Narfcake wrote:The un-wrinkly is the pop culture aspect that is ranted on constantly. What makes Cake good but Cheese not, even though both are references of Portal?
To go one step further, both shirts still stand on their own merits too even if the one looking at them had no idea of the reference. As I own both of them now, I can certainly say there's more art involved in the making of Cheese vs. the making of Cake too.
My take ... designs are not always going to suit everyone, everytime. To rant that everything should change because the current method isn't "perfect" ... ummmm, why? You like it, you buy it. You don't like it, you don't buy it. Pretty simple IMHO.
As I have said extensively (reading is a vital skill for a reason):
1) How does Cheese hold up without understanding portal? Because it's a cute mouse. There's no concept without the concept of portal. Ergo, if it stands alone, it is because people just want a cute mouse.
2) Gimmicks. We have the cute, the shiny, the pop reference, and the double sided tee. You cannot load up that much gimmick and have a good shirt.
3) What sets cake apart is that the joke is equally funny, and indeed arguably more funny, without playing portal. Which I still haven't done. If portal didn't exist, The Cake is a Liar would still have done well. In the era where an Angry Day (which, like Cake sans Portal, is one-color, simple art, and absurdist) could last 25 weeks (and likely would have gone longer had there been a pre-reckoning thread that week), Cake fits perfectly.
4) Again, even outside of cake, the reason pop culture needs to be cut off at the knees is because that's ALL we have now. there have been good ones, and always will be good ones. But there are far more terrible ones, or ones that have no true parody aspect. The ones which were created purely to make a mint off someone else's inspiration. Cake's creation was when Portal was very much untested waters. It took second with some 600 votes. It never hit #1. It lasted because it took simple, tasteful graphic art, turned a soon-to-be-overused meme into a fresh punchline that could be worn even by non-tech-geeks, and added enough smart touches (the orange blank, for example) to make it a perfect subtle tee for even the hardest core Sirius GPP-o (I mean gamer) to be proud of. Universality and such. This is why your grandmother is never going to laugh when you ask her "How many Daleks does it take to change a lightbulb?" It is why she will sadly shake her head and take you out of her inheritance when you riotously answer "Extermin-Eight!" Ten to one though, if you were wearing your Cake shirt in front of her, she would laugh. We shouldn't aspire to Grandma humor, but that's part of what universality is about. A good joke is one you can relate to. And since Cake is all about the punch line, the double meaning which takes it wholly out of the realm of the gamer and into the realm of the simply silly is what makes it superior. There is no double meaning in cheese. There is even less double meaning in the common literal representation tees or mash up tees.
Cake already exists, and I've enumerated the reasons it stands apart numerous times (not that anyone has ever cared to remember them). Still, where we are now, years later, is a world that respects effort and creativity less, and a world where art is about a quick buck, and not about what an artist puts into a piece (and while cake is super simple, far more of MJ was put into it than was put into the average current pop tee). And while the world may still have other Cakes to give us in parody world, right now it's more important to rip up all the weeds before planting a single new seed in that flowerbed.