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Webcomic / Kid Radd

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Narrator: Welcome to the world of the classic video game Kid Radd. Meet Radd, the hero of the game.
Radd: Hey.
Narrator: This strip will follow the exploits of Radd, heroic dude and all-around cool guy.
Radd: Awesome.
Narrator: Of course by "cool," we mean by mid-1980's standards.
Radd: Air guitar! Woo!

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 from Totally Rad 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.

There are spoilers below. Be warned.

Provides examples of:

  • Two Siblings In One: Sheena's "sister" (a version of herself from Kid Radd 2) is destroyed, but lives on through Sheena absorbing her code.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Radd keeps calling Kobayashi, the ninja that has been hired to assassinate him, "Kielbasa".
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Seer began life as a virus that was meant to destroy the entire Internet. But after it gained intelligence, it decided to rebel against its purpose. It become a peaceful dispenser of advice to pass the time until it figures out how to destroy everything.
  • Air Guitar: Radd does this to show his personality was based on what was cool in the mid 80s.
  • 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.
  • All Gravity Is the Same: Justified: gravity technically doesn't exist in video games. Rather, many sprites are programmed to fall down if there's nothing below them, and this common trait gives the appearance of gravity as a universal law, but in fact any given sprite will fall at its built-in rate regardless of where it is.
  • 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 aren't 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.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "Hopetown Constitution: Abolished. Political rivals: Eliminated. Pleasantly evil new decor: Installed."
  • Art Evolution: Early action sequences, while good, resembled old fighting and action games (which makes sense within the story). Later action sequences used bullet time, cameras that moved around the characters, Matrix-style, and resembled Dragon Ball Z more than anything.
  • Art Initiates Life: Word of God stated that this is how all media works in the Kid Radd universe - anything created by humans in the shape of something the artist thinks is alive takes on their own life. However, video game characters are the only entities created by this process that can achieve true sentience and independence. Characters in paintings, drawings, and sculptures are trapped eternally in a single moment in time. Characters in books, movies, and plays must re-live the story again and again for all eternity with their memory reset periodically. Video game characters can go through many variations of the same narrative, and so eventually develop true sentience.
  • Bedmate Reveal: After a party in Reset, Radd wakes up in bed with Bogey. Nothing happened, though, this turned out to be a prank played by Dr. Amp and Sheena.
  • Big Bad: Crystal. Or not, as it turns out. It's really the Seer.
  • Blood Knight: GI Guy especially when he betrays Radd.
  • Boss-Arena Idiocy: Kobayashi's Death Trap robot has hovering platforms that can be stepped on to shoot its core. When Radd asks why Kobayashi doesnt just cover up the glowing weak spot with the same indestructible metal the rest of it is made of, Kobayashi claims the weak spot would overheat
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The ending does this in a very awesome way. You resurrect Bogey with a single click.
  • Breather Episode: Fourth-Wall Week, especially the fourth one.
  • Brick Joke: In the credits, it appears that Kobayashi took some of Radd's advice to heart when making a new robot.
  • Broken Ace: GI Guy. He's a powerful video game character and respected leader of the sprites, but he's extremely bitter and cynical as a result of his past failures.
  • Broken Bridge: "Halt! This road is closed!"
  • Buffy Speak: Used by Dr. Amp; see "Technobabble" below.
  • Button Mashing: Sheena tells the player to do this to help Radd break free from Gnarl's Jedi Mind Trick.
  • Captain Ersatz: Radd's design was inspired by a video game character named Jake, from an old Jaleco game called Totally Rad, as explained here. Radd's name also comes from said game.
  • Cast From HP:
    • Some of G.I. Guy's attacks.
    • 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.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Done well. The strip starts out as a fairly standard sprite comic, but gradually explores and deconstructs video game tropes by showing sprites outside of their native environment.
  • 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.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The fact that the Seer started life as a virus.
    • 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 protects the bearer from one hit, 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 doesn't 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?)
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: The Seer gains a controllable sprite to use to Take Over the World, but loses its omniscience in the process, which is what allows the heroes to defeat it.
  • Collision Damage: Described as the "Touch of Death". In one CSI parody, this is how the murderer accidentally kills the victim.
  • The Comically Serious: GI Guy.
  • 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.
  • Cool, but Inefficient / Boring, but Practical: Kobayashi has some cool and flashy attacks that never hit, and some boring attacks that never miss.
  • 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, Gnarl's fight with Radd after the former tracks him down—the degree to which he was completely out of his league was the plot's takeaway from the battle.
  • Curse Cut Short: The second comic almost describes Radd's Player Character role as "the player's little bitch", but Radd interrupts with "Don't say it."
  • Deadpan Snarker: Nearly all of the main characters have their moments, but Bogey is the undisputed master of the art.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Deconstruction Crossover: Using Captain Ersatzes and pastiches rather than actual trademarked Video Game characters.
  • Description Cut:
    • 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 NPCs and a very confused Itty Bitty.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Lampshaded.
    Sheena: Oh look, I'm up against a girl. Hooray for typecasting.
  • Deus ex Machina: Lampshaded as a running gag.
  • Developer's Foresight: In-universe; the final boss of Mofo, when defeated the "wrong" way, took the characters to a special screen where they were chided for cheating.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Let's face it, even with the issues caused by the Seer's chimera form, defeating him was a pretty impressive achievement.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Due to his sprite's limitations, Dr. Amp is stuck with a goofy grin on his face even when he's having "moody recollections" about his first attempt at a sprite settlement.
    Dr. Amp: I'm scowling at you on the inside.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: Parodied with Kid Radd 2, which poked fun at Super Mario Bros. 2. There's also Bogey Pinball...
  • Doppelmerger: Sheena ends up merging her code with that of her "sister"/sequel counterpart after the sequel ROM the former visited was destroyed. As a result, she can switch between her invincible NPC mode and battle mode at will. Sequel Sheena's spirit also occasionally makes herself known in situations where the two versions have a difference of opinion.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: In a Fourth Wall Week, comic, Radd invokes the spirit of Cheez Whiz, and ends up blowing up the Earth, the galaxy, and the universe as a result. "Oops..." indeed.
  • Easter Egg: In-story. See Lord British Postulate.
    Magical Maid Robo Sheena!

    I never understood why girls watch these shows. I mean, boys don't watch shows with near-naked men... Wait. Wrestling. Never mind.
  • '80s Hair: Kid Radd's sequel counterpart has a mullet.
    Radd2: It's the latest in hair technology.
  • Evil Overlord List: This is Gnarl's take on this idea.
  • Evil Twin: Radd's 'brother' Gnarl.
  • Evolving Credits: If a comic takes place inside a game, the title page will be from that game as well. It also gets more and more glitchy as the Kid Radd 2 game collapses.
  • Faceless Eye: The Seer's avatar...Actually a bunch of Faceless Eyes, given that he's a Hive Mind.
  • Fanservice: See Self-Deprecating Humor.
  • Fish out of Water: A lot of sprites don't fit into the world outside their games, either from inability to cope well (Many hero sprites) or actual handicaps (Many enemy sprites).
  • Friendly Target: Taking Bogey into combat situations is dangerous, since he only has one HP and any encounters with heroes has a good chance of ending with his permanent death.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Crystal, who started out as an RPG Random Encounter and became the Big Bad of the comic.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The Kid Radd engine based on the comic is known as the Kid Radd Internal Map Editor, or KRIME for short.
  • Funny Background Event: In "JUST CAN'T WIN"
  • 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 Z Trope 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.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: A major one at the climax. The Seer attempts to exploit the fact that a "video game death" is not permanent, but unfortunately at this point he is made up of a selection of completely different sprites all fused together, all of which have different programming on death. Because of the conflicting death parameters, the chimerized sprite of the Seer crashes for good when the heroes kill him. A rare case of such a bug working in the heroes' favor.
  • 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. Or no matter how powerful.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: Gnarl and Kobayashi, though both of them perform Heel Face Turns near the end of the story. Furthermore, Kobayashi subverts the trope by becoming scarily competent right before said Heel–Face Turn.
  • 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" not to know what to do, and permanently lock up.
  • Good Is Dumb: Inverted by Kobayashi in rather awesome fashion - see Goldfish Poop Gang.
  • The Goomba: Bogey's role in the Kid Radd games.
  • Grand Finale: Plus an epilogue.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: Physics doesn't exist. Characters fall at the rates they're programmed to fall.
  • Grew Beyond Their Programming:
    • Discussed at one point between Radd and Sheena. Sheena loves Radd, but isn't sure that pursuing a relationship with Radd is the right thing, because it was what they were "programmed" to do. Radd counters that while some sprites could benefit from a complete change from their pre-programmed state, some others were better off staying the way they were initially—and for most sprites, it was a matter of finding the right balance between their "programming" and development beyond it. This discussion leads directly to their Relationship Upgrade.
    • This is also part of Radd's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Gnarl, talking about how the fact that Radd grew beyond his programming and Gnarl didn't is the reason Gnarl would never be a match for Radd now.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body:
    • Radd uses Sheena as a club to defeat Kobayashi. Fortunately for her, she has NPC invulnerability. It's still "a whole new kind of wrong."
    • Itty Bitty uses one of those unnamed Redshirt Army Mooks as a bowling ball to knock down dozens of them.
  • Groin Attack: Radd to Kobayashi at the end of their first encounter. (See WhatWouldXDo below.)
  • Hammerspace: Used by Sheena, after the Grievous Harm with a Body event. It's also an ability of her "Magical Maid" form.
  • Hand Wave: Often parodied.
  • Henshin Hero: Sheena later acquires a temporary mode where she becomes like a player character, being able to attack like a (mostly) stronger version of Radd but losing her invincibility.
    • Superpowered Alter Ego: This is the result of merging with the code she has in the sequel to Kid Radd. Also, she seems to have the ability to switch modes at will, giving her the best of both worlds.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Bogey, to give Radd acess to the health item he carried in his code, although he got resurrected at the end.
  • Heroic Second Wind: 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."
  • Hitscan: Kobayashi's shuriken are revealed to be hitscan weapons that pretty much teleport right to the target.
  • Hive Mind: The Seer is a conglomeration of various bots in a computer virus, effectively allowing him omniscience. Still didn't stop him from getting blown to next Thursday.
  • Hockey Mask and Chainsaw: One of the nameless sprites, presumably the villain in whatever game he originated from.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Gnarl and Kobayashi again.
    • A similar joke is used when Radd talks to the guy who controlled him in the game.
  • 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).
    • The Seer, originally being a virus, knows what humans really are.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Itty Bitty can carry an entire spaceship in his inventory.
  • Immortality Field: The world of Kid Radd works similarly to Wreck-It Ralph; stay in your own game and you're fine, leave the game and you'll die permanently. However, at the end, a loophole is found where if the "ghost" of a dead character travels back to a copy of their original game and said game is rebooted, the character will resurrect because the alive/dead variable is able to be reset.
  • Inaction Sequence: Discussed in one of the "Fourth Wall Week" strips, which discusses how, more often than not, the transition of manga to anime often results in the creation of these to fill time, since it's simpler and cheaper to animate lengthy conversations between characters instead of action sequences.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Kobayashi and Gnarl.
  • Informed Judaism: Kobayashi reveals he is Jewish in a holiday strip. Whether or not it's Canon is irrelevant to Rule of Funny.
  • Interchangeable Antimatter Keys: Itty-Bitty has an infinite supply, being a shopkeeper sprite programmed to sell them. When law-enforcement member QB discovers this he is quite suitably appalled.
  • Internet Jerk: Very much present in the chatrooms where Radd serves as an avatar. He's rather dismayed at the immaturity and rudeness used in those conversations.
  • Invulnerable Civilians: Described as "NPC Invulnerability".
  • Jedi Mind Trick: "You have the urge to do some accounting..."
  • Kirk Summation:
    • Radd gives one of these in response to Gnarl's Motive Rant.
    Radd: Sigh... as much as I'd like to say no, Gnarl, I think I do understand...Because I'm a playable character, a "hero." My programming is different from yours, but I too have felt the desire to follow it. I'm meant to be an empty shell, just a puppet for a human player to control. In the game, if a human didn't touch the controller, I'd stand in one place all day, never doing anything on my own. And unsurprisingly, that's pretty much what I continued to do when I left the game. I lacked ambition, and didn't know what to do without a human taking the wheel. Like you, I just did... what I do. Nothing. But unlike you, I've grown since then; I've developed my own desires. I'm not a mere slave to my programming; my goals are truly my own. Can you understand that?
    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.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Tropes in general.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Recruiting these is the strategy the Seer recommends for opposing the Moderators.
  • Life Meter: Visually depicted for dramatic purposes.
  • Limit Break: After firing 500 times, Sheena in PC Mode can unleash Pretty Armageddon, a screen-clearing special move.
  • Lord British Postulate: The boss of Mofo is defeated using an unintended method. The developers of the game thought of this one.
  • Love Triangle: Both Radd and Bogey are vying for Sheena. Sheena's starting to develop relations for Radd, which would leave Bogey a Hopeless Suitor, were it not for the fact that Sheena's code-absorbed 'sister' personality from Kid Radd 2 wants to take Bogey home.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Brother rather than father, but Gnarl says this the first time he and Radd meet in the game.
  • MST: At the Moderators Tour Ride and the Third Fourth-Wall Week. The episode is even called Deep 13.
    Captain QB: Guys, talking during a movie is NOT funny.
    Kid Radd: It's not?
  • The Man Behind the Man: The Seer, behind Crystal.
  • The Medic:
    • Itty Bitty has an infinite supply of healing items. He is also immune to damage, being an NPC. However, he has no means of attacking within the confines of a game outside of taking advantage of Revive Kills Zombie, so inside Mofo, he's confined to a support role.
    • The Nurse from Old Daedalus also fills this role, though she's a specialist and can only cure the avocado curse.
  • Mercy Invincibility: Being from a Platform Game, Radd unsurprisingly has it. This becomes fairly significant when he and the others travel to a Fighting Game, where it utterly disables the effective use of Combos by opposing sprites.
  • Merging Machine: The Chimera program.
  • Mirror Boss: Gnarl was this in Radd's original game.
  • Motion Comic: A lot of strips involve animated GIFs.
  • Motive Rant: Gnarl gives one of these to Radd during their battle.
    Gnarl: Let me tell you a little story, Radd. It begins where our old game ended... When I was set "free" into the cyberworld, it was unnerving. I didn't know what to do with myself. Sure, I followed the same routine as everyone else, got a job, and tried to be "civilized." But it all seemed so... pointless. I knew that this world was just as fake as the game I came from, and that it wasn't what I was made for. I could no longer live the lie.
    I realized the truth: Computer programs are at their happiest when they're following their programming. Thus, video game characters like ourselves can only be truly happy when we do what we were made to do. It's that simple. Even if it means that one of us dies, I have to try to kill you, or else be unfulfilled. You understand that, don't you?
  • Musical Theme Naming: About half of the comics are named after 80s songs.
  • Neutral Female: Lampshaded by Sheena. "I just stand around."
  • Nice Guy: Bogey. "And boy, does it stink."
  • 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 (1994)-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.
  • No Fourth Wall: A lot of the bonus material.
    Sheena: Wow, that was a short party.
    Bogey: I guess the reader's John Ashcroft.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Radd himself, due to some lazy programming.
  • The Noseless: Everyone. Lampshaded in a Fourth Wall Week strip. Justified because every character is from older video games, which means they were sprited without noses due to graphic limitations.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Seer; "Oh yeah, the control room. OH SHI-"
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Two characters: GI and the Seer, both of whom attempt to destroy the world, for very different reasons. 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.
  • The Omniscient: The Seer. He ends up being Not So Omniscient After All.
  • 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.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Radd, on modern systems (see below).
  • Random Encounter: The Big Bad started 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.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • 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.
    Knowing our true nature, I realize there is no hope for us. Evil cannot create good. Humans cannot create anything better than themselves, and neither can we. No matter how hard we try to rise above it, we programs are just as deserving of death as those horrific humans. We all create pain, and will continue to do so until stopped. Which brings us to the obvious solution: if we can't improve our situation, there's only one way to end the suffering... Destroy it all.
  • 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.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Downplayed. Radd and Sheena are the Official Couple for a long time because that's what they were programmed to be. Near the end of the comic, they've grown past that programming, but even so, they choose to be together.
  • 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.
  • The Reveal: Hoo boy. The Seer stepping out from behind The Man; see below.
  • Riding into the Sunset: Gnarl does this after his outside the game fight with Radd.
  • Running Gag:
    • Whenever Dr Amp explains a piece of science, whoever he's talking to says "So it's a ripoff 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.
  • Save the Princess: The plot of the Kid Radd game.
  • 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."
  • Shadow Archetype: The Seer for the main characters.
  • "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.
  • Shoot the Messenger: Crystal. (She settles for "infliction of gratuitous pain" — almost as much fun as killing him, but less wasteful and less cliché.)
  • 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...
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page now.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Gnarl responds to one of Radd's Kirk Summations this way.
    Gnarl: No, Radd. And I don't want to, because this fight is all there is to me. This is my moment of supreme happiness, and I will never abandon it for anything else!
  • 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 PCs.
  • Smart Bomb: PC Sheena's "Pretty Armageddon" is one of these in Kid Radd 2, and has a similar effect outside the game, though what defines a "screen" outside the game is indeterminate.
  • Smashing Survival: Gnarl has a mind-control attack that turns Radd into an accountant. Sheena tells him to "pound the buttons", which somehow breaks him free despite the fact that nobody involved knows what "pound the buttons" means.
  • Smooch of Victory: Subverted. Radd expects to get one of these at the end of his namesake game, but instead he gets a A Winner Is You ending that cuts to the credits before a smooch can happen.
  • Sociopathic Hero: The intrinsic nature of a staggering majority of video game heroes, once they try to live together.
  • Sound of No Damage: Lampshaded in Comic 197.
    Fool! My traps are protected with an indestructible alloy! I shall laugh as your pathetic attacks bounce off with a cutesy "clink" sound! Mwa ha and ha!
  • Spikes of Doom: "Sharp Painful Object Land".
  • Stationary Boss: The Gnarlborg, much to Crystal's amusement.
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: A subtle one. The Seer's original name as a virus was 'Cool Ragnarok'. Now take the initials: CR. Now what does that sound like when said aloud?
  • Sweetheart Sipping: Sheena2 wants to do this with Bogey. See the link at the trope page.
  • Take That!: A few potshots are taken at the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime and how frequently it uses the characters sitting around and talking in place of any actual action.
  • 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:
    Dr. Amp: Wait a minute - this could be just what we're looking for! The sensors are picking up some stuff!
    Itty Bitty: "Stuff?"
    Dr. Amp: Stuff.
    Dr. Amp: I've already told you, I suck at technobabble. Make up your own.
    Itty Bitty: So what's special about this "stuff?"
    Dr. Amp: Well, it's got a wavy line thingy -
    Itty Bitty: Ahem.
    Dr. Amp: Uh, I mean... "energy signature?"
    Itty Bitty: Better.
  • Tempting Fate: Radd: "There couldn't possibly be a more humiliating way to die!"
  • 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 
  • Took a Level in Badass: Gnarl and Kobayashi, right before their Heel–Face Turn.
  • Torment by Annoyance: At one point Radd's group are trapped in an RPG battle that rooted each of them to one spot, with an opponent who seemed likely to kill Radd or Bogey within the next couple of turns. Sheena decided to just stall forever on her turn, but the others objectednote  and Radd sang badly until she gave in.
    Radd: [does air guitar] One more time! Her name is Rio and she dances on the saaand!
    Sheena: Alright, alright! I'll take the damn turn!!
  • Totally Radical: Done intentionally and lampshaded. "Just go with it."
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Averted. The further along the story goes, the less descriptive the chapter descriptions get.
  • Transformation Sequence: "Magical Maid Robo Sheena"
  • Tsundere: Sheena. Moreso after fusing with her "sister" from Kid Radd 2.
  • Useless Useful Spell/Contractual Boss Immunity: Discussed between Sheena and Amp here.
  • Villainous Breakdown: As revealed in the fight with him, the Seer does not like variables he didn't predict.
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: Radd, after taking some infected code, wakes up in the Moderators' infirmary, initially believing that he's in hell before he opens his eyes.
  • Warrior Therapist: Radd to Gnarl, resulting in an eventual Heel–Face Turn.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: Sheena's "Pretty Armageddon"
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Radd and Sheena, oh so much.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Radd gives a nicely succinct description of the trope when referring to G.I. Guy:
    Sheena: You're actually sympathizing with him?
    Radd: No way! He was just... well, like a lot of madmen. Somewhat accurate view of the problem, really insane view of the solution.
    • Captain QB decides to have Radd killed, believing that Crystal's plan will help free the rest of the sprites. He later realizes that he was wrong and apologizes profusely to Radd.
  • Wham Episode: The Reveal above.
  • Wham Line:
    • "Crystal? No, no, no, Crystal has left the building. YOU'RE TALKING TO THE SEER."
    • The fate of Protos, the First City:
      G.I. Guy: Over absolutely nothing, dozens of sprites started fighting and killing each other.
      Radd: But why?
      G.I. Guy: Because that's what video game characters do.
    • Sheena: Besides, if you'd died, how could I arrest you?
    • Sheena announcing that the Moderators already took Reset after she and Radd defeat the fleet at the portals.
    • 4095 counts as one, as it's the first indication that the 255-damage limit of Kid Radd's Mega Radd attack is not the hard cap everyone thought it was.
    • Radd: So... how about it human? GAME START - OK
  • Wham Shot: Kobayashi and Gnarl stumble upon an abandoned facility, and one of the monitors has a single word- CHIMERA, revealing that it's Chimera Point, the keystone to Crystal's plans. Without knowing what they've stumbled upon, the two start up the machine, and end up fused together.
  • What Would X Do?: Discussed in Radd's first fight with Koyabashi.
    Radd: When I'm in trouble, I like to ask myself: What would ol' J.C. do?
    Koyabashi: J.C.? Jesus Christ?
    Radd: Johnny Cage. (Crouches down and hits Koyabashi in the groin.) The funny thing is, that's Johnny's answer to everything.
    Koyabashi: (whispering) not... the nards... again...
  • 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..
  • Widget Series: The anime Bogey watches. invoked
  • Winged Soul Flies Off at Death: As demonstrated in one of the early comics, Radd's death animation is to turn into a cute little chibi angel and float off the top of the screen.
  • A Winner Is You: Radd's namesake game ends with Radd and Sheena standing in a field, with the text "AND SO SHEENA WAS SAVED THANKS TO KID RADD. THE END." Radd's expecting a Smooch of Victory at this point, but the game abruptly cuts to the credits before he gets it.
  • Wishplosion: anyone who consults the Seer becomes destined to die within a few weeksnote , so Crystal asks him how to become immortal.
  • 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.