'8-Bit Theater' is a sprite comic (a comic using video game 'sprites' as characters instead of unique creations) based off of the original 1987 'Final Fantasy' video game for Nintendo. It follows Black Mage, Fighter, Thief and Red Mage (helped along by the exasperated White Mage) as they trade-in on orbs 'lukewarm' with destiny to get in on a quest to become Light Warriors and defeat Chaos.
This was, in my opinion, the King of Sprite Comics, which, is not a whole lot of praise to be honest. Sprite comics are looked down upon in world of web comics as lacking in artistry and being plagued with lazy jokes and storytelling. I mean, this is true, but '8-Bit Theater' was a lot of fun and I ended up following it all through high school. I was pleased to discover before graduating college that it had been given a conclusion. There were so many of these comics back in the day that I used to follow, and I'm sure there are many more out there, but I don't think any of them reached the scare-quoted 'stature' and longevity that '8-Bit Theater' enjoyed.
In total, '8-Bit Theater' was made up of 1,224 comics, a drawn epilogue, and dozens of guest/holiday comic one-offs. Brian Clevinger has made several other comics that have been given actual acclaim, but this is the only one I really loved.
Now, since a stray comment reminded me of the 'armoire of invincibility' joke, I ended up re-reading the whole series. A lot has changed for me since the high school computer lab. The comics are rife with dated, classic 'nerd' sexism and mild homophobia - nothing truly toxic, after all, White Mage and Princess Sara are among the smartest characters in the series, but still it effected my enjoyment. Clevinger also used a lot of wordy, rambling humor that made many strips an exercise in patience as Red Mage or Fighter babbled on for eight panels to end in yet another face-palm sigh of exasperation from Black Mage.
'8-Bit Theater' in its ~8 years of publication created a rich world of insider jokes and was my first introduction into the many tropes of gaming and fantasy in general. This was a great experience and got me to play my first video game in almost a decade. I'd never played the first Final Fantasy and borrowed the upgraded edition of the game on PSP from a friend. So, an old time-waster inspired me to give up a whole weekend on a thirty year old video game. Fun!
But, whatever, its still pretty damn funny. It also helped that it brought back some great memories of laughing at these panels with my friends clustered around the same monitor in the computer lab. "Ye be facin' THE CLAW!" If we'd had smart phones back then, I don't know if we would have gotten anything done in high school.