Those Games We Play

Greetings! I'm Ken Smiley (meager on the forums), the writer/artist/game-reviewer for Those Games We Play. I also draw a daily webcomic at


Those Games We Play is a webcomic I started several years ago as an effort to make use of the hours upon hours I spent playing video games.

I've always loved video games and comics, and this allowed me to combine the two. Plus, I could post my opinions of the games alongside the comic!

The overall "plot" of the comic is that Clyde & Lizzy have been trapped in a virtual reality interface (called the Pipeline) that forces them to play as characters in video games (This is obviously influenced by my MST3K obsession). They don't know who is behind their incarceration or how it works, but they are given "time off" every so often and allowed back into the real world. But, without warning, they soon find themselves back inside the Pipeline. Their friends Chrome & Weasel voluntarily join them, using expensive V.R. prototypes.

So, basically, the plot is just there to allow me to allow bounce around games with an occasional break to satisfy my storytelling urge.

I first posted Those Games We Play on in 2007. It only lasted a few months. Some of the old strips still remain on that site, though the host apparently had quite a few problems and none of the extra survived. The reviews and art gallery have disappeared forever. So I decided to resurrect the entire site here on

The update schedule is currently Tuesdays & Fridays.

Games are reviewed on a Four-star system. Initially, I only used whole-stars, but have revised the system to include half-stars to allow more flexibility when I feel I need to give a red mark for one reason or another, but a whole star drop (25%) is too big a penalty.

 The biggest factor in scoring is how much fun the game provides. I can overlook technical jankiness if the gameplay and/or story is compelling. A creative aesthetic also scores points in my book.

For a game to receive the four-star rank, it does not need to be perfection. In fact, a “perfect game” has yet to be created. Four-star games can have their share of flaws, but obtain a level of fun and accomplishment that is worthy of the time and money invested.

Three-star games generally are good concepts, but lack the correct execution in multiple areas. Usually the major problems are repetitiveness or lack of replay value.

Two-star games are best suited for fans of the specific genre or franchise. They tend to be frustrating or just not compelling enough for new fans.

One-star games are flawed at the core… and pretty much every other layer as well. These games are usually built around a single “cool” marketing idea (A disintegration ray! Wow!) and then usually slapped into a generic shell of a game.

Zero-star games are Chicken Shoot.

Some disclaimers to clear up some questions I've been asked in the past:

While games I review/draw comics for won't always be brand new games, they'll most likely be current-generation releases. This is not a definitive rule, however.

While most strips will focus on some aspect of the game they're playing, there is a lot of fiction in the comic (hopefully that's obvious). Sometimes I might reference other games that have nothing to do with the current one. Often, the characters might do something that you can't do while actually playing the game. Some of the main characters will appear as NPC (Non-Playable Characters). This is because this is a comic strip inspired by these games, not transcribed directly from them.

In the same vein, Lizzy and/or Clyde might be show really enjoying the game, yet my accompanying review says the game is horrible… or vice versa. Again, the comic is written in the mindset of the characters; so as much the reviews are a part of the website, they are thematically separate from the comics.

The characters will often be drawn in costumes like those in the game they're playing. They're meant to resemble the game's art design, not necessarily be a direct copy. Usually I simplify the designs, or sometimes draw them wearing something completely different as a joke. It's more about implying the world, rather than a faithful recreation.


If you have any further questions, you can email me. My gmail name is scoopmoose.

Please enjoy Those Games We Play!

* Please check local listings for days and times in your area.