Stolen Pixels # 88: Left 4 Dumb: Part 10

By Shamus
on May 8, 2009
Filed under:
Column

Yay! The first safehouse!

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20727 comments. Hurry up and add yours before it becomes passé.

From the Archives:

  1. Factoid says:

    Is the reason you’ve been running such a long series on Left4Dead because your old computer died and you haven’t replaced your capture card yet? ;)

  2. Yamael says:

    Isn’t it time to change the game? It’s a bit boring to see only comics about a game I don’t intend to play ever.

    • Shamus says:

      Left 4 Dumb will be a long-running series.

      L4D is just right for what I do:

      * Good cast. (Not 2 characters. Not thirty. Four is just right.)
      * Excellent system for acquiring high-res screengrabs. (PC version, Garry’s Mod.)
      * Good comedic fodder. (Fighting zombies is a well-established cliche outside of the game.)
      * Widespread awareness of the game means that some people can enjoy the jokes, even if they haven’t played the game.
      * Good tone. The game takes itself seriously enough to be ripe for parody. (As opposed to – say – Saint’s Row.)

  3. Jeremiah says:

    I’m not particularly interested in playing the game, either, but I still find the comics quite entertaining (much like I enjoy Red Vs Blue while disliking Halo). They don’t have to be mutually exclusive. I can enjoy some zombie apocalypse humor, regardless of where the content comes from.

  4. JKjoker says:

    *yawn*, you know Shamus, i know i have no say on anything you do since im not paying you a dime but with your current L4D obsession and the pixel city thing it’s been months since you wrote anything worthwhile, i used to print your articles to read and laugh my way back home from college last year (loooong bus ride) but i haven’t found a single thing to read about so far this year, oh well, back to books and light novels.

  5. Reluctant DM says:

    I haven’t play L4D but I have been enjoying these comics. I’m quite happy if you continue making them. They’re very funny even without knowing the game very well.

  6. mockware says:

    I have actually enjoyed the L4D comics the most. It reminds me of concerned which a really enjoyed despite never playing half-life.

  7. wererogue says:

    I’m enjoying Left 4 Dumb, but I do miss *real* Stolen Pixels :/

  8. Tim Keating says:

    Left 4 Dumb and Pixel City have been some of my favorite stuff on the site.

  9. yd says:

    Shamus, to counter the negative comments, I’d like to say that I’m enjoying L4D, Procedural City, etc. Obviously you know this, but write about what you’re enjoying and most of us will enjoy it, too.

    L4D joins a long list of games which you’ve written/stolen pixels from that I’ve never played. I still enjoy them.

  10. Al Shiney says:

    For the nay sayers out there, Procedural City does not interest me one whit either, but just as if you’re watching something on TV that you dislike, the best advice I have for you is to simply “change the channel”. I’m pretty sure Shamus won’t mind all that much.

    On the other hand, I play L4D on the 360 and have found every Left for Dumb SP thoroughly enjoyable. In fact, now that you’ve reached double digits, I think (hope, pray, etc.) that this might become the next incarnation, albeit a shorter one, of DMoTR. Thank you for the creativity and entertainment Shamus! :D

  11. Blackbird71 says:

    * Good comedic fodder. (Fighting zombies is a well-established cliche outside of the game.)

    You could say “well-established,” but I’d lean more towards “dead horse,” personally. Here’s my favorite bit of satire on the overuse of the subject: http://www.crispygamer.com/comics/Backward/Backward-2008-10-27.aspx

    * Widespread awareness of the game means that some people can enjoy the jokes, even if they haven’t played the game.

    Outside of your site, I honestly hadn’t even heard of the game; it’s just outside my regular gaming circle, I guess. Still, the series has been rather amusing, but I have to agree with some of the other posters that it’s getting a bit tired. I can only take so much of “look what stupid did today,” and “1337” gamer tropes.

    I do find it interesting how polarized the readers are over both this and the procedural city series. It seems that both are either loved or hated. Well, I guess “hated” is too strong of a word, I guess it would be more appropriate to say they find it “uninteresting.” Well, wherever the course of these series takes you, I hope at least you are enjoying it Shamus, it is after all your blog, which means your time and effort, so please don’t put too much stock in the whinings of we malcontents ;)

  12. CaroCogitatus says:

    FWIW, I have no intention of ever playing L4D, nor modifying/incorporating Pixel City into my own project (although I did peek at the source code, which immediately reminded me why I prefer to work mostly in Java).

    That, however, doesn’t mean I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed both series immensely.

  13. John Lopez says:

    @Blackbird: polarization is simply a side effect of a larger audience. One thing I learned running forums long, long ago was that a small group creates a culture of tolerance: after all, you will see that same small band every day and have to deal with them. Malcontents get chucked by the users themselves.

    The larger the group becomes, the more “extreme” members you accumulate *and* tolerance starts to drop as the small group dynamics switch off, leaving only mob behavior. It is about this time that most forums either implement moderation of some form or collapse in on themselves in an ever increasing flame war or spam fest.

    Any moderation will do to mitigate this effect and increase the size that a forum can support. However, even with moderation in place, the larger group will always have enough people who react negatively (and remember, people are *far* more likely to post negative commentary than positive) that they start to seem like more than the vocal minority they really are.

    Thus, any publication with a large enough audience will trigger some level of negativity. This forum is very small compared to the Escapist’s user base… and you can see the different dynamics.

  14. Magnus says:

    I have a little thought that popped into my head reading these comments… when you have a good idea for something you would have normally written in this blog about, do you save those ideas for your Escapist column now?

    Also: I find Left4Dumb quite funny (although I’ll never play Left4Dead), but what exactly do you mean my “long running”? this is part 10 after all, thats already quite long.

  15. Magnus says:

    @illiterate:

    That was before Stolen Pixels, I would doubt he’s gonna do 144 episodes of Left4Dumb.

    Having next to zero knowledge of Left4Dead, I’d prefer something different, variety being the spice of life and all that.

    I suppose it does depend on what Shamus is actually playing though.

    • Shamus says:

      If Garry’s mod could load the Left 4 Dead level geometry, I actually would pitch the idea of a year-long series to my editor. There’s a lot of humor packed into the set pieces of the game. Much like Gordon Frohman made the paths crooked for Freeman, a lot could be done in explaining the absurdity of the L4D gameworld through my bastardizations of the main characters.

  16. R4byde says:

    *yawn*, you know Shamus, i know i have no say on anything you do since im not paying you a dime but with your current L4D obsession and the pixel city thing it’s been months since you wrote anything worthwhile, i used to print your articles to read and laugh my way back home from college last year (loooong bus ride) but i haven’t found a single thing to read about so far this year, oh well, back to books and light novels.

    Silence the discord!

    Funny you should say that, I find this group of articles to be some of the most interesting stuff Shamus has ever written, but to each his own I guess.

  17. Kimari says:

    Alright! this time it’s waaay faster than before! =D
    I get 1 frame every 13 seconds, and the loading takes 30 seconds, more or less (it always get’s stuck around 75%).
    For reference: I have a core2quad 2.33GHz, 2GB of RAM and an integrated graphics card (Intel g45/g43 chipset) which is more than probably my bottleneck here.

  18. Kimari says:

    Dammit, wrong post >=(

  19. Mari says:

    Unlike the polarized opinions everybody else seems to be posting, I’m pretty neutral on the L4D SP. Sometimes it makes me laugh out loud, sometimes I read it and go on with no viable thought in between, and sometimes it elicits a nod but not much more. Which, in my experience, is pretty typical of most things I read for a long period of time.

    I’m not bored with the series in general although one or two of the particular comics bored me but I wouldn’t go so far as to call it “some of the best stuff Shamus has ever written” either. It’s mostly up to his usual level of excellence, though, which is plenty for me.

    Pixel City excited me but had it become a full-blown developer blog spanning a year or more of work I probably would have gotten bored.

    In general I just want to say “Keep up the good work, Shamus, and I’ll follow along for the ride.”

  20. Saint Rising says:

    I never played L4D, and I don’t think I probably will. However, Shamus, you have a way of making humurous comics that keeps me reading no matter what game their about. Keep going, if you wish, methinks. ^_^

  21. Yamael says:

    I didn’t mean to say I wasn’t enjoying the comics, only that it’s been a lot of them on the same game when you used to switch pretty much every comic or two. I found that much more enjoyable, and it added the variety Stolen Pixels is missing now with Left 4 Dumb. If you want to stay with them since it’s easy to make the L4D comics, at least spice things a bit with a comic on another game from time to time, it’s been 12 comics on L4D already.

    On another note, I enjoyed the Procedural City series a lot. I found it really nice to see the tricks that can be used to create nice effects while reducing their cost to a minimum.

  22. illiterate says:

    I, for one, would be in favor of a left4dumb heavy format.. It doesn’t give me quite the same belly laughs as DMotR did, but part of that is I’m a D&D nerd who loves LotR, and haven’t played L4D yet. It has been really quality.

    However, maybe.. Could you alternate them? Do an L4D on tuesday, and then something else on fridays?

    @Magnus: please see “hyperbole” I doubt we’re seeing more than 20 or 30 of these, but Shamus has the attention span and writing consistency that he could probably do it.

  23. Miral says:

    I’ve been enjoying the L4D comics, but it would be nice to get one for a different game occasionally. Just for variety, if nothing else :)

  24. Simplex says:

    Left 4 Dumb series and twentysided steam group inspired me to buy Left 4 Dead and I do not regret it. I even played with Shamus once or twice (and other 20sided group members) and it was extremely fun :)

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