Stolen Pixels #188: Test Your Shooter-IQ!

By Shamus Posted Friday Apr 23, 2010

Filed under: Column 50 comments

No, I’m NOT slowly becoming bitter and angry, resenting an entire industry for its fumbling, ham-handed attempts to entertain me with beige scenery and tawdry storytelling.

It’s actually happening quite fast.

I think I need to get away from shooters for a while. You know, take some time off. I think I’ll just quit paying attention to shooters for the next oh crap I can’t do that can I?


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50 thoughts on “Stolen Pixels #188: Test Your Shooter-IQ!

  1. Moridin says:

    Someone needs a hug. Or an original game. What ever.

    1. Volatar says:

      I think he just needs some TF2 love.

      1. Drexer says:

        Seconded. TF2 = Colors for everyone.

      2. eri says:

        That, or something original like Zeno Clash. Maybe Battlefield 1943? Getting away from the standard big budget releases is a nice thing to do, and it tends to be cheaper and more rewarding.

  2. Merle says:

    Something to warm your cockles: Perfect Dark just got re-skinned (hurrah for graphical upgrade!) and released on XBox Live for cheap-as-all-get-out.

    And it’s multiplayer-only, but there’s a pretty good Goldeneye Source mod currently in open beta.

  3. Meredith says:

    I hope Xcom will be the game you’re starting to (maybe, hesitantly) look forward to, but mostly I hope you play it and get plenty of material for your various entertaining enterprises. ;)

  4. Jordi says:

    What do you mean “becoming bitter and angry”?

  5. For the record, I absolutely LOVE the name Captain Shooty McNotalker.

    I think I could create an entire comic based upon that character!


    1. equinox216 says:

      8-panel Sunday spread.

      Panels 1-6: Big Duke Nukem-reminiscent protagonist firing various guns at, into, and through enemies, objects, terrain features, celestial bodies, the space-time continuum, the afterlife, his own grandfather, and a tin can.

      Panel 7: Protagonist sitting at table in French cafe with one of the grotesque humanoid enemies, both looking awkwardly at their coffee.

      Panel 8: “Produced by Michael Bay” over an expanding mushroom cloud.

  6. Factoid says:

    1) A
    2) C
    3) C

    Am I right? A is a tricky one. I think I remember that barn, or one very much like it (kinda the whole joke, I know) in Fallout 3.

    I’ve never played Resistance but I know that wasn’t a bad guy in Doom or Quake.

    3 is also slightly tricky. It looks exactly like RF:G, but I can’t remember ever running into “hazy storm conditions” like that.

  7. kikito says:

    Well, you mentioned that you don’t like Street Fighter, so I will not recommend it (but I have to say it: it is quite good). What are your thoughts about Starcraft then?

  8. AGrey says:

    Would it help if we went in and reskinned all of fallout 3 with day-glo green and orange plaid texturing on the walls?

  9. Emlyn says:

    A wonderful example of why I pretty much only play L4D2 and TF2 for my shooter fix. Or the good HL2 mods (Minerva). Hopefully people will soon realize that color is not something to be feared.

    1. Bret says:

      Why not core Half Life 2 as well?

      White Forrest is nice this time of year.

  10. Vipermagi says:

    For, say, Far Cry 2, I don’t mind the brown drab. After all, deserts aren’t quite blue. Fallout 3 perhaps, but a little color wouldn’t have hurt. Cities, however, aren’t brown (ex. GTA IV). I guess game developers really do see no sunlight at all? We might never know.

    I’d guess ACB. Fairly sure that’s the Fallout 3 grass. I haven’t played any of the other games mentioned, however, except Borderlands (which doesn’t have red sand).

  11. Aelfric says:

    I haven’t played Shooters in many years. I experimented a little with the first Far Cry, whenever that came out, but quickly gave it up when the open-island stuff gave way to the usual claustrophobic corridors. Anyway, recently, I thought I should see what all this modern shooter fuss is about, so I picked up used copies of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (on Xbox 360, if anyone cares). I have yet to play the latter, but as to the former, I just don’t get it. I tried playing the multiplayer, but the game itself strenuously urged me to play the campaign first. I’m no good at it, but what’s more, I have no desire to become good at it. I know multiplayer is at the heart of why people like these games, but I am just fine with my Street Fighter 2 HDremix when I want a stranger to kick my tail. I miss turn based games. I am just hoping they don’t get TOO wild and crazy with the next iteration of Civilization, the only major turn-based game left, of which I am aware. So basically, I am with you Shamus, and still believe gaming reached its peak in the mid-90s (for me anyway!).

    1. Teldurn says:

      I’m right there with ya. Turn based games are where it’s at. And it doesn’t even have to be strategy games to be good turn-based. Fallout 1/2 were fantastic TBRPGs. NWN2 had the pause-to-give-orders thing, which essentially made it turn-based. Maybe turn-based-lite. Anyway, it still worked.

      And yes, the mid-90s did see the pinnacle of gaming.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Galactic civilizations 2 and kings bounty are pretty nice,though a bit older.Then theres sword of the stars(also a bit old,but with a fleshed out expansion).Or the indi solium infernum and avernum 6.All nice turn based games.

        1. Aelfric says:

          Holy heavens did I love King’s Bounty, and its progeny, the early Heroes of Might and Magic games. I think I liked King’s Bounty best of all, though, because you could always *try* to dash through, grab the continent maps, and essentially break the game. I think all games should have a “break me” option.

    2. Pickly says:

      Elemental: War of Magic may be another one to try, when it comes out. (Though it’s in beta at the moment, and kind of a mess, a.k.a. I am not able to play it at all.)

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    You forgot the inevitable sandbox that is linear and upgrades that mean jack squat.Oh,and there isnt a single shooter you can point to and say you dont like it?How about the ultimate blandness mix that is wolfenshtein(the new one,not the original)?

  13. SatansBestBuddy says:

    Irony of ironies, right after reading your comic, I went and watched Escape to the Movies, and the ad they played before the show was for “Fallen Earth,” but I honestly thought it was a Fallout 3 expansion the whole time the ad played.

    Seriously, it was the single most generic game I’ve ever seen; post-apocalyptic, check, dingy and gray, check, mutants/aliens as primary cannon fodder, check, futuristic weapons that are basically the pistol, shotgun, and machine gun again, check.

    And people wonder why I like the Wii so much…

  14. Mario l. says:

    I just read that Konami is planning to do a fps for the next installement of Silent Hill.

    Now I’ll better take a step back and wait for your head to explode in a burst of rage.

    1. Drexer says:


      My brain just collapsed in fear of the destruction of my childhood fears and memories. What’s next? A non-scary Pennywise?

      Once again until my lungs burst:



  15. krellen says:

    I got a -50. I did actually pay for Fallout 3, but I didn’t care about any of the questions. :D

  16. Rayen says:

    just get off your computer for a couple hours and play with a rubix cube… or watch an anime… or read a book.

    1. acronix says:

      You realize there are only five kinds of anime, I hope: Schoolgirls in mechas, schoolgirls with magic, schoolgirls with demons, and schoolgirls with demonic magic mechas!

      1. krellen says:

        That’s four.

        The fifth type of anime is, of course, shonen: boys beating stuff up.

        1. tremor3258 says:

          So… boys rescuing schoolgirls?

  17. RPZip says:

    On the bottom of the comic it says Copyright 2008 The Escapist, so you’ve either had this joke planned for a long time or that’s a mistake.

  18. SolkaTruesilver says:


    Do.. do you need a hug? :-(

    1. Shamus says:

      Heh. The decade of the beige shooter is annoying, but most of my outrage is feigned for the sake of the joke.

      Although, that bit about Silent Hill that someone else mentioned actually stings a little.

  19. MichaelG says:

    Half-Life 2 Ep 2 is the most recent shooter I own. Is there really a reason to buy another?

  20. Aelyn says:

    Look, you can’t really expect us to think you’d get tired of pizza. You’re a programmer. Everyone serving the same pizza would simply make your decision simpler. If I order in, I’ll order from the absolute closest place to help the environment. If I go out, I’ll go to the place with skeeball so the kids are occupied.

    Tired of pizza… sheesh.

  21. acronix says:

    At least Borderlands had a different art style, instead of going for photorealism like the other ones.
    Of course that the gameplay was the same: “Point and shoot until one dies!”

  22. Galad says:

    Maybe it’s unrelated, but I’d be curious what you thought of the Max Payne games, Shamus?

    1. Shamus says:

      Loved, LOVED Max Payne.

      Well, the gameplay always gets a little stale by the third act, but it’s a small flaw and I’d be terrified of them trying to fix it. (Because they would do so with crappy quicktime events or vehicle sections.)

      1. Mario l. says:

        Or escort missions, don’t forget those…

        1. Factoid says:

          You know…Quicktime events CAN be done well in games. Force Unleashed is an excellent recent example.

          Escort missions, however….I can’t think of a single game that had a fun escort mission.

          The only one that comes close is Ico…which was technically just one really long escort mission, but it depends on how you define the term.

  23. Pickly says:

    The only shooter I’ve bought is Team Fortress 2, so I may actually come ahead in points if by accident I guess something right. :)

    I suppose if you actually do get bored (as opposed to fake bored for the sake of the joke), there’s always civilization 4 and it’s many mods to try out.

    1. Irridium says:

      Indeed. I imagine the Russians as Ubisoft. And crush them under my mighty Aztec tanks!

      1. Pickly says:

        The mods really are the key to this suggestion. I never actually play the original game, but do play several mods a good amount.

        1. Irridium says:

          I tend to move from original to mods and back again.

          I shudder to think how much time in all I spent on the Civ games and its mods…

  24. Bret says:

    Weird thing?

    Halo, THE console shooter?

    It was often brightly colored as all get out. Even the latest one, which takes place mostly in the dark, gives everything bright red, green and yellow outlines.


    Kinda nice, really.

    1. Irridium says:

      Agreed. If there’s one thing Halo did something thats unique, its have vibrant colors. Which… is actually pretty sad.

      Although it does have quite possibly the best game soundtrack I have ever heard, so there’s that.

  25. Vegedus says:

    Well, does FPS/RPG hybrids count? Would you stay away from Mass Effect as well?

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Its not first person but third person though.

  26. GuiguiBob says:

    After playing the new AvP game I got a bit tired of the “Hey look we can do foilage” Bland green jungle or gray refineries settings without forgetting dark hallways of “Oh god I can’t see a thing, damn I’m swarmed, dead” of the marine campaign. (Alien and predator campaigns were pretty fun though)

    I got so tired that I went and grabbed Warriors Orochi 2 ( a Dynasty Warriors spinoff) off the bargain bin. What’s amazing is that the gameplay feels fresh even trough all the flaws of the game. Like I have rediscovered Hamburgers after having eaten the same kind of pizza for so long.

  27. Mike Has Answers says:

    Why would a thoughtful, sensitive man like you be playing first person shooters in the first place?

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