I'm using this page to post some other Lizzie Smithson items that I considered interesting, but not worthy of being adapted into webcomics or really in general done too much with. I'll add more stuff to this page as time goes on and I go through my archive.
Pickpocket Wrestling is a game I designed in 2021, specifically for a compilation of card games I'd been working on (which included both One Armed Robbery and Friends Strangers Enemies! Man!). It's sort of a dexterity game, sort of a minimalist sport that uses a piece of index paper instead of a ball or puck. I think what I really like about this project is that it's the one where I figured out I could include information relevant to the game in a form that's "in universe" with the art I wanted to draw (by putting the instructions in a thought balloon, basically), which I think worked pretty well, and which I continue to do basically all the time in my zine games today. This was the first time I did anything like that!
I've actually never played this game! It's fun, in theory. I couldn't tell you if it's actually any good, or if I'm just perpetually too pleased with myself. If you ever print these out (preferably on card stock), let me know! You can even play it with a couple of regular playing cards if you want, or some other object, for kicks! I think I suggested playing it with cups of water, in which case you might want to play outside.
There's no deep meaning behind why it's called "pickpocket" wrestling. I just like the word pickpocket.
The very first Lizzie Smithson game! Released in (iirc) mid 2018 as a physical card game, and put onto itch dot io as a print and play game a little later. As the name implies, Ten Card Crook has ten cards, and thus ten illustrations (well, eleven, if you count the title card). Don't worry too much about the rules, this game is way uninteresting. It was sort of a testing grounds for the kinds of game design I wanted to do, though!
Okay, some explanation: So the year was 2017, and we were starting to get the first real rush of digital stores closing down. The iOS store had already shuttered all of its old material, leaving cool stuff like Tim Roger's Ziggurat to turn to dust. I believe this was around the time when the Wii shop channel was announced to close, too. At the time, I had basically one big fear in mind: Would the Sly Cooper games disappear forever? The PS3 and Vita stores only had so much time before they would suffer the same fate, after all, and old PS2s are not going to last forever. Seems like the series, which I adored and still do, might well just disappear from the face of the Earth some day! And I was really concerned, so I determined myself to create something that recreates the spirit of what I liked about those games, if not the reality, and work it into a state that could potentially be preserved for hundreds of years to come.
Well, that's what inspired me to start making physical games. There are, hmm, a couple of significant flaws with the reasoning that led me here (physical cards wear out very fast over time, and also the Sly Cooper series is so popular that it seems significantly improbable that it could disappear any time soon--piracy would rescue it), but never mind. This is my first attempt to earnestly make something that checked off the same boxes as Sly. I had to make some choices in deciding what elements to recreate, but I ultimately decided what I liked best was not so much the lore or the story (which seems to be most peoples' favorite part, or so they say), but I really really loved just hanging out in the hubworlds and just endlessly picking pockets. I literally spent more than 100 hours doing only that back in 2006 when the games were new, and when they came out on Playstation Vita, I spent 100 more hours doing only the same. So I figured I could make a game that could evoke that feeling, and make something good along those lines, and ride into the sunset with a good game under my belt, and then I spent the next 4 years endlessly revisiting the concept and the characters I created for it, finding ever more superfluous angles to explore the concept with.
Ten Card Crook was never a very good game, but it proved to me that my ideas WERE worth pursuing, even if they were unlikely to be financially successful. The art is well underneath the level I can do now (at the time, I mostly drew pseudo-realistic drawings of humans, but Sly Cooper was a furry game and so Ten Card Crook had to be too) and I was kind of just bullshitting my way through a complete project, but at least I ended up with a finished thing I could build on through sequels! In later years, I would figure out that there are more interesting ways to explore a plot in a card game than what I attempted here, and I also found ways to streamline the actual gameplay so that there were fewer unimportant numbers to keep track of and there was less downtime between turns. At this point, my main design inspiration was the Oniverse series of card games (literally one of my main goals of TCC was to make a version of Onirim that had an endless mode) and I love those games but I'm glad I moved beyond my inspiration eventually.
Anyway, that's the game. It's okay, bordering on bad, but I'm proud of it and it was the start to my finest creation of my life. Thanks for reading.
This game sucks.
I made this game as a sort of remake of Ten Card Crook (vanilla), based on design knowledge I had gained from designing One Armed Robbery (at the time not yet released). The original Ten Card Crook's flaws were kind of grating on me, and I thought "I can fix this" and I made some quick changes to the rulesheet and the cards, assumed it would play fine, and then *fully illustrated all ten cards* (Plus the title card!!!) and put it on itchio and forgot about it for a while. About a year later, I played it, and was horrified to learn that my changes actually made the game much worse.
The principal changes were in speeding up the game by requiring fewer mid-game shuffles of the deck, which reduced the randomness by a lot, and dropping the requirement of the player having only three turns to play a held card, so that they wouldn't have to keep track of both the number of turns AND the score in their head (I actually like this change). IT TURNS OUT, though, that the lack of randomness and the relative simplicity of the rules + the small number of cards in the deck meant that it is way too easy to put the game into an infinite loop! With very little practice, it can be done in just a handful of turns! The game's completely broken! And I released it with my name on it! Man.
I'm also a little embarrased by the art, which renders as being way too small on the actual cards they're meant to be shone on. Altogether, this game was a failure--but a useful lesson on the importance of playtesting! (Note: I actually have come to realize that playtesting isn't REALLY required in EVERY situation--but it would've saved me some heartache here! uh lol)
This game does have an itchio page, but I set it to private. If you've read all of the above and you're still curious, feel free to contact me for a link to the download--I'm not putting it up where just anyone can see it, though.
I'm going to be quick about explaining this one cause it's not important:
So in 2019, I came up with the idea for making a solitaire card game that did not require a table to be played--you could play it on the bus, or in a grocery store line, or similar, and it would be kind of an endless score attack game that could go on however long you wanted it to. Anyway I made it and it ended up being the best piece of game design I've yet accomplished, like still, even today.
Anyway I illustrated all the art for it, to the best of my (at the time) ability, and then I found through playtesting that my instructions were not thorough enough to actually teach someone to play the game, and I rethought my ideas for expansions, and by the time I had finished perfecting the design, the art I had drawn was well beneath the level I could do then. So I did it again.
I redrew every single card in the entire game, by hand, sometimes multiple additional times, until I had gotten it into as good a state as I could manage. It was grueling, but I got it done. The redone art is the drawings you'll see if you go to the One Armed Robbery Webcomic back on the main page--the card game uses the exact same art assets.
I'm not proud of what I'm showing you here, but this is the best I could do in 2019. I'm sharing it because I'm planning to delete my instagram soon, which was previously the only place you could see this piece of Lizzie Smithson history--whether it's actually worth preserving is a question I'd hesitate to give an honest answer to, but here it is regardless.
The final version of this game has an itchio page HERE. It really is the best thing I've done with the character, even though, despite all that work I spent redoing the art over and over, the art in the final version still doesn't look very good. Maybe I'll redo it *AGAIN* someday. Anyway!
I don't talk about this too much on here, but I'm actually a professional musician--well, basically. I play piano at my local church, and it's fun if stressful. Anyway, in that spirit, I've composed a whole host of piano pieces relating to the Lizzie Smithson character over the years, and I'd really like to compile them into a short album some day, but I haven't really been able to pull the money together to properly book a studio session, alas. (I know I don't *really* need a studio to record these, but I want to play on an actual good piano and have access to proper recording equipment (and help setting it up) and I really can't pull it off without help. So that's where I am with that) Here's some demos of what I want to include in it, though--maybe someday!
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