Monday, December 24, 2018

Episode 377 - Ready Pegasus One, chapters 9-12

Episode 377: Ready Pegasus One, chapters 9-12

They’re going to learn a valuable lesson about life. Which will piss them off, since you can’t loot it.

In a shocking turn of events, the sinister villain AoD attacks Parcival’s castle and slays him and his right-hand men, Loetrag and Mogstor. Who are these sinister villains? Actually, we have no idea at all, as they’ve basically just appeared out of nowhere. And what does this have to do with our alleged protagonists? Nothing at all. And how does it affect them? Not one iota. In fact, they continue to remain blissfully unaware as they go on treasure hunts, fight monsters and pay vast amounts of money for in-game items that they immediately throw away. So grab yourself an Almond Frost Symbiote Goo slurpee and some chicken nuggets for the utter lack of conclusion of Ready Pegasus One. Still entirely Pegasus free!

Riffers: Dan, Rebecca Bartley, Tsuneo Tateo and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Zogster and Rick R.`

Monday, December 3, 2018

Episode 376 - Ready Pegasus One, chapters 5-8

Episode 376: Ready Pegasus One, chapters 5-8

You know what? I genuinely think that Ready Player One would have been improved with more Amtrak Wars references.

What could be more exciting than a fanfic about people playing a video game? If your answer is “a fanfic about people learning to play a video game” then you’re ready for the next poorly-defined lump of this fic. While the world has turned into a dystopian hellhole (apparently) and KFC no longer exists, our heroes learn to use magic (in a video game), watch anime (in a video game) and eat instant ramen (in a video game) before having something that could be very charitably described as a boss fight. And, um, that’s it, really. Not much else happens at all, which is amazing given the page count. So get ready for Dinosaur Synch Mode and learn how to run in a straight line for Ready Pegasus One.

Riffers: Dan, Rebecca Bartley, Tsuneo Tateo and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Zogster and Rick R.`

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Episode 375 - Ready Pegasus One, chapters 1-4

Episode 375: Ready Pegasus One, chapters 1-4

And so it was, standing in the middle of a blasted base, stuck healing a virtual wolf under threat of death that Wesley began to wonder if the OASIS was really for him.

When your school has been blown up by evil drones, your parents abducted and you’re forced to live as a fugitive then it’s obvious that your major goal is going to be becoming the best person in the world at a video game. And if that makes sense then you’re probably ready for this marvellous piece of fictive detritus in which our heroes list all their super-powers while failing to notice small details such as half their home being on fire, their vault door being blasted open and the near-dead virtual wolf bleeding out right in front of them. So grab your haptic suit (With micro-fibre crotch inlay and discrete openings), your gaming chair (inside a video game) and redundant space Lamborghini and get gunting for Ready Pegasus One!

Riffers: Dan, Rebecca Bartley, Tsuneo Tateo and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Zogster and Rick R.`

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Episode 374 - GBF Old Wars Waged Anew, chapters 6-13

Episode 374: GBF Old Wars Waged Anew, chapters 6-13

Not now, mom. My arch-nemesis is watching.

There are a number of ways you could build a team for a contest. Getting all the potential candidates to beat each other up and then decide that the last four people standing are it is probably not the best of them, but it’s what this fic has decided to go for (and hey, it worked for Storm Force). So after a dozen or so chapters of dancing robots, Allen failing at everything he does, nameless Loto pilot and the Sonic the Hedgehog Gundam being even dumber then you expected, we’re left with the team of Unlikeable Designated Protagonist, Ineffectual Brother, YouTube Celerity and That Other Guy. And then, having spent forever setting itself up, Old Wars Waged Anew suddenly stops without even having any old wars, let alone waging them anew. What does this mean? Not a lot, really.

Riffers: Dan, Rebecca Bartley, Tsuneo Tateo and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Zogster and Rick R.`

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Episode 373 - GBF Old Wars Waged Anew, chapters 1-5

Episode 373: GBF Old Wars Waged Anew, chapters 1-5

Get in, loser. We’re going Gundam Fighting.

When you have a completely unlikeable lead character who exists only to squeeze any hint of joy out of his chosen hobby while running roughshod over anyone around him, it can only mean one thing. That’s right, it’s time for another Build Fighters fanfic. But this time we’re taking a break from the usual lists of what parts everybody’s Gundam is made out of and how much Trans-Am they can do to bring in something new; that’s right it’s a crossover in the one case where you wonder if it would actually be a crossover to begin with. It’s something to ponder as you fight all the Gundam fans in Canada (all three of them), get your creepy DeviantArt OC (Do not steal) and your favourite obscure Cold War jet fighter while being abandoned at the airport for Old Wars Waged Anew.

PS: Please send characters

Riffers: Dan, Rebecca Bartley, Tsuneo Tateo and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Zogster and Rick R.`

Friday, September 28, 2018

Episode 372 - The Death Games, chapters 17-19

Episode 372: The Death Games, chapters 17-19

He’s just being lightly stabbed in the face. Nothing to be worried about.

Screaming straight back into action from the tumultuous cliffhanger at the previous exciting instalment of The Death Games, we find our daring hero racing to the… Oh, I can’t keep this up. Really, it’s hard to make this sound exciting while keeping a straight face. I mean, sure they git into a fight – sort of, if you could call it that – but it’s not really a capital ‘F’ fight worthy of the build-up now, is it? And what do they do after? Why, they lounge around in a handy hot springs, don’t they? Sure, that’s a big change. Way to advance the plot by doing nothing there, folks. Really, it’s more of the same turgid banality we’ve come to expect of – wait what? On a what? Seriously? All this time? Oh, I give up. Chirp.

Riffers: Dan, Maya Gold, Celena Harte and Tsuneo Tateo
Written by: Zogster

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Episode 371 - Mixed Timelines

Episode 371: Mixed Timelines

Well done. I think you just undercut the fic’s entire premise in the first scene.

When the source material says you can’t go back in time to change history, then naturally it makes perfect sense to write a fic about going back in time to change history. That’s the basic logical fallacy that this fic is based on, not that the issue will ever be even remotely be addressed. Instead, it’s largely about DIY protagonist Phoenix Hendrix (yes, really) having the same conversation with the same people over and over again. There’s also some stuff about billboards, street racing and the fact that twins are slower to travel in time because they are twins, but you’ll never notice it in among all the cheap drama. So sit back, pour yourself a glass of Manhattan and struggle to get out of the first scene of Mixed Timelines. It’s banned in Australia!

Riffers: Dan, Rebecca Bartley, Tsuneo Tateo and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Zogster and Rick R.`

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Episode 370 - Storm Force: Man of Fire

Episode 370: Storm Force: Man of Fire

Suddenly, a massive asteroid strikes the Earth. The impact shatters continents, vaporises oceans and ignites the atmosphere, leading to the extinction of all multicellular life. Bruno Demonski immediately crawls out of the rubble unscathed and shouts “You cannot stop the man of fire!”

When your life’s work proves to be a failure, it’s hard not to be despondent. Some people try to see what went wrong and find some way to fix their mistakes and move forwards. Others instead opt to quite literally set the entire world on fire in a festival of cartoon supervillainy. And since this is Storm Force, I think you can guess what brilliant inventor Bruno Demonski chooses to do. That’s right, it’s another all action, all fire, all explosions (but no Jenga) tale of our favourite group of substitute action heroes as they fight for whatever the hell it is they fight for in an effort to prop up a dying comic book. So grab your best fire suit, your flamethrower arm and your one-man attack helicopter and make the most minimal effort possible for Man of Fire.

Riffers: Rebecca Bartley, Natasha Isavia, Mat Simmons and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Rick R.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Episode 369 - War for the Wastes, chapters 6-12

Episode 369: War for the Wastes, chapters 6-12

Guy can’t go a week without getting shot in the head. It’s a real pest to him.

In this latest thrilling chunk of War for the Wastes, Steve counts the day’s takings, drinks soda, gets a prop girlfriend and buys a new house. Also there’s a huge war raging between the Axis of Stupid Evil and the Designated Good Guys, but that continues to remain the B-Plot to Steve’s amazingly unexciting unadventures. But all good things must come to an end, as does this fic, and so the two plot streams are less crossed as they vaguely bump into each other, give a mumbled apology and them move on. And so the fic doesn’t so much conclude or resolve anything in as far as it just stops dead in the stupidest (and yet most awesome) way possible. And for those of you who were wondering what Steve has to do with anything, your questions will be finally answered, and it will not shock you at all.

Riffers: Dan, Rebecca Bartley, Tsuneo Tateo and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Zogster and Rick R.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Episode 368: War for the Wastes, chapters 1-5

Episode 368: War for the Wastes, chapters 1-5

An alliance of evil the likes of which has not been seen since the Laffalympics.

As you might expect from a fic titled War for the Wastes, there is indeed a war and it does indeed take place in the wastes. There’s plenty of fighting as the designated good guys do battle against the axis of stupid evil and their army of unicycle robots, but that’s actually the B-plot of this piece. Yes, despite the title, the main plot is once again about Steve engaging in such thrilling activities as checking into a hotel, eating breakfast and trying to figure out the difference between his chest and shoulder. (For Steve, that’s not easy). On top of that we have a shallow love interest girl who not only manages to be the best described person in the fic, but also has a backstory that is both nonsensical and irrelevant. So sit back with a plate of fried mystery meat and enjoy the strange writing priorities of War for the Wastes.

Riffers: Dan, Rebecca Bartley, Tsuneo Tateo and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Zogster and Rick R.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Episode 367 - The Vault Dweller, chapters 5-9

Episode 367: The Vault Dweller, chapters 5-9

Yeah, but the truth is, being a Luddite is just plain exhausting. Who has time to oppose the inexorable march of progress these days?

When you are creating an antagonist group for your fanfic, there are a number of different approaches that you can take, some of which are better than others. Mashing together three pre-existing groups who have no connection to each other, no reason to be working together and mutually exclusive goals and philosophies is about the worst approach a fic could take. So naturally, that’s exactly what The Vault Dweller does, like you’re surprised or anything. At any rate, as the Axis of Not Nice set out to do stuff (not anything specific, just stuff), it’s up to Steve and the people who vaguely hang around him to stop them. Which they do by wandering aimlessly around the desert, ordering soft drinks, going to a casino and basically doing whatever inconsequential act comes to mind that has nothing to do with anything. So in short, Steve.

Riffers: Dan, Rebecca Bartley, Tsuneo Tateo and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Zogster and Rick R.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Episode 366 - The Vault Dweller, chapters 1-4

Episode 366: The Vault Dweller, chapters 1-4

And with that, Darcy despawned, never to be seen again.

Meet Steve, an incredibly bland Vault Dweller. We don’t know much about him. We don’t know what he looks like. We don’t know anything about his personality. We don’t even know what his last name is. What we do know about him is that he is the protagonist of this fanfic (hint: check the title). So what does el Steve-o do to make him the hero of this tale? Well, mostly he stumbles around, annoys random NPCs, gets shot, falls down and plays second fiddle to some other guy who is about as well defined as he is. Sounds thrilling, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, there may be some semblance of a story going on here in the background if you squint hard enough. So if you know how guns work (bullets are involved) and find nuclear explosions to be a mild nuisance, then this is the fic for you!

Riffers: Dan, Rebecca Bartley, Tsuneo Tateo and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Zogster and Rick R.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Episode 365 - The Phantom Bioroid

Episode 365: The Phantom Bioroid

Every time you shoot a hadoken, an angel gets its wings.

How do I summarise The Phantom Bioroid, a fic that might just be the most incomprehensible one I have ever taken on? I mean, I could say ‘mysterious space robot shows up and blows stuff up’, but that wouldn’t begin to scratch the surface of the incoherence that this fic presents. Told from the point of view of an enigmatic alien warrior (except when it isn’t), this tale bounces from scene to scene with no real indication of where it’s going or how it got there, stopping only to contrive new super powers and randomly blow things up. And then in the end it comes down to some random guy who we’ve never heard of (and likely don’t care about) who is somehow important no less. So sit back with a lot of alcohol and loaded firearms for The Phantom Bioroid. It’s technically complete!


Riffers: Dan, Rebecca Bartley, Tsuneo Tateo and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Zogster and Rick R.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Episode 364 - The Death Games, chapters 14-16

Episode 364: The Death Games, chapters 14-16

Well there you go, she does indeed have intelligent on plants.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is time once again for that spectacle of bravery and sacrifice, the Death Games! And what does today’s instalment have for us? I’m glad you asked, Jimmy, because it’s got everything! Romance blossoms with the slightest look! Will our star-crossed contestants actually emote beyond blank smiles? Random mash-up creatures! It may look like a vicious three headed tiger, but is it really a big softy? Vile poison!* An evil and dastardly haircut! Padding! All kinds of padding! Dream sequence padding and song lyrics padding! It’s got so much padding that it’s even padding out this promo! So come one, come all, as long as you don’t want any actual death or games, then the Death Games is for you!

*We think. I mean, it’s not like it’s ever brought up again…

Riffers: Dan, Maya Gold, Celena Harte and Tsuneo Tateo
Written by: Zogster

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Episode 363: Storm Force - The Wizard's Challenge, parts 4-7

Episode 363: Storm Force: The Wizard's Challenge, parts 4-7

Your mastery over cosmic powers before mortal comprehension is no match for his mundane rock!

Given the choice between introducing new and unexpected elements into the world and falling back on the well-established clich├ęs and lazy writing it prefers, Storm Force unerringly opts for the latter in this, the second half of The Wizard’s Challenge. Having spent about a three hundred pages picking off the members of the titular team of murderous psychos one at a time through his amazing magical powers, Mortak is revealed to be a robot who was doing it all with smoke and mirrors all along. Yes, it’s an amazing plot twist comparable to that of an average episode of Scooby Doo, only with slightly more killer robots (Slightly). Throw in a jarringly out of place ending that completely ignores that devastating disasters that set up the story in the first place and it’s a wrap! Merry Christmas!

Riffers: Rebecca Bartley, Natasha Isavia, Mat Simmons and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Rick R.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Episode 362 - Coalition War Story, chapters 7-10

Episode 362: Coalition War Story, chapters 7-10

It’s a good thing that they have a contingency plan for an invisible dragon landing in that one specific spot.

It’s time to once more sally forth into the post-apocalyptic wastelands for more fun and adventures with our alleged hero, Sam Brady, and his pack of furries as they continue to beat up on innocent people in the name of protecting humanity! However, now the fic peels back the curtain and gives us a glimpse into the fic’s true purpose; that’s right, using game mechanics to win internet arguments. So as Sam’s motivation is reduced to ‘my robot can beat up your dragon’ and the Coalition struggles to win a war on a budget of less than a million future money units, we suddenly crash towards the surprise conclusion of the fic. Well, it’s a surprise in as far as you’ll read it and go ‘wait, that was the end? Where did the rest of it go?’

Riffers: Dan, Rebecca Bartley, Tsuneo Tateo and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Zogster and Rick R.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Rebuild of Elmer Studios, year six

Sadly, once again year six of the Rebuild of Elmer Studios was a slow one, with a mere twenty episodes completed (another one is in progress as I type this). A big part of this slowdown has again been real life and related matters; I admit we’ve been dragging on things, and that there’s a definite bottleneck that needs to be addressed. The good news is that, even after the next episode, we’ve got enough material for the next eight or nine episodes after that, and that’s before B-Teams.

Of course, even accounting for the slowdown, we achieved a lot in the last year. Fictive firsts, returns to old favourite authors, a prominent rebuild (now with greatly expanded content), the end of certain long-running fics and a dramatic expansion of a pet project.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Episode 361 - Coalition War Story, chapters 4-6

Episode 361: Coalition War Story, chapters 4-6

Gee willikers, that nuclear-powered death robot is neat-o, mister!

After months of standing around in a city and killing anyone who looks at him funny, it’s time for our designated protagonist Sam to head into the field with his squad of genetically engineered murder dogs (and psychic fire bats. And maybe some monkeys). Once there, he’s going to do all sorts of stuff in the name of protecting his facist, skull and robot-loving homeland. Things like indiscriminately kill innocent people, dig up graves, steal cars, dump his girlfriend, feed prisoners to dinosaurs, go skinny dipping, have a random crossover, feed dinosaurs to dinosaurs, get edited out of history and use the very people he’s supposed to be protecting as bait for monsters. (So he can kill them too!) Throw in some more gun porn and you have more of Sam’s amazingly unheroic adventures in whatever it is he does. (I have no idea, really)

Riffers: Dan, Rebecca Bartley, Tsuneo Tateo and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Zogster and Rick R.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Episode 360 - Coalition War Story, chapters 1-3

Episode 360: Coalition War Story, chapters 1-3

Then I scanned that guy with my brain and one of the dogs bonked him on the head. Then I scanned the next guy with my brain and one of the dogs bonked him on the head too.

Meet our designated protagonist Sam Brady, your average monster hunting psychic vampire in the service of a post-apocalyptic fascist state obsessed with skulls and robots. That’s right, it’s a Rifts fanfic (Although if you thought it was anything else after that description, I’d be worried) about the lives of the ordinary men and women who fight the good fight against alien invaders from beyond alongside their teams of monster-sniffing genetically engineered dog-men (really). But it’s not all fun and games as the fic takes time out to deal with such complex issues as who has what laser gun, how bats work, if you can teach people to set things on fire with their minds and the gripping world of entry visas and consumer electronics shopping. All that and gun porn!

Riffers: Dan, Rebecca Bartley, Tsuneo Tateo and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Zogster and Rick R.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Episode 359 - Storm Force: The Wizard's Challenge, parts 1-3

Episode 359: Storm Force: The Wizard's Challenge, parts 1-3

At this point, I suspect that the writing process had devolved into ‘they try to kill Mortak for six pages. Let’s knock off and go to the pub while we still have jobs.’

Terrible disasters strike across the globe, threatening major cities! Who or what could be behind these calamities? Why yes, a wizard did it, and yes, I am being entirely serious about this as well. In response to this supernatural threat, Storm Force deals with the situation by doing what they do best, and by that I mean blundering around a death-trap laden castle while being picked off one at a time, preferably after announcing their signature weapon for the benefit of readers who might have forgotten who they are since last week. Can brave and always correct combat leader John Storm overcome Mortak of the Nagam, with his twin powers of lighting and announcing that he is Mortak of the Nagam? Or will the comic fold first? Read on and find out, if you dare!

Riffers: Rebecca Bartley, Natasha Isavia, Mat Simmons and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Rick R.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Episode 358 - Rise of the Settlements

Episode 358: Rise of the Settlements

Thank you, fic. I wouldn’t have been able to live without knowing what order they entered the tunnel in while still not having a clue as to what they look like or even who they are.

Four years (give or take some exposition) after some nameless protagonist blew up the Institute, the Commonwealth has become an irradiated wasteland where people scavenge for food to survive, hordes of feral ghouls lurk to prey on the unwary and horrible radiation storms tear up the landscape. And if this sounds just like Fallout does normally, then you’re beginning to see the key narrative flaws in Rise of the Settlements. Fortunately, it does introduce new elements into the world, such as complex trade arrangements, backstory infodumps, the idea that raiders take stuff and a girlfriend (no clue who’s girlfriend she is, just that she’s a girlfriend), all of which you can tell doubtless makes for a thrilling tale of post-apocalyptic survival. So join Blake, Josh, Alfie and/or Alpha and Bucky (who’s from the Pitt) as they stumble around in the darkness for tinned food in Rise of the Settlements (revised version).

Riffers: Dan, Rebecca Bartley, Tsuneo Tateo and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Zogster and Rick R.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Fanfic Retrospective: The Tom Dyron Cycle

Normally I would do a Fanfic retrospective about Gates of Oblivion, but it does seem to be a bit pointless. The fic was clearly abandoned after only a single introductory chapter of very little content or merit, most of which was rather fiercely generic and unremarkable. In fact, if not for the author (and the obvious in hindsight connection through Hideoto), we would have likely passed it up entirely.

So instead I want to look at what I call the Tom Dyron Cycle as a whole. Encompassing four fics, DELTA Invasion, AYNGEL Project, The Apocalyptic Battle and Gates of Oblivion, they seem to be a constant effort to tell and retell the same story with variations on the same cast. And looking back at the series as a whole, some parts of each fic begin to take on more significance then they do individually.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Episode 357 - Knight Moves, chapters 5-6

Episode 357: Knight Moves, chapters 5-6

Happy singularity event, dear!

So far, Knight Moves has given us a lot. It’s given us stupid people posturing while pretending that they’re geniuses. It’s given us boring one-sided fights. It’s given us an incredibly awkward lunch date. And it’s given us a really stupid prison break-out. So now that it’s bringing all these plot points together for something that might possibly advance the simulacrum of a plot, what more can it offer? Why yes, its recaps of all those previous points for those of you who had somehow missed the entire fic so far. But fortunately, that’s not all it gives us. Why yes, we also get to see the exact same fight scenes as we’ve had so far complete with the exact same twist that wasn’t even exciting the first time around! And then, finally, when the fic looks like it’s actually going to go somewhere it capitalises on that momentum only to stop and never be worked on again ever. Are you excited, because I know I'm not!

Riffers: Dan, Rebecca Bartley, Tsuneo Tateo and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Zogster and Rick R.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Episode 356 - The Amazing Star-Spider, chapters 46-49

Episode 356: The Amazing Star-Spider, chapters 46-49

And so, sitting in a cafe in Brooklyn, in full costume with a cup of hot chocolate, looking for a random guy in a city of millions, Teresa began to question her life choices.

The day has finally arrived. The day that the Amazing Star-Spider actually finishes off a plotline. I know, I know. I’m as surprised as you are. But after meandering pointlessly for fourty-five (yes, fourty-five. I know) chapters, it seems the fic can actually go somewhere and do something for once. Of course it’s not all smooth sailing, as we’ve got the random digression chapter (featuring villain set-up and new girl introduction, neither of which will ever go anywhere) and the return of intrusive author’s notes (complete with demanding readers tell them how to write their own fic) a new plot that will remain unfinished and, because it’s this fic and it loves you, its ickiest and creepiest moments yet. In short, despite daring to actually accomplish something, it’s more of everything you’ve come to hate about the Amazing Star-Spider!

Riffers: Dan, Maya Gold, Celena Harte and Tsuneo Tateo
Written by: Zogster

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Episode 355 - Knight Moves, chapters 3-4

Episode 355: Knight Moves, chapters 3-4

I tried to mid probe her, but she shot back with brain bullets. Why are you looking at me like that?

There have been many daring prison break-outs in fiction, but none like the one presented in the second chunk of Knight Moves! With a well-paced insider on their team, super-evil murderbot Erika proceeds with a plan that is not only needlessly over-complicated for the sake of it, but also traps them and the person they were rescuing inside the prison with no way out while surrounded by killer robots! Brilliant! It’s genius like this that makes this work of derivative fanfic wholly original cyberpunk fiction the well-regarded work that it is today (Because, you know, we’re all reading Sound and Light right now!) Meanwhile, Dick Chaser falls down a hole, goes on an awkward lunch date, exposits about his super powers, drinks lots of water and is generally unpleasant to everybody that he meets. But that’s okay, because he’s a Nice Guy. He said so.

Riffers: Dan, Rebecca Bartley, Tsuneo Tateo and Rick R. Mortis
Written by: Zogster and Rick R.