yahtzee comes in.

As he has repeatedly claimed, Yahtzee doesn’t understand the concept of a good “co-op only” game, such as Left 4 Dead. Yes, they might be fun to play with for a while, and the constant human interaction brings a whole new world of possibilities to the game, but if it lacks a good single player campaign, any game can fall apart. As does, in his opinion, Left 4 Dead. This series of games have the following premise: the world has been destroyed by a deadly infection that has turned humans into flesh eating, very violent, mutant zombies. Only a few survivors resist the onslaught, four of them being the focus of every game. On co-op mode, players connect with other players and cruise through several campaigns where the purpose is to get from point A to point B, and, of course, survive. On top of that, a fascinating program in the game called “The Director” will make sure that every time anyone plays it the experience will be completely different, by adapting the game’s difficulty and situations to the players’ performance. Left 4 Dead is, above all, fun to play. It’s exciting and very engaging, and the element of surprise adds an extra thrill the players will have a hard time escaping from. However, the key element here is that with all its amazingness, Left 4 Dead’s single player campaign is worthless. Basically, it’s the same as the co-op one, but with three AI companions, incapable of making their own decisions. No story mode, no unlockables, nothing.

So is this good or bad? Interestingly enough, both Yahtzee and Bissell have very differing opinions. While one doesn’t appreciate the lack of non-online modes, the other raves about the creation of a new storytelling generation. Left 4 Dead’s storytelling doesn’t come from cut scenes or dialogue. It doesn’t come from game events or levels. It comes from the actual players and their interaction with other humans through the web, or so Bissell says. He heavily criticizes those who say that “Left 4 Dead doesn’t have a story mode”.

In the end, the experience is what matters. In my opinion, Left 4 Dead really misses a single player mode where we learn more about the infected, the world and, especially, the survivors. Who are they? Why should we care if they die? Where are they going? While the missing sections of character development help create the illusion of always playing with someone different, the information vacuum on what the plan is or what the conclusion might be hurt the game by making it feel unfinished, futile, even rushed. Having said that, I myself have played the game for an unknown amount of hours, spending a good portion of my day when I decide to pick it up on reducing the zombie headcount of the world and hacking with my axe through infected flesh.

The question remains: is story really necessary on a videogame? Or can story evolve to it’s own experience, created by the game itself and the players? In my opinion, both of them are equally plausible and not mutually exclusive. The Videogame industry is still trying to find its niche. We might not realize this, but it’s in it’s very early stages, not even a rude, crass teenager, but a toddler learning to walk. The future is bright for this new form of storytelling. It’s just a matter of figuring it out.

- Gus

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Behind the Scenes - Wiseguy Pictures Comic - The last few strips

Hello everyone!

Sorry I was gone for so long. Busy busy busy. But here I am again, and I bring you a small update on the last few strips I worked on.

First of all it's the Lacoste board meeting. This one didn't turn out any different from the original sketch. The only minor change was the character to the right, and I realized this after I finished it. I was actually quite disappointed about that... I really liked this version and I completely forgot about it. Anyway, here's the draft:

The next one was the Buzz Lightyear strip. Of course it's always fun to work on characters as beloved as these, and I wanted to be slightly mean to them, but only because I like them so much. In the original draft, I thought it would be fun to have a kid in it, as in their son or daughter.

As you can see, Jessie is kinda bored-looking and Buzz is all excited about it. I thought it would be fun to take the approach of going with him trying to get excited about saying his motto and all that. But then I gave it a slightly darker twist (but only slightly) and made him older and tired. Same thing with Jessie, to whom I added an element of "white-trash-ness" to add to the joke. Fun fact, I drew this version of Buzz from memory.

He didn't shave, and had an itch.
Very classy.

And so, in the end, Buzz got a little less tired and Jessie, a complete make-over:

So that's pretty much the way it went. I'm much happier with the finished strip than the original concept I had.

The last one is the "Where's Waldo" strip, one of my favorites. It basically remained exactly the same all the way through:

The dad lost a little bit of hair, but the guys at Wiseguy didn't want him to look too old, so I made it brown instead of gray. The designs for the parents, as well as the color patterns on their body and clothes, are all taken from Waldo. You can't see it in the finished version, but dad's pants are the same color as Waldo's.

She also had more titles on the wall!

I'm very happy with this batch, it turned out great. Keep an eye out for the next strip, due out soon! That one also has an interesting story behind it! And of course don't forget to actually check the comic strips on the website! Hope you like them!!

- Gus

All artwork on this site is registered under the WGAe © Agustin Gonzalez

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Episodio 8 - Expomanga, Parte 2

Siguiendo con nuestra visita al Expomanga de Madrid, hablamos con Alvaro Muñoz, dibujante y profesor en Formación Creativa C-10. Alvaro nos habla de la profesión del dibujante, del estado de la industria, y nos enseña unos cuantos dibujos.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Behind the Scenes - Upcoming Strip - Pokemon

Can't say much about this one since it's a few weeks away, but I had the opportunity to work with some Pokémon designs, which is always fun since Ken Sugimori has always been one of my favorite videogame character designers.

Of the new generation, I'd say the design I like the most is for the water starter, the Sea Otter Pokémon (called Mijumaru in Japanese).

Here's the original sketch I drew for it:

I wanted it to look kind of badass but retaining the cuteness of the original character, since in the strip it's supposed to be about to attack.

Here's how it came out:

I think I succeeded. I'm actually quite proud of this one!

So that's a little advance on the new strip. Don't forget to keep checking the website for weekly strips and videos!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sketches - Upcoming Project - Carmen

All artwork on this site is registered under the WGAe © Agustin Gonzalez

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Film Society Update: "Jack goes boating" and "You will meet a tall, dark stanger"


- Gus

(All images on this site are registered under the WGAe)