Stolen Pixels #46:
How to Meet Women

By Shamus
on Dec 12, 2008
Filed under:
Column

Silent Hill: Homecoming explains why videogame heroes are usually loners: They’re really, really bad at small talk.

Comments open today, for those that have something to say but can’t be bothered with the whole registration thing. You can talk about this strip, or past ones, or ask questions about SP. You know, an open-thread type of event.

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201535 comments. Hurry up and add yours before it becomes passé.

From the Archives:

  1. Kel'Thuzad says:

    Oh… eh.
    It was alright, but not as good as your others.

  2. Viktor says:

    It’s not just video game protagonists. Have you ever thought of the classical RPG adventurer’s reputation? Ale and Whores are really the least morally questionable things they do.

  3. Luke Maciak says:

    @Viktor – LOL! That’s true. Getting drunk, and starting brawls in bars and/or taverns is what most adventurers consider as being civil and lying low. :P

  4. ShadowDragon8685 says:

    Hwa-hahahahaha!

    Oh, that was a good one. Not quite the scathing blasting of the industry I’d like to comment on, but it was still good for a chuckle. It’s a good point, too… Hmmmmm.

    Maybe they should have made a minigame where you get to guess what she wants to hear? :P

  5. karln says:

    Um yeah I’ve had things I wanted to say about other SP strips and couldn’t, but not this one. Just so you know.

  6. Shamus says:

    Go ahead and comment on past strips as well, I only do this open thread once every few weeks. We might as well make the most of it.

  7. Angie says:

    On the plus side, computer game characters are generally limited by whatever selections the designers wrote for their dialogue tables, so if Joe Designer didn’t want to give his hero’s girlfriend the option to say, “Oh my god, you insane psycho! I’m calling the cops right now!” then she can’t. No matter how much she might want to. :D

    Angie

  8. Illiterate says:

    @Shadowdragon…

    you bastard.. i’m trying hard not to disturb my co-workers by cackling at that.

    @Viktor…

    I don’t know about you, but in general at the gaming table I would probably prefer my players summarize as “ale and whores” rather than an extended RP of them trying to seduct some barmaid or whatnot.

  9. Deoxy says:

    I have only one comment at this time, and it’s about your commentary on your last comic:

    It’s like having Bob Barker shout, “A NEW CAR!”, right in the middle of the shower scene in Psycho.

    That’s a really great line, and it gets the point across, but… Bob never did that. That was the announcer, the most well-known of which being Rod Roddy (who died a few years ago, sadly).

    OK, ok, /pathetically anal nitpick

    Keep up the good work. :-)

  10. henebry says:

    I often find the commentary sidebar funnier than the comic. When you started doing gameplay comics here, almost a year ago, the comics were a wonderful ad-on to whatever excoriating commentary you had put in your blog. At Stolen Pixels, though, the priority of text to comic is reversed. Readers go there to read the comic, not to read your (brief) commentary.

    And, whereas your blog posts were improved by comics which put a fine point on whatever irony you were unfolding in the main text, it seems to me that these comics are undercut by your effort to contextualize the humor in a textual commentary. Yes, some of the jokes may seem a bit obscure, but better they feel like “inside jokes” than that they be deflated by an effort to explain them.

    As an alternative to the text accompanying today’s comic, why not inform us of the comic’s point indirectly, using pure, undiluted irony:

    I just can’t get enough of the romance that Double Helix added to the Silent Hill franchise in Homecoming. There’s nothing like survival horror to bring out the mating urge. There were a lot of directions they could have gone with the series, but “Leisure Suit Larry” hits all the right notes.

  11. Shamus says:

    Henebry: I agree that the side-text isn’t what it could be. The only time I’ve ever really been happy with it is during the Sam & Max / SB crossover thing.

    There’s not enough space to do reviews like I used to, and no matter what I do I never feel like I’m getting the most out of the space I do have.

  12. Eric the baker says:

    Deoxy @9: You are of course correct about the announcer being the one that awarded (for the intent of the show) the New Car. It certainly wasn’t Bob who was giving away all that cash and prizes.

    Yet what always puzzled me is, why is Bob Barker the one getting all the affectionate hugs and kisses from the female contestants? Wouldn’t it be more appropriate for them to lay their slavering lips upon the jowls of Rod Roddy? After all, the man certainly had some style, as shown by his choice of sport coats.

  13. Illiterate says:

    No offense intended to your writing, Shamus, but you might want to take a look at the model of penny arcade.. they barely mention the comic in the blog post. the classic principle is that if you have to explain a joke, it’s not going to be funny afterwards.

    I will say that I found this comic damn funny. Just consider the supplemental text optional. If you really feel like you have something to say that goes beyond what is in the comic, but it doesn’t fit into (say) the next comic, sure, throw it in there.

  14. DaveMc says:

    I understand people’s concern about explaining a joke being the death of comedy, but the commentaries at Stolen Pixels haven’t struck me that way. I often find the text just as funny as the comic, or more – some of the best lines are in the commentaries, and somehow it just hasn’t bothered me that they’re on the same basic subject as the comic.

  15. elopingcamel says:

    I have never once been bothered by the commentaries being just as if not more funny than the comic. I have considered it a part of the format (i.e. a part of the comic itself).

  16. Mistwraithe says:

    It is variable. There have certainly been some Stolen Pixels where I thought the comic was good and the commentary was just as good or even better but in a different or complementary way.

    I agree with Henebry though that more sarcasm, irony, etc in the commentary usually is a good thing.

    Incidentally, no offense, but the Sam and Max comics completely bored me. I typically think I am close to your target audience (35, played PC games for 20 years, irritated by increasing lack of depth and DRM) but I guess I just haven’t spent anywhere enough time with the right ‘popular culture’ to get them!

  17. Simulated Knave says:

    I must say, I don’t see how this one relates to DRM. ;)

  18. Robert says:

    I subscribe to the RSS feed for both Twenty Sided and your Stolen Pixels strip. I really don’t need you to post updates here saying that there’s a strip there. Not that it’s a huge major deal (waaaah, my free entertainment isn’t configured the way I would configure it if it was me doing the work, waaah), it’s just disappointing to see “oooh, a post at Twenty Sided” in my RSS feed and have it be just a pointer to something I already read two hours ago.

  19. potemkin.hr says:

    @Robert: I totally agree, RSS kicks ass. I use it all the time…

  20. Toast says:

    So, is there going to be a point at which Stolen Pixels actually becomes funny?

    DMoTR was hilarious, Chainmail Bikini (when you could be bothered to put it out) was good, but this… this is lame.

  21. Rev.Blacky says:

    Really, I love Stolen Pixels!
    I love the side commentary!
    I view them as separate but related entities, like a pair of funny brothers.
    I have yet to ready a comic, or a sidebar, that does not amuse and impress me.
    And I also love that you mention when a new one is up here, because I read here before I hit the comic!
    Maybe I am just easy to please.
    Or maybe we think too much alike.
    Or maybe I like pie….

  22. Marmot says:

    Hmph, but what is the reason for having some Stolen Pixels post having comments open and some not? In case of the last one, I wanted to complain about not using the old familiar EA guy. :) No one can deny that he was popular, smart, and sexy! Even the hookers thought so… until the dumpster was emptied, at least.

    In regards to this one, it reminded me of Baldur’s Gate 2 romances, which might not have been realistic but have been actually well thought out.

  23. krellen says:

    Curiousity here.

    Does the Escapist pay you for SP? Is it more profitable than this place? :D

  24. Namfoodle says:

    I think the current format works fine.

    I don’t think the comparison to Penny Arcade made by Illiterate really works because the “blog” part of Penny Arcade isn’t on the same page as the comic. They usually tie into the comic with the post, and the length varies day to day. But the Penny Arcade posts will delve into lots of other topics as well, much like this site.

    One of my favorites recently was the Fallout one where the guy starts aiming at the quest giver. The quests are sometimes downright ridiculous on the risk/reward scale, so it makes sense the character would get annoyed (or homicidal). Obviously the only reason it works at all is that the player is thinking “when I complete this bullshit, the XP rewards should be good…”

  25. Aergoth says:

    Left out a whole mess of heroic stuff:
    Minor acts of genocide, racism and murder. Thievery, destruction of ancient ruins, consorting with devils/demons/beings of unspeakable evil, raising the dead. Verbal abuse, highway robbery, assault, probably want to add battery in there as well. Felony possession of a weapon, aggravated assault.

  26. Xinem says:

    Just to weigh in on the topics du jour:

    I like the side commentary most of the time. Today, for instance, the comic was funny but my “laugh out loud” moment was in the commentary with “more like Leisure Suit Larry.” That’s not always the case, but often enough for me to enjoy reading the commentary as much as the strips.

    I don’t care if you mention/link the new SP here or not. Yes, I have RSS for both but I realize that not everybody does so eh, what’s the biggie? If Shamus wants to generously keep his readers here up to date, why complain just because you don’t need the service? That’s like complaining about the valet parking because you took a cab to the hotel.

    And most of all: Keep up the good work, Shamus. Sorry not everyone enjoys it, but you certainly keep my monitor clean (because I’m frequently having to clean up coffee spews you caused). ^-^

  27. Squash says:

    Am I the only one that finds SP a dog to download? Everything on the page opens fine in my browser–the text, the ads, etc–EXCEPT THE ACTUAL COMIC. Usually I have to refresh the page three or four times, with a little more of the comic showing each time. Mostly I just give up in disgust. For some reason this is worse in Firefox than IE.

  28. Mistwraithe says:

    Prompted by Toast’s post I thought I should mention that I found DMotR hilarious, Chainmail Bikini not at all and SP is generally amusing.

    Everyone has different tastes I guess… but I think most of us agree DMotR was great, no doubt because it drew upon all the Middle Earth lore/background/memories.

  29. Ted "Theodore" Logan says:

    ShadowDragon, you should start developing games! You could make the world’s first realistic, true-to-life dating sim!

    You schedule a romantic date for valentine’s day. You buy flowers. You buy chocolate. You buy jewelry. She calls to cancel dinner and tells you this isn’t working out. You’ll make some (other) girl really happy someday, though, she just knows it!

  30. Dragonbane says:

    @Illiterate: I usually like Shamus’s style. I HATE Penny Arcade, it’s full of lame and boring.

    @Rev.Blacky: I *only* know about pixels when it gets mentioned here. :)

  31. Pekka says:

    @Shamus: Most of these strips work quite well for me, even though I play few computer games these days. There is enough universal gamer humor (is such a thing possible?) in them, apparently, that I can find them funny even though I am often not at all familiar with the source material.

    That’s a good thing.

  32. illiterate says:

    off the topic of the thread, but on the topic of the comic —

    http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/12/13/1759232 the demise of the survival horror genre is being debated.

  33. Deoxy says:

    Eric the baker:

    Yes, the show gave away a lot of stuff, and yes, Bob was the show’s representative in that manner and justly received adulation from the adoring fans (especially the female ones), but he never “shout[ed], ‘A new car!'” The guy who did the shouting was the announcer. That was the point.

    And yes, it was ridiculously anal (though not quite as anal as you responding to me or me responding back).

  34. Osvaldo Mandias says:

    The sidebar comment usually adds to the joke. You critics can PHBBTTT!

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