Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Comic 708: Mind & Body Games

Sex Dice woman....been working on a SEX DICE WOMAN!

i am working feverishly on the dinosaur comics anacryptogram puzzle. am I close to solution? probably not, but I am close to a pretty good solution. Anyway, I guess I should take a break from it to post this.

This comic is stupid. For one thing, the punchline obvious, if only because it's such a common idea for a joke ("But if we have the regular dice....who has the sex dice??" "But if we have the tape John made...who has the tape with all the incriminating evidence??" "But if you were the one knocking on my door....who has been calling me on the phone all this time??"). Anyway, that's not really the big problem.

The big problem is that in order for this comic to make any sense, you have to imagine that all the characters are skull crushingly oblivious. For the couple in bed to not notice that one of the dice has DOTS on it instead of ACTUAL WORDS until they roll them is pretty dumb. Likewise real life D&D kids would be, i imagine, nerdily attentive to detail, and wonder why their dice (whose details are key to game play) had names of Naughty Bits on them. Here, though, they don't seem to notice until they are well into their game. Why? Because they are horribly dumb.

And goodness, it gets worse. The construction of that last sentence doesn't make sense at all. "I fondle the castle guard." Well that only works if you are rolling the die to figure out what kind of verb you are supposed to do, which of course, is not what you do. You roll dice to get numbers, and those then those represent other things. In short, had the die been normal, there's no way the guy would have said "I...three the castle guard" because that's stupid. He's bothering to read the verb, figure out how it relates to his situation, and announce what has happened, yet still manages to act surprised about it. In short, in real life he would just say something like "wait, what the fuck is this." I know I complain a lot about realistic dialog, and sure, there are plenty of other things a person might say there, but the point is: none of them are anywhere close to what he says.

also, dice crappily drawn.

also, making a comic about sex dice is basically the least mature thing you can do. As I put it to Jay in an e-mail, "sex dice are nominally for adults to get them to do crazy sexual things they may not otherwise have done in their sad loveless marriages but actually for teenagers to look at it novelty stores and laugh nervously about. perhaps one of them is brave enough to buy one for a friend for an awkward but hilarious birthday present." i think that is exceedingly well put.

update: i totally forgot my favorite part of all this! I think it would have been funnier if he had changed the 5 dice roll to a 2, that way the message would have been "two breasts" and instead of the dice actively encouraging him to do somethin' inappropriate to the lady, as sex dice ought, they simply give this passive description of what is already present, with no active encouragement. IT'S FUNNY TO ME.


Hey hey, so speaking of contests, like the dinosaur comics one, MY contest will be starting soon! To recap the details:

--Entries are remixed xkcd comics, using your own text (or xkcd text, whatever) and entirely xkcd art. No other limitations, so you should have plenty of material to work with.
--The finalists will be chosen by me and me alone
--The winners will be chosen by you in some kind of online poll
--the top winner will get a $100 TopatoCo gift certificate (negotiable)
--two runners up will get $20 TopatoCo gift certificates (negotiable)
--you enter by uploading your comic somewhere and linking to it in a special entries-only post that I will post, say, on thursday (update: and will run for two weeks)
--I'll also post a thing where we can discuss the entries as people send them in
--i think that is all
--isn't it cool when the blog starts making money? heck yes
--if you have any questions, post them in the comments


  1. You've said it all, Carl.

  2. surely I will be first this time

  3. I don't get 708. Did he make a joke?

  4. man i thought those dice was one dice cut in half
    or something

  5. holy shitting fuck. I swear to god, just thirty minutes ago I found this picture of the Owl City guy wearing a shirt that says "I AM" and I joked to my friend that he was declaring himself god because of the whole "I am" thing... and then this xkcd came up.

    I think this is a legitimate time to polietly ask randall to get out of my head srsly

    And really? A Star Wars joke? In 2010? Randall is really scraping the bottom this time. the art was cool, though.

  6. "I Am" is officially the best goatkcd that has ever been made, and they haven't even made it yet.


  7. is this a reference to anything? like, is there some reason why God In The Whirlwind at the end of the book of Job is hanging out with R2-D2? or did Randull really just go "okay, uh, A Serious Man was about the Book of Job, uh, fuck, I need more nerd cred, STAR WARS YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS"

  8. what the fuck are you talking about Mal? This is the burning bush from Exodus, you FAIL at knowing the books of the bible

  9. It probably has to do with that scene in Return of the Jedi where the Ewoks hail C3PO as a God I guess.
    Captcha: Supper. This comic put me at risk of losing mine.

  10. and before anyone tries to call me on this:

    Exodus 3:6
    I am the God of your Ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

    and sweet Jesus I hope Randall didn't actually use the Good News version of the Bible.

    There is nothing more humiliating than using the lowest common denominator bible for a quote like that, doesn't even have the decency to spring for King James

  11. haha wowwwwwwww

    (it's because i, myself, personally just saw a serious man)

    i thought that this was a drawing, from overhead, of Job inside the tornado, being addressed by god.

    either way, my question remains. is there any connection between god and r2-d2? because there sure as fuck isn't one suggested by the comic. it's just "here's something, and then SOMETHING ELSE RANDOM YOU LOVE IT"

  12. i'm guessing it's because they both said "i am"

    did randall leave out a panel? i better email him and tell him he forgot to make a joke

  13. Guys- This comic is like.

    It's like randall doesn't know how to tell jokes.

    The dialouge is so fucking stilted it's enraging me-


    Fuck You Randall

    I've edited this so it at least flows better- what do you guys think?


  14. Fuck You Randall: gotta admit that edit makes a pretty good joke of it.
    nice one.

    and all carl's complaints about "but you'd notice the different die" etc don't matter cos without dialgoue, well it's clearly just absurd.

    but with dialogue, it's like randy's trying to give a realistic account of how this could happen, and instead just draws the stupid flaws to the fore.

  15. Carl it's endlessly perplexing how you are such a fan of Dinosaur Comics but you hate XKCD. DC is just as reliant on the indulgence of its fans as XKCD is, if not more so, and if you approached it the same way as you do XKCD you could nitpick and moan about it till the cows came home. Sure you can say "yeah but DC is funny", but all you're really saying is that DC appeals to your personality and XKCD doesn't. That doesn't mean there's anything wrong with it.
    Seriously what is it about that T-Rex rambling about the latest thing the DC guy thought of while he was half asleep the day before, that makes it soooo much higher quality than R Munroe using stick figures to tell you about something that struck him as funny?

  16. Cam: surely Exodus 3:14 is the reference? Although to be honest, I only know that because the liner notes to Bread's _On The Water_ album give it as the inspiration for the Griffin/Royer track _I Am That I Am_...

  17. Anon 3:28: A lot of DC's humour comes from the characters. xkcd lacks any characters.
    Ryan North isn't T-Rex, or Utahraptor, or Mr. Tusks, or any of the characters in the comic. And they're all brilliant funny consistent varied characters.
    Randy is everyone in xkcd (except for his obvious strawmen and the increasingly inconsistent and ineptly realised black hat guy).

    Also DC has a LOT more work put into it. You can tell - not only because Ryan North has mentioned his failed ideas that he deemed to weak to release - but also because you're unlikely to have ever read a DC strip that made you think "hm that was not the best way to write that". It seems effortless? As any writer'd tell you, it's not.
    xkcd though? I'd warrant you'd find at least 1 a week that has some element - dialogue, art, set-up, whatever, maybe it's totally minor but still (heck look at the dice in the strip above) - that makes you withdraw your foot and go "ouf what did i just step in?"

  18. Pretty much what I was thinking.

    Also, Carl, is there some sort of deadline for the contest? You mentioned when it starts, but I'm not sure when I should have my edit ready...

  19. I'm not really that much of a DC fan either but this:

    "but all you're really saying is that DC appeals to your personality and XKCD doesn't."

    Is wrong. As was explained elsewhere by about anyone. The issue is that XKCD was better when it wasn't all about (high school) geek/sex references, and heads didn't float all over the place.

  20. F U Randall: the edit sounds better wtihout the superfluous dialogue, but the joke still doesn't work for me. It requires either: a) the players being morons and not realizing that die has words BEFORE throwing it; b) the players realizing the die has words on it and playing like that just for shit n' giggles; c) not knowing anything about RPG whatsoever.

    a) Is plain stupid. I've already went on and on about how most RPG players have this strange relationship with their dice, which might be even more intense if there are several sets of dice belonging to different players.

    b) Could work, if it wasn't for the tone of bewilderment and surprise on that last panel. If they were playing a kinky game for fun, they'd be more like "Okay, I fondle the guard for 6 damage, what happens?" instead of the confused pause in "I... fondle the guard?"

    c) ...I'm not even sure. If Randall doesn't know shit about RPG, it puts the humor and authenticity of some strips before in check. If he expects his readers don't know nick about RPG, then xkcd's nerd cred is put in severe check-mate.

    Anyway... put too much thought on this. TL;DR, it sounds much better, but still don't work well when thought is put on it.

    PS.: Nope, not gonna take part onn the DC x XKCD flame. I'm not a fan of either.

  21. Basically, the last panel of this comic could have made or broken this comic. Are we surprised that Randall broke it? I'm not. Idea for edit (I'm not very image-edit savvy): replace all dialogue in last panel with the alt-text, and come up with a new fucking alt-text. Would that make it funny? Maybe, I don't know. I think it would a little bit. But at least it would make more sense.

  22. This is the most idiotic blog I've ever read. Ever.

  23. eh, I liked 708. Maybe it's only funny if you're familiar with both situations and you guys "just don't get it"? Yes, it requires a bit much of the suspension of disbelief for them to not notice they have the wrong dice but it's still funny.

    Oh, and Carl: the kids have the verb die, not the naught bits die. Get it straight. And encountering a castle guard is quite possibly near the beginning of a session and in that case quite likely the first roll of the dice (although you would imagine it would be a to hit, initiative, or stealth roll and not a damage roll but it wouldn't be well into the game). Obviously you're a loser who has never played sex games or DnD.

    P.S. Please don't let me calling you a loser stop you from picking my comic in your super-awesome upcoming xkcdsucks competition. XOXO

  24. @Fuck You Randal.
    Using "elsewhere" instead of the dialog is good, but you should keep the 6dmg part and the part about keeping the games better organized.

    Yeah, I'm declaring copy right on that bit of double-plagiarism right now and submitting it to the contest too. You can blame yourself for taking the edit too far :P

  25. ok, here's my edit. Was thinking about adding some "are you/we/i doing this right?" joke but wasn't sure if that would be too "immature" and/or wordy and also got lazy after trying to find a suitable thought bubble to steal from Randal (rules say only original XKCD art!): http://picasaweb.google.com/Flasher702/XkcdsucksContest#slideshow/5444515258560662210

  26. Pro Mole: The contest will be open for 2 weeks. I've updated the post to reflect that. Thanks for asking.

  27. Has Randell ever played RPG? Most dice have more than six sides, and all the RPGers I know don't keep their dice in the games closet, my brother kept his in the loose floor board under his bed.

  28. GenericGeek: yea, but there are 6 sided dice, as well, and they're quite common for defining damage.

    In most RPG systems that don't use only 6 sided dice(and there are lots of them) 6 sided dice are seldomly used. D&D uses the 20-sided the most(the opensource skeleton system used by the 3rd edition is even called "d20"), and White Wolf loves the 10-sided ones.

  29. Yeah it is a cliche, but I still kinda chuckled at it. I guess that counts for something considering I haven't done anything like that to an XKCD comic in ages.

  30. This whole post just boils down to "this wouldn't happen in real life, therefore, it's not funny".

    Then Carl turns around and praises Dinosaur Comics.

  31. I would like to make a few comments on this commentary. First, I believe the punchline is not in the third panel, but in the last panel. "so where's the other sex die," merely seems to serve as a transition to the last panel. The punchline, I feel, is that the players accept the sex die (albeit with some skepticism), despite the fact that it clearly isn't intended for the game they are playing. Furthermore, the fact that fondling the castle guard "did 6 damage" indicates that this contingency is covered by the game's rules. Of course, I do not know Randall Munroe's intent, so I cannot say with any certainty what the real 'punchline' is (in some comics, it may be that there are many punchlines, or none at all; I personally find it difficult to define 'the punchline' with any sort of consistency). What I dislike about Your (Carl's) commentary is that it clearly defines the punchline (despite the fact that it may not truly be so - again, this is subjective) and berates the author for his unoriginality based on this definition.

    The second and third paragraphs of this commentary seem primarily to argue that the situation and dialogue are unrealistic. This, whether true or not, does not determine the "funniness" (i.e. the entertainment value) of the comic. As it turns out, the use of absurdity (which is basically the use of hyperbole) is a common and effective tool of comedy. In fact, I would go so far as to say that most comics (especially one's that rely on one-strip gags) use this quite often (for example, The Far Side, one of the greatest comics ever, would be a lot less entertaining if it weren't for its absurdity). If one were to extrapolate based on the notion that things that are unrealistic are unfunny, one would have to discount a comic with, say, a talking dog, simply because dogs can't talk.

    I have a few problems with the fourth paragraph, which simply reads, "also, dice crappily drawn." I fail to see how the dice are "crappily drawn." Is it that they don't have straight edges, or that the faces aren't perfectly square? These things, I find, have no bearing on the meaning of the comic. I also don't think that it is fair to say that they are "crappily drawn." In my opinion, they are drawn well enough to convey the message (that they are dice), while not being so poorly drawn that they draw undue attention to themselves.

    The fifth paragraph is written basically on the assumption that "sex isn't funny." I, for one, think that sex and many of the issues surrounding it, when used appropriately, can be very funny. Also, you (Carl) seem to equate the comedic use of sex with immaturity. I am of the opinion that a mature person can appreciate the humor in appropriately placed sex related jokes, while also knowing when the use of sex jokes is inappropriate. The inclusion of sex in a comic, of course, does not automatically make it funny, but I find that Randall Munroe uses it to good effect. Also, there are many things that display more immaturity than writing a comic about sex dice (recreational drug use, war, etc.).

    Lastly, a question to the poster above me (R.): are you agreeing or disagreeing with the post above yours? As I see it, you're essentially saying "that appears to be correct," but I suppose it could be interpreted differently.

  32. I three the guard.

  33. Just a point (I am doing an archive binge), but when playing warhammer 40,000, there is a dice called the scatter dice which has arrows instead of dots for numbers. It often gets thrown instead of regular dice. It happens sometimes, I suppose, and it doesn't necessarily make this xkcd more funny.

  34. I always hated how Warhammer calls the singular of "dice" "dice" instead of the proper "die."

  35. But if your dad is ded, then WHO WAS PHONE??