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The DS Life: The artwork of Will Laren

Eric Caoili

The DS Life is a weekly feature in which we scour the known world for narrative images of Nintendo's handhelds and handheld gamers. If you have a photo and a story to match it with, send both to thedslife at dsfanboy dot com.

While few would describe Will Laren's art as pleasing to the eye, his style -- ungraceful strokes, watercolors, and hand-written monologues providing the piece's humorous context -- certainly grows on you. His characters rarely fit common standards of beauty, either, often depicted with unattractive expressions, their hair a messy nest of lines, their mouths contorted, lips snarling. Still, there's something that draws us to their eccentric caricatures, vulgar patter, and rap culture allusions; we can't get enough of his work.

Very few of Laren's pieces have anything to do with video games, and none of them reference handheld gaming at all, but his canvases, ring-bound notepads and moleskine notebooks, sort of qualify as "portables," so that's our justification for featuring his art this week. Plus, the comics can be pretty hilarious. Flip past the break for a look.

Bruce Wayne has a difficult enough time having to cope with seeing his parents murdered and needing to constantly remind people that he is Batman; now he has to deal with the Riddler's shenanigans. Batman just wants to kick back and play some damn Kid Chameleon.

It's true, Star Fox drives away the ladies. Honeys don't want to hear about whatever furry space opera escapades you've been getting into. When they hear you talking that nonsense, all they can think is "Dork City. Population: I need to get the hell up out this piece for real."

What exactly would a Theodore Roosevelt rap video look like? Gratuitous shots of booty-dropping suffragists? Turn-of-the-century tycoons rolling around in Ford Model-Ts with 21-inch dubs? Lil' Teddy rapping the chorus to "Big Stick-in'" ("Big Pimpin"'s forefather) with a giant, jewel-encrusted 25 hanging on the ridiculous platinum chain around his neck?

Wow, that actually sounds pretty amazing! Check out the embarrassment and worry on the constable's face, his eyes wide and cheeks blushed. Knee caps! In view of the public!

Genius! Full marks!

The cattle herding outfit and anthropomorphic art reminds us of this old joke: "A ragged-looking hound dog limps into a dusty saloon. He hobbles to an empty stool, exchanges introductions with the barkeep, then announces to the room, 'I'm looking for the man who shot my paw.'"

Keep that joke on file; it might bring your girlfriend back the next time she leaves you for obsessing about Slippy Toad's ambiguous sexuality again. Seriously, kids, nothing ends the night early like Star Fox.

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