Sunday, July 22, 2012

Reviews: Pretty in Geek & JourneyQuest

Today I’m going to review a couple geeky Fantasy-based webseries. 

First, I must explain something.  Back some time in the 80’s, a man named Jack Chick created a religious comic strip depicting a girl who played Dungeons and Dragons.  In the strip, Joyleaf (That may have been her character’s name or her name, I don’t remember which.) is such a good player that the girl who is Dungeon Master lets her join a secret inner circle to learn real spells!  For some reason, Joyleaf kills herself over the game.  I, and all my friends who read this strip were stunned.  It was almost beyond belief.  I think it really changed our lives in fact.  We had never imagined it possible before: Girls!  Playing Dungeons and Dragons!!  Could it really be true?  I spent the next several years trying to find this elusive “inner circle” where I was sure all the female role-players were hanging out.  Ultimately, my quest was a failure.  The girls who played Dungeons and Dragons would not be found…

Until now!

Until…Pretty in Geek!!

Pretty in Geek is a humorous webseries about a group of girls who play Dungeons and Dragons together.  There’s actually a guy in the group too. I don’t pay much attention to him.  Perhaps he’s there to represent all us guys who never got to play with such a group? Anyway, the characters are all based on types of players I’ve seen over the years, so I can relate to the troubles and triumphs of the group very easily, while enjoying their gender.

First off, the guy, Jason, is a LARPer.  This mean “Live Action Role-Player”, and is someone who dresses in costume and acts out adventures. I’ve never really played with a LARPer, so I don’t know much about them.  I’m not sure if, when they LARP, they roll dice or follow a script, or just improvise.  Anyway, Jason does a lot of dramatic acting at the table.  Then there’s the power-gamer, Anna.  Just wants to kills orcs and level up!  Gotta admire that.  And if you don’t, I think she might hurt you.  Erin is the cheater.  This type of player I’ve played with too many times.  She just can’t get the idea of “let’s just have fun—no winners, no losers” through her thick skull.  The final player is Stacey. She’s an airhead.  Reminds me of too many “let my girlfriend play-she knows what to do” situations.  (They never know what to do.)  Dani is the DM (Dungeon Master- person who runs the game.) and immediately my favorite character since, in my heart, I’ll always be a Dungeon Master first and foremost.  Somehow, she has to keep everyone else focused on the game.  Good luck with that!
You just gotta love Dani!

Pretty in Geek only has one episode out so far.  It’s a fun introduction to the characters and situation.  It has a funny 1st-edition Bard comment! And also it has a totally surprising ending you’ll never see coming!  I’m eagerly anticipating more!  Especially Erin getting her comeuppance!  Cheaters never win! 

The second webseries I recently discovered just started its second season.  So I’m a bit behind the times, but that’s okay.  Just means more to watch!  Journey Quest is a comedy about a group of D&D-like adventurers on a journey to complete a quest while being followed around by a cute Bard who’s trying to makes the adventure into an epic! (Again, a Bard!  Cool!  You know, bards are like the bloggers of olde!)  I was a bit leery because of the characters in the quest.  They’re just a little too “typical adventuring party” types: dumb Fighter, inept Wizard, kind Healer, and good-looking short girl with fake pointy ears and a bow. Wait a second!  I get it!  She’s an Elf!  Cool!  Anyway, the series works well because Christian Doyle, who plays Perf the Wizard, does a very good job.  If this character wasn’t fun to watch, the whole thing would collapse!  I also very much like the way the plot is a bit more complicated than you first notice, with characters in and out of scenes and interacting at times you didn’t notice at first.  The special effects are just good enough that you know what’s going on and just cheesy enough that you know not to take them seriously!  And the way our dumb Fighter cleverly solves the riddles in the dungeon, without actually doing anything clever, is rather clever!  I’ve just finished up season one, and hope there are plenty more episodes to come.  This is one quest I don’t want to see completed!
Perf is-yes-a YELLOW-robed mage!  Yellow!  How 'bout that?

Well, there’s my very-geeky reviews of fantasy-related webseries for this week!  Don’t forget to keep up on my also-geeky also Fantasy-oriented webcomic Mutant Elf!  Updated every week! 

I would like to thank Jason Leaver, writer/director of Out With Dad for recommending Pretty in Geek and “Grypharius” over at the Dragonsfoot old-school D&D message board for recommending Journey Quest!

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