Awkward Zombie: A Gaming Webcomic About Games

The best type of joke.

There is an arc to popular videogame webcomics: they start off being about videogames and then they drift, as the creator and audience change and develop, to being more about the characters contained within the comic. It makes sense that as people become more invested in their own creative world, they’d shift slightly from solely making jokes about other people’s.

Praise be for Awkward Zombie, a videogame webcomic which has been open in my browser for three weeks. As I’ve sat here, clicking through its years and years of archives, reading its jokes about PC games (and Nintendo games) instead of working, a thought occurs. If I share this fun with other people, it becomes work. These hours wasted were research.

So there we go. You can click the link and start reading for yourself, or you can step below for some examples and some prattling about joke forms.

Awkward Zombie’s great strength is that it doesn’t have its own cast of characters. Almost every comic takes place within the universe of the game being joked about, albeit with semi-regular author insertion as the necessary player character. This means that the most common joke the comic tells is in the form of, “Hey, wouldn’t this thing be weird if logically considered or applied to the real world?” As per the above Skyrim comic, from back in 2012.

While Fire Emblem, Zelda and Animal Crossing all feature, there’s plenty of Mass Effect, Dead Space, Team Fortress 2, etc. to keep this relevant and me still employed ha ha ha. I am especially fond of this Deus Ex: Human Revolution comic.

Of course, this reminds me that you can always read Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s very own Tim Stone-created Strafe Left comic.

Thanks to Tom for the initial link. Tom links me to so many of the things that I post here that he is basically ghostwriting RPS at this point.

72 Comments

  1. domogrue says:

    Oh my god you JUST found this?

    Way to be so 2011.

  2. scottyjx says:

    Ahhhhhhhh, Katie’s the best. Many webcomics have come and gone off of my list over the years, but this is one of the constants. Guess I’ll go do some “research” too.

  3. Choca says:

    Yeah, it’s one of the consistently good webcomics, I particularly like the one about the westernization of Ace Attorney : link to awkwardzombie.com

    • BooleanBob says:

      Haha. Truly the most doomed localisation short of Okami in that one parallel universe.

    • domogrue says:

      My personal favorite are her Super Smash comics because of how she portrays all the Nintendo characters. I think this comic sums up the appeal pretty well: link to awkwardzombie.com

    • LionsPhil says:

      Apart from the DX one, I quite like Alchemy in Oblivion, because Elder Scrolls is just so ripe for this stuff.

      (Also, props for not breaking an ancient link after a site redesign. Even if it seems to have some very strange way of redirecting client-side rather than a real 3XX status.)

      (Ok maybe I just really like crafting jokes.)

  4. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    Awkward Zombie is nice.

    My own favorite is Order of the Stick though. It started as puns about the rule changes in Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition, plus 4th wall breaking “what if game characters were aware of the game rules”. Then the characters started getting more three-dimensional and likable (who knew stick-figures could have so much personality?), and now it has a surprisingly complex main story with plot twists have been built up to for years. Approaching 1000 strips, plus bonus stories if you buy the dead-tree versions.

    link to giantitp.com

    • JFS says:

      I’ve read them all! Best webcomic there is. It’s going slow these days, however. I keep forgetting the storyline.

    • LionsPhil says:

      That and Schlock Mercenary are horrendously long-arc multi-year behemoths. Beware their archives. Especially if you go back to the start start, not the “getting started” start.

    • WiggumEsquilax says:

      Come for the wit, the writing, and the overarching plot.

      Do not stay for the drawing.

  5. Tegiminis says:

    Unfortunately, Katie’s site has always had… issues. It runs super sluggishly, and linking to it tends to bring it to its knees.

    Otherwise, fantastic comic and really approachable person! 100% share in the Awkward Zombie love~

  6. hypercrisis says:

    Breaking news here guys, wow.

  7. Gap Gen says:

    “There is an arc to popular videogame webcomics: they start off being about videogames and then they drift, as the creator and audience change and develop, to being more about the characters contained within the comic.”

    I mean, the latest comic is about the creators’ cat allergies. But sure, I get your drift. Also yes, I have never seen this, so works for me.

    • LionsPhil says:

      My favorite slice-of-life one is probably this syndrome, from which I completely suffer.

      • Gap Gen says:

        I did actually lose my passport one time when it slid out of my pocket in a taxi, and my travelcard keeps sliding out as it sticks to my phone, so it’s not without reason.

        • dE says:

          I’m one of those uber paranoids when it comes to this. I constantly check if it’s still there, even though I could probably do nothing if it wasn’t. Probably a childhood trauma as I once lost a box full on casettes with the greatest fairytales, narrated and with supporting comic books. It was my biggest treasure. A monthly collection and I had them all. Every single one. Damn was I proud of it. And I lost it on the bus, never to be found again.

          Ever since, it’s constant checks. A friend of mine on the other hand doesn’t bother. He doesn’t live his live any more happy though, since he tends to install Spider Apps on his smartphones, despite replacing the glass almost every other month from falling out of his pockets. He loses house keys, to special security locks worth several thousand, he dropped a car key next to the car and several more actions like that. Still, he feels like checking up on things would be too much of a waste of his time and so he keeps losing and smashing and dropping – and wondering why his friends never lend him anything. Or even let him touch anything.

  8. Cockie says:

    I hadn’t heard about this one, so thanks!

  9. pakoito says:

    penny-arcade.com/comic

    • Sian says:

      Eh. PA kinda lost its charm for me. Either the art style’s become more over-the-top as time went by or my tastes have changed. I’m also not thrilled by the humour anymore. I visited the site more out of habit for a while and have recently deleted it from my list of webcomics.

      • Koozer says:

        PA most of the time seems like it’s neeaarly there with its jokes. Oh, and the writer’s style really gets on my nerves.

      • tehfish says:

        Have to agree there.

        I still have it in my (absurdly oversized) webcomic bookmark list that i check weekly, but it has gone from a comic with fairly rare dud comics to one with fairly rare good comics.

      • The Random One says:

        PA is good when they remember to add in the humour, which is very rarely.

  10. Sc0r says:

    Always loved Awkward Zombie for its spot on game-logic fun WITHOUT sexism/racism or any kind of self-absorbed whiteboy-humor. A rare treat.

  11. LTK says:

    This article pops up in my news feed and I think “Hey, Awkward Zombie has a new update! Wait a minute…”

  12. Orija says:

    Slow day, eh?

  13. bempelise says:

    I would like to mention another very nice gaming web coming that I enjoy:
    Dark Legacy Comics

  14. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    Nice, I didn’t know that one.

    My favorite gaming-related webcomic (though it has been more of a short-story collection in recent times, due to some sad stuff happening to their artist) is Erfworld. It’s about a tabletop gamer who gets summoned into a world in which the laws of nature are replaced by the rules of a turn-based strategy game (also, there are puns everywhere).

    Not only is that concept explored in a lot of detail (for example, the world is separated into city-sized hexes, and it is only possible to move between those if a person has Move and it’s their Sides turn, but inside a hex they can always move freely) but it’s also full of lovely characters with a lot of nice character development. The only thing not so great about it is that it moves very slowly. It’s updating regularly (currently with short-stories once a week, though they had a successful Kickstarter and will now be able to hire a new artist), but the plot just doesn’t move very fast. I still think it’s a great webcomic/story, but some people might be bothered by that.

  15. altum videtur says:

    Hey might as well go re-read 8-bit Theater then.
    I’ve also been reading The Dreadful, and have no opinion on it whatsoever. I just keep doing it to stave off the existential dread that is lack of content.

    • BooleanBob says:

      The Dreadful is pretty bland, yeah. I’m not sure 8bit has been bested by any gaming-themed webcomic I’m aware of, and I’m aware of a few.

      The good news for everyone in this thread that hasn’t heard of Octopus Pie is that they have now heard of Octopus Pie.

  16. pepperfez says:

    Castle Vidcons, though not PC-focused, is pretty representative of my understanding of the console gaming world – murk and inexplicable sadness.

  17. Moraven says:

    I did not even know that was a Skyrim comic. It looks like a WoW comic.

  18. quietone says:

    Well I didn’t know about it. Can I still look at people in the eye?

    Thanks Graham, thoroughly enjoying it!

  19. Turkey says:

    Have you ever noticed how absurd video games are compared to real life?

  20. DrGonzo says:

    Not really a pc comic is it? Skipped through about a dozen pokemon comics before I gave up.

  21. Scott says:

    Site’s down for me. Did RPS click-throughs give it the bandwidth hug of death?

  22. Premium User Badge

    Graham Smith says:

    I only found it recently. I thought, “I enjoy this and enjoy sharing things I enjoy” plus “I bet there are other people who haven’t seen this at all.” From the comments, this seems to have been the case. The post performed its duty.

    To the people who responded to say “Old!” or some variation there of – including the 20 or so vile comments I deleted for this or sexism and so on – what would you prefer? That I only posted marketing materials for videogames I felt nothing for? Because that would attract less snark, bile and so on. I could do it more quickly, and it would make my life easier because I wouldn’t need to moderate comment threads into the evening.

    • sinister agent says:

      PC games, you say? LOL what is this, 1982?

    • quietone says:

      I think it’s quite obvious. Before posting anything you should ask every single RPS reader whether they heard about it or not. A single “I seem to recall something along those lines…” will be enough to veto your article, and force you to write about something else.

      Also, stop using the latin alphabet. It’s like plagiarism.

    • babbler says:

      I already knew about the comic but I’m glad you shared it. If I hadn’t known about it I would be definitely archive binging well into the night.

  23. frenz0rz says:

    Now you’ve got me leafing back through the 11 years of PC Gamer mags stashed in my cupboard to read Strafe Left comics and It’s All Over gags. Thanks Graham.

  24. Ridnarhtim says:

    Decided to have a look. The most recent comic, which is displayed first, is absolutely not at all related to comics. Maybe poor timing on the article?

  25. Tayh says:

    Thanks, Graham.
    I’ve seen this excellent webcomic a couple of times while browsing hugelol, and everytime I tell myself to look it up once I’m on a pc and then never remember to do so.

  26. Raztaman says:

    Why the furry? >_>

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Very specifically to upset you.

      • altum videtur says:

        sure as shit upset me
        YOUR PROCLIVITIES ARE GROSS PEOPLE
        HIDE THAT SHIT SO THE FOUNDERING MAY NEVER HAVE TO BE ACCOSTED THEREWITH

    • Jupiah says:

      I am forced to assume you have never played an elder scrolls game, as if you had you would immediately recognize that the furry is a Khajiit, one of the playable character races.