Stolen Pixels: Meta

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Jul 9, 2008

Filed under: Column 23 comments

Yesterday’s comic was kind of strange, since the comment thread was split between the two sites. In the future I’ll have to encourage people to comment over there, and not here. It will help me earn my keep, as well as making the whole thing easier to follow so I don’t have to answer the same questions twice.

I do want to point out that even though the debut comic has a bunch of stuff about adding a story to ping-pong, it has nothing to do with the current Paint the Line series over at Penny Arcade, which does exactly that. In fact, I sent that text to my editor on June 9th, ages before Paint the Line appeared. This wasn’t some clumsy attempt at a tie-in or intended as a dig against PA. It’s just… an odd coincidence.

To answer the other questions that have been appearing in comments there, here, and in email:

1) Yes, the comic is going to cover many videogames, not just UT3. It will appear Tuesdays and Fridays.

2) My foray into the world of MMO games is directly related to the comic. I felt that I needed to focus on games with greater familiarity for the broader audience. I also wanted to make sure I was covering new ground instead of just reheating old ideas and re-foisting them on everyone. And finally, I really did want to check out the last great bastion of PC gaming and this seemed like a good excuse to do so.

3) I know Yahtzee’s latest video makes fun of webcomics. I have no idea if his feature on webcomics was designed to coincide with the onset of my comic or not. I’d call it a conspiracy, but after the thing with Ping-Pong I’m prepared to believe anything.

4) On the subject of credits: Yes, this is a paid gig. Yes, the Escapist owns the comic. I’m just a hired gun, although note that in this case I’m armed with a gun that shoots the funny. (One hopes.) The logo was done by someone more artistically inclined than I am. I really dig it, but no – I didn’t design it. I did come up with the title, and the concept is obviously nothing new for me. Yes. I have an editor now. Yes, the people at The Escapist are nice and we get on just fine. No I can’t get you Yahtzee’s autograph. Shut up.

5) Please, in the spirit of internet sharing, spread the love around. By which I mean post links to the comic all over the damn place, saying you love it. Yes, the launch went well, but there is always the desire to do better.


From The Archives:

23 thoughts on “Stolen Pixels: Meta

  1. folo4 says:

    It’s hard spread word of a webcomic with ONLY ONE STRIP !

    so, which platform’s games will be viable to your webcomic?

    EDIT: Also, backdoored through your previous blog post’s “Previous in Projects: ” although, one can easily plus one the URL’s P-field.

  2. Miral says:

    There’s a simple way to avoid splitting the comments between here and there: don’t make a new post here whenever you make a new comic there :)

    You kind of have to do it for the first one, of course, and you’ll probably want to occasionally remind people that it’s there (for newcomers or for people who didn’t instantly subscribe to the feed [like I did]), so you probably won’t be able to completely follow this. But if you don’t make it on-topic then less people will talk about it.

    (Oh, and: “OMG 2nd!” I’ve never been this high on the page before. Not that it really matters, of course. :) )

    And yeah, folo4 has a point (though it took me a while to figure out what they meant): why is the earlier “Stolen Pixels” post listed as the next in the Projects category?

  3. Shamus says:

    My bad. THIS post was supposed to drop Wednesday morning, but I accidentally backposted it to Tuesday morning.

    This is fixed, which means the above two comments will be dated before the post goes live.

  4. Eric says:

    I already put the comic on youtube.

  5. ccesarano says:

    Heh, sorry for pointing out the whole Paint the Line thing. I wasn’t meaning to point out any criticism. And speaking of coincidences, you submitted that on my birfday. Some crazy mysticism is going on here.

    I’ll probably add a link to the comic on my site, though it’ll be more redundant. I already have DM of the Rings and Twenty-Sided Tale linked, as well as The Escapist. I guess it wouldn’t hurt, though, since sometimes people will be more inclined to read a full website when a webcomic or something gets them into it.

    Congratulations on the first strip, though.

  6. Susan says:

    Hi, folks, Shamus’ editor here. Just wanted to vouch for him by saying, yes, the whole ping-pong thing really is just a weird coincidence. Tuesday’s comic has been done for ages, but we wanted to make Stolen Pixels part of The Escapist’s third birthday celebration, which is why it didn’t run until now.

    Yahtzee’s webcomic-skewering video was another bolt from coincidence-ville.Any more coincidences and my head might explode.

    While I’m here, let me just say how thrilled I am to have Shamus as part of our team. I was a huge fan of DM of the Rings, and I think Stolen Pixels does a similarly great job of bringing the funny.

  7. I’ve heard (and I don’t know if it’s true or not) that Yahtzee’s rant about web comics is actually in response to the online comic Crtl+Alt+Del.

  8. Jeremiah says:

    So are you reserving all your screen-cap strips for The Escapist, or are they still going to pop up in your blog posts from time to time?

  9. DaveMc says:

    “In the future I'll have to encourage people to comment over there, and not here.”

    Hmm, I dunno . . . We’ve become pretty fond of our little community over here, with its elite English-using skills (words with no numbers in them! paragraphs! complete sentences! except these!). Asking us to mix with the general population of the web is a little scary . . .

  10. Kevin says:

    Don’t shoot the funny!

    It’s too funny to die.

  11. Allan says:

    Could you get me Yahtzee’s autograph, I am British…

  12. Cincinnatus says:

    Regarding your pecuniary compensation for Stolen Pixels: about time! My standard response to DM of the Rings was first a chortle (or sometimes an involuntary audible snicker), and then a bemoaning of the fact that you remained sadly without financial backing for your comic skill. And on Free Radical, I think it would be amazing to be published and sold as the bestseller it could be, but again, you run into the problem of rights that you explained in your foreword. So finally, money, and I say “Huzzah!”

    Question, though: how does this work legally, since you’re using copyrighted game materials? I’m no lawyer, but does this qualify as parody under the definition put forth by the Supreme Court in their 1994 decision on the subject, and therefore can be used in whatever capacity so desired?

  13. Sitte says:

    Easiest way to encourage people to post over there? Don’t make a post every time a new comic goes up, just have a banner directing us to it at the top of your page always.

    I doubt you were planning on posting a link every Tuesday and Friday…but I’m a doubter. It’s what I do. I even legally changed my name to Thomas. (I’m also a liar. I even legally changed my name to Baron Mà¬ľnchhausen.)

    EDIT: By “encourage people to post over there” I meant “force people to not post over here”. Not that my suggested tactic will succeed in this; I know I’m not the only one that’s rarely on topic.

  14. Sitte says:

    Eric – I hope you took credit for writing it and demanded that The Escapist give you credit.

  15. Kaneohe says:

    As Leslee implied, Yahtzee’s review is generally accepted to be a not-so-subtle dig at Ctrl-Alt-Del. It references a recent storyline, matches the character setup, and the strip in the background is titled “Bontrol-Balt-Belete.” For some reason, Croshaw doesn’t like Buckley.

  16. DaveMc says:

    Kaneohe wrote: “As Leslee implied, Yahtzee's review is generally accepted to be a not-so-subtle dig at Ctrl-Alt-Del.”

    The Zero Punctuation on webcomics (which I agree is pretty clearly about CAD) says something along the lines that you (the webcomic creator) should be sure to “depict [your critics] in your comic as a ridiculous straw man and mock them with infuriating self-righteousness”. Did that happen to Yahtzee in CAD, maybe?

    Yahtzee did a detailed critique (read: evisceration) of Ctrl-Alt-Del, by comparing a CAD and a Penny Arcade comic on the same subject (Puzzle Quest, and the absurdity of playing gem-matching games as combat) — see the entry called “23/3/08: You Cad” at Oddly enough, this same comic led to my moment of clarity about CAD: I’d been reading it sort of out of habit for some time, but when I saw that comic on Puzzle Quest (after having just read the Penny Arcade one), I dropped it from my webcomic trap line.

  17. Sauron says:

    My watching of Yahtzee’s review tells me that it’s not *just* a dig a Ctrl-Alt-Del. It may be plurality screen time, but he also has some harsh things to say about Penny Arcade and Bob and George, for example. But, yes, most of it was definitely about CAD.

  18. Nick says:

    Question, though: how does this work legally, since you're using copyrighted game materials? I'm no lawyer, but does this qualify as parody under the definition put forth by the Supreme Court in their 1994 decision on the subject, and therefore can be used in whatever capacity so desired?

    I’m wondering about this too, since you now seem to be getting paid for screen capping a game, wouldn’t the publisher want a cut?

  19. Silfir says:

    Why? It’s parody, right?

  20. mark says:

    I’m really enhoying this latest trend in game reporting to NOT give a numerical score, and to pick at all a game’s flaws, regardless of whether the verdict is good or bad.

    Penny Arcade, Zero Punctuation, Twenty Sided and now Stolen Pixels, all pioneers in an industry dominated by the likes of IGN and Gamespot, with their 9.9 reviews for anything thats any good, or pays well for them. Its about time game critics acted like critics instead of mouthpieces, regurgitating press releases and licking the publishers’ balls. :)

  21. Funkula says:

    This is just one person’s opinion, obviously, but I’m probably not going to read this comic unless there’s a single page I can bookmark that will always show me the latest strip. Either a standard webcomic interface or just announcing each strip here on the blog would work for me. Maybe I’m the only person here who doesn’t read the Escapist regularly, but having to check their main page for comic updates seems a little too much hassle.

  22. Jeremiah says:

    That’s what RSS feeds are for. And someone already linked to it in the original thread about the comic.

  23. Jason Smith says:

    Funkula: We’re waiting on some art and a few more comics to get the next/previous/whatnot buttons in there, but here’s a secret link you can bookmark:

    That’ll always go to the latest comic. A Twenty Sided Exclusive!!! ;)

    Or you could always bookmark – the comic isn’t on there, but the link to the newest will always be on the top.

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