The Annotated Centipede

Okay people.  I’ve got a real treat for you.

In the early 1980′s, Atari/Midway developed a now-classic-retro video-arcade game named “Centipede”.  It’s a fancy trackball-guided game where one shoots bugs, the most prominent of which is the Centipede, which breaks off into various segments if you shoot the middle of his body but keeps it together if you only aim for the head (hoo-ah!).  Now, you might have known of that certain title.  However, you might not have known of the DC COMIC BOOK BASED ON THAT TITLE. I know I didn’t.  Until I got it.

Now, I’m an American, so I’m kinda tied behind American copyright law.  I can’t actually redistribute the comic book scans I found until another 40-50 odd years.  ’Cause DC Comics and Midway are still profiting off this comic, I guess.  However, parody is covered under fair use, fair use is so dang vague in the first place, and my host has nothing against me having an ages-old sprite comic up, so I present to you…

Centipede, Annotated

Centipede, Annotated

So what am I doing here?  I’m reviewing the written story someone came up with some 30 years ago, and throwing in little corrections here and there in the form of red pen on sticky notes.  Now, I know that some of the conventions I’m using- pretty much everything from D&D 3.5e- didn’t actually exist during the time of this printing, and that I really shouldn’t care about a comic book, let alone an old comic book, let alone an old comic book based on a video game.  But what can I say, comic book guy humor is awesome.

As mentioned above, I’m not showing the whole comic.  Plenty of panels were cut out, and a number of pages had nothing on which to comment, so they’re left out.  If you’re interested in seeing the whole comic without comments… Well, I can’t help you.  It’s on the internet somewhere and you can probably find it if you want to.













Obligatory Internet Overinterpretation:  This comic is a coming-of-age story about a sexually repressed young elf.  He was adopted by foster parents because his real father had contracted an STD sometime after Oliver was born (Oliver’s biological mom probably died in childbirth, thus explaining why the Wizard hates young elves like Oliver).  You can see this in the use of the rod, which is a metaphor for sexual pleasure.  When the wizard “uses the rod” on others, they turn into poisonous mushrooms, but when Oliver “uses the rod” on his closest friends, they turn into something even more enjoyable than friends, except the centipede, who evidently achieves climax prematurely.  The point is driven home when the first time Oliver gets his hands on the rod, he doesn’t know what to do with it and it goes out of control.  Also note that when Oliver uses the rod on the Wizard, he is effectively “blueballing” the target, which is a very touchy incestual concept.

When Oliver masters the rod (his rise to power is accompanied by a wild orgy with his friends) and returns his family to normal, they remind him that one’s everyday chores are more important than stimulation, and a similar lesson is learned by the Wizard.  Likewise, the centipede, traumatized by the *ahem* earlier event, considers a life of abstinence in the future.  Note, however, that this story lacks a feminine side, this is possibly due to the then-popular and today-sometimes-held concept that the video game market is dominated by a male audience.

Hooray for a Liberal Arts education.  Spam bots are going to love this post.

Centipede and all associated characters are copyright 1983 and trademarks of Atari, Inc.  The DC logo is a trademark of DC Comics Inc.

2 Responses to “The Annotated Centipede”

  1. Jimmy says:

    Freakin’ amazing and hilarious. Best blog post EVER.

  2. Jimmy says:

    I never thought Centipede was so Freudian. Whacking mushrooms… that’s priceless.




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