Holy smokes it’s Stolen Pixels #200!

By Shamus Posted Friday Jun 4, 2010

Filed under: Column 60 comments

No, really! 200!

And so ends the Breen / Team Fortress 2 crossover.

This was the “big project” I was whining about earlier this week. You know, I actually imagined this one would be easy when I envisioned it. In the end, it took as long to make this one as it did to make the rest of the series combined.

Still, it was as fun to make as it was time-consuming, so there’s that.


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60 thoughts on “Holy smokes it’s Stolen Pixels #200!

  1. Blanko2 says:

    CLAPTRAP!!!! *SHAKES FIST* even out of borderlands you must plague us with your babbling!!!!

    good comic

    1. Maldeus says:

      You can remove Claptrap from the comic if you know what you’re doing. The gaps in the sidebar are mostly just blank white space with no information about Episode 3, but the missing panels are brilliant!

  2. Narida says:

    I think you meant defuse, not diffuse, no?

    1. somecrazyfan says:

      Yes, Shamus how could you make such a mistake?I’ll stop reading your website right now and forever and ever.:(

    2. Hawkehunt says:

      Technically, I suppose he could have meant diffusing the fallout, but I’m not sure what the point would be – maybe to give a lot of folks a little taste of radiation poisoning rather than a few the full dose?

    3. eri says:

      Yeah no offense, but that kind of tarnished what was otherwise a very entertaining comic. :p

      1. krellen says:

        You all need to take lessons in reading typoese and stop being so pedantic.

    4. Timelady says:

      I’d like to think he actually meant “diffuse.” Makes that missing panel just that more interesting.

  3. ehlijen says:

    That was brilliant!

    I have no idea who that robot is, but I think I just learned everything there is to know about it.

    However, shouldn’t it be defuse in the last panel? Or did Breen really mean to imply that Metro has some sort of radiation and shockwave diffusal ability?

    1. ps238principal says:

      That robot is one of the more mystifying decisions made for “Borderlands,” an FPS with RPG elements. I never understood why the game was so popular; just about the only thing it had going for it was combat, and even that was boring after the umpteenth repetitive go-round.

      1. Nick Bell says:

        Borderlands is a first person Diablo, and popular for the same reasons. Great co-op play and ever increasing amounts of loot. It is a “stuff collecting” game, color coded for your convenience.

        1. (LK) says:

          This :D

          It’s designed to be addictive. It has a very steady stream of challenge/reward that makes it very engaging.

          The first time or two around it’s fun to play in long durations, but it will always be fun to play for a little while here or there.

      2. merle says:

        I felt like Claptrap fell just on the good side of the cute/annoying line. He’s so earnestly helpful that I can’t help but like him.

  4. Ashen says:

    All I’ll say is that your ClearType settings are completely incompatible with jpg compression :)

    1. Garden Ninja says:

      I’ve noticed that problem in previous comics, but if you Right Click -> View Image (or the equivalent, if you aren’t using Firefox) the text is clear. For whatever reason though, the web page shrinks the image just a little bit.

      1. Susie Day says:

        Still, the ClearType makes it look a bit wonky on other monitors … Other than that – The comic was amusing, which is the point :-)

    2. Neko says:

      Yeah, when I saw the text my eyes tensed up a bit. Subpixel smoothing? in my firefox? I thought I got rid of you once and for all! But no, it’s a screenshot taken of someone else’s subpixel smoothing, which explains the horrible rainbow effect.

  5. Henebry says:

    Really a brilliantly conceived and executed SP #200. A celebration of action and drama, together with a sly satire of gaming journalism. That send-up sidebar article is perhaps your funniest jibe at the fawning treatment given to big publishers by gaming journalists in exchange for privileged access.

  6. Kajen says:

    Great, you did it: you just broke me.

    My screen is dripping (cranberry juice) and my roommate just burst in and asked wether she’d get my dvd collection once I finished dying of laughter.

    Brilliant strip!


  7. Benjamin Orchard says:

    Shamus, you are a right bastard.

    You know that, don’t you? Cause this is just cruel–on many levels–and I don’t even CARE that much about the game coming out soon.


    (It was funny, though, I’ll give you that. You are still a right honorable bastard, though.)

    1. Jarenth says:

      My name is Jarenth, and I support this comment.

  8. Zekiel says:

    I don’t normally like to leave comments saying nothing more than “that was brilliant”, but,

    That really was brilliant. Thanks Shamus!

  9. Meredith says:

    Nicely done. This strip is a perfect example of your particular brand of cleverness. I think I’ll have to go read it again to be sure I caught everything.

    Congrats on 200 strips and here’s to another 200! :)

  10. ccesarano says:

    The web designer in me is thinking “with some z-indexing and CSS work he could’ve had all the text in there without making it part of an image”. Then I also realized that could easily have been broken in like 10,000 ways.

    Honestly, favorite part of the strip: “Goodbye Kasumi.” “I’ll never forget you, Metro”.

    Totally awesome.

    1. GreyDuck says:

      Yep, that was my pullquote, too.

      Agreed, totally awesome.

      1. monkeyboy says:

        That scene was the first among equals. Every one of those scenes was made of win.

  11. Mari says:

    I have only one thing to say. I love you, Shamus Young. That was brilliantly funny. And thanks for the release date of Episode 3. I knew if I stuck around long enough it would pay off.

  12. Primogenitor says:

    RE: the link at the bottom

    You can put hyperlinks on parts of images. IMAP tags I think? Something like that – I’ve used it in the past, though I cant remember how at the moment…

    1. GreyDuck says:

      Image maps, if I remember correctly. (IMAP is something else entirely.) But that would’ve ruined the joke, I suspect…

  13. Volatar says:

    That was totally amazing. Your hard work paid off Shamus :)

  14. Joe Cool says:

    *Clap clap clap*

    Bravo, Shamus. Bravo.

  15. Someone says:

    You sir are a cruel cruel man. Then again, I guess we had it coming after you endured Operation: Anchorage for our entertainment.

  16. Axle says:

    My favourite Stolen Pixel strip.
    Great work Shamus!

  17. chabuhi says:

    This may be your magnum opus, Shamus.

  18. Ingvar says:

    Masterfully done!

  19. somebodys_kid says:

    Best. Comic. Ever.
    Well done, sir. The sidebar article was the icing on an already delicious cake.

  20. Al Shiney says:

    You realize what you’ve done, don’t you Shamus? Now you have to try to top this. I’m not sure it’s possible, but I can’t wait to see you try.

  21. RTBones says:

    Pardon me while I stand up and applaud.

    * stands up *
    * applauds *
    * sits down *

    Well done, mate. Well done.

  22. Deoxy says:

    I haven’t played any of the games in question and really have no desire to do so…

    and it was still “re-read and continue to laugh” funny. Very definitely worth all of your hard work.

    (Of course, the people who didn’t actually DO the work say that quite easily, eh? heh.)

  23. acronix says:

    Simply amazing.

  24. Binks says:

    That was great. I loved the lead-ins in the text, and the random sunset scene added a lot of hilarity. Just awesome.

  25. Daemian Lucifer says:

    At first,I was furious about the joke,but then I found a way to remove claptrap images,and actually read the text.Im so surprised that its not a joke text,and gives you real information about episode 3!Thank you Shamus for that interview,it was excellent!

    And here is how Ive managed to remove those annoying panels:
    Step 1:

    *we are sorry,but the author of the post had a sudden heart attack*

    1. Sekundaari says:

      I think Claptrap surprised him in real life…

      Anyway, great comic as usual.

    2. Teldurn says:

      I was half-expecting this to be a lead-in to some dating site somewhere, or something.

      Or maybe a facebook page that you have to “like” to get further instruction.

  26. Phoenix says:

    Awesome comic, and happy 200th strip! :)

  27. Blackbird71 says:

    Fantastic Shamus! That was hilarious! Excellent use of a landmark strip, and easily one of your best (if not the best) SPs.

    I have to say, I am curious to see what text actually lies beneath the images; whether it’s just a bunch of fictitious info about the game, or some sort of inside joke, or just random typing. Whatever it is, that was a very well done punchline (the whole strip seemed like one running punchline after another) to the series, and thank you for putting so much effort into something so we could share a few laughs!

    1. Pickly says:

      Definitely agree with all the above “this comic was awesome!” posts. Great comic in so many ways today.

      I am also curious what’s under the boxes, with similar guesses as the comic this is responding to.

  28. Jeremiah says:

    I was expecting something special & awesome for strip #200, but this definitely surpassed all of my expectations.


  29. DmL says:

    What kind of monitor do you use cause the misalignment of cleartype was killing me. : )

    1. Bryan says:

      No kidding. Random extra green and red pixels all over everything don’t make it easier to see the letters, they just make my eyes hurt.

      Maybe it works better on crappier LCDs? Maybe it works better on more-decent LCDs? Maybe it works better if you’re not running the LCD’s native resolution? No idea, but it certainly doesn’t work on this one. (Same reason I turn off all the fontconfig RGBA sub-pixel hinting.)

      1. FacelessJ says:

        It’s even worse if you’re still using a CRT, where subpixel rendering is horrible in any situation. :/

  30. Amarsir says:

    Very clever, and worth the (copious) work.

    Unfortunately (and I hate to say this, but I kind of have to), it’s marred by typos. “Defuse” vs “diffuse”, as noted above. Some of the barely-hidden text says “worlwide”. Combat feels “fresh a new”.

    Certainly I can see how it happened, since it’s a lot of work and submitted as a non-editable image. And it didn’t ruin the comic or anything. I’m just saying, you might want to make a mental note to add a proofreading stage should you do a text-as-image submission again someday.

    Anyway, congrats on 200!

  31. bit says:

    Silly Shamus, tricks are for kids.
    That was simply beautiful. There were so many jokes in every panel I’m simply amazed at how you thought it up. Well done.

  32. Alexander says:

    Adding this comment having barely read the other ones: Awesome comic. I am in awe.

  33. Rosseloh says:

    Bravo, sir, bravo. I was captivated from beginning to end.

    You’ve got the best mind; I’m envious. You can do comedy (see Stolen Pixels and DM of the Rings), you can write (see any blog post and Free Radical), and you have the best way of “reviewing” games I’ve seen yet.

    Keep up the good work.

  34. Scourge says:


    Awesome comic.

  35. (LK) says:

    Shamus, you wily troll. I hate you ♥


  36. J says:

    Well, I guess that makes it official. Boxbot is no longer the worst robot.

    Well played.

  37. TheZoobler says:

    The most masterful part of the comic was the side bar. We’ve been waiting for Episode 3 for so long XD, made me laugh.

    Anyone here keep up with Team Fortress 2? Because it is beginning to seem that Episode 3 and The Engineer Update will launch at roughly the same time.

    And this is, of course, why Episode 3 is taking so long:

  38. Hey Shamus it turned out really well – I’m glad you were kind enough to email through a copy of the article/interview you did on the right before you pasted it up for everyone else to view. I have to admit I was as surprised as you as to the way Episode 3 is going.

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