Stolen Pixels #222: Breen Interviews the Companion Cube

By Shamus
on Aug 20, 2010
Filed under:
Column

Hey. You guys aren’t tired of this meme, are you? This is still okay, right?

Cool, cool. Just making sure.

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20201454 comments. It's getting crowded in here.

From the Archives:

  1. Lee says:

    Im cool with the meme it’s still funny so long as it’s done in the way you did it making fun of the meme’s over use. Also why no story to go with it like usual? Is it because not enough people read the last one and left stupid comments and you want to see who complains about it this time? Why do the stupid/lazy people have to ruin it for the rest of us?

    • Shamus says:

      Oh, this next one will have the side-text again. To be honest, I was just curious what would happen if I left it out on purpose.

      • Raygereio says:

        It good a good and hearty chuckle out of me. That happened.

      • lazlo says:

        what would happen is a hue and cry from those who read the side-text about its absence, but with a note of caution since we still have that lingering sense of smug superiority over the hue and cry raised last time by those who don’t read it.

        As a side note, I saw on slashdot yesterday a link to a video recording of a screen showing Portal2 demo footage, which was pretty cool. In case you, like me, looked at that and wanted much much more,
        the same video, with much higher quality and more content, is available on Valve’s youtube channel. Propulsion Gel, Repulsion Gel, Pneumatic Diversity Vent, Thermal Discouragement Beam, Aerial Faith Plate, and Excursion Funnel. All combined into what looks like a super helping of awesome sauce.

    • Syal says:

      Yeah, that stupid/lazy Shamus who’s taking away the sidebar and ruining it for everybody!

      But more seriously, enjoyed the comic, enjoyed the metajoke, and eagerly awaiting the sidebar’s triumphant return next week.

  2. wtrmute says:

    Hmm, Black Forest cake. When I was a kid, the cousins and I would all be taken to a restaurant and we’d get that as a dessert; it was the high point of the trip. Sure could go for one now…

  3. toasty says:

    I enjoyed the meme, its a fun one. :D

  4. Meredith says:

    I was oddly looking forward to the CC as a guest, but this was probably funnier. I love the idea of the cake as a grizzled old washed up actor trying to stay relevant. Nicely done.

  5. Hugo Sanchez says:

    You didn’t put in the obvious fashion, so yeah.

    Still Funny, Shamus.

  6. Irridium says:

    Ugh, I’m glad Valve said they wouldn’t include this damn meme in Portal 2. Never before has a saying made me want to savagely beat the person who said it.

    Anyway, funny comic. And no sidebar makes me sad.

  7. Zukhramm says:

    Yes, I’m tiered. I loved Portal, but “the cake is a lie loolololol!”, I’m tiered of it.

    But I’m more tiered of the Companion Cube. “I was so sad when I had to destroy it” Huh? Really? Wasn’t the point of the Companion Cube that you didn’t care about it, but GLaDOS acted like you did? That was the joke. Right?

    • Joe Cool says:

      You’re tiered? Perhaps tiered like a layered cake? Hurhurhur. (I know, criticizing spelling is bad netiquette, but there was a funny joke there.)

      Wasn’t the point of the Companion Cube that you didn’t care about it, but GLaDOS acted like you did? That was the joke. Right?

      If you listen to the commentary, Valve originally didn’t make anything special about the cube, but many of the play testers became very attached to it, to the point where they’d take it through the rest of the game with them. This, of course, could break some of the later puzzles, so Valve made it necessary to destroy the cube to proceed. Many play testers didn’t want to, so Valve played up the attachment and drama of the friendship, as a joke to how the play testers took to the cube.

      • Zukhramm says:

        Oh, I’m so dumb, I even checked how to spell the word because I was unsure, but I still got it wrong. I guess it’s because I was tired when writing. (I hope that’s right this time.)

        And if my English looks bad, you should see my Swedish…

        I guess I would have actaully felt more attached to the cube if GLaDOS had not acted as if I did.

      • Fieari says:

        Actually, to take this a step further… according to the commentary, at first, the cube was a normal cube. The problem was that players would use it to climb the first staircase, then leave it behind and not be able to figure out how to solve the rest of the puzzles. So to get the player to realize the cube had to be re-used, they “had GladOS talk about it, a lot”. And that’s when it became the companion cube.

        Taking an object from one level to another was never allowed (see the particle beam things) but since the cube was such an important thing in this level, they needed an extra punch to it’s destruction.

    • Slothful says:

      I agree with you there. In fact, my cube was a jerk. I think it got me killed twice in that level. In fact, I was so eager to kill the companion cube, that I accidentally fell into the incinerator after it.

      That cube’s no companion of mine.

      • Matt K says:

        I actually jumped in after it once just to see where it went.

        I’m not certain how attached I could get to the cube as I used it multiple times to shield me from the bouncing balls of death.

  8. Jeremiah says:

    I enjoyed the comic, but “this space intentionally left black” actually got an audible chuckle from me.

    Well done!

  9. sleepyfoo says:

    I enjoyed the cake’s outrageous claims, and the blank sidebar was like an in-joke for those of us that read both here and there. I look forward to the next comic and sidebar.

    Peace : )

  10. Hal says:

    Babe Newell . . . I approve.

  11. I thought the gag was perfect, actually. The escalating silliness of the cake’s stories and the handling of the last panel kept the appearance of the meme from being a groaner.

  12. Kdansky says:

    That’s one of the best Stolen Pixels ever. Great twist on the meme with the homophone “liar”. Also Babe Newell (“who is a babe!”) and the intentionally blank space (with the words “intentionally left blank” that made it unblank) got a laugh. So yeah, a chuckle per frame is very good.

    • Syal says:

      (with the words “intentionally left blank” that made it unblank)

      Just giving credit where credit is due; the federal government uses that one all the time. Maybe other groups as well. It’s apparently designed to show the reader that the books/documents are deliberately wasting paper.

      • Peter H. Coffin says:

        No, it was to show that there was not material accidentally left out. When most of your manual for stuff are filled with full- and even two-page diagrams and charts, and your type-setting software is prone to … wackiness (such as ending text on an even-numbered page, followed by a two-page chart, followed by a chapter break), it does well to tell the reader that they’re not missing something.

        • Syal says:

          I know; they’re showing that they’re deliberately not putting anything there, as opposed to accidentally not putting anything there. It’s still empty space, though; they could have used it, instead of telling the reader that they didn’t.

          • WarlockofOz says:

            The point of leaving pages blank (and deliberately marking them as such) is to allow for easy replacement of individual pages in large documents that are regularly revised. Much cheaper to mail everyone a new copy of page I-4-A-iii for inserting into their ring binders than to reprint the whole of volume I, chapter 4.

      • Moon O'Riley says:

        IBM were infamous for doing this in their manuals.

        How many IBM tech writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
        100. Ten to do it, and 90 to write document number GC7500439-0001, Multitasking Incandescent Source System Facility, of which 10% of the pages state only “This page intentionally left blank”, and 20% of the definitions are of the form “A …… consists of sequences of non-blank characters separated by blanks”.

  13. Factoid says:

    The caption for this comic really should have been:

    “…in which Shamus plucks the lowest of all hanging fruit”

    Funny comic though. I enjoyed. That fruit is down there for a reason.

    • Rick W says:

      I love that shirt. I think I’d like it better without the note at the bottom, but it works fine as it is.

      Also, as of last I checked, the Wikipedia article on cake is still protected to keep anonymous users from adding references to Portal.

  14. Yar Kramer says:

    Yeah, this is one of those “old in five minutes” memes …

    I suppose the other way of trying to make it funny would have been combining it with something even older (“There is no cake … only Zuul”).

  15. AAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    (sigh) (Yes, OK, it was funny. In a horrific, massive pun damage sort of way. How could you do that to us?)

  16. eri says:

    I feel like this about Portal in general. The first game seemed as if it soaked up all the potential that was latent in the concept, and while it does seem like the second game is building a few new things around it… eh. I’ve had enough and I’m not sure a new Portal, well-made though it might be, will have much impact in the world of gaming.

  17. Irridium says:

    Well it seems this comic *puts on sunglasses* takes the cake.

    YYYYEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!

  18. Vladius says:

    Best one in a while.

  19. DmL says:

    sidebar txt still too long

  20. Old_Geek says:

    The best pastry related interview since the behind the scenes footage of “American Pie” was released!

  21. Ell Jay says:

    I cannot believe the size of that cake prop next to Metro.

  22. Hitch says:

    I read the sidebar text without noticing the cake and figured it was commentary on the sort of interview the Companion Cube would give.

  23. Cuthalion says:

    “Keeki janai. Katsura da!”

    Sorry, obscure pun/meme/reference. If anyone gets it, you make me happy.

  24. Neil Polenske says:

    That last panel had me thinking of one of the lesser known quotes from your DM of the Rings:

    “NO! You’re playing right into his hands!”

  25. evileeyore says:

    The power of James Earl Jones’ voice is such that when I’d read the last line I retroactively replaced the “non-voice” of the cake with James Earl Jones’ voice.

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