First of all, it goes without saying, but there are webcomics about a huge range of different subjects. Not all webcomics are about computer and/or video games. However, since I’m making another webcomic mini series at the time of writing (it’ll start being posted here in about three days’ time – you can catch up on the previous mini series here, here, here, here and here), I thought that I’d talk about why there are so many gaming-themed webcomics on the internet.
Whilst my webcomic isn’t a “gaming” comic, probably about a quarter of the updates from this occasional series are about computer/ video games in some way or another. In fact, there seem to be slightly more gaming-related comics than usual in the upcoming mini series. So, this made me think about this sub-genre of webcomics.
Gaming-related webcomics are hardly anything new and I thought that I’d talk about why they’re such a common and historic genre of webcomic. The first reason is, of course, that people who play a lot of games tend to be fairly familiar with computers and/or the internet. As such, when it comes to finding a venue for publishing comics, the internet was – historically- the most obvious choice.
Historically, the internet was also the medium of choice for gaming-related comics for the simple reason that gaming wasn’t always a “mainstream” hobby. Although the style of many webcomics is inspired by traditional syndicated newspaper cartoons, most newspapers in years past wouldn’t have published cartoons about a “niche” hobby like gaming. Most traditional newspaper comics are designed to appeal to a fairly wide and universal audience.
Likewise, whilst gaming magazines (anyone remember those?) might have published monthly cartoons about gaming, there weren’t really that many venues for cartoonists to publish their gaming-related cartoons in the 1990s or early 00s. Except, of course, the internet.
The second reason is, of course, the old adage of “write what you know”. If you’re a cartoonist who plays a lot of games, then it makes sense to include them in your webcomic since they’re a subject that you can draw on for inspiration fairly easily.
Since I’m pretty much exclusively a retro/ indie gamer these days (and I was also a console gamer when I was a teenager), many of my gaming-related comic updates tend to be about slightly older games. Like this comic from earlier this year, which is also one of the few gaming-related comics I’ve made that isn’t about the FPS genre.
Making comics about games, gamers and gaming is also a way to turn a fairly “unproductive” hobby into something a bit more productive. Since creating games themselves is something that unfortunately is out of the reach of many gamers, making comics about them is one of the best ways to satisfy the creative instinct. So, it’s a way for people who aren’t good at programming and/or modding to participate in the creative side of gaming culture.
Finally, games are an absolutely huge subject matter – which means that you probably won’t run out of ideas. You can make comics about every genre of game, you can make comics about people who play games, you can make comics comparing old games to modern ones, you can make comics about the latest game-related controversy (and, yes, there always seems to be at least one), you can make comics about upcoming games etc….
Plus, since games are an interactive medium, you can often find inspiration by seeing how your characters interact with a particular game. In other words, games can be either the motivation for the events of a comic or they can be the backdrop for a comic about the characters themselves. Like in this comic of mine from slightly earlier this year:
So, yes, these are just a few of the reasons why gaming is a fairly common subject in many (but not all) webcomics.
Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂