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''Kid Radd'' is an animated Pixel Art Comic in the style of a Sprite Comic by Dan Miller following the adventures of the eponymous Video Game hero after being released from his game.While at first the comic was a lighthearted parody focusing on Radd's attempts to fit into a more complicated society, the plot eventually expanded into a far-reaching, well-plotted, epic examination of video game character mentality. And it stayed funny.Rose above most sprite comics for its blend of a deep plot, humor, and philosophical questioning, not to mention its unique style- by composing its comic panels from HTML frames and smaller images, Miller was able to easily slip animated sprites and backgrounds into the panels.Though the original site is dead and gone from the face of the internet due to AT&T discontinuing their Worldnet service, the site was previously packaged into an archive which is still circulating. One copy can be found here. A link with a browser to view it in is here. A fan has uploaded the comic onto his own site here. Another fan has re-coded the comic to work in modern browsers and uploaded it here.A game based on the comic also exists, and can be found here. JTE (the creator) also has his own mirror up at kidradd.org. The website is a little messed up though (this and this result in error), and the comic only works properly on Internet Explorer (though it is still readable on Firefox, just without sounds!).There are spoilers below. Be warned.
Provides examples of:
Accidental Misnaming: Radd keeps calling Kobayashi, the ninja that has been hired to assassinate him, "Kielbasa".
Alas, Poor Villain: Crystal's motivations and Freudian Excuse are examined just before she becomes part of the Seer's chimera form, and they go a long way toward explaining her psychopathic, violent behavior. Similarly, G.I. Guy is given a very sympathetic treatment, though he is always presented as a violent Anti-Hero and, later, a Well-Intentioned Extremist rather than a straight villain.
Almost Kiss: It's a running joke for a while that the Kid Radd game ends just before Radd would get to kiss Sheena. Also shows up outside the game a few times, e.g. in 364.
Always Accurate Attack: Kobayashi's shuriken, which comes as a surprise when he could never hit anything with any of his other attacks. Justified in that the shurikens arent technically thrown, they're programmed to "appear" on their target, making it impossible for him to miss, since they were designed to be an instant kill move by the programmer of Kobayashi's original software.
Binary Bits and Bytes: Kid Radd has a Charged Attack called the Mega Radd, which becomes stronger the longer it is charged. Its maximum charge power is based on the maximum word size for a system, which goes to 255 on an 8-bit system. However, due to shoddy programming, it simply charges to the highest level it can, going to overfour billion on a 32-bit system, and making Radd one of the most powerful figures in the universe.
In one case, Sheena's opponent in the fighting game tries every move in her arsenal, even one that sacrifices her own health, and loses when the time runs out because she took damage while Sheena remained unscathed.
Character Development: Again, done well. Hell, the Character Development is practically a plot point: characters diverging from their pre-programmed actions is a major part of the plot; the heroes succeed because they have grown beyond what they were written to be, the villains fail because they have chosen to remain Static Characters.
Charged Attack: The Mega Radd, which becomes an important plot device later on.
Also, two from the very first chapter: everything hurts Radd equally and the Mega Radd charges to a max value of 255 because "Hey, do I have to explain everything?" The latter ends up having almost literally Earth-shattering significance.
Comic 592 is loaded with reminders of them from all across the comic.
Seer: Fools! This is only a game death! I'll still exist, and will still destroy this world!
GI Guy: Most of the time when sprites battle, they're just playing with each others' programming... Live or die, no code is actually damaged.
Radd: How did you "half" kill somebody? Kobayashi: Um, he got better.
The Lucky Penny item Elliot gives Radd during the Mofo storyarc. It cancels out a single attack, which comes into play when The Seer is about to finish off Radd while he is on his last hit point during the final battle. The fact that Radd doesnt die throws the Seer off so badly that he gets sloppy, panics and goes to his final form
Classic Cheat Code: Parodying the tendency to make cheat codes spell something pronounceable (DULLARD, BARACUDA), the infinite Raddboard code is Right, Up, Right, A, Down, Down. (R U RADD?)
Contemplate Our Navels: "What is a sprite? A miserable pile of pixels!" The first attempt at civilization outside the games angsted itself to death, which didn't take much. Existential doubt is dangerous in the fireball-throwing hands of people who know exactly what they were created to do.
Cool Airship: Itty Bitty has one of these in his inventory, intended for the protagonists of his original game once they reached a certain level cap and had amassed enough money.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Radd, Sheena and Bogey's fights against their counterparts in the fighting game. They regretfully decide that they're not strong enough to take along.
Much more dramatically, Radd's fight with Gnarl after the latter tracks him down—the degree to which he was completely out of his league was the plot's takeaway from the battle.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Crystal. She doesn't kill her messengers, though as a sadist she loves torturing them, and rather than allow Radd to create an army with his powers, she has all copies of his ROM destroyed. She did let GI Guy live, but that was out of sadism, to torture him with the world of her own creation. She even calls it a stupid move.
Death of a Thousand Cuts: The Seer, while fused with Crystal, has 9999 HP, but takes one point of damage per attack regardless of the attack's strength, and so must be hit about ten thousand times.
Deadpan Snarker: Nearly all of the main characters have their moments, but Bogey is the undisputed master of the art.
Deconstruction: Of video games, video game tropes, and probably some sprite comics as well. Game sprites act out their roles outside the game. At best, like Radd, they have a long way to go before they can channel their talents into something productive for society. At worst, they regress into violent behavior.
GI Guy: Over absolutely nothing, dozens of sprites started fighting and killing each other. Radd: But why? GI Guy: Because that's what video game characters do.
During his fight against Kobayashi's machine, Radd reassures himself that the hours his player spent "training" him were not wasted. Cut to "Somewhere in the real world," where we see a human (assumably Radd's former player) washing dishes, and thinking his mother was right: "Play video games all day, and you'll grow up a loser!"
The chimeraized Gnarl/Kobayashi run to contact Dr. Amp for help with getting de-chimeraized, saying "They can't be too busy. It's not like they're entertaining guests or anything." Cut to the High Score, which is now filled with Shopkeeper NP Cs and a very confused Itty Bitty.
Fun with Acronyms: The Kid Radd engine based on the comic is known as the Kid Radd Internal Map Editor, or KRIME for short.
Fusion Dance: Features a Mixed Form version mid way through the comic. Also features a Composite character very late on, with an actual dance that looks (in minimal pixels) very similar to the Dragon Ball ZTrope Namer version.
Game Breaker: invoked Sprites who were balanced in their own games can be very broken in other games. Radd and Bogey find it very easy to Stun Lock fighting game characters, for example.
Glass Cannon: Radd, once outside of his own game—he's got enough raw power to affect the real world from the internet, but will die after four hits, no matter how trivial.
Gone Horribly Wrong: The attempt to fuse murderous sprites with NPC sprites, rather than resulting in sprites that could live peacefully, resulted in ones that can kill without being defeatable. It took quite a bit of effort to round them up, and a collapsing video game ROM to destroy them.
Good Bad Bugs: Turns out to be a major, dramatic plot point. Because of programmer laziness, the charged Mega Radd just charges until the variable limit has been reached. In his original game, this put Radd's maximum damage at 255. On modern systems, the limit is high enough to cause ...problems.invoked
Itty Bitty's sprite being rendered only above counter level is one he takes advantage of; by crouching down all the way, he becomes invisible.
Also how the main villain is finally defeated. Combining so many different types of sprites causes his "death code" to not know what to do, and permanently lock up.
Humans Are Cthulhu: Sprites use the term "humanlike power" as we might say "godlike power." They're treated as gods, and many characters spend a good deal of time contemplating the implications and cruelty of what most videogames are created for. Though it's the villains who try to Rage Against the Heavens. Pretty accurate, really, except when they assume the humans know what they're doing (and that all humans are programmers).
Radd: Moron. I'm doing this because I care about you. You'll learn soon enough that blindly following your pre-programmed desires isn't true happiness. Sure, it's fun once in a while, but it isn't everything. You are more than just your programming. We all are. And it'd be a terrible waste if you never even tried to expand yourself. So get out there and forge a life on your own. It won't be long before you discover things that make you far happier than stupid set patterns. Later, Gnarl. Good luck on the path ahead, whatever you make it to be.
Nigh-Invulnerability: Due to the way NPC's are coded, most of them cannot be hurt or destroyed in any way, even outside their games. The only way would be if their code was damaged or deleted, which normally cant be done from inside the Internet.
No Fair Cheating: In Mofo, the EarthBound-ersatz. They have to deplete the boss' HP in a single round, since they don't have the character necessary to kill him the right way. When this happens, the game sends them to a behind-the-sceens area, where a sprite chides them for cheating, rather than continuing the plot of the game.
Omnicidal Maniac: Two characters: GI and the Seer, both of whom attempt to destroy the world, for very differentreasons. The Seer goes the extra mile by planning to travel to other planets, the slow way, in hope of finding more life so he can destroy that as well.
Omniscient Morality License: The Moderators destroy game worlds in their quest to free video game sprites. They argue it is for the sprites' best, but the sprites get no say as their world is doomed as soon as the Moderators enter it. Sheena, however, has doubts about this, and decides to tender her resignation just before she learns of the plot to kill Radd.
Pair the Spares: At the very end, Bogey and Joule glomp each other adorably... and accidentally.
Pants-Free: For a while, Itty Bitty is only seen standing behind a counter. He eventually comes out from behind the counter, revealing that he has nothing below his midsection. (As in, not just no pants, but no body.) This is presumably because he spent all his time in his game behind a counter, therefore the game artists only needed to draw him from the waist up. His arms also disappear if he drops them below his waist. This also applies to the nurse the team picks up.
People Puppets: One of G.I. Guy's abilities allows him to take control of another person's body. However, they have to either be incredibly weak to begin with, or he has to weaken them to at least 25% of their HP before he can take control.
Powers of Two Minus One: Radd's charged attack. This is given as having a limit of 255, for reasons Radd can't be bothered to explain (he's on an 8-bit system, obviously). Said non-explanation turns out to be a Chekhov's Gun: Radd's programmers didn't actually set a limit to Radd's charge, they just relied on 8-bit computing to enforce a 255-power max... having no apparent need to take into account a scenario where Radd might not be limited to 8-bits. The power of Radd's charge attack thus gets exponentially more destructive as processing power goes up, making him a Person of Mass Destruction on higher-end systems. On the highest levels, his charge packs enough punch to obliterate the internet itself.
Random Encounter: The Big Badstarted as one in her source game. Being utterly irrelevant to her own game's plot, she reacts with resentment and contempt towards sprites who behave as though their in-story roles actually have any real significance.
Red Pill, Blue Pill: In a Matrix parody Radd is offered the usual red and blue pills. But there's also the purple pill to relieve acid indigestion and an orange pill to reduce your cholesterol. The yellow pill is for erm... personal reasons (because the blue pill was already taken). And Radd can't just choose any pill, first he must ask his doctor if they're right for him.
Rescue Romance: Joule gets a little crush on Radd after he saves her from Kobayashi. It eventually grows to full-blown jealousy of Sheena's relationship with Radd.
Running Gag: A fair few. Whenever Dr Amp explains a piece of science, whoever he's talking to says "So it's a rip off of X," to which he replies, "Well, Y actually. But yeah."
When the player wins Kid Radd's original game, the title character leans in to kiss his 'girlfriend' Sheena, only to be rudely cut off by a Fade to Black and the victory credits. This fate seems to follow the two even once they leave the game; on several occasions, the two lean in to kiss, only to be interrupted by someone or something. Including in the closing animation of the comic.
Self-Deprecating Humor: This strip combines Fanservice, with Spoilers, with Self-Deprecating humor, with an Easter Egg. 4 for the price of one! If you highlight the bottom part of the panel, you can read "Undoubtedly the lowest this strip has stooped."
Shaggy Dog Story: Subverted. At first glance, Dr. Amp's explanation of how the heroes defeated the Big Bad seems like they didn't need to do anything. A little thought shows that they did have to win first, but they know that this villain's not coming back.
Shoplift and Die: Used as part of Radd's army of sprites with unusual game mechanics. No boss, however powerful and convoluted, can possibly be a match (in the long run) for an invincible shopkeeper with an attack...
Shoot the Messenger: Crystal. (She settles for "infliction of gratuitous pain" — almost as much fun as killing him, but less wasteful and less cliché.)
The Slacker: Radd. While most NPCs follow their programming, he doesn't do anything unless his player is controlling him, and is thus initially unmotivated. It's indicated that this is a problem for most P Cs.
Talking Is a Free Action: Averted. Twice, Kid Radd has an inner monologue in the middle of a battle, and both times, he takes another hit as a result of his opponent still attacking and his Mercy Invincibility wearing off.
Radd: Note to self: Learn to think and dodge at the same time.
Technobabble: Inverted and lampshaded at all times by Dr. Amp: "The sensors are picking up some stuff!", "it's got a wavy-line thingy".
Radd gives one of these to Gnarl after blasting him with a 999 Damage Mega Radd, leaving him with 1 HP left, but refusing to finish him off.
Radd: Sorry Gnarl, but you're gonna hafta deal with the struggle of living just like the rest of us. I'm no longer a puppet to my programming, or to a human. I don't just mimic my former player's goals and moves, but have developed new ones on my own. You, on the other hand, have stayed the same as you always were, changing none, improving none. You've learned nothing. Which is why you can't beat me. I'll continue to change, and you'll stay the same. The difference between us will forever grow. You'll never be able to have a "real" battle with me, and I'll never kill you. Your programming will forever go unfulfilled.
G.I. Guy also gives one, although it's more a "The Reason We All Suck" Speech.
G.I. Guy: You know the game I came from was cruel, but my player was even crueller. He'd spend hours leveling me up, looking for every damn secret treasure and hidden ability. Utter torture... The only thing that kept me going was the vague knowledge that somehow, despite its harshness, the world I was in was not real. It was an illusion created by wicked humans who exploited our pain for their pleasure. When I finally escaped that game, the joy at starting over was immense. Finally, I had comrades like myself, who happily worked with me to create a new world, a better one than the fake existences we knew before. How naive I was. We were still killers, and that was a fate we could never escape. As disturbing it was, the revelation came gradually. During the failure of Protos, an unsettling pattern became apparent. Almost every game the humans made shared a common theme: destruction. Whether it was overt bloody slaughter, or simply "defeating" enemies by jumping on them, game after game required you to kill several hundred enemies to win. Even the most seemingly innocent games shared this trait. Puzzle games destroy blocks, sports games glorify violence. Every damn game, always about pain and death... [...] The humans have imbued us with their tainted nature. We're made in their image. We reek of their natural instincts. Our synthetic souls are mirrors of theirs, so we, like them, take pleasure in violence. And that is precisely why my dream of a perfect world came crashing down. Twice.
There Is No Kill Like Overkill: In Mofo, Radd enjoys charging his attack to the maximum, regardless of how much is needed to defeat the enemy. note It's a turn-based RPG, so he can get away with this. And for the record, it's (possibly) a 12-bit system, though G.I. Guy's attack against the final boss (9990) suggests Radd might actually be be cutting off before the real limit.
Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him??: Justified and Averted. In the final battle, Radd puts up with the villain's monologue to get time to charge his attack. He fires as soon as he finds out how much HP the villain has, and realizes that he has charged sufficiently to instantly kill The Seer. It doesn't work..
Wishplosion: anyone who consults the Seer becomes destined to die within a few weeksnote or so most sprites believe, at least, so Crystal asks him how to become immortal.
"World of Cardboard" Speech: Parodied in a gag comic; after Radd gets beaten up by Koyabashi, Bogey approaches him with a book full of "epiphanies", saying: "After the hero gets his ass kicked, he or she has a defining moment, which somehow makes them a bajillion times stronger."
You Get What You Pay For: A couple of flunkies are given ten grand to buy the very best assassin to kill Kid Radd while he's in jail. The flunkies decide to get a discount ninja for twenty bucks and keep the rest. The ninja can't hit the broad side of a barn.