Stolen Pixels #217: The Empire Strikes First

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Aug 3, 2010

Filed under: Column 19 comments

Am I the only one who thinks this is interesting? Maybe not the most hilarious thing I’ve ever written, but it still amuses me.


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19 thoughts on “Stolen Pixels #217: The Empire Strikes First

  1. Tizzy says:

    Someone in the Escapist comments wrote that this suggested that Vader may have had daddy issues himself. No kidding! When you’re the child of the Force, possibly via Darth Plagueis, you don’t get often to bond over a game of catch with your progenitor.

  2. Don Alsafi says:

    The difference between this strip and your regular ones is that usually a reader doesn’t actually need to have played the source material you’re riffing on to appreciate the joke. (I’ve played almost none of the games you usually source, and always get a kick out of the strips.)

    Here, well … the “I am not your father” gag was a bit cute, but everything else just fell flat. Reading the side text made me see what you were going for, and in detail, but you know that old rule – “If you have to explain the joke, it’s not funny.”

    On the other hand, I can see how picking up on the parallels while playing would have been interesting, and amusing. But yeah, I don’t see how you actually could have made that joke to a readership-wide audience – like you always manage to do – as opposed to writing the joke to the much smaller selection of only those who’ve played the game.

    1. asterismW says:

      Oh, I dunno. I still found the comic quite amusing, without ever having played the game. I didn’t think this comic was any more of an inside joke than any of the other ones. There’s almost always certain things that those who have played the game referenced will understand automatically, and those who haven’t will pick up by inference.

    2. Why limit jokes to only broad topics? I liked this one, also not having played the game. Sure, I had to read to get the context, but I still found it funny prior to that (having a vague idea about the game).

      It would be pretty funny to have young Bob here meet with Luke, and then they would be all like “woah”, and “no way dude”, and “OMG you’re like my opposite! LOL!!1!” And Vader would laugh and get ice-cream for everyone. Perhaps not quite the mood of Star Wars but I’m sure we could make it work.

  3. Dev Null says:

    The Empire Strikes First is an excellent album from Bad Religion (the band), if you’re into that sort of thing.

    Have to agree with Don; this _sounds_ interesting, but not having played the game, its kind of an academic interest, without much oomph to it.

    Bob looses his saber in panel 3, unless its somehow just hidden by his ludicrous gangsta-style on guard position. (I’m not normally one to notice, muchtheless comment on, minor continuity blips, but it _is_ 3 feet long and glows in the dark…)

    1. bit says:

      If you look closely, you can see that it’s turned off, but still in his right hand. I have a feeling that Shamus tampered with the continuity of the original cutscene a tad.

  4. Ambience 327 says:

    Yeah, I see it. It’s almost as if…I don’t know…it were actually planned to be that way or something. :D

    1. Mari says:

      Or like, maybe, somebody being paid to “write” a script couldn’t have an original idea to save his/her/their life?

      You know the old saw about a thousand monkeys with typewriters and the works of William Shakespeare? I sometimes suspect that the video game industry is a testing ground to validate it. Or maybe it’s the whole entertainment industry.

      1. Soylent Dave says:

        George Lucas (or Lucasarts) demanded oversight of the script for Force Unleashed, so it’s not going to be entirely their fault that it’s the same story George has told 3 times already.

  5. Shadow says:

    Hey, Shamus? They do name Starkiller in the game. His full name is Galen Marek.

    Yes, I am a complete star wars geek, thank you.

    1. Dev Null says:

      Bob Starkiller is way better though…

    2. Taellosse says:

      Actually, I’m pretty sure they don’t name him at all IN the game. I think he’s named in the novelization (I haven’t read it) at some point, but he’s only referred to by his code name “Starkiller” (and at that, I think only in the text of the character log, never aloud) or as “Master” by PROXY, “Boy” by Kota, “My Apprentice” by Vader, and “Son” by the Force Ghost of his Dad.

      If I remember right, they didn’t even name his father correctly in the entry about him in the log, so you don’t even know his real last name (they were originally going to use the last name of “Nion” but changed it to Marek late in production, and forgot to change it on his dad).

      I could be wrong–this is from memory, and I last played the game about 6 months ago–but I’m reasonably confident all the same.

      1. Dev Null says:

        Oh. They actually call him Starkiller in the game? Well that kind of ruins it then, doesn’t it? I thought Shamus was making an ironic comment on cheesy fantasy names and overpowered characters…

        1. Taellosse says:

          Nope, Starkiller is his actual code-name. The only name used to refer to him in-game, actually. And it is a deliberate call-back to what Lucas was originally calling Luke in draft versions of Star Wars: Annikin Starkiller.

          The Bob part is all Shamus, though.

  6. acronix says:

    Taking into account that Starkiller was the early last name of Luke (before it got changed to something more benign), it´s even more curious. I wonder if they did it on purpose as a homage, or if they were just that lazy.

    1. Gilmoriël says:

      It’s probably an homage, but not one that is in any way original. KOTOR had a minor character called Bendak Starkiller for example.

      1. Will says:

        I suspect all the parallels are probably deliberate.

        1. mewse says:

          I actually worked on the game for well over a year, and am ashamed to admit that these parallels never occurred to me at the time.

          I’m sure it was deliberate on the part of the writer, though.

  7. rayen says:

    i lol’d hard at “you *already* know the power of the dark side.”

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