Stolen Pixels #245: Tycho Brahe

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Nov 30, 2010

Filed under: Column 53 comments

You show up in a videogame, you end up in my comic. Those are the rules and there’s no sense crying about it now.

I’ve said before that I find the 3-panel joke to be one of the more challenging. I’m actually toying with the idea of doing a few, just for the sake of variety.


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53 thoughts on “Stolen Pixels #245: Tycho Brahe

  1. X2-Eliah says:

    I’d love to hear the story behind this one, actually. Seems like a slightly off-the-scenes jab.

  2. Brandon says:

    Tycho’s vocabulary has always been really impressive to me as well.

    Have you just been waiting for an opportunity for him to show up in a game, Shamus?

    1. Vegedus says:

      Well, there is On the Rain Slick Precipice 1 and 2, but I guess he wore different clothes there?

    2. Shamus says:

      I have been looking for a chance to play with the character. Tycho and Gabe are both pretty colorful, and it’s not often I can swipe someone else’s characters within my given setup.

  3. Amnestic says:

    Guybrush Threepwood would be awesome. A worthy addition to any poker table, though I’d fear we would end up trading barbs in rhyme.

    1. Gavin says:

      How appropriate, you play poker like a cow.

      1. Amnestic says:

        I took a trip to the Far East and studied Tao?

        1. Birras says:

          Come on, surely you can do something better than what you did just now.

          1. Syal says:

            The question, of course, is how.

            1. Silemess says:

              With a flourish and a bow!

              1. confanity says:

                I read this thread and mutter, “ow.” 8^P

  4. Ringwraith says:

    I have a feeling Guybrush didn’t make any sort of appearance due to Lucas Arts being the owners, though Winslow did as Telltale invented him so therefore own him.
    At least, that’s my (probably flawed) understanding.

  5. PhilWal says:

    You know who’d be great in that game? Duke Nukem.

    Always bet on Duke.

    1. Chargone says:

      yes. bet on him.




  6. Someone says:

    JC Denton would be fun:

    (Getting a flop and folding) What a shame.
    (Seeing the player go all in) A bomb.
    …and so forth.

    Gordon Freeman would make a perfect poker player.

    I wish Doctor Breen could visit The Inventory. Alas for poor Robert Culp.

    If only there was someone who could make it happen… someone interested in Breen’s character…a webcomic artist, perhaps? Nah, that will never happen.

    1. Nyaz says:

      Of course, Gordon Freeman would be way too good at poker. He’d be the final boss of poker… or something. *Has no prior knowledge of poker*

      1. Someone says:

        The Final Boss would be the G-Man, just try to understand what the hell his play is.

  7. Deoxy says:

    While Agatha would be fun, Othar Tryggvassen (Gentleman Adventurer) would probably be a better fit in this, I would guess.

    Yes, Elan would be fun.

    1. Groboclown says:

      I like the way you think. Othar would definitely be wonderful here.

    2. mad_wolf says:

      or play against the spark clanks of agatha, multiple dudes working together to flip a card would be awesome

  8. Integer Man says:

    I second your calls for Roger Wilco and Guybrush Threepwood!

  9. Meredith says:

    Oh man, Elan would be the worst poker player ever, but I would pay money for that game. Actually, better to have him at the table than spectating. :)

    1. Someone says:

      He would probably be like Max minus the violent tendencies.

    2. Mari says:

      I dunno. He might be some kind of weird card-counting savant or something. I can totally picture Elan in a “Rain Man” kind of scenario.

      1. Meredith says:

        I was thinking more of his tendency to start singing “bluff, bluff, bluff about [awesome hand].” The puns would make up for it, though.

  10. RedClyde says:

    I’d love to see Reginald Cuftbert at the poker table. Especially after a few drinks.

    1. Bit says:

      I don’t think it counts as a poker face when you’re invisible.

      1. Someone says:

        But imagine the unlockable items!

        1. Josh says:

          Reginald Cuftburt has discovered that this game cheats. Hard.

          Almost as hard as his dad.

          One of the most egregious examples is when I had eliminated everyone but Strong Bad and had him down to a few thousand chips. He went all-in before the flop and I had a pair of kings, so I called him. He had trash cards, a seven and a ten I think.

          Then comes the flop. Two sevens.


          I eventually did beat him (and got his Dangeresque sunglasses) but I’ve learned to never go all-in against the AI. Because no matter how stupid bad their hand is (I once watched Tycho go all-in with nothing after I had folded and get busted out on the FIRST HAND) or how good your hand is, the AI will always beat you if you call their bluff.

          1. HeroOfHyla says:

            Tycho went all in on the first hand with 2 kings. Then on the flop came the other 2 kings.
            I think everyone except Heavy Weapons Guy went all in on that hand.

          2. Bai Shen says:

            That’s not always true, but it does tend to happen disturbingly frequently.

  11. Yar Kramer says:

    This … just made me giggle. Like a schoolgirl.

    I declare this comic to be a success.

  12. Agatha from Girl Genius could be interesting, and could lead to an interesting in-game unlockable – The Other/Lucretiza – basically giving Agatha more banter and a different play style for you to have to adjust to.

    As far as voice acting goes for Agatha – I’d like to point people to the Girl Genius Radio Theater podcast – Basically it’s silly little side stories with the Girl Genius characters done in a radio play style.

    Though, all that said, now that I’ve given it some thought, as far as Girl Genius characters go, I’d rather play poker with one of the 3 Jagermonsters referred to by fans as “Da Boyz” (Maxim, Oggie and Dimo).

    1. NonEuclideanCat says:

      Poker with Da Boyz would basically be the best.

      And in keeping with getting unlockables for TF2, busting Maxim gets you Ol’ Man Death’s hat.

    2. Slothful says:

      Well, probably in the Girl Genius world, they’d play some kind of crazy card game that was ten times as lethal instead of poker.

      1. Deoxy says:

        Only 10?

        (Well, maybe only ten if it was just a CARD game, but really, considering what little we know about other Jager games, I doubt they have any games that don’t involve large implements of some kind. See here for example: Heh – Pinata jousting polo)

      2. mad_wolf says:

        maybe something where the amount of chips a the end will equal the amount of parts you get for the post match clank match

  13. NeilD says:

    I used to have a Hoyle game from Sierra that had Roger Wilco, Larry Laffer and several other Sierra characters as players. I don’t think it had poker, but there was gin rummy, hearts, and a couple of other card games.

  14. radio_babylon says:

    while its an interesting cross-promotional effort, its a shame the actual game itself is so terrible. not the very worst poker game ive ever played, but definitely in the bottom 5. it inexplicably consumes 100% of both cores at all times, its only funny once (and the characters begin repeating themselves within an hour), and worst of all its *easy*… not a little bit easy, i mean absurdly laughably easy, even on the “hard” setting.

    now, i realize its not easy to build a good AI for a poker game, and that texas hold’em is one of the more difficult poker variants to code for (google around for the university of alberta’s Computer Poker Research Group and their excellent work in AI as applied to incomplete information games, in particular limit hold’em, if youre into that kind of thing)… but the AI for this game is so stunningly bad it feels like they invested the absolute minimum time necessary to get something running that understood the rules of the game with a heuristic barely one step past “execute a random action” each turn. it gets certain points of the rules wrong as well, particularly glaring examples being improper button movement after the elimination of a player, and illegal bet sizing after a raise or after an opening bet larger than the minimum on any street from the flop forward.

    at the end of the day, the impression im left with is that i somehow got rooked into actually PAYING for a commercial masquerading (barely) as a game… nice hand, telltale. well played. grr.

    1. Someone says:

      I am actually having a blast, and I never understood, or cared about, the rules of poker.

      It looks like the less you know about poker, the more you would be able to enjoy the game. I’ve seen a lot of people comment “I love it and I can’t even play poker!”, and I’ve also seen people complaining about it being bad because the poker is bad (the RPS review comes to mind). I find it a great value, there is enough dialogue and poker for five bucks, more than enough if you are like me and love the characters so much you enjoy listening to the same stuff several times.

      On the AI: The characters actually have playing patterns fit for their personalities: Max acts pretty much at random, Strong Bad likes to bluff, raise and even go all in with crap cards, The Heavy generally won’t take risks and Tycho is the most cautious of the lot. However the game does a poor job warning you about that, I only found out about it when I looked up the game on TV Tropes.

      1. radio_babylon says:

        i dunno… at the core, they all play as the fishiest of the monkeyfishes: they call too often, bluff more often than is optimal and for more than makes sense, and overvalue most of their hands. beating the game is trivially simple… so much so that id go on record as saying if you cant beat the everloving pants off this game, you cant beat ANY game ANYwhere for ANY stakes, period, full stop. even the very worst player should be able to win at least half the time, and a competent one more than 3/4 of the time.

        which, now that i think about it, might be deliberate on their part… i would assume that the overwhelming majority of people who bought the game arent avid or even casual poker players, and nobody likes to get stomped all the time, it doesnt make for a very fun game. could be they just geared the game for the target audience, and i happen to not be in that audience.

        1. Kdansky says:

          I believe the normal AI is crap on purpose. And then they thought: “Ah well, coding is hard, let’s just skimp on the hard mode completely.”

          Sadly, playing well against it comes down to really boring play: Fold absolutely everything (don’t play anything below a very high pair after a flop that makes it impossible to get an easy flush or straigth) until you get a huge hand like three of a kind or two pairs, then raise them a few thousand to get them pot-committed, then All-In for huge money. Repeat.

          But in the end, winning is really easy.

        2. Someone says:


          The target audience comes for the TF2 items and/or the characters and their banter. Think of it as a casual game to your hardcore Texas Hold’em.

  15. Irridium says:

    I’d love to see someone from the Ratchet and Clank, Sly Cooper, and Jak and Daxter universes at a poker table.

    Would be one hell of an interesting game.

  16. Not the Face says:

    After getting all the unlocks in Poker Night, spending lots of time on his watch, and having to face off against that jerk many times. This comic was perfect. I think you did well with his dialogue.

  17. thebigJ_A says:

    So… You want Tycho to “befriend” you in your sleep.

    Freudian slip?

    1. Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

      It can only be Freudian, if you’re trying to hide it.

  18. Sydney says:

    Where are the previous/next/first/last buttons?

  19. Robyrt says:

    I have had my fill of poker after getting absolutely demolished by Red Dead Redemption’s version. On the other hand, they are awful at Liar’s Dice because they never learn.

  20. At risk of showing myself the wrong sort of nerd . . .
    That’s supposed to be Tycho Brahe? Where’s his silver nose?

  21. glassdirigible says:

    There isn’t much of a selling point for Cataclysm. There is new content if you have a high enough level character to access it (beyond the goblins and worgen).

    It seems their marketing angle is actually more to get old players to return to the game. The leveling experience is radically improved from what I’ve experienced and heard. Operating under this assumption, one would guess that their tactic is to get people back and to 80 so that they have to buy the expansion to continue.

    Of course, if that was their plan, they seemed to have missed the part where the guards in Hellfire Peninsula are woefully underleveled and the zone is worse (in terms of ganking and killing questgivers) than I’ve ever seen Stranglethorn Vale.

  22. HeadHunter says:

    I’ve been considering buying this title due to Tycho and StrongBad…
    If Brent Sienna were to appear at The Inventory, it would become a must buy!

  23. Gavin says:


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