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23/12/04: Insectual Relationship

Welcome back to Insect Holidays, the show where we explore the world's greatest holiday destinations for the average annoying little chitinous fuck. Last week, we visited some of the finer rubbish tips of Keighley, West Yorkshire, and the gummy eyeballs of starving Ethiopian children. This week, we'll be reviewing and rating all the available facilities for winged annoyances in one of Australia's top insect resorts: Yahtzee's Flat!

Yahtzee's Flat
At the top of the big slopey ground part of Brisbane
The eastern bit of the big hot continent south of Indonesia

Yahtzee's Flat, while hard to find amongst all the other identical flats in the area, is well worth devoting some time to. The flat boasts uniform beige walls to attach yourself to and sit unmoving for hours on end, and four uncovered light bulbs for the modern professional moth to enjoy pointlessly flitting around like retards. Yahtzee's Flat is rarely cleaned, and the cracks in the floorboards are the ideal place to store bits of dirt and shit.

Accessibility to Yahtzee's Flat is easy, as Yahtzee is from England, and as such keeps all his doors and windows open in a vain attempt to escape the cripplingly high temperatures of eastern Australia. If you're having trouble, you'll also find magnificently accommodating gaps under the door frames.

Let's take a look at some of the fantastic amenities available in Yahtzee's Flat!

The Front Room

The front room is kitted out superbly for the thrill-seeking insect of today. Dominating the room is the television. Feel free to sit on the screen and bathe in the hypnotic flashing lights while Yahtzee is trying to watch Happy Tree Friends! For non-flying insects, the front room is also an excellent place for games of Make Yahtzee Spaz Out. The rules are simple - scuttle slowly all the way across the floor without Yahtzee noticing you, then crawl all over his foot while he's trying to play Metroid Prime. Bonus points if you make him leap about screaming like a girl, and if you're really big and disgusting!

The Kitchen

Aesthetic crawlies are encouraged to stop and take in the sights of Mount Dirty Crockery, which tends to grow in size during the warmer months as Yahtzee becomes increasingly disinclined to do any physical labour. Then stop for a bite to eat on Yahtzee's Kitchen Counter, which serves five star crumbs and blobs of jam twenty-four hours a day. For the real food enthusiast, however, come around at noon or six in the evening, when insects flock to the regular Yahtzee Trying To Make His Damn Lunch display! See how often you can land on his sandwiches before he shoos you off with vague threatening motions.

Some of the more adventurous ants have also found good dining in the nearby Yahtzee's Kitchen Cupboard, and wax lyrical on the adventures to be had by crawling all over Yahtzee's bottle of orange cordial. First drink deeply on the sweet congealed nectar around the cap, then hold on tight for the ride of your life as Yahtzee disgustedly holds the bottle under the cold tap!

The Bedroom

What better way to round off a stay at Yahtzee's Flat by visiting the serene Bedroom? By day, local wasps hold regular competitions to see who can build the biggest nests before Yahtzee notices them and smashes them up with the end of a broom. No-one's yet been able to get further than one or two chambers, but find the right nook and who knows where it could lead!

And, of course, by night, any insect could enjoy an invigorating hike across Yahtzee's sleeping body. Mosquitoes will certainly have a good time drinking the night away at one of the many stocked bars, such as Abdomen, Shoulder, and the inexplicably popular Knuckles Of Left Hand. A regular prize is awarded to whoever can freak Yahtzee out enough to make him abandon bed and attempt to sleep on the beanbag in the front room. The prize is currently held by 'an entire fucking swarm of flying ants attracted by nearby streetlights'.

Local Population

The locals at Yahtzee's Flat - i.e. Yahtzee - are generally hostile to insect tourists, so insects who are not part of a hive mind and as such have some sense of self-preservation are recommended to coincide their visits with when Yahtzee is sleeping, or distracted by porn. Big ugly insects such as cockroaches and grasshoppers are particularly recommended to stay away during daylight hours, because while Yahtzee will be totally freaked the fuck out by you, he will eventually summon the courage to bash your head in with a slipper. While most humans would eject you by the cup and postcard method, Yahtzee would rather deal with an insect that isn't going to spring to life and sit on his face.

Having said that, flies and bluebottles are generally safe from Yahtzee, as his McDonalds-poisoned body is too limp and ineffectual to successfully swat such fast-moving creatures. Those wishing to risk it will find that his consistently sweaty and disgusting feet form an entertaining waterslide park. And when you've worked up an appetite, the real daredevils can sometimes snatch bits of crumb from the corners of Yahtzee's mouth like the scabby little fuckers they are.


Yahtzee's Flat is a great place to bring a family, breeding partner, or hive mind. You'll find something for everyone, if everyone happens to enjoy bright lights, lots of hiding places, and big smelly Englishmen crying in the corner.

Our Rating: 4 out of 5 Windscreens

Next Week: Yahtzee's Bin: Maggot Nirvana?

- Yahtzee

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16/12/04: It's Getting Hot In Here

Y'know, up until recently I really thought I was losing it. I'm down to about one serious update a week now, and all I can do is look back on the days back in England, when I somehow found a way to stick up some garbage every single fucking evening, and wonder what part of my brain fell off since then to make me so lazy all of a sudden.

Then I walked into the city and sat down in the library, and to my amazement, my brain was suddenly working again. The big fat gooey scrotum sitting inside my skull case that had been so sluggish and unresponsive of late as I sat drooling before a monitor screen was suddenly on his fat little feet screaming like a street-corner preacher with his bollocks trapped in a door. I assumed it was because I had relocated to a centre of learning, and that raw inspiration was leaking from the stacks of books on all sides.

Then I took another look around, and realised I was sitting under an air conditioner.

Yes, all this time the answer to my strange lethargy was to get out from under the demonic being these Australians call a sun. That's why I was able to think properly when I was in England - 'cos I was so fucking cold all the time! That's why so many great thinkers and inventors and artists hail from England - everyone's brain cells have to rub together for warmth!

Anyway, here we go again: I'm working on another freeware game and it's nearly done save the testing, so that can be your Christmas present from me. What's the game about? Well, it's made with Adventure Game Studio, of course, and it's not an adventure game. I'm hoping that this will cause some kind of paradox that annihilates the four dimensions.

- Yahtzee

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13/12/04: Philanthropy

Y'all remember Phil Reed, right? Designer of the Larry Vales adventure games and writer of stuff? Well, he's written an actually really truly published short story collection, and was kind enough to give me a copy to review. So here's the review. And yes, the entire internet does all boil down to one big circle jerk.

Oh yeah, and did I mention I've started writing articles for Adventure Gamers? I have one up already, more coming. I have been a busy little fart.

- Yahtzee

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9/12/04: Footman Up My Arseman

I've been reading this great book of late about Victorian culture. It's great for reference. Apparently, Chris Quinn, being the son of an Earl, is entitled to call himself Lord Quinn. And if he attended a dinner party, he'd have to go into the dining room quite early on in the evening, leading the female guest who is his equivalent societal rank. That's what he's supposed to do, anyway. In practise he'd probably just goose the hottest girl in the room, hurl himself through a window, then run off to find a KFC.

I know that it's inappropriate to judge another time period with the benefit of modern sensibilities, but I think it is pretty fair to say that, whether you be modern man, ancient Roman or creature from the Black Lagoon, we can all probably agree that Victorian society was fucking lunatic batshit insane with cream on top.

Oh yes they were. No other society in the history of Earth has been so obsessed with imposing rules and order upon even the most trivial thing for no apparent reason. If someone in Victorian England passed a law stating that every gentleman must cross-dress on the fourth of each month, I'm sure those hyper-repressed fuckwits would have been pulling up their petticoats before the thought would even occur to disobey. Take a look at some of these.

- A gentleman must always walk on the outside of the pavement while a lady goes along the inside
- Only male servants can serve at dinner, and guests must never talk to or about them for any reason
- If you are intimately friendly with someone, you can only visit their house between five and six in the evening. Slightly less friendly people go between three and four, and everyone else can only visit between one and two
- Public nudity is against the law
- You must never dance with someone three times in a row
- While riding in a coach, gentlemen must always face backwards
- When visiting space aliens arrive on your lawn, you must always greet them by putting a bucket on your head and singing selected pieces from the light opera currently in vogue

I only made up one of those. What was wrong with the Victorians? Were they all just social cripples who couldn't handle any situation unless it followed a rigidly-defined script? And how come not more people were as fat as fucking heifers when respectable dinners often ran up to ten courses?

I'm not sure what the punishment was for not following every one of Victorian's society's clearly-defined rules. I'm guessing you got thrown to the lions. It must have fucking sucked being a member of Victorian high society. Arranged marriages, corsets, and the razor teeth of hungry lions tearing through your sensible waistcoat.

Oh Hell Yah!
No, if I was living in Victorian England, I know what position I'd like to fill. I want to be a fucking footman!

Being a footman was kind of like possessing a limited degree of invisibility. According to my book, footmen weren't even addressed by their own name - usually by something generic, like John, or James. You were part of the furniture. Nobody was allowed to talk to you or even notice you beyond the time it took to take the towel you've got hanging over your arm.


People even used to get undressed when a footman was standing there. Whee! You can't use a butter knife for spreading cranberry sauce, but feel free to get naked in front of as many footmen as you like! Knock yourself out! Footmen aren't real people! Footmen don't entertain thoughts of a sexual nature! They have to use all their brainpower for supporting those funny white wig things!

Nobody suspects the footman. I could slit the throats of every last motherfucker in the house, and no-one would even think to blame me! He's just the footman! It'd be like blaming the box ottoman!

So, that's decided then. If I ever get transported back to Victorian England, I'm becoming a footman. I'm not sure how you go about doing that. Best guess, you find a way to get bitten by a radioactive foot.

- Yahtzee

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2/12/04: Forever And Ever And Ever

[Three guest strips at Chris & Trilby so far! I'm going to assume all the millions of others are still under production.]

Gather round, children, I'm going to continue talking about video games for now, so if you're one of those bored office workers who read this site for the humour but couldn't care less about computer stuff, this is one of those days where you're going to have to go back to reading Dilbert archives and discussing reality television around the water cooler with the rest of the cogs in the machine.

Yeah, keep smiling, fucker. Today I'm going to talk about Duke Nukem Forever. Now, if you are even mildly interested in gaming news, you have either just rolled your eyes in exasperation or broken down upon your keyboard bawling. For the uninitiated, DNF is the most notorious laughing stock in the entire history of gaming. The development time has clocked eight years. This beats the former record holder, Daikatana, into a cocked hat, but the record won't be confirmed until the game is actually finished, and frankly if this happens before the development time hits a full decade, I will drop my trousers and ride a bicycle with no saddle right around the city.

Let's start with the full history. Almost a decade ago now, Duke Nukem 3D was released, and God saw that it was good. At the time, there was a frenzied debate over which was better - Duke, or Id Software's Quake, which came out the same year. In hindsight this debate was for stupid heads, because Quake, while technologically impressive, was about as much fun as stirring floaters around a toilet bowl with a stick.* Whereas Duke 3D had character and gameplay and colour and personality and women with no clothes on falling victim to irresponsible levels of violence. It seemed inevitable that a sequel would be made, and 3D Realms started work on a full 3D romp called Duke Nukem Forever.

* What was your favourite single player Quake level? One of the forty identical greenish-brown castles or one of the forty identical brownish-green castles?

Eight years pass, and they're still at it.

Personally, I blame Half-Life. Coming out during Duke Nukem Forever's development cycle and revolutionising the world of single-player gaming, it must have swiftly dawned on 3D Realms that the game they were making was, by comparison, a big puddle of leper's wee. So they canned what they had and started working anew with a different game engine and a different philosophy.

That's happened about three times now to my reckoning, as the industry moves on without them. It's like there's this magnificent ship sailing along a coastline, and 3D Realms are trying to build a house opposite the ship, so they have to keep knocking down the house and starting a new one where the ship has moved onto. This is not a good way to get a house built. You could continue the cycle for twenty years and still have no houses to your name. 3D Realms need to face facts - they can't keep up with the ship, so they might as well stay where they are and build their house. Maybe some people would visit the house and complain that it isn't near enough to the ship, but these people you just twat with a frying pan and run.

When the development time rolled into the third or fourth year, it started to become annoying. Then it became frustrating. Then it became funny. Then it became slightly upsetting, like watching an overweight retarded child with one leg and no arms trying to keep up with the London marathon. Then everyone just stopped caring, and the overweight retarded child was left to hop alone.

The most pathetic part of the whole debacle is that the developers, 3D Realms, are still deluded enough to think that (a) they're ever going to finish the game, (b) that the game will be in the slightest bit good enough to justify the wait, and (c) anyone cares anymore. A company with any sense would have just hanged the whole stupid idea years ago and, when anyone asked, twat them with a frying pan and run. But no, a token glance at the 3D Realms website (still regularly updated!) indicates that they're all still enthusiastic about it and assuming everyone else is, too. They've even started asking their forum members for ideas, which should give you some idea of how much of the game these cack-handed fools have actually made so far. And trust me on this - when you ask people who post on forums for ideas, that's the lowest of the low. That's one step below asking your fucking dog.

I suppose you could sort of admire their dedication, and their never-say-die attitude, and their not wanting to release a mediocre game. But even people with never-say-die attitudes have to know where exists the fine line between courage and idiocy. Right now, 3D Realms the overweight retarded child is still only two miles into the marathon, the marathon ended four years ago, and he is being repeatedly run over by European heavy goods vehicles until he is nothing but a mass of oozing flesh and splintered teeth dragging himself along the tarmac with his eyebrows. Now, sports fans, would be a pretty good time to say die.

Three things.

1. At this point, if it doesn't want to be savagely kicked in the kidneys by the gaming media, 3D Realms is going to have to produce, not only the greatest game ever devised, but also the greatest work of art in the entire history of human endeavour. They're going to have to come up with a piece of software that can keep gamers occupied for centuries, pass the Turing test, and restore beloved dead pets to life. And if it doesn't fit every single one of these criteria, the car park of the 3D Realms building is going to play host to the biggest effigy burning in history.

2. Any audience this game could have had has whittled away to a band of rabid fanboys blinded by faith. The amount of people who are still on the edge of their seats waiting for DNF could now comfortably fit in a church hall, and there would still be enough chairs left over to make a big modern art sculpture of two donkeys fucking.

3. It's not even a very good idea for a game. Gamers these days have gotten used to a certain amount of sophistication in their game plots, and a big obnoxious musclebound chauvinist carrying fourteen tonnes of weaponry single-handedly foiling an alien invasion and being cruel to women isn't going to fire the imaginations of today's cynical gaming audience.

That's why I'm starting the Please Stop Working On Duke Nukem Forever And Get Onto Some More Worthwhile Creative Projects campaign. It's pretty self-explanatory. Basically, I'm going to sit here, eat crisps, and wish that 3D Realms would stop working on Duke Nukem Forever and get onto some more worthwhile creative projects. If you would like to join this campaign, please register your name in the forums and buy a big bag of crisps.

- Yahtzee

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26/11/04: Half-Life 2 Can Shuck My Funky

First of all, because they asked for one nicely, here is a plug for a website called Corporate Rock Whores. That was it just then.

Second of all, Chris and Trilby is coming up to 50 comics and I thought it might be fun to take in some guest comics, like I did with Angular Mike and which resulted in a great big heap of poo arriving at my inbox door. If you'd like to do a guest comic, I'd prefer if you uploaded them somewhere and gave me a link, but if that's not possible then I suppose you can email it to me. Just don't make it too big. No bimp files; giffs, pings and jaypegs only. And I'll only put up ones that are funny. And please don't all just copy paste my art. I know that's pretty much what I do, but if you've got any artistic skill at all it would be interesting to see other people's interpretations of the characters.

Thirdly, I HAVE NOW PLAYED HALF LIFE 2 BITCHES, thanks to my new friend Gravy at Uptime Games, a nice little gaming centre in Brisbane. I always knew this website thing would pay off eventually, but imagine my surprise when Gravy invited me, Siren-like, to come down to his pad and sample Valve's unearthly delights. So if you live in Brisbane, go and lend them your patronage to make up for the lunch they bought me. The rest of this article will be devoted to discussing Half-Life 2 and occasionally pausing to unleash a stream of rude words.

So then, Half-Life 2.

Piss poo dangly shit arse fuck wee.

I have played this game. Ha ha.
As Gravy and I discussed today, Half-Life Two seems like the game Valve wanted to make when they were making Half-Life One. They have made such a great effort to maintain the same 'feel' as the original - using the same sound effects and voice actors, similar game controls and themes - that it hardly feels like a conventional sequel. It's kind of hard to explain. HL2 takes the themes and characters of HL1 and places them in a much more advanced, living, breathing environment, so that suddenly HL1 already feels like a dirty little brother, like a fan-made mission pack.

It's extraordinary, for a long-term fan of HL like me, hearing all the voices of our old friends coming from the mouths of highly advanced models. Particularly right at the beginning, it's oddly unsettling to zoom right up into the Administrator's face and see every crack and pore in his pasty skin. Barney the security guard returns, looking less like an emaciated goon and more like Robert Downey Jr for some reason. The scientists are back and as useless as ever, particularly the one who has attempted to domesticate a headcrab, pulling out the teeth, calling it Lamarr and playfully coercing it into leaping onto his shiny noggin.

That's another weird thing about HL2 - sometimes it almost feels like it's taking the piss. Lighthearted moments like the one mentioned above seem a million miles from the blood-spattered horror of Black Mesa's corridors, where soon-to-be-corpses were dragged screaming into darkened vents by relentless slimebeasts with big chompy teeth. There's no longer that feeling of horrible isolation, knowing that you, alone, are trapped deep in the bowels of a base infested with bloodthirsty ghouls, and that no-one is coming to your rescue. Now we're out in the open, cheerfully passing the time of day and giving headcrabs silly names. You also get to meet the alien slaves, now non-hostile, English speaking, and strangely agreeable despite your having murdered ten thousand of their fellows. You're not even formally introduced to them. They just turn up and start making jolly conversation while you wonder why your bullets phase through them like imaginary wasps.

Perhaps Valve are going for a different angle this time around, making some statement through the fact that the cruel human soldiers are far worse monsters than anything Xen has to offer. I'm afraid I was only able to play up to the jetski sequence, but that was more enough to form my horrible little dried-up opinion.

Fuck cunt willy willy wank piss mung.

And then we come to the physics engine. Oh, the physics engine, for which so much praise has been sung. What they say is all true. It is fantastic the way you can pick up boxes, the way they fall, the way they tip over, the way they smash into bits when you hit them. Ho yes, no more of boxes spontaneously exploding into a thousand splinters when you smack them about enough times - HL2's boxes split apart realistically, and then you can pick up all the individual bits and hurl them at strangers. You can even pick up a TV as it blares the morning news, yank the plug out of the socket, and hurl it gleefully through a window to land on the skull of some poor unsuspecting pleb.
Spare some change?

Valve must have known that a huge amount of time would be wasted by players picking up things and throwing them at miserable passers-by. I just wish they'd put that little bit more effort into their reactions. It doesn't matter whether you throw an empty cardboard box at their legs or lug a fucking breeze block directly at their skulls, all you get is a funny look and a slightly peeved 'Hey, cut it out!' I would have liked to see some more realistic reactions when I hurled a bottle at someone and it smashed against their temple. And then, when I picked up the resultant shards and hurled those, I would have liked to see them actually become embedded in flesh while my victim cried and begged for a merciful end to his disease of a life.

Would you trust this man with a breeze block?
I suppose we can expect some pretty fucked up mods from the fan community with this new 'chuck stuff like a retard' engine. Perhaps some kind of mod based on the films of Peter Jackson, where merely gently flinging a piece of paper at someone would cause their entire arm to drop off and squirt blood everywhere. And then you can pick up the arm and chuck it down a well. Perhaps a multiplayer mod set in a theatre where two players must stand on stage and recite Shakespearean dialogue, and if the rest of the players in the audience don't like it, they can hurl old fruit and shurikens.

'Chuck stuff like a retard' physics is the way forward for everyone. It could finally be the outlet everybody needs. In a world where we must be sensible and act with respect for general etiquette, what everyone needs is a realistic environment where we can all throw televisions through windows and laugh without fear of reprisal. I firmly believe that this will significantly slow the mental degradation of at least three potential serial killers.

So, in conclusion, Half-Life 2 good, you all wankers. Wankers buy HL2. HL2 make wankers cooler.

- Yahtzee

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Hey, kids! Sick of me not updating often enough for your refined tastes? Read news posts by me, Chefelf and Heccubus pretty much every day on the Lockergnome.com Game Invasion Channel!


All material not otherwise credited by Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw
Copyright 2002-2004 All Rights Reserved so HANDS OFF, PIKEY