Yesterday, I had no idea what r/place was. Today, I’m absolutely fascinated by folks reaching out from one video game fandom to another negotiating alliances over drawing pictures of Sonic on a massive public canvas.
If you’re in the same confused boat I was in, don’t worry; I can finally explain. The subreddit r/place is a giant community-made art piece that first appeared as an April Fool’s Day project back in 2017. It’s a pretty simple process, zoom in on the canvas and pick a place to color in a single pixel. You only get to place that one tile every few minutes, so coloring anything substantial in the massive grid takes a coordinated community effort.
Anyway, the thing that’s got me cackling is all the various fandoms going back and forth to negotiate alliances over space and drawing aid. You’ve got calls for help from one group to another all over Twitter, Reddit, Twitch, etc. When fans agree, they exchange canvas coordinates and then start drawing one pixel at a time. Sometimes, there’s a link to a Discord so folks can discuss their game plan in real-time.
For instance, there’s this thread where the Kingdom Hearts community formally requests the cooperation of the Nier fandom. The people drawing Emil’s head seem pretty damn coordinated, too. There’s also this lovely little 2B—is that Sly Cooper? I don’t know. I just really like the mental image of Donald Duck asking Kainé for her help, I’d like to believe she’d agree and call him a piece of shit.
It’s like a really intense game of I Spy, but the image is constantly changing, so I’m scared to look away. Other fandoms, like the Hollow Knight and Elden Ring enjoyers, have also united in adorable mishmashes of crossover artwork. “The girl is from Elden Ring, we have an alliance with them,” from someone really into Hollow Knight explaining the FromSoftware game is easily in the top ten funniest internet things I’ve read.
The girl is from elden ring, we have an alliance with them, and we might add other communities too
— Adrien Levert (@AdrienLevert) April 2, 2022
It’s a mixture of neat and hellish, but I find myself endlessly entertained by the Redditors coordinating efforts to color in tributes to their favorite games. There’s something endearing about loving some of these titles so much that you spend hours trying to claim a little public space in honor of said thing. So far, I’ve seen some personal favorites like tributes to Final Fantasy XIV, Legend of Zelda, Ace Attorney, and Monster Hunter. What are the FFXIV logo coordinates? “Slight bottom left of DK and Among Us.”
People into the TV series Community are also asking Spyro fans for help, and I hope the anarchists protect the Stardew Valley chicken. I wanna see the people of the Maplestory subreddit request an alliance with Silent Hill. Let’s work together to make sure Pink Bean hangs out with Pyramid Head down near the adorable collection of Pride flags. It’s all quite silly, but I adore it, and r/place is worth at least a little Sunday browsing if you’re bored.