A Jazztronomical Score: Part One

Bonsoir, amis. Novembers are usually marked alternately with tryptophan-induced slumbers and chaotic consumerism, though for us video game types on Giant Bomb it's more about cramming in as many current-year releases as possible before GOTY podcast season rolls around (what the normies call "the Holidays") and with it the requisite torrent of spoilers and arguments. While I have certainly begun to accelerate that process at home, I can't help but look to a little Source engine game called Jazztronauts for the occasional kleptomaniac reprieve.

Jazztronauts, you might recall from a semi-recent Unprofessional Fridays, is a game mode that runs in Garry's Mod that draws from the wonderful world of fan-created levels for its content. The goal is to travel by extradimensional tram to one of these user levels, steal everything that isn't nailed down, and then steal everything that is nailed down. And then steal the nails. You're specifically looking for rainbow-colored "shards" that are randomly distributed across these maps, but the capital you earn from fencing everything from barrels to wall decals can still be used to purchase new tools and abilities from the game's sole vendor: the Bartender. Speaking of whom, let's introduce the game's ca(t)st:

Bar Samsara and the Catburglars

The Bartender's your courteous vendor type, and really the only professional in the Jazztronauts outfit. Right now he has me looking for cars to jack, which - compared to stuff I've stolen before - are relatively small potatoes. Might need to consider some outdoorsy maps for those, unless I luck upon a parking garage map.
The Bartender's your courteous vendor type, and really the only professional in the Jazztronauts outfit. Right now he has me looking for cars to jack, which - compared to stuff I've stolen before - are relatively small potatoes. Might need to consider some outdoorsy maps for those, unless I luck upon a parking garage map.
The Cellist... well, he has some very specific needs. Usually of the elaborate self-medication kind. Though right now they're vague enough: I have to get him ten amounts of
The Cellist... well, he has some very specific needs. Usually of the elaborate self-medication kind. Though right now they're vague enough: I have to get him ten amounts of "random chemicals". Best not to ask with this guy. And don't accept any "drinks" he offers you.
The Pianist is the muscle of the Jazztronauts. Or, to be even more specific, a raging psychopath. She wants me to find some headcrabs but I'm not sure I've seen enemies in any of the maps I've been to.
The Pianist is the muscle of the Jazztronauts. Or, to be even more specific, a raging psychopath. She wants me to find some headcrabs but I'm not sure I've seen enemies in any of the maps I've been to.
The Singer doesn't talk, but is friendly enough all the same. Currently I'm to find them some dolls, presumably because they have a new podcast segment in mind. No idea where to start looking for those; maybe some haunted house maps?
The Singer doesn't talk, but is friendly enough all the same. Currently I'm to find them some dolls, presumably because they have a new podcast segment in mind. No idea where to start looking for those; maybe some haunted house maps?

With that out of the way, it's time to start casing some joints:

Larcenology 101

As you can just about see from that list to the right, GMod operates on assets procured from legitimately-purchased (the irony) Source mod games. I don't have a whole lot of those - just Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike Source (both of which are free), and Half-Life 2 (which you're pretty much issued with after joining Steam). This will come back to bite us. Often.
As you can just about see from that list to the right, GMod operates on assets procured from legitimately-purchased (the irony) Source mod games. I don't have a whole lot of those - just Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike Source (both of which are free), and Half-Life 2 (which you're pretty much issued with after joining Steam). This will come back to bite us. Often.
Such as the case with this user-made Portal map. I don't have Portal on PC, so I won't be able to see most of the assets used in this map. Instead, they'll be these ugly purple chequerboard patterns and the word
Such as the case with this user-made Portal map. I don't have Portal on PC, so I won't be able to see most of the assets used in this map. Instead, they'll be these ugly purple chequerboard patterns and the word "Error" spelt out in big red blocky letters. I can still go there and pick up shards and objects, but it'll look ugly as hell.
This is more like it. Someone built a Star Wars map out of Source assets, and I'm going to go completely ruin it like my name was Rian Johnson (a goof, I'm goofin').
This is more like it. Someone built a Star Wars map out of Source assets, and I'm going to go completely ruin it like my name was Rian Johnson (a goof, I'm goofin').
Once I find a map I like, I just hit the big green button to summon my ride. This game makes interdimensional travel look way more complicated than it actually is. It's really just about pressing big buttons.
Once I find a map I like, I just hit the big green button to summon my ride. This game makes interdimensional travel look way more complicated than it actually is. It's really just about pressing big buttons.
Haulin' ass to ph_sullust. Let's hope we don't get so lost on the way.
Haulin' ass to ph_sullust. Let's hope we don't get so lost on the way.

Heist the First: Lucrative Lucasfilm Lootage

You ever see that Solo: A Star Wars Story heist movie? This is like that, but good.

The cats gave me this neat prop theft baton. I just wave it at stuff and it floats away to my pocket dimension lock-up. It's even upgradeable!
The cats gave me this neat prop theft baton. I just wave it at stuff and it floats away to my pocket dimension lock-up. It's even upgradeable!
My little helpers are busy escorting all these panels off-world. As you can see, I'm already making some pretty sweet bank from all this sci-fi shit. I can only assume I'm offloading these at some extradimensional version of Comic-Con.
My little helpers are busy escorting all these panels off-world. As you can see, I'm already making some pretty sweet bank from all this sci-fi shit. I can only assume I'm offloading these at some extradimensional version of Comic-Con.
ph_sullust is really just this hangar bay. The Imperial Shuttle at the back is apparently a custom asset, which is why it's textured like a Commodore Amiga screensaver. Meanwhile, I've already stolen these railings, which have left behind this pink crystallized after-image. OSHA be damned; scrap iron is a big seller.
ph_sullust is really just this hangar bay. The Imperial Shuttle at the back is apparently a custom asset, which is why it's textured like a Commodore Amiga screensaver. Meanwhile, I've already stolen these railings, which have left behind this pink crystallized after-image. OSHA be damned; scrap iron is a big seller.
Ah, sweet wonderful shards. I dunno what the cats are doing with these, but I get a grand for each one I find. The game is generous enough to give them a very distinctive sound that gets louder as you home in on them, which helps when they're obfuscated by walls or objects.
Ah, sweet wonderful shards. I dunno what the cats are doing with these, but I get a grand for each one I find. The game is generous enough to give them a very distinctive sound that gets louder as you home in on them, which helps when they're obfuscated by walls or objects.
How is it that these barrels aren't filled with random chemicals? What are they storing in them, midichlorians? The Cellist can't trip on those. If anything, they're a downer.
How is it that these barrels aren't filled with random chemicals? What are they storing in them, midichlorians? The Cellist can't trip on those. If anything, they're a downer.
While I'm here, I might as well steal a TIE Fighter. $33? That sounds about right. I'm sure they build these things out of papier-mache with how easily they're shot down.
While I'm here, I might as well steal a TIE Fighter. $33? That sounds about right. I'm sure they build these things out of papier-mache with how easily they're shot down.
Actually, I'm just going to steal all of them. Gonna tie up some loose ends, ending up with some loose TIEs.
Actually, I'm just going to steal all of them. Gonna tie up some loose ends, ending up with some loose TIEs.
It didn't take long to find all six shards in this open map, so all that's left to do is summon my ride home with my handy warp pistol.
It didn't take long to find all six shards in this open map, so all that's left to do is summon my ride home with my handy warp pistol.
Ah. Well. Cautionary tale about aiming this thing at slanted walls. I can still get in it though, so I'm not buggin'.
Ah. Well. Cautionary tale about aiming this thing at slanted walls. I can still get in it though, so I'm not buggin'.
All that's left is to pull the chute hatch back in Bar Samsara and let all the trash I've accumulated turn into money. It's... been a while since I cleared this thing out, huh. (I've no idea what that title refers to, but there's a whole bunch of nudie anime games that were added to the wiki named something similar.)
All that's left is to pull the chute hatch back in Bar Samsara and let all the trash I've accumulated turn into money. It's... been a while since I cleared this thing out, huh. (I've no idea what that title refers to, but there's a whole bunch of nudie anime games that were added to the wiki named something similar.)

Now that we've covered the basics of the game and ripped off The Mouse (kind of a weird coincidence that both Mickey and Half-Life are celebrating some major anniversaries this week), I think we can wrap this introductory episode to a successful close. Later entries will focus on completing side-objectives the other Jazztronauts have given us, and more goodhearted mockery of the hard work GMod's various users have put into their elaborate worlds.

As @gamer_152 said in his wonderful piece on the game, for all its irreverence Jazztronauts feels like a paean to the creativity of the GMod crowd, as well as a nostalgic trip to a period of gaming history when custom Half-Life and Counter-Strike maps were everywhere, following the explosion of downloadable Doom .wads that caused our 28.8k modems to melt. As for me, I'm hoping to share the best and/or dumbest maps I come across in my destructive criminal spree and maybe see what happens when I get these insane kitties all the garbage they keep requesting. Stay tuned for another heist update tomorrow, and then sporadically throughout the remainder of the month.

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