Now I will attempt to explain why I think those pictures are so good.
(all pictures are from here,
kudos and gratitude)
Less as individual art works but more how they embody an idea about game material I'm trying to articulate here.
Which ; There is blazing-holy and great window of brilliance flickering in the spectrum of goofiness.
Something which risks being goofy is also standing-out from expectations , and humour is always* surprising; as by definition people have noticed something surprising.
So that works for game content.
The next element of it is for it to not be collapsible into pure humour and/or fail to stoke the emotional energy the players are enjoying.
Generally for this to happen it has then bring something else other than goofiness, something exactly opposite what immediate appeared as goofy.
Doing a weird high pitched voice for a warlord is goofy. Playing him completely serious and making him a serious danger goes against the precedent of the voice, and thus has the potential of being brilliant.
Has the "potential" though, it's an extreme nebulous window , and it can collapse easily.
The arms are floppy and failing and the idea of walking worms is silly. The feet appear too large like clown shoes. How they stand looks uncomfortable, suggesting a grotesque gait. However the eyes are stretched and narrow , unlike anything in nature , with the head appearing stiff and geometric, unlike a worm or anything. The head's stillness frames the violent energy of the arms by its contrast.
That also suggests intention and purposefulness, ditto with the low stance. They are firmly planted and fixed on flailing. The arms don't appear to have obvious danger to them, except the speed they are moving (the blur and the dynamic perspective gives this) and the still malignancy of face.
The face looks like it wants to do bad things, and its entire body is focused on whipping these arms at you.
The floppiness of the arms suggests a surplus of destructive energy and crazed unpredictable, again which are potentially goofy, but with the cold regard of the face, are not possible to discount as harmless.
The slightly-odd pauldrons mean a civilisation or at least an intelligence behind them (and possibly solved an art problem where the artist couldn't find a way of joining the arm to the body in way that satisfied them)
Most Yu gi oh cards have exaggerated perspectives, the small size of the cards benefits from the greater sense of depth , and here it serves to make the arms flailing pushed at you.
The other aspect here is there's more than one worm , the title of card suggesting an apocalypse of them. This is another thing which acts against it being merely funny.
One worm warrior would be a weird anomaly , this is too many worm warriors , they are here , there is a lot of them, they stand like clowns taking a painful standing shit, their arms whip through the air like a snapped cable , very little about them appears understandable to you except they deliberately mean you harm and they are here right now
Everliving Underworld Cannon
Less to say about this, but notable: the skull takes up a lot of room which being undetailed giving off the moment of sensory overwhelming of a cannon blast.
Skulls have that goofy smile which is seems inappropriate for a thing of death.
The Chains suggestion a solution to the cannons recoil but also a solution to the cannon possible wanting to wander off like a poorly behavioured aggressive dog.
The artfulness of the skull placement but also sense of jury-rigging and make-do is goo.The title is a great example of the poetic run-on sentences of these cards . The way its an "everliving" rather than an "undying" or "undead" cannon suggests a defiant surplus of life and uncontrollability. They can't kill it or control it they can just point at things as it blasts off chucks of laughingly destructive soul matter at people.
What works here as the more you look at it the more you realise how bad it is as a bird.
The feet grow out of the wings and more akin to frogs than anything avian. It has tiny , unnecessary, child or doll arms.
The things seen as masks then as eyes then as both are an example of the "surprising twist" which seems to a common element in this kind of brilliance.
However what takes it up a notch is it doesn't stop there, in fact it seems to actively work against this core idea with how shit it is a bird.
There's an uncomfortable of scale here , it looks small but looking at the those arms makes you consider what if those arms were human sized and this thing was fucking massive. Then the smoothness of its surface becomes uncanny, as detail is used to suggest size.
The beak has a weird expression. It's just a peak but it has a almost bureaucratic resignedment to it.
The mask are horrible and the careful white teeth are an apt grossness. An conventionally predatory mouth or a gaping void wouldn't work here as well as these nasty little smirks do.
The contrast between that and the beak is potent. The beak is purely administrative , the smirking cruelty is obviously a necessary element to whatever this thing does. Assholedom as a modular battery.
Statue of Anguish Pattern:
this is a good name. Most of my choice to include this is that name. It has that weird beat to it , sTaTue of AnGuish
Anguish is such a weird word choice, despair or fear or terror would be obvious and external
Anguish is internal, an anguish pattern suggestive of a forced empathy with something, or an internal summoning of personal pain. 5 stars.
The shape , dunno, hexapod is so-so , the weird flared feet suggestion weight ,conflict with the narrows of the join with the body and plasticity of the bend.
It's not quite magic but its uncomfortable. The sphere that is seemingly turned to look at us But gives no clear vindication for our anthropomorphization (e.g a clear eye or other face feature).
This lack of vindication means we** search for something else , maybe we are mistaken and there is a Clear and Definite Head and Face to be found?
There is a circle behind the sphere, is that an eye, is a blowing a stone bubble?
There is no clear resolve, it is stone being plastic, stone animate with no obvious purpose to it yet it moves.
Door of Destiny
That is a dumb title, the only thing okay about it is looks completely hostile yet it has the usually neutral word "destiny" used.
I think I like this because the purple and yellow work and the chaining suggests the door itself , not what is beyond it , is a problem needing containing.
There is nice depth to the doors surface, a in between state of flatness and relief, suggesting an artisan's craft or its about it resolve itself as 3 dimensional from a flat state (the chains holding it back).
Maybe it only can function as a "destiny door" if it itself is forced to never resolve itself as flattened or fleshed? Opening the door is like opening the quantum box, collapsing you possible paths into just one.
There's some nice grots around the place.
Or sometimes you got appreciate a big old purple demon door
The bottom of them is like a exaggerated curve of a snarl or smile , yet the main teeth are above it .
The blackness inside the mouth is great suggesting it can keep eating and never be full.
The little teeth thorns below it, I can't explain what they are doing , yet if you imagine them gone, it's not as a good of picture.
This is an evil shoe. However, it's not a shoe to help you do evil ; it's gonna bite the foot off anyone that puts it on.
And yet; it's not a trap shoe. It does not look innocuous . Maybe it started out that way, but something about suggests it's always been a bad shoe.
So this shoe.. what , hops it your face trying to bite it off? hops around on the ground attacking your feet ? This thing is fucked , it knows its fucked and it looks extremely happy about it.
The body of it smiles even as the top is an unfeeling hunger.
Bazzo The Soul Eater.
Okay so the title really pushes this one into next level .
It's fucked up that something so brutish like this mandrill thug is a soul eater.
Usually a "soul eater" is a term used for something insidious or grandiose.
Not a roided up purple ape.
There's something about its expression that seems like its foremost bestial yet a degeneration into bestialness.
Its bulk and fatness , yet the fatness seems like it doesn't translate into immobility but power.
The delicate texture of the hair , it looks soft , and sweet smelling.
The weird bone growths.. maybe they could go and improve it , but they do add something, a hint of cancerousiness to this thing.
The teeth are incisors , that's great because I get a visceral uncomfortabliness to imaging myself biting down hard with my own on something extremely hard.
Alternatively the teeth will slice through the soul like a soft fruit .
Incisors are for eating passive things and a lot of them. Fruit, leaves , things to be snipped.
That these are for souls
is a horror.
Parasitic Ticky. The lack of a face, the equipment carried, the legs like tight clad legs poking out of costume.
All make it not easily resolvable as an obvious thing. It does not seem (though it still could) be a warrior , more of hunter gatherer .
You can see the beak as a blind head, or the chest as a head with the beak as a mouth and then suggesting legs in place of the eyes socket.
Should we think of it as distortion or a naturalness ? The awkwardness of the human calves and knees suggest the first , yet the casualness of its going and presentation suggests the later.
"Gimmick Puppet Egg Head" a example of a run on tile which does not have the magic of Statue Of Anguish Pattern.
The Wig and Expression and the Arms coming out of Ears are the most significant factor its brilliance.
Subtler things are the lines across it, the blood red sclera of the ey, and the colour of it the facebody.
Also how its carrying its weight is weird. The legs aren't loaded enough , suggestive of a puppets strings (yet the tilt of the head makes it hard to pinpoint where the line of thread would be , indicating the delicacy of the puppeteers hand and/or an uncanniness).
The wig is silly, puppets are silly, an egg man is silly. Yet it seems charged with a dangerous energy (the colours), that's the twist.
The obvious twist to an evil puppet is contrasting child friendly imagery with obvious evil imagery.
This instead has detached stately-ness to it expression. It is potent and purposeful.
Desertapir. Apparently the pun is better in Japanese. And maybe I'm just overly influenced by the cuteness here.
Yet, how fucking passive and simple these things look (also potentially huge) in a context of war , techno-armour, dragons and superbeasts.
Their ability to be asleep right now (also asleep in a lethal context of a near-noon desert with no shade) suggests an ability for indifference that is absurdly cosmic.
The title, bubbles being fragile, breeding being base and meat bound, already starts making this interesting.
Is it breeding bubbles inside itself? Can it breed bubbles in you?
The glow is ominous , the asymmetricality alien.
If the view angle was looking down on it (suggesting it small), the ratio of body parts would merely be part of the lightness smallness would give it.
However this angle suggests person size , so its top heavy-ness is suggestive of the dense shoulder mass of strength .
Alternatively a barely contained strong upward motion , that it has purposefully pulled down .
The contained but considerable movement of either interpretation is suggests if it wants to do things, it definitely has the resources to do them .
Yet the title is "bubble", not water, or ice , or slime. Bubbles are temporary and fragile, yet this thing is here and looks like it can definitely do things .
If it were Slime or water or ice , there would be no contrast, slime water and ice do things, they effect change. Bubbles do not.
Because its nature is against it, it comes across as even more potent that we can see its potency immediately.
But what does potent to do ? What is its purpose? It breeds.
A Fortress Whale. It's a whale with a lot of guns. This is good.
There's some fun with the castle to suggest size but then the guns completely over sizing the castle , The anachronistic clash is good too .
The weird baleen grin (though the head is like a pilot or a sperm whale) seemingly means it likes being a gun castle, it's not a beast of burden.
The castle elements seem to not be signs of occupation , almost like a sarcastic touch by the whale. Look how fucking big I am , I mock the most potent of your houses. I am large and mobile, I am not contained the limits of your securities , even as I out-do their strengths.
Yes the best bit is definitely the whale looking like an active (even maybe the sole origin) participate here. It loves what it does.
Other points of note, a few scars or scratches on its head helping give sense of size and resilience and the horn being ludicrously big as if for destroying things big as or bigger than the whale.
To use such a horn effectively , the whale would need to be highly mobile, and it smugness suggests it confident on having far more than just size to rely on.
The horn also keeps the dynamism of the whale going forward , off the edge of the card. It's both irresistible force and unassailable object .
I mean this shouldn't be a good picture to me, it doesn't sell the flea as particular large (except as fleas go) , it doesn't have a horrible flea mouth knife, yet the colours and the greenness of its eyes give it an overwhelming charm.
There's just something about it resembling a video game playable sprite, one which you find yourself jumping constantly, just because jumping feels really good with it.
* Maybe there is humour that is not surprisingly like when you laugh when someone does something so obviously them that it is funny. Then you could argue the humour is because we are surprised about seeing an expectation that we didn't expect to happen , happened? whatever, what I can say is "surprise is often a element of humour" and that's fairly objective.
**(as in the critics "we" , as in "I" but doing a possible unreasonable assumption and assuming an objective response)