Taffer Style

This is a relatively self-indulgent post, but hey– blog!

This is fundamentally a gaming site, founded and sustained by gamers, and I was once, and remain, a rabid fan of the gaming franchise that began with Thief: The Dark Project, continued with Thief II: The Metal Age and Thief: Deadly Shadows, and will soon resume with 2014's Thief. These are the high water mark in first-person, hybrid, potentially non-violent, stealth-based, story-rich games.

A recent discussion of satire, parody, and pastiche in the comment section of another thread here reminded me that I wrote a handful of Thief-themed pastiches back in the early aughties. To share them with others who might like them, to store them in our database, and to revisit them with wistful nostalgia, I reproduce them below. Each is set to the theme of a pop song. Note well: these are only meaningful if you've played the games, and they're best read with the corresponding tunes playing in the background. :) The songs are Barbie Girl, All Star, Mickey, We Didn't Start The Fire, Uptown Girl, Cheers, and U Can't Touch This.

In one sense, the message of this post in a nutshell is "Ain't I a clever chap!" But if you, too, love the Thief games, then in joining the nostalgia perhaps you'll revisit some fond memories of your own. Continue reading….

Last 5 posts by David Byron


  1. Ryan says

    David, those made me chuckle and are very clever (I actually just finally finished runs through all three Thief games consecutively), but man do you have way too much time on your hands… or you did… =)

    EDIT: For all the other Thief fans, someone – its unclear who – just released a major upgrade to the DarkEngine for both Thief and Thief II – enhanced visuals, bugfixes, and a major compatibility boost for modern machines. It's frankly incredible. http://www.ttlg.com/forums/showthread.php?t=141148

  2. Dictatortot says

    A new Thief game next year? I just bought a new laptop … and decided not to spring for the backlit keyboard. AAARRGGHH!

    Once, my wife came home just after I'd been marathonning one of the Thief games. Shortly thereafter, she walked by me in the darkened upstairs hall. My blackjack hand twitched involuntarily, and I almost couldn't take my eyes off the vulnerable base of her skull. But then I got a grip on myself and pretended I was playing ultra-hard mode.

  3. Marzipan says

    I knew nothing of the Thief games until you mentioned them here (and yay for discussions sparking reminiscences of fan productions!), but it sounds like they ushered in a new style of first-person gaming. For those without access to the games, I found a playthrough of the first game that I'm watching now. There's a separate playlist of cutscenes. Looks like there's the same split for the second game in the series, too.

  4. says

    May I recommend Marshall Dyer's playthrough alongside the others? This guy uses Thief Gold, a significantly enhanced second release which included three important new levels and numerous refinements to the rest of the game. Plus– and this is crucial– he includes the cutscenes! Understanding the story depends on them.

    He takes forever to make progress, and offers a lot of needless commentary, so it's terribly inefficient. (That's pretty much how I play: explore everything, experiment, climb where no thief has clumb before…) Plus, the walkthrough you found shows some of the easter eggs, which is nice; this guy doesn't know about them.

    I suppose the ideal approach would be to use the Thief Gold videos for the cutscenes and for the three additional levels, but to fall back and the shorter TDP videos to steer clear of TG-guy's banter and dilations.

  5. Ryan says

    Instead on watching Thief Gold playthroughs, do yourself favour and buy the entire Thief series on Steam – it goes on sale for pretty chep (I think I got all 3 games for $5).

    David – if you haven't played Deus Ex: Human Revolution, a stealth run of that game carries much of the same feel as Thief and its highly recommended. I love the DX games anyway, but it has some major spiritual ties to Thief.

  6. says

    Having watched a bit more of the two playthroughs mentioned above, I'm enjoying the Thief Gold one more even though the guy's chatty, because it's fun to watch someone discover the game.

    Whoever made the quick playthrough of Thief: The Dark Project knows the game fairly well (e.g., visiting the basketball court easter egg in the Training Mission) and takes a happy path.

    A good bit of the fun in this series is discovering what's half-baked. For example, it rattles our expectations to find out that the maps in the game are not systematic and exhaustive but vague, poorly marked, and sometimes unreliable. Learning that the different difficulty levels not only add objectives to accomplish but also, in some cases, dramatically alter the game maps is also startling.

    @Ryan, Thanks for recommending HR. It has actually been in my backlog since… last Christmas, I think. The only game I've had a few moments to play since then is XCom, and I haven't completed a full game of that yet. ;)

    I'm also a fan of the Deus Ex series (even though DX2 was in many respects lamentable). I once took a camera around lower Manhattan to shoot pics of venues from the original game (Castle Clinton, various places on Liberty Island, etc.).

  7. Marzipan says

    My gaming time is essentially nonexistent anymore, so I've taken to watching playthrough videos to have a chance of understanding what people talk about in games they enjoy.

    I can imagine how someone familiar with the game would like the longer playthrough to remember the thrill of exploration. However, I felt bogged down with the longer playthrough, and I wanted him to get to the point and cut out the more inane commentary. I got a sense of "hur hur old games" from his early vids, particularly when he upped the gamma on his game then commented on how the even the shadowed areas seemed bright, complained about water textures moving too much, and then couldn't tell tiling from carpeting and blamed it on the game and how "graphics should mean something" rather than his faulty perceptual apparatus.

    The lack of cutscenes in the speedy playthrough basically forced me to have two browser tabs open: One to play the cutscenes ::pause:: another to play the actual game ::pause:: – toggling got a bit aversive. However, I felt like I got a better sense of what the game had to offer overall, and I could probably enjoy the slower one now (which did have the advantage of showing the learning curve).

  8. says

    Yes, the guy with the longer playthroughs actually seems not to connect the dots efficiently. For example, he's constantly astonished that the AI seems to him to be cheating or psychic, but they're seeing him because his light crystal indicates that he's visible; he's thinking of himself as hidden because he's "behind cover" or "in shadows", but the crystal is [i]the one truth[/i] about whether the adversaries will detect Garrett, irrespective of intuitions about how things look or seem.

    He accumulates clues and then fails to see their significance. For example, at the guards' station near the entrance to Cragscleft, he sits through the dialogue that mentions exactly where Cutty is, and then later searches everywhere for him, and finally complains "How am I supposed to know" this and that?

    Another thing: he bemoans the fact that the game seems too easy (and the equipment unnecessary), but he's playing on the easiest setting and seems unaware that further objectives and more adversaries come into play with higher difficulties. And he repeatedly complains "this doesn't make sense" about things that make perfect sense either in the game world or in the gameplay opportunities.

    Finally, it's odd that he fails to sneak, or to think to sneak, even though he seems to know in the abstract that this is the point. He shows some growth in this area, but still defaults to creating a noisy diversion or beating people to a pulp with his blackjack.

    A frustration in watching his videos that isn't his fault is that he doesn't know what he doesn't know, and so he misses opportunities and interesting places (such as the water slide that runs all the way from the top of Cragscleft on "Normal" difficulty).

  9. says

    All that to say that upon further reflection, I think the shorter ones you found are a better resource provided one follows the cutscenes to which, as I eventually noticed, he links in the descriptions (and for which you kindly provided a link to a playlist).

    Of course, the very best thing would be to play TG itself!

  10. says

    Dishonoured is also a good entry in the First Person Sneaker category. The controls are crisp and the jumping/scaling walls is more seamless than one often finds.

    I find the description of "potentially non-violent" to be funny. Though I always gravitate toward the sneak / don't be seen / use nonlethal means style, I seem to have an awful lot of practice in hiding bodies.