Winner! A Trip To PAX Australia And An Alienware Laptop

Winner! A Trip To PAX Australia And An Alienware Laptop

It makes sense that what is arguably one of the greatest prize pools in Kotaku history yielded the most insane amount of entries I have ever seen in a Kotaku competiton. Here’s what happened: I made a shortlist. I then had to make a shortlist of that shortlist. By the end of that there were still too many. I say this almost every time, but this was a very, very hard contest to judge.

There were just so many entries. And once I’d whittled through them, what remained was of such a high standard that I just sort of place my head in my hands in despair. Usually there are a number of runner-up prizes. This time it’s all or nothing. To the people who clearly put an incredible amount of effort into their entries I apologise. Please know that I admire your prodigious talents!

So, with that disclaimer let’s do a quick rundown of the people who came close. Just as a quick reminder: entrants were asked to draw a picture using Microsoft Paint using the theme ‘gotta go fast’.

Gary Shaw

I liked this one because of the effects! Just looked amazing. Also — incredible likeness of Ron Gilbert!

Edward Del Villar

I think this one was the most technically proficient. Absolutely stunning. Edward Del Villar has actually won a few Kotaku competitions before with his amazing art and I almost chose this as the winner. Incredibly Edward also put together a video of him putting the piece together: if you think this couldn’t possibly be done in Microsoft paint, this will prove you wrong.

Dan Drobik

Yeah. Wow. Off the richter.

Mike Tarno

It actually broke my heart to not select this as the winner. I’m sure some of you here will disagree with my choice and say that Mike should be the winner. The detail in this is off the charts. It was only on my fifth or sixth viewing that I noticed a where’s wally version of Mike at almost every stand in this picture. Amazing. Please click on the picture to get a full view of how great it is.

Sorry Mike. I’m genuinely sorry we couldn’t send two people.


David Ferris

Okay, I hope you made it to the end of that!

I chose this for a couple of reasons. To begin with, I think it really embodied the idea of Microsoft Paint and using Microsoft Paint and looking terribad but whatever! Secondly, a prodigious amount of work has clearly gone into this entry. It’s also genuinely, genuinely inventive and hilarious. It’ll take you forever, but when you get to the end you’ll know I made the right choice.

Congrats David!

And thanks to everyone who entered. Seriously. Amazing, amazing entries by all.


  • Congrats, David. Have fun at PAX, my friend. Look forward to reading the blog posts.

    And well done to all the other entrants too. You guys have skills to pay the bills!

    • Indeed! That’s a pretty damn epic effort. Must have taken ages! Not surprised mine didn’t win ๐Ÿ˜‰ It was more for shits and giggles anyway.

      • Thanks a bunch, guys! Looking forward to going to PAX… I think it goes without saying there are going to be a lot of MS Paint images in my articles.
        To all the runners up, fantastic work: provided you have something you’re proud of, you’re the REAL winners.
        *stares into the sunset*

        *goes blind*

        • Out of curiosity, a friend asked an optometrist once, “Why does staring at the sun hurt or damage your eyes?”

          The optometrist replied, “You know how kids fry ants using a magnifying glass and the sun? The lens of your eye is basically a tiny magnifying glass, and it’s focusing the sun into a tiny pin-point on a very sensitive area of your eye, literally burning it.”

          The more you know!

  • Wow, that winning entry got a little postmodern towards the end there!

    Great entries!

  • Congrats to the winner and all of the honourable mentions. You put my entry to shame! (Not that that was difficult to do admittedly, but still, nice work).

  • At first I wondered how – alongside the other entries I’ve seen – stick figures topped it, but then I started reading through it… Brilliant. ๐Ÿ˜›
    A very well-deserved win. Was hilarious. Congratulations! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Other entries were amazing too.

    • Yeah, I really hope people read it in its entirety. It deserves to be read!

    • Having read to the end, one has a feeling that someone spent much too much time with Microsoft Paint. This surely cannot be conducive to good mental health.

      Of course, having said that, the entry was crazy good. Have an insane time at PAX, inmate Ferris!

  • Damn. That’s why I had no chance. My ironic, “I can’t use Paint, so have a look at my overtly shithouse drawing, hoping you’ll follow the link to some reviews and that” approach really didn’t work. Well done – I’m not glad I lost, but I AM glad that you won. That’s one hell of an entry.

  • Well done David! That was a great read. And you’re right, the act of creation is indeed its own reward. I had fun doing this.

    @markserrels you can make it up to me for not selecting my entry by following me on Twitter. ๐Ÿ˜›

    • LOVED your entry Mike, really thought you nailed it.

      Hey can I solicit twitter followers as well please? @Ed_dV (Edward del Villar here – @puck was already taken!)

      I’m new to twitter but I already have DOUBLE DIGITS (12 followers woo!). I’m making a game, so there might be a little bit of spam, but it’s all game related spam, so it might be interesting! Actually almost no spam cause my game’s not done yet, but eventually, SPAM CITY. Not really. Okay maybe a little bit.

      • Done! I could really use some new friends too so happy to put up with the ‘spam’. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • I’m confused because I don’t know how to use twitter properly. I’m assuming you’re not @miketarno on twitter, who is a -“servant of Jesus, dad, husband,and voice actor” ?

          ahha, not “miketarnow”… there we go! I’m not stupid re: twitter, just stupid in general!

    • Your entry was awesome too Mike! I liked the inclusion of the Tetris God… and was concerned about the inclusion of Pedobear.

  • Hahahahaha, holy shit, that was AMAZING. Totally deserved to win.

    Especially if his article/report is anything like the writing in the entry!

  • Am I the only one who just sees a giant blank space for the winning entry? ๐Ÿ™

  • Congrats David! I haven’t read the whole thing, (not yet) but what I have read made me laugh and understand why you won. Perfectly captures the spirit of both MS Paint and Penny Arcade, well done!

  • Just…


    Some absolutely truly amazing stuff and holy bananas that was amazing David! Congratulations, man, and congrats to everyone else too – mind boggling goodness.

    All I can say is that I’m bloody glad I didn’t have to judge this and that I didn’t enter (although if I did enter and was judging, I guess I’d just name myself the winner… :P) …but that’s okay because I’m already going to PAX… I really just want to give everyone a fist bump and wish there was enough tickets to go around.

    This is probably one of my favourite Kotaku Competitions I’ve seen in a long time – possibly ever. I love MS Paint competitions and whoever suggested that Serrels should do them is one handsome devil. There’s pretty much got two ends of the spectrum, those amazing “HOLY CRAP I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT WAS DONE IN PAINT!” entries, and the “it definitely looks like it was done in MS Paint” kind of entries.

    Keep it up Kotaku AU, youse alright.

  • Wow. Congrats David, definitely deserved it ๐Ÿ˜› Not downplaying the other amazing entries though!

  • wow.

    Im not gonna lie – i bailed around the start of intermission #3… i am at work after all – but that is some seriously committed microsoft painting… was it seriously done in 3 days ?? was an entire 72hr period devoted to this? (did he panic when “dawn of the 3rd day” appeared?) or was it 3 days of accumulated time. Either way, massive props (unless it has affected you negatively in some way) for putting in this much effort.

    Also, the time lapse vid for the “scalped sonic hat” one is great too ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I was basically dead by the end of it; immense vats of heavily sugared tea was involved. The whole thing was made within the first 72 hours after the contest was announced. NO REGRETS

  • Oh wow! Yeah, nothing I can say everyone else already has, but really impressive. Well deserved!

  • The high quality of the runners up really speaks volumes of both the winner and the Kotaku AU community in general, I think. A lot of people really put a lot of effort in to this.

    A hearty Congratulations to everyone who entered; apologies that my congratulations isn’t enough to get you into PAX (it could be worth a try, just rock up and tell ’em Mawt sent you).

    And David, I think I speak for everyone when I say you’ll need to submit your PAX blog posts in MS Paint as well.

  • Great winning submission. I had my doubts at the start, but it delivered big time.

    Additionally, if the winner wants to mingle with game developers, PAX might not be the best event for that. Check out some of the IGDA events, here’s melbourne’s:

  • Don’t disagree with your pick at all Mark.
    Of course the others did a wonderful job artistically, but I do think the right way to go is judging based on creativity and originality. So Kudos to David! And kudos to you Mark for picking an awesome winner!

  • I won’t lie, I was wondering how a stick figure comic topped the runners up as well, but after opening the whole thing in a new tab and reading through it… It is simply the work of a lateral thinking genius.

    Kudos to everyone who submitted, and a big congrats to David! Enjoy Pax, we expect excellent articles from you ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Can’t believe you guys are taking it so graciously. If the competition were story based then yeah, I can understand why you’d be fine with what was chosen. But if it were reversed and you were to write a story, and the winner was a drawing?

    • Well, probably the most important thing is – there’s no point in not being gracious when you’re in a competition. It’ll always come down to a subjective opinion, and whose to say my opinion is worth more than somebody else’s?

      Secondly, when you enter an MS Paint competition, you know it’s not going to be judged on the technical artistic quality alone. The entire point of choosing MS Paint is so everybody can have a go, and so the prize can be given to the most interesting, original or funny entry. I like putting a lot of effort into the technical part of my entries because I love painting, not because I think that’s what the judges will be looking for. I mean, it can’t hurt, but it’s clearly not the focus of the comp. I was banking on the humour of the scalped Sonic and Tron bike shoes, not on how pretty my rendering was. I actually think over-rendering my entries is kind of against the spirit of an MS Paint comp, and it would be a bit unfair if the person with the art background and a Wacom tablet always took home the prize (but I would have taken it anyway! muhahah!) – but I can’t help it, it’s what I like to do.

      Thirdly, I can completely understand people not be very happy if the winning entry doesn’t represent what the judges asked for in the initial guidelines. But David’s entry really does knock it out of the park. It’s a funny comic strip like Penny Arcade, it embraces the MS Paint “medium” perfectly, and this comp was also looking for somebody to write some blog posts for Kotaku – so his “story” is even more appropriate. So we’re gracious because we can honestly see why it’s deserving.

      I’ve entered so many competitions, with paintings IRL and online – (I think I might be addicted to them), and it comes down to ” you win some you lose some, don’t be a dick about it either way”… or more poetically as Rudyard Kipling once said:

      If you can make one heap of all your winnings
      And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
      And lose, and start again at your beginnings
      And never breath a word about your loss;

      Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
      And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

      …that’s probably not 100% appropriate to this situation, but I like that poem anyway, so there you go.

  • Wow, to even be selected for the short-shortlist is a privilege (Gary Shaw here). I got my better half to blow her hair dryer into my face and take a photo so I had something to work off. That in itself was reward enough. Really enjoyed the other entries though, and a thoroughly deserved winner.

  • Cool competition, one of the best I’ve seen. Interesting twist for the winner too.

    grats David, well deserved.

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