[[caption-width-right:248: The life of a troper.]]

''[[http://virtualshackles.appspot.com/ Virtual Shackles]]'' by Jeremy Vinar and Mike Fahmie is a webcomic about video games. It occasionally strays into RealLife issues.

Strips tend to fall into two categories: The two main characters discussing a topic, or, as is typical of gaming webcomics, parodies of games, their mechanics, and their plots.
!!This comic provides examples of (or parodies):
* AIIsACrapshoot: The Kinect's a [[http://www.virtualshackles.com/18 bit murderous]], but fortunately the UsefulNotes/Xbox360 is [[http://www.virtualshackles.com/264 suicidal]], so things balance out in the end.
* ArtEvolution: While the art started out somewhat close to where it is now, there have been some changes to depth, shading, ears, and lines to make things seem sharper in general. Compare [[http://www.virtualshackles.com/22 this]] early strip to [[http://www.virtualshackles.com/204 this]] much later one.
* AuthorAvatar: The two main characters, Jack and Orion.
* BadAssSanta: [[http://www.virtualshackles.com/272 Santa]] is apparently an ancient magician, capable of speaking Dragon tongue.
* BeatingADeadPlayer: A long-range version called [[http://www.virtualshackles.com/91 The Atomic Teabag]]!
* BenevolentArchitecture: Lampshaded in [[http://www.virtualshackles.com/137 this]] strip, which explains the strange interior designs in the ''Franchise/PrinceOfPersia'' series.
* BottomOfTheBarrelJoke: You wouldn't ordinarily think [[http://www.virtualshackles.com/421 a joke]] about the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heisenberg_uncertainty_principle Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle]] would be one of these, but the creators of the strip agreed that if they ever used the joke, they would stop making the webcomic, and they passed the comic on to a new team altogether.
* ChristmasEpisode: A three-part [[http://www.virtualshackles.com/70 Christmas comic]] was made that involved Santa, videogames, light cycles, and ''Farmville''.
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: Upon being told of the horrific things done by a ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' player, [[http://www.virtualshackles.com/141 Jack's response]] is shock - at the fact that people still play it.
* DumbassHasAPoint: [[http://www.virtualshackles.com/59 Parodied]] with the StoppedClock analogy - a backwards clock is right 4 times per day, and backwads as 7200 RPM is right 864002 times per day. [[note]]Math is off; it should be right 20736002 times per day.[[/note]]
* FightClubbing: Mario, Luigi, Donkey Kong, and Link all participate in "[[http://www.virtualshackles.com/191 Smash Club]]".
* ImpossibleItemDrop: Made fun of in [[http://www.virtualshackles.com/76 this comic]]. "What the fuck ''VideoGame/{{Darksiders}}''. Why does everything I smash have a soul in it?"
* IndyPloy: [[http://www.virtualshackles.com/96 Rico]] is really going out of his way to get rid of ''one'' dictator; he's blowing up half the country just to eliminate him.
* InconvenientSummons: Charmander is ''not'' [[http://www.virtualshackles.com/99 pleased]] to come out of his comfortable Pokeball to go fight. It's ''raining''.
* ItemGet: [[http://www.virtualshackles.com/215 Link]] does this for every article of clothing.
* ManInAKilt: Orion [[http://www.virtualshackles.com/234 puts one on]] in an attempt to lure perverts. ItMakesSenseInContext
* MyFutureSelfAndMe: Creator/PeterMolyneux travels back in time to warn his past self that the video game he is working will throw the world into chaos. The past Peter simply replies with "Dammit not again!"
* MyNewGiftIsLame: Orion's [[http://www.virtualshackles.com/174 entire family]] does not show any enthusiasm when receiving the latest and greatest tech gifts.
* PoweredByAForsakenChild: Pewter City's electrical needs are met by [[http://www.virtualshackles.com/61 a mass array of Pikachus]] hooked up to pods.
* RefusalOfTheCall: [[VideoGame/TheForceUnleashed Starkiller]] decides to ignore his destiny and just use the Force to [[http://www.virtualshackles.com/68 open a beer]].
* RunningGag: Various strips show what depths Jack will sink to due to his ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' addiction.
** The comic constantly pokes fun at its own similarities to ''Webcomic/PennyArcade'', such as the authors' similar names, the typically three-paneled TwoGamersOnACouch format, and even the [[http://www.virtualshackles.com/22 similar fonts]].
* SuperPrototype: Why ''VideoGame/BioShock'''s Alpha Series [[http://virtualshackles.appspot.com/23 is so badass]]:
-->"As you can see, the subject is '''too''' awesome, but with more time and funding we can achieve desired levels of mediocrity."
-->-- '''Dr. Suchong'''
* TheGuardsMustBeCrazy: Pointed out as one of the [[http://www.virtualshackles.com/278 quirks]] with Skyrim's guards.
-->'''Guard''': "Wait, I know you..."
-->'''Dragonborn''': "That's right! I am Arch-Mage of the College of Winterhold, Harbinger of the Companions, Thane of Whiterun, Nightingale of Nocturnal, Listener the the Night Mother and of course the great Dragonborn."
-->'''Guard''':"No, you're that guy that was moving plates around at the tavern. You're under arrest"
* TropaholicsAnonymous: Jack's wife sends him to a [[http://www.virtualshackles.com/43 support group]] for his ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' addiction, where he encounters characters such as [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Mario]] and [[Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda Link]] who have far bigger problems.
* TryToFitThatOnABusinessCard: The Dragonborn has a [[http://www.virtualshackles.com/278 series of titles]], but is more recognized for moving plates around in a tavern.
* TwoGamersOnACouch: Some comics use this format, normally with Jeremy and Mike, but sometimes with actual videogame characters, such as Link and Zelda.
* WhatDidIDoLastNight: Played with, as the cause is not alcohol, but [[http://www.virtualshackles.com/279 videogames]].