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Strip ’Em All – The Little Cynic

The Little Cynic - Strip Ém All - Logo


Play Strip ’Em All,
the story building game where you use psychology to solve puzzles and play with comics!

Play The Little Cynic,
the first game comic in Strip ’Em All!

Four panels allow for many more possible arrangements than the three panels of the tutorials but as most combinations probably will make little sense, that in itself should not be a big deal. Before we start to rearrange or click the panels, we should however always read them first. No matter how jumbled the order, we should still be able to get a sense of what we have to deal with.

To our surprise we perceive a coherent dialogue between the two boys right from the start! As the theme and punch line of the comic in front of us are rather subtle and may not be blatantly obvious, you may still want to try other arrangements. However, you will soon find that no other arrangement will make as much sense as the original one. Let’s return to it and contemplate on its meaning for a while: It is the eternal theme of life and death. Trees outlive humans by a long time and by the time the little sapling has grown up, the boys will be long gone, but the dark haired boy seems oblivious to this cold, hard fact of life.

Alright, so we have figured out the comic but it surely cannot be the wanted one; it wouldn’t be much of the game then! Of course not, the title of the wanted comic is The Little Cynic and neither of the boys can be described as cynical. One is an existential ponderer in awe of nature and the other one is just incredibly naive. They are both really the opposite of cynics!

Strip em all - The Little Cynic by Daniel Ahlgren
How's that for heavy handed symbolism?

We naturally try to click on the boys in hope of bringing about some kind of change to them. This worked in the second tutorial but here it has no effect at all. Something else then must be meant to be clicked on. Well, the tree plant is sort of a third character of the scene and anthropomorphisation besides; it is the very centre of the conversation so it seems like the logical choice. Indeed, a click turns the tree to a gravestone – the very symbol of what the dark haired boy displayed ignorance of – and just like we had hoped, the boys dialogue changes correspondingly.

We also learned from the tutorials that the publish button may generate clues even if the comic is far from complete. We therefore click it and get a somewhat cryptic message that nevertheless signals that we are on the right path. Apparently we are supposed to bury the tree in all four panels. Burying the tree figuratively speaking, because with all four panels changed, it becomes clear that it is the grave of a little girl. We click the publish button once again and the message makes it clear that we now only have to find their correct order. The dialogue in the panels have changed but it is in many ways analogous to the previous dialogue. But not quite and the previous order won’t do. After a bit of puzzling we make the comic below.

Strip em all - The Little Cynic by Daniel Ahlgren

A young, growing tree can very aptly be described as performing the function of “lungs of the earth”. A young, growing cynic can very aptly be describes as performing the function of “poison of the earth”. So please think only good thoughts and go and hug a tree (and please save some whales on your way!)

While the blonde boy hasn’t really changed, the dark haired boy – in stark contrast to before – now seems wise beyond his years. The wisdom may be debateable as it is wisdom of a most misanthropic mind. But there is no doubt that he can very aptly be described as a little cynic.