Stolen Pixels #226: Chime Chime Chime

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Apr 12, 2022

Filed under: Random 26 comments

Here is another comic from 2010. A lot of my old comics are dated and not worth revisiting, but a few are probably good enough to rescue. Let me know if there are any in particular that you remember and would like to see again.

Original text:

Chime is usually referred to as a puzzle game. I would describe chime as a masturbation aid for the left hemisphere of your brain. Chime has a lot in common with games like Lumines, Audiosurf, and Chime in that it chimes features colors, music, and chime while you play. You move colored chimes around the gameboard to form chime-shaped chimes and rack up as many points as possible before chime runs out. The chime addicting chime flows chimes with the chiming and colorful chime. Chime your chimes chime chimed chime-ish chime of chime beautiful perfect chimes. Chime chime chime chime chime chime chimetastic chime ch-chime chimeish chime chime chime chime chime chime chimesque chime chime chimer chime chimes chime chimed chime.

I credit Chime with introducing me to the work of Orbital. I don’t know if I could call Orbital my favorite band, but the group has authored several of my favorite tracks. I feel sort of weird claiming to be a fan of a group that broke up six years before I knew they existed, and produced all of their most important work a decade before that. And it’s not like I’m some young kid who wasn’t around when they were big. I was an adult. I was just oblivious.

(If you’re curious, Belfast and Halcyon On and On are my two go-to tracks by Orbital.)

Chime got a sequel in 2016. I didn’t really care for it. The original was filled with unstoppable hits, while the sequel had several songs that I really didn’t care for. Worse, the game was built around linear unlocks so that you’d have to play a song you don’t like in order to unlock a new song you might like. I don’t remember what they changed about the gameplay, but for me the original was chilled out and hypnotic, while the follow-up game felt more intense and hectic.

I had similar gripes about another game in the hypno-puzzle genre, Lumines. That game jumped from one songNot really a full song. More like a short musical loop. to the next as you played. Each piece of music had its own background image and tile colors. Most of the tracks were great, but every once in a while you’d get something truly awful. The music would transition to this irritating atonal thwonking, the background would pulse in a headache-inducing way, and the tile colors would switch to a nauseating orange-on-green. It’s like going to a concert of your favorite band, except every three and a half minutes everything stops and the audience has to listen to forty seconds of “high school marching band warming up”. In the end, the bad parts were bad enough to drive me away from the good.

I don’t know. This sort of thing might be my favorite genre if not for the fact that I’m so relentlessly picky and hard to please.



[1] Not really a full song. More like a short musical loop.

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26 thoughts on “Stolen Pixels #226: Chime Chime Chime

  1. Lino says:

    I remember reading that back in the day. Still cracks me up :D

    And for what it’s worth, I actually really like reading dated strips. It’s revisiting something you thought was significant back in the day, and it turns out that – years later – no one even remembers it anymore.

  2. Michael says:

    I liked the comic about World of Warcraft server types, with the dialog exemplifying RP-PvP servers being “Forsooth, thy gear sucketh”.

  3. Dreadjaws says:

    Don’t these games allow you to pick your own songs? I know the likes of Audiosurf and Beat Hazard do, but it’s been years since I played Chime.

    Granted, picking out your own music sort of defeats the purpose of discovering new musicians, but if you’re yourself a bit of an amateur composer might wanna try out creating your own tracks for the game to see how they work.

    1. GoStu says:

      I recall that Just Shapes & Beats did not*, as each level’s patterns were synched up to the song. I believe it was possible to do a custom track somehow, but never played around with that.

  4. Rho says:

    Chime, chime chime.

    Chime chime, chime chime chime chime. Chime.

    Chime chime.

    1. Chime says:

      Chime chime chime chime

      1. Mr. Wolf says:

        Chime chimeny chime chime cheree!

  5. ColeusRattus says:

    Ah, chime. One of the games I bought because of Shamus’ high praise. But it fell flat for me. I think I only ever started it up once (yupp, checked, got 56 minutes game time on record).

    Seems like, as a heavy-metal liking shooter and racing game guy, the electronic beats and time critical puzzle game play had me irritated rather than stimulated.

    Still love you though (platonically), Shamus!

    1. tmtvl says:

      As another metalhead (though I prefer RPGs and platformers), I can get behind that, though I’m usually fine with video game music… as long as it’s not too much wub wub.

      1. Utzel says:

        Me three. I don’t mind most video game music, but might turn it down or play my own for sth like an arcade racer.
        But with games that are focused on the music, I am too, and I’ll get picky. That’s the reason I loved Audiosurf, and why I played Audioshield instead of Beat Saber. What you lose are the handcrafted levels though, and sometimes the algorithm works fine, and other times it’s bad.
        ColeusRattus, you might want to have a look at Ragnarock, it’s kind of Guitar Hero in VR: drumming on a viking longboat to viking and power metal mostly. Also has MP and mod support. Same as Beat Saber though, with modded tracks you are still bound to have someone to 1. like the same song you want and 2. make it for the difficulty you play at and most importantly 3. do a good job at it.

        1. ColeusRattus says:

          Not too fond of rythm games nowadays, but since I do like me some VR aswell as some metal music, I might check it out anyway.

          Also, since I am now approaching 40 fast, I kind of mellowed towards electronic music, especially if it has a certain energy. I liked the soundtracks of both cyberpunk and neon abyss so much that I actually put them into my every day music library. And I always had a soft spot for The Prodigy.

      2. Sleeping Dragon says:

        Not particularly into metal but my tastes also diverge strongly from this style. The thing is I’m okay even with “wub wub” if it fits with the game that is otherwise about something other than music because I see it as something that illustrates and enhances the mood, scene or events. In these games though the music is sort of front and center and I feel you need to like it to really enjoy the game.

    2. smosh says:

      This resonates (hah) with me. I find both linked music tracks boring, if not downright unpleasant, and when I tried Chime I just came away with befuddlement about how anyone would possibly want to play that. I still play Beat Saber every couple days, in fact my VR headset is used exclusively for that and I adore it. Beauty truly is in the eyes (or ears) of the beholder.

  6. Xpovos says:

    What a coincidence! This is the one I wanted to show my friend. I used the Wayback Machine to pull it up in the end. This is better.

  7. The Rocketeer says:

    I feel sort of weird claiming to be a fan of a group that broke up six years before I knew they existed, and produced all of their most important work a decade before that.

    That’s not weird, that’s basically my entire musical life. Not even counting composers I began to like while learning piano who have been dead for centuries, there has never been a time in my life when I couldn’t safely assume that the people who made the music I currently enjoyed were broken up, moved on to a different career or a different sound, washed up, or just dead or near-dead. A steady trickle of obituaries comes with the territory when your musical interests are all from the ’60’s through the ’80’s.

    I was further mildly traumatized on 11 March 2007, when I was briefly really into Boston, and sitting in my car on a gorgeous sunny Sunday enjoying the breeze, the radio was playing Boston songs one after the other and I was just enjoying the moment. Then the DJ came on and revealed the reason they were playing a Boston tribute was the suicide of lead vocalist Brad Delp two days prior. Only recently have I mostly overcome the instinctive dread when I hear the same band played twice or more consecutively on the radio.

    A more recent one that stung a little was getting really into Japanese jazz pianist Ryo Fukui in the summer of 2019. In that euphoric honeymoon period just after you’ve discovered music you absolutely adore, I read about Fukui and discovered he’d passed away only a few years prior in 2016, just as his music was being rediscovered by a new audience of people like me thanks to the Internet. He’s got a new album out this year, though: Live at Vidro ’77. Check it out!

    1. PPX14 says:

      I consider Asia to be somewhat similar to Boston, for some reason, and had a similar-ish situation where I heard a couple of their songs on YouTube, got an album, found out my father liked them from the 80s (the source of most of my music appreciation), found that they were playing at my local town hall, booked the concert for my family, and then it was cancelled because Carl Palmer had e-coli. Thought little of it for a year or two before thinking hey maybe I should book it again. And discovered that John Wetton had died!

  8. ContribuTor says:

    A lot of my old comics are dated and not worth revisiting, but a few are probably good enough to rescue. Let me know if there are any in particular that you remember and would like to see again.

    Everything from Way Too Late with Dr. Breen, please.

    1. Laserhawk says:

      ^This, but there is a lot else I would want from the old stolen pixels too. I just forgot too much of it to remember which ones.

      1. Mattias42 says:

        One of my favs was the Prince of Persia one.

        Don’t even recall the joke, but do recall it had me in stitches back in the day.

      2. bobbert says:

        The Zombie Police series was also fun.

  9. Mye says:

    Speaking of Lumines, I think I had Shinin’ stuck in my mind for a good summer.

    Are we give, shinin, shinin, shinin, shinin, shinin, shinin, shinin,

  10. Syal says:

    It’s certainly dated, but the EA download limit one, featuring the school teacher promising to molest their students 40% less often, was my go-to for describing crappy features. Although that was mainly for the text commentary with the popsicle metaphor.

  11. Chris says:

    Halcyon and On and On is a solid banger. That was one of my favorite tunes back in the 90s.

    1. Zeta Kai says:

      Yes, that is a great song, although my personal favorite Orbital track will always be The Box. It’s like an entire album in a single song, a tour de force of soundscapes that takes the listener on a journey like few other songs can.

  12. Deadyawn says:

    Mythbombers was always a favourite of mine if you’re after stolen pixels suggestions.

  13. unit3000-21 says:

    “irritating atonal thwonking”
    Sounds like my jam, might chekc it out ;)

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