#012: En Route

koobismo

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#012: En Route

The last episode of "Game On, Hardcore" on the Escapist follows up on a handful of threads before crawling into the cryo chamber.

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Moises Weintraub

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I am honestly intrigued and would love to see more of this. Please continue making it. Slow starts are not a bad thing when the payoff is good enough, and I'm already invested enough in this to want to see it through. Thanks for making such a cool comic!
 

Devieus

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You really could've ended it there by letting her die completely and removing the last 4 panels, but now it's a cliff-hanger, so really you kinda have to go on now. Plus, seeing what NOD did to the Sims would be kind of bad-ass.
 

dangoball

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It was so sad to read this knowing it might be the last entry in Game On, especially since it's so intriguing. If you find it in your possibilities to continue the comic I'll be sure to follow it.

Having that option in mind I don't really want too ask to many spoilerific questions, but I have one that would bother me otherwise.
So on #4 we saw a list of players, there being five in total and the last one shown as an error. While the error is definitely interesting, I would prefer to keep that one a mystery. What I want to know is who are the other three players, or more specifically how did they get in the game. Jenn is the game host, right? Does that mean those other players are also comatose somewhere in a game/medical facility? Is it by choice or is it an experiment performed on people considered lost anyway?

Edit: Man, four typos in something this short. I need to get my shit together.
 

TheBigOne0305

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Sad to see it end (for now). If you ever decide to keep this going, be sure to post a reminder on DeviantArt, that's probably the place where most people follow you (or at least I do), due to your Marauder Shields work.
 

CaitSeith

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For a moment I thought the end of the comic was going to be the end for the protagonist too...

Anyways, it's sad to see Hardcore end. Good luck, koobismo. May our paths cross again.
 

Guffe

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GIIAANT CITIZEN KAABBBUUUUTTTOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! *sqqhhuueeeeee* xD
Loved that game!

As for the maybe more topical point than the comic itself.
Sad to see you go, hope you can continue this somewhere else and I will notice it floating around somwere, really enjoying this comic.
Good luck for the future Koobismo, and keep Gaming OnHardCore!!
 

Camaranth

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Well I already said last week that but I'll say it again anyways , I'd like to see this continue and I'll be sure to look you up around the web :)

Best of luck mate
 

FPLOON

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Man, this did feel like a season finale... It really is Constantine all over again, only there is hope of this continuing on another site (like going from Fox to Adult Swim to Comedy Central, kinda...) Anyway, this did make me think twice about Simtown, so I know the later seasons will deal with that area's true colors in due time...

Other than that, that last panel finally made me realized that this series could potentially switch art styles to fit the mood/setting if it felt like it, thus opening another mystery in this world's "inconsistencies"... Oh my glob! When's Season 2 of Game On Hardcore coming out already!? #thesuspenceisreal
 

stringtheory

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Oh come on! You include Kane, one of my all time favorite villains ever, and now the series will be moving/ending. Well, do keep us updated if you will be moving to a new site.
 

CrazyGirl17

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I honestly hope you continue this comic, even if it's on another site, I'd love to see what happens next...
 

And Man

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It really is a shame to see this leave The Escapist; I enjoyed reading it a lot. The art quality could be a bit off at times, but I imagine that was likely from time pressures, and other than that small gripe, it was pretty fantastic overall. And even though it was a story-driven comic as opposed to a humorous one, there were some lines that got a big laugh out of me, such as "We might as well be selling drugs, or Grand Theft Autos!" and the Rick Astley song into jazz hands. One thing that I felt really made this comic special was how often you interacted with your audience and replied to their forum posts. Hopefully Game On, Hardcore will somehow get revived sometime in the future. Best of luck to you in your future endeavors.
 

Dwarfman

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Loved the Command and Conquer reference. Vote 1: Brotherhood of Nod, hey?

Edit> Read a few comments and WHAT THE HELL!!! Don't people enjoy slow build ups and character development and all that other stuff anymore? Well it's The Escapists loss...

Will you be continuing the strip on your own web site? Or will you keep it in the freezer till a future date?
 

koobismo

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Moises Weintraub said:
I am honestly intrigued and would love to see more of this. Please continue making it. Slow starts are not a bad thing when the payoff is good enough, and I'm already invested enough in this to want to see it through. Thanks for making such a cool comic!
Thanks, Moises! Glad to hear that, people being invested (and at this rather early stage of the story!) is my primary boost for making it work somehow. I'm not yet sure what will become of the series, but the most likely route to go - at this moment, at least - appears to be a Patreon-fueled (full on e-beggary!) thingie published irregularily on my website. From my experience, irregular publications are horrible for the so-called viewer retention (if it's not weekly, many people forget about it - after all, hey, we all lead busy lives), but they're basically the only way to go when one needs to seek other ways of earning the rent. We'll see, but I'll keep you guys updated when I'll have it all planned out. Really hoping it works out somehow.

Devieus said:
You really could've ended it there by letting her die completely and removing the last 4 panels, but now it's a cliff-hanger, so really you kinda have to go on now. Plus, seeing what NOD did to the Sims would be kind of bad-ass.
True, but then again killing off the protagonists would basically be saying "yeah, so what if you've invested time reading this up 'til now, I ain't getting money from it now, so go jog! [farting sound here]" - and thus, not really my style of doing things. :D I'd much, much, much rather find a way to continue, even if it means a short break and changing things up a bit. After all, I might be your only chance of seing that Sims-ruled-by-Kane-using-sectist-influence-to-warp-their-aspirations scenario. :D

dangoball said:
It was so sad to read this knowing it might be the last entry in Game On, especially since it's so intriguing. If you find it in your possibilities to continue the comic I'll be sure to follow it.
Thanks, Dagoball! Do stick around then, as I'm slowly moving from a "how in Earth would I make this work" approach to a "maybe I can somehow make this work" one. :D

dangoball said:
Having that option in mind I don't really want too ask to many spoilerific questions, but I have one that would bother me otherwise. 'Tis about the players". So on #4 we saw a list of players, there being five in total and the last one shown as an error. While the error is definitely interesting, I would prefer to keep that one a mystery. What I want to know is who are the other three players, or more specifically how did they get in the game. Jenn is the game host, right? Does that mean those other players are also comatose somewhere in a game/medical facility? Is it by choice or is it an experiment performed on people considered lost anyway?
Yay, a story question! The answer might be a bit loaded, as it was all supposed to be slowly seeping over time, allowing one to digest it at a more reasonable pace, but...

"Game On, Hardcore" is a rescue story. Four gamers - Jenn, Pulse, Koza and Adil - http://i.imgur.com/AtbrQ3L.jpg - were a part of a Beta-testing program for a revolutionary piece of hardware: The White Rabbit, an actual Cerebral Virtual Reality device, allowing one to construct and interface with virtual worlds made up of their memories and inspirations.

The problem with our minds, however, is that we hold onto more than just the pleasant stuff, more than "fun material" - traumas, fears and overall horribleness are very much a part of being who we are, yet hardly marketable (one of the flashback episodes would show us the fate of the first-ever Rabbit tester, suddenly put in front of the most horrible experiences of his life, amalgated into a hard-to-bare monstrosity). Hence, the architects of the Rabbit wrestled a beast, trying to conform their honest-to-god mind-gazer to the requirements sent from above - introducing a rigid system of filters and memory-blockers based on the ongoing scans of the mind's state and its responses.

However, you see, there's a huge difference between reading and interacting with a mind, and trying to filter it, influence it, limit it, to make it work within a very tiny frameset you want it to work within. Aside from a whole range of ethical concerns, the change required safety issues to be waived, and the beta-testers exposed to something they might not have signed up for. Add to that the influence of a third party, and the hastiness that comes from trying to push the product to a release state... And the result was an accident. A glitch in the system erased something that should not have been erased and left one of the beta-testers - Jenn - in a vegetative state.

The company behind the White Rabbit wasn't about to bear the responsibility, and a potential life-saving solution forwarded by one of the project's leaders (the Doc, who we've seen in Episodes 1 and 10) was aborted. Jenn's state was declared a final and unrelated accident, her case going under the radar (after all, all that counts is the hype), all connections severed. The glitch was (supposedly) patched, and so, the testing could continue.

But the Doc's conscience recently received an audible voice, one that would simply not shut up... His emerging AI bot, Qwertz (the little dude downloaded onto a drone that you see in Episodes 1 and 12, whos intelligence is based on and tied to the emergent systems of the Rabbit) - convinces him that something needs to be done. A perilous plan is put in motion, involving Jenn's beta-testing team (the other three players who tested the product with her and - with some troubles - became friends), who all agree to risk their own safety for a chance of getting Jenn back to life. Jenn's body is abducted from the hospital she was dumped in, and - after connecting her to equally illegally obtained hardware - the team enters the world she left behind, with a very specific objective. Unfortunately, not all goes according to plan - but all they can do now is to game on...

There's much, much more to it all, of course, as there's a reason why the world created by Jenn's mind is populated by video game characters, and why the error occured to her, and none other. The memories of her father become relevant, as does your observation about the supposed fifth player being hidden behind a glitch. Even Mr. Peebles mentioned in Episode 8 makes a story-relevant return, and Qwertz's rapid emergence is a sign of unexpected things coming out of the simulated worlds, their capabilities outreaching that of just entertainment constructs. All in all, the story plays out both in the virtual world (mostly), and ours, it dabbles with some rather untouched stuff at times, and there's seven shitloads of it already written in both broader and finer strokes. ;)

Hope this exhausts the question. :D

TheBigOne0305 said:
Sad to see it end (for now). If you ever decide to keep this going, be sure to post a reminder on DeviantArt, that's probably the place where most people follow you (or at least I do), due to your Marauder Shields work.
Thanks, dude. And, yeah, I will, most definitely!

CaitSeith said:
For a moment I thought the end of the comic was going to be the end for the protagonist too... Anyways, it's sad to see Hardcore end. Good luck, koobismo. May our paths cross again.
Thanks, CaitSeith. Hopefully they will! And soon!

Guffe said:
GIIAANT CITIZEN KAABBBUUUUTTTOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! *sqqhhuueeeeee* xD
See? I know how to keep you happy, Guffe. :D

Guffe said:
Sad to see you go, hope you can continue this somewhere else and I will notice it floating around somwere, really enjoying this comic. Good luck for the future Koobismo, and keep Gaming OnHardCore!!
Thanks, dude. Much appreciated! And, yeah, I'm actually hopeful this might resurface, and sooner rather than later!

Camaranth said:
Well I already said last week that but I'll say it again anyways , I'd like to see this continue and I'll be sure to look you up around the web :) Best of luck mate
Thank youuuu! I'll see you around then. :)

stringtheory said:
Oh come on! You include Kane, one of my all time favorite villains ever, and now the series will be moving/ending. Well, do keep us updated if you will be moving to a new site.
I will! Note that it will be most likely Koobismo.com - my personal site, that's a bit dusty and spider-webby right now... But, yeah, with a bit of spit and polish...

As for Kane, oh man. If you're a fan, there's definitely some stuff that will make you happy about his inclusion, his fake plumbob and his new & improved Brotherhood of Nod. :D

I'll reply to the rest of you guys in about two hours, need to run out for a bit. If anyone has any questions orm comments concerning all this, do keep 'em coming, all shall be answered.
 

Devieus

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koobismo said:
True, but then again killing off the protagonists would basically be saying "yeah, so what if you've invested time reading this up 'til now, I ain't getting money from it now, so go jog! [farting sound here]" - and thus, not really my style of doing things. :D I'd much, much, much rather find a way to continue, even if it means a short break and changing things up a bit. After all, I might be your only chance of seeing that Sims-ruled-by-Kane-using-sectist-influence-to-warp-their-aspirations scenario. :D
I mean, the way the Escapist is going with this, they can take a jog for all I care, fart sounds included. Meanwhile the rest of the dedicated base noticed the link you left behind along with a clue.
 

dangoball

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koobismo said:
dangoball said:
Having that option in mind I don't really want too ask to many spoilerific questions, but I have one that would bother me otherwise. 'Tis about the players". So on #4 we saw a list of players, there being five in total and the last one shown as an error. While the error is definitely interesting, I would prefer to keep that one a mystery. What I want to know is who are the other three players, or more specifically how did they get in the game. Jenn is the game host, right? Does that mean those other players are also comatose somewhere in a game/medical facility? Is it by choice or is it an experiment performed on people considered lost anyway?
Yay, a story question! The answer might be a bit loaded, as it was all supposed to be slowly seeping over time, allowing one to digest it at a more reasonable pace, but...

"Game On, Hardcore" is a rescue story. Four gamers - Jenn, Pulse, Koza and Adil - http://i.imgur.com/AtbrQ3L.jpg - were a part of a Beta-testing program for a revolutionary piece of hardware: The White Rabbit, an actual Cerebral Virtual Reality device, allowing one to construct and interface with virtual worlds made up of their memories and inspirations.

The problem with our minds, however, is that we hold onto more than just the pleasant stuff, more than "fun material" - traumas, fears and overall horribleness are very much a part of being who we are, yet hardly marketable (one of the flashback episodes would show us the fate of the first-ever Rabbit tester, suddenly put in front of the most horrible experiences of his life, amalgated into a hard-to-bare monstrosity). Hence, the architects of the Rabbit wrestled a beast, trying to conform their honest-to-god mind-gazer to the requirements sent from above - introducing a rigid system of filters and memory-blockers based on the ongoing scans of the mind's state and its responses.

However, you see, there's a huge difference between reading and interacting with a mind, and trying to filter it, influence it, limit it, to make it work within a very tiny frameset you want it to work within. Aside from a whole range of ethical concerns, the change required safety issues to be waived, and the beta-testers exposed to something they might not have signed up for. Add to that the influence of a third party, and the hastiness that comes from trying to push the product to a release state... And the result was an accident. A glitch in the system erased something that should not have been erased and left one of the beta-testers - Jenn - in a vegetative state.

The company behind the White Rabbit wasn't about to bear the responsibility, and a potential life-saving solution forwarded by one of the project's leaders (the Doc, who we've seen in Episodes 1 and 10) was aborted. Jenn's state was declared a final and unrelated accident, her case going under the radar (after all, all that counts is the hype), all connections severed. The glitch was (supposedly) patched, and so, the testing could continue.

But the Doc's conscience recently received an audible voice, one that would simply not shut up... His emerging AI bot, Qwertz (the little dude downloaded onto a drone that you see in Episodes 1 and 12, whos intelligence is based on and tied to the emergent systems of the Rabbit) - convinces him that something needs to be done. A perilous plan is put in motion, involving Jenn's beta-testing team (the other three players who tested the product with her and - with some troubles - became friends), who all agree to risk their own safety for a chance of getting Jenn back to life. Jenn's body is abducted from the hospital she was dumped in, and - after connecting her to equally illegally obtained hardware - the team enters the world she left behind, with a very specific objective. Unfortunately, not all goes according to plan - but all they can do now is to game on...

There's much, much more to it all, of course, as there's a reason why the world created by Jenn's mind is populated by video game characters, and why the error occured to her, and none other. The memories of her father become relevant, as does your observation about the supposed fifth player being hidden behind a glitch. Even Mr. Peebles mentioned in Episode 8 makes a story-relevant return, and Qwertz's rapid emergence is a sign of unexpected things coming out of the simulated worlds, their capabilities outreaching that of just entertainment constructs. All in all, the story plays out both in the virtual world (mostly), and ours, it dabbles with some rather untouched stuff at times, and there's seven shitloads of it already written in both broader and finer strokes. ;)

Hope this exhausts the question. :D
Damn... You do realize that after reading all that I have a great need to see Game On: Hardcore continue? I never minded spoiler because for me a story is about the journey, not the destination, and now I really want to know the details of what happened to get things the way they are and how's it all gonna pan out. If you go the Patreon route I might seriously consider it even in my impoverished university student state.
 

The_Darkness

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I finally have time to ask questions! And...

koobismo said:
"Game On, Hardcore" is a rescue story. Four gamers - Jenn, Pulse, Koza and Adil - http://i.imgur.com/AtbrQ3L.jpg - were a part of a Beta-testing program for a revolutionary piece of hardware: The White Rabbit, an actual Cerebral Virtual Reality device, allowing one to construct and interface with virtual worlds made up of their memories and inspirations.

The problem with our minds, however, is that we hold onto more than just the pleasant stuff, more than "fun material" - traumas, fears and overall horribleness are very much a part of being who we are, yet hardly marketable (one of the flashback episodes would show us the fate of the first-ever Rabbit tester, suddenly put in front of the most horrible experiences of his life, amalgated into a hard-to-bare monstrosity). Hence, the architects of the Rabbit wrestled a beast, trying to conform their honest-to-god mind-gazer to the requirements sent from above - introducing a rigid system of filters and memory-blockers based on the ongoing scans of the mind's state and its responses.

However, you see, there's a huge difference between reading and interacting with a mind, and trying to filter it, influence it, limit it, to make it work within a very tiny frameset you want it to work within. Aside from a whole range of ethical concerns, the change required safety issues to be waived, and the beta-testers exposed to something they might not have signed up for. Add to that the influence of a third party, and the hastiness that comes from trying to push the product to a release state... And the result was an accident. A glitch in the system erased something that should not have been erased and left one of the beta-testers - Jenn - in a vegetative state.

The company behind the White Rabbit wasn't about to bear the responsibility, and a potential life-saving solution forwarded by one of the project's leaders (the Doc, who we've seen in Episodes 1 and 10) was aborted. Jenn's state was declared a final and unrelated accident, her case going under the radar (after all, all that counts is the hype), all connections severed. The glitch was (supposedly) patched, and so, the testing could continue.

But the Doc's conscience recently received an audible voice, one that would simply not shut up... His emerging AI bot, Qwertz (the little dude downloaded onto a drone that you see in Episodes 1 and 12, whos intelligence is based on and tied to the emergent systems of the Rabbit) - convinces him that something needs to be done. A perilous plan is put in motion, involving Jenn's beta-testing team (the other three players who tested the product with her and - with some troubles - became friends), who all agree to risk their own safety for a chance of getting Jenn back to life. Jenn's body is abducted from the hospital she was dumped in, and - after connecting her to equally illegally obtained hardware - the team enters the world she left behind, with a very specific objective. Unfortunately, not all goes according to plan - but all they can do now is to game on...

There's much, much more to it all, of course, as there's a reason why the world created by Jenn's mind is populated by video game characters, and why the error occured to her, and none other. The memories of her father become relevant, as does your observation about the supposed fifth player being hidden behind a glitch. Even Mr. Peebles mentioned in Episode 8 makes a story-relevant return, and Qwertz's rapid emergence is a sign of unexpected things coming out of the simulated worlds, their capabilities outreaching that of just entertainment constructs. All in all, the story plays out both in the virtual world (mostly), and ours, it dabbles with some rather untouched stuff at times, and there's seven shitloads of it already written in both broader and finer strokes. ;)
... That straight up answered most of them. Huh.
(So Pulse isn't an NPC? Aw - though I guess Ep4 had already killed that theory of mine, I just hadn't noticed the player list.)

That does lead me to further questions though. And so, if you don't mind Koobs:

1) Why are so many (but not all) of the Video Game characters hostile? (Honestly, I was half-expecting EDI to attack them while they were exploring Normandy.)

2) Pulse... wasn't acting like she knew Jenn. Or at least, that's how it felt. Was that a cover story on her behalf, or has she forgotten stuff now that she's in the virtual reality?

3) I feel like I was missing context (may not have played the appropriate games) with SimTown. Should I know who Kane and the Sheriff are?

I also have a hunch that Qwertz is somehow connected to our mystery 5th player... But I'm deliberately not phrasing that as a question :) If GO:H ever gets running again, I'd like to find out naturally.

On the topic of the viewer numbers - advertising individual episode releases on koobismo.com might have pulled in a few more. That said, I have no idea what your own site's viewer numbers, but I check in fairly often (I don't have an account though - I may get around to getting one).

And finally, lets end on a GOOD note. That final image of the comic - just... wow. We may have already known that the setting is a video game virtual reality, but that shift of graphics and interface was a brilliant way of hammering it home. Nicely done :)
 

koobismo

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First of all, sorry for the late replies, guys. I've used the loosening of my schedule to organize stuff that required some travelling, and - of course - caught the damn flu in the process. All that wreaked havoc with my freelancing schedule and turned the last few days into a huge game of catch-up. Anyhoo, here I am, finally, ready to reply, and sticking around.

FPLOON said:
Man, this did feel like a season finale... It really is Constantine all over again, only there is hope of this continuing on another site (like going from Fox to Adult Swim to Comedy Central, kinda...) Anyway, this did make me think twice about Simtown, so I know the later seasons will deal with that area's true colors in due time...
Hah, the reason a friend of mine skipped Constantine despite huge interest was that she expected it to be cancelled after season one and didn't want to start watching until she was sure it was a goner. Kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy, but she was also spot-on about the cancellation. I'm yet to watch it myself, hard to get to it here (in Poland) if one tries not to pirate.

FPLOON said:
Other than that, that last panel finally made me realized that this series could potentially switch art styles to fit the mood/setting if it felt like it, thus opening another mystery in this world's "inconsistencies"... Oh my glob! When's Season 2 of Game On Hardcore coming out already!? #thesuspenceisreal
Well, technically we're still at season one (which, according to my count, is "around 40 episodes"), but you're spot on about the possibility of switching the art style. :D

CrazyGirl17 said:
I honestly hope you continue this comic, even if it's on another site, I'd love to see what happens next...
Thanks, CrazyGirl! I'll be sorting a few things out over the next weeks, finances et al, and I hope to organize a way to make it work. Do check for updates on my site or Twitter feed once in a while, and do keep in touch.

Johnny Novgorod said:
At least there is a sense of closure in your last strip.
Glad to hear that. :) Hopefully not *too much* closure yet. :D

Caramel Frappe said:
I'd love to see future works made how the last panel was- 3D art. Just nicer on the eyes, but that's just me speaking. Nice comic as always :) many references ahead, ahoy!
Well, that would probably slow down the work on it to a stand-still. I'm afraid that last shot took quite a bit of time. ;D

Dwarfman said:
Loved the Command and Conquer reference. Vote 1: Brotherhood of Nod, hey?
Aye, sir. No other options available, of course. ;) Peace Through Power!

Dwarfman said:
Read a few comments and WHAT THE HELL!!! Don't people enjoy slow build ups and character development and all that other stuff anymore? Well it's The Escapists loss... Will you be continuing the strip on your own web site? Or will you keep it in the freezer till a future date?
I'd love to continue it right away, but can't do so without some financial backing - simply put, I don't have the cash to finance my own work on this (in terms of covering my costs of living and whatnot), and my artistic needs are of course a lower priority than my physical ones. I've jumped onto other kinds of work right now, and am hoping to establish a solid plan on how to continue soon (waiting for some news on copyrights and possible financing) - most likely taking the way many has suggested: Patreon-financed, with irregular updates. I don't want to talk any specifics or certainties until I have it all figured out, though - but I do hope to know more soon.

Devieus said:
Meanwhile the rest of the dedicated base noticed the link you left behind along with a clue.
Let's just hope that when I'm through organizing all this stuff, that dedicated base won't shrink to us few people commenting here. :D

dangoball said:
Damn... You do realize that after reading all that I have a great need to see Game On: Hardcore continue? I never minded spoiler because for me a story is about the journey, not the destination, and now I really want to know the details of what happened to get things the way they are and how's it all gonna pan out. If you go the Patreon route I might seriously consider it even in my impoverished university student state.
Thanks, Dangoball, I greatly appreciate the sentiment. :) I'll let you know when it's up in one form or another - as I mentioned above, I don't want to say anything specific until I know what's up and where, and when.

The_Darkness said:
So Pulse isn't an NPC? Aw - though I guess Ep4 had already killed that theory of mine, I just hadn't noticed the player list.
She isn't. ;) Although the post about her did end up being a note in my scenario notebook, introducing an additional doppelganger glitch scene.

dangoball said:
Why are so many (but not all) of the Video Game characters hostile? (Honestly, I was half-expecting EDI to attack them while they were exploring Normandy.)
Ha, fun fact: there was supposed to be a longer (episode-long) showdown between Pulse and the StarChild, with Pulse falling into a bunch of stacked corpses...

...and EDI was *NOT* among them, as I was saving her for reappearing in another part of the island, and in a slightly changed form. ;)

To answer your primary question...

The "game world" (or rather: Jenn's own private little universe populated by game characters) as we see it now is a result of the neural scanning of her memories and experiences, with a filter applied. All the characters we see in the series, are the ones she deemed important to her in some way - but they are skewed through her own perceptions of what they meant to her, of how she saw them, which might mean they appear quite different, mostly in terms of visuals and what she perceived as their goals.

However, the "corruption" of the NPCs has little to do with how she (re)created them - and actually calls back to the glitches Pulse mentioned. These glitches, errors, bugs are effectively warping the world, turning it into something highly volatile, unstable. As I'm pretty sure the series will continue, I don't want to say too much, but the fifth player - the one who shouldn't be there, and is marked as "???????" on the player table - has...invested time and mind into destabilizing this whole place, driving many of its inhabitants "insane" (so to speak), corrupting their behavioral patterns and characterological basis, through means unavailable to our 4 protagonists. This process of corruption is supposed to progress throughout the series, affecting the NPCs along the way.

dangoball said:
Pulse... wasn't acting like she knew Jenn. Or at least, that's how it felt. Was that a cover story on her behalf, or has she forgotten stuff now that she's in the virtual reality?
Your interpretation of Pulse's behaviour is correct! ;)

The latter is indeed the answer, with the small correction that it isn't simply "forgetting". The BrainVR - the White Rabbit - has damaged Jenn's mind due to an error (or was it just an error?), deleting stuff it should have not deleted from her neural pathways. The Doc is aware of that and is taking that into account while switching in the other players to help Jenn out, trying his best to protect their own memories and identities from erasure. This works for the most part, but as it stands, the other three players land in the virtual world without the recollection that they know each other, what they're doing here and what is their objective - which the Doc hopes to remedy through a very special delivery system.

dangoball said:
I feel like I was missing context (may not have played the appropriate games) with SimTown. Should I know who Kane and the Sheriff are?
The context would be provided as we move along the way (the reveal of Kane being the Mayor was added to the last episode due to its end here on the Escapist), no need to worry about not getting it yet. Spoilers below!

The Sheriff is an original character, a role that Koza - the redheaded dude - assumed after arriving at SimTown, barely escaping execution by saving a bunch of the town's inhabitants, proving his value to the community and its leader (while also becoming a danger to his established order).

The Mayor - Kane - is an actual gaming character from the Command & Conquer series, who has a bit more processing power assigned to him than most other NPCs, making him almost fully aware of his and the world's situation (spoiler: he also seeks to expand his mental powers by finding a way to take over the processing power assigned to others). He has plans connected to the ongoing corruption, and to realize them, he slowly - very slowly - transforms the Sim community into an extremist, fringe society, the Brotherhood of Nod reborn.

You can read up on C&C's Kane here, I assure you he's quite a fun character, easy to exploit in a hundred awesome ways: http://cnc.wikia.com/wiki/Kane

dangoball said:
I also have a hunch that Qwertz is somehow connected to our mystery 5th player... But I'm deliberately not phrasing that as a question :) If GO:H ever gets running again, I'd like to find out naturally.
Well, you then need to decide whether to open the spoilerific spoiler below. ;)

The 5th player is an... individual entity, not connected to any of the characters we've introduced so far. The 5th player is the story's He Who Shall Not Be Named, by which I mean someone to actually fear, and actively. ;)

dangoball said:
On the topic of the viewer numbers - advertising individual episode releases on koobismo.com might have pulled in a few more. That said, I have no idea what your own site's viewer numbers, but I check in fairly often (I don't have an account though - I may get around to getting one).
Yeah, that would've probably helped. I'm generally horrible at keeping up with the updates, due to the way I usually work: in absolute seclusion, silence, usually disconnecting myself from the interwebs to not allow myself too many distractions. But, yeah, I should definitely up my marketing game. We're all busy people, and it's easy to miss out on fun stuff simply because it's not advertised enough, or not in the right way. Another one on the pile of reasons, eh?

dangoball said:
And finally, lets end on a GOOD note. That final image of the comic - just... wow. We may have already known that the setting is a video game virtual reality, but that shift of graphics and interface was a brilliant way of hammering it home. Nicely done :)
Thank you! :) I had a small moment planned later on, when Jenn's mind is trying to cope with seeing...something unnatural and vastly undescribable (to use a semi-Lovecraftian term ;)) and switches to representing the whole world as a current-gen game of sorts (just for a short while, allowing us to make some additional fun of current gaming conventions)... But, as I needed something to close off this run on the Escapist, I thought that switching to such an image should work nicely, playing with your gamer feels. ;) Glad it worked!

Oh, and by the way. As I was asked multiple times about what I'd use as a soundtrack for the series... I think I finally have an answer. It was in front of me all along.

This: https://lazerhawk.bandcamp.com/album/visitors

If you guys need me for anything, wanna' talk or whatever - I'm here, on Twitter, my site, accessible by e-mail and all around. Just poke. And I'll let you know about Game On's continuation as soon as I have some solid info.
 

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koobismo said:
FPLOON said:
Man, this did feel like a season finale... It really is Constantine all over again, only there is hope of this continuing on another site (like going from Fox to Adult Swim to Comedy Central, kinda...) Anyway, this did make me think twice about Simtown, so I know the later seasons will deal with that area's true colors in due time...
Hah, the reason a friend of mine skipped Constantine despite huge interest was that she expected it to be cancelled after season one and didn't want to start watching until she was sure it was a goner. Kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy, but she was also spot-on about the cancellation. I'm yet to watch it myself, hard to get to it here (in Poland) if one tries not to pirate.
Unless she also knew how the first few episodes would look/feel like in comparison to the rest of the season, not even her watching it as it came out would have made its pending cancellation less likely to happen[footnote]I'm still sad about that...[/footnote]... I would make a joke in relation to the last episode, but I'm sure NBC got the message already... :p

koobismo said:
FPLOON said:
Other than that, that last panel finally made me realized that this series could potentially switch art styles to fit the mood/setting if it felt like it, thus opening another mystery in this world's "inconsistencies"... Oh my glob! When's Season 2 of Game On Hardcore coming out already!? #thesuspenceisreal
Well, technically we're still at season one (which, according to my count, is "around 40 episodes"), but you're spot on about the possibility of switching the art style. :D
"Around 40"? Wow, was I WAY off on that count... Then again, my "spot-on" wants a nerd-five stat!
http://media.giphy.com/media/9o67upvAnOqRy/giphy.gif