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Webcomic / Clockwork Game

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Clockwork Game is the story of The Turk, the world's first chess-playing automaton, put into webcomic form by Jane Irwin. Built in 1770 by Wolfgang von Kempelen, it would astound audiences for decades.

Clockwork Game provides examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: Jacques Mouret, one of the directors, was this. While he never appears in the comic, it is he who convincingly blabs the truth about The Turk.
  • Anyone Can Die: It's based on history, so of course this comes into play. Some deaths are even depicted:
  • Artistic License: From time to time, especially for storytelling purposes. In particular is the explanation of the Turk's inner workings; as the original no longer exists and there are no blueprints, Jane Irwin could not do the research and her guess is as good as any. Certainly, what she presents was in line with the technology of the day.
  • Based on a Great Big Lie: A meta example; The Turk itself was the lie (or rather, the hoax). It's fallacious nature was clarified in the first chapter, and explained in the second.
  • Blood from the Mouth: William Schlumburger after being bit by a mosquito and contracting Yellow Fever. The final stage includes "Black Vomit", when the victim pukes up partially digested blood.
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  • Catchphrase: For the Automaton, it is "Echec", French for "Check". This is, in fact, the only word it can say.
  • Downer Ending: The comic ends with the destruction of The Turk in a fire.
  • Dramatization: Some events are rearranged, but reading this will give you a good idea of The Turk's history.
  • Follow the Leader (In-Universe): Hinted at and borne out by history. While The Turk was a hoax, Jozsef von Bittó pointed out to his future father-in-law Kempelen that it had given others the idea of machines that could make their own decisions. The Automaton would inspire engineers to create machines to perform calculations and, two centuries later, actual chess-playing machines would exist in the form of computer chess programs.
  • I Am Not Shazam: In-Universe It was called "The Automaton", not "The Turk". It was, however, dressed as a Turk, and that's how it was known.
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  • Last Words: Maelzel had added a gimmick to the Turk that allowed it to say certain words. Its last words are "Echec", which is French for "Check".
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: There are no blueprints showing how The Turk was actually built.
  • "Open!" Says Me: Maelzel busts down Schlumburger's door, believing his director is too drunk to perform. Turns out, Schlumburger isn't drunk—he's dying.
  • Press Start to Game Over: The Fool's Mate, the shortest victory in Chess, makes an appearance.
  • The Reveal: Mouret, a director (operator) of The Turk, sells the story as he is in need of money for more booze. Maelzel is horrified and enraged when he finds out.
  • Shown Their Work: The sheer research that went into this webcomic is astounding; what Artistic License has been taken is admitted to.
  • You Meddling Kids: Two boys see a man crawl out of The Turk, and go straight to the nearest newspaper to reveal the truth. They discredit themselves by demanding money for the story, though.

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