Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Comic 723: Waves of Confusion

some kind of earthquake nonsense, i dunno

Holy crap! Another earthquake comic! Luckily, earthquakes are always a source of vast humor, so I don't mind. Also, it's another twitter comic, but I think that's really in bad taste.

GUYS! Did you know that there is a new-fangled type of "internet" which can make information move very quickly? It is true! You can send information at the very speed of light! It is called "the information super-high-way" because things go as fast AS CARS ON A HIGHWAY! so very fast! One implication of this is that it becomes possible to get information about things like the weather, etc, around the world very quickly! EVEN BEFORE THE WEATHER ARRIVES! this has been true for what, 20 years? maybe only 15.

Anyway, i guess the point of this comic is that twitter can be a funny way to watch people react to terrible problems in what is essentially real-time. Would you agree? That's not a pejorative statement - I expect most xkcd fans would agree with it. No?

OK I was sort of lying - I did mean that as an insult at Randall, but only because he did this exact joke before. Exactly. Do I even need to go into detail on this? How about this: if you doubt me, just read that review of comic 574 I linked to, and note how much of it applies here as well. And vice versa! It's like I posted an xkcdsucks post in the past....from the future! spooooooky!

tl, dr: twitter is dumb, everyone knows it

PS did you all notice that xkcd's very own bitchy whiny jerk Rob made another appearance in today's comic? Why yes, "RobM163" is the twittererer mentioned in the final panel. ROB, does your last name start with an M? (yes, it does).

PPS why are they both twittering in the last panel?


  1. wait, we have a bitchy whiny jerk Rob? I thought there was just a HELLA DAMN SEXY ROB

  2. they are both twittering because they are both experiencing the earthquake. duh.

    captcha: uneptio

    i can't think of a joke about it, but i love it.

  3. I was expecting this to be more brutal. Then I read the linked review and it was. Randall does you guys a great service by limiting the amount of work you have to do!

  4. That swine flu joke is quite different. That one was using Twitter to exemplify the more general concept of panic- a panic that would have existed without Twitter but which Twitter allowed to be succintly documented. This one is about people ignoring their immediate surroundings because they're absorbed in an escapist form of socialising. That one wasn't really about Twitter users as such, this one is.

    You don't have to find it funny or clever, but you could be more accurate with your use of the word "exact."

  5. Randall, you get points for placing blocks in Tetris. You're doing it wrong.

  6. I think you only get points for pressing down so they fall fast. just letting them hit bottom doesn't give you points. maybe?

  7. Yep, the further you make them drop quickly the more points you get but if you don't make them drop quickly at all you don't get any points just for placing them.

  8. i always liked the last panel of http://achewood.com/index.php?date=11102003 and later http://achewood.com/index.php?date=11182003

  9. new one is yawn.

    hell is a game you can't beat. wow. tell me more of your new and unique insights, randall.

  10. RobM is probably more likely to refer Rob Malda, but don't let that get in the way.

  11. I'm surprised Randall missed the chance to instead refer to Hatetris.


  12. Earthquake comic is lame. This is not a "marvel at the wonders of our technological world" comic.

    Let's rephrase it you will see why:

    "Oh Gerald is such a curiosity, he did not leave the post office after reading a tepegraph saying 'EARTHQUAKE INCOMING STOP EVACUATE NOW STOP' but instead inquired to the postmaster about the particular workings of the invention, in spite of the fact that the telegraph was warning him of imminent danger a hor hor hor very droll."

    It's a pictoblog post, and one that'd result in more interesting comments than the post itself.

  13. Ha tepegraph. Learn to spell, Keep!

    Latest Tetris comic is Not Bad, but it's imperfect.
    It's an immediately grasped visual joke. There's no need to explain it, everyone can instantly see it's Tetris gone wrong. So it'd work a lot better without the "this is hell :( :( awubbawubbawubba" caption.

  14. Today's comic was actually pretty good. Clever joke, nice execution. The alt text ruined it though.

  15. I liked the new one - nice and simple, doesn't involve naked women, understandable without specialized knowledge.

  16. Earthquake comic wasn't so bad on my book, except the recycling of premises. And the shitty art that contribute for nothing on the comic. Meh.

    Newest comic... the joke itself is... decent. Too much a "gamer comic" thing, though, and I'm not sure Randall's "Romance, Sarcasm, Math and Language" fits with "gaming references LOL". It's of obvious subpar quality, and yet I know I'll have at least 5 people on my Twitter timeline linking it and saying "today's xkcd is INGENIOUS"... Gotta love the fandom.

    Also, I'm abit bothered that, with so many Mario games that could be considered as classic as Tetris he goes for what I assume is Mario 64. Or Galaxy, but I haven't played that much, so I don't remember if it had stars. Still, I think it's a bitchy nitpick, so I'll just try and not think about it.

    Mole out.

  17. isn't this comic just thousands of bash.org quotes re: oh no there is a tornado/fire/whatever i should tell irc instead of running?

  18. I don't get the latest comic.

    I mean, I understand what's MEANT to be the joke - that the game would be unplayable - but... how's that funny in the slightest?
    That's aside from that "Tetris with a curved bottom would be impossible to get straight lines on" itself isn't smart or creative. And is just downright stupid when you consider that Tetris does not even work that way, you moron! Gravity is non-existent here!

    Alt-Text is just pandering to the fans. OH HEY KATAMARI! OH YEAH MARIO! (Probably got the habit from VGcats. Hurr hurr.) And whatever about round-bottomed Tetris, just taking a basic game objective and making it outright impossible does not constitute as humour. COMING UP NEXT: "PLAYING HALO, BUT WITHOUT A CONTROLLER!" (although that probably wouldn't happen, since Halo is a distinctly non-nerdy game. The gods be damned if Randall would let something like that get in his comic)

    Also, note how he doesn't even bother to draw the squares of the pieces!

    Actually, just note how he DOESN'T EVEN BOTHER TO USE A RULER!

  19. Wait... what?





  20. The new comic sucks because the title says "Hell" and the caption also says "Hell." That is all.

  21. Wait, wait, missed something again.

    He put in "Hell" twice.

    Y'know, just in case it wasn't blatantly obvious that you can't match a straight line in a rounded game board.

    And another, just to be sure.

    Welp, so much for XKCD being an "intellectual" comic!

  22. I liked the new comic. The only suggestion I'd make would be to have more blocks scattered at the bottom

  23. If he had more blocks you would have seen that its possible to make a flat surface (leaving an open gap on the side to avoid losing that line) and then could play from there.

    It's not really hell, it's just an inconvenience.

    To me a game hell would be an amazing game in every aspect. Great graphics, great gameplay, great storyline but its 200 hours long and you can't pause and you can't save and you can die at any moment so you have to always be playing or you'll have to start over.

  24. Plasma wins.


  25. My reaction to seeing curve-bottom Tetris was not, "wow, that WOULD be hell." Rather, it was "wow, that would be fun to try and play, and there is quite obviously a way to make lines once your form a secure base."

    The alt text hearkened to Tantalus... perhaps he could have done something funny with that... but it isn't a joke as is.

  26. So I can't decide if Randall was shooting for something that would be possibly a decent comic and didn't get it quite right or whether his terrible comic accidentally came close to greatness.

    The key is the alt-text. So Mario can see a star but can't quite reach it, hmm? That sounds TANTALIZING. I had to look up Katamari, but apparently it involves rolling a large object around (up a hill repeatedly?). I can't figure out a classical antecedent for his Tetris though.

    If he was trying to compare classical punishments in the afterlife to frustrating situations in videogames, then there is the seed of a decent comic there. Maybe I'm too stupid to get the situation referenced by Tetris (doubtful though; contrary to popular belief you don't have to be smart to get xkcd).

    However, Randy usually spells out his references pretty explicitly. Nobody here or on Randy's forums has picked up on the Tantalus connection, so I'm inclined to think it's coincidental rather than intentional. If this wasn't intentional then the comic is a huge failure since he's ripping off classical mythology without even realizing it.

    F-Zero=Dante's punishment for the lustful.

  27. Charles Augustus FortescueApril 7, 2010 at 8:14 AM

    You that don't like the Hell comic, your screens are too big. Me, when I opened it up I just saw the title 'Hell' and the top of a Tetris game. Then I scrolled down and the joke was revealed!

    I like this one a lot. That feeling in Tetris when you're losing and there's nothing you can do about it can get very infuriating. A piquant vision of Hell indeed.

    The Mario game with the star out of reach, though... I'm terrible at Mario so that's all Mario games to me.

  28. So the joke relied on you having the resolution of a graphic calculator. Genius.

    And yeah, I picked up on the sisyphus reference, but not the tantalus one.

    but still, even with the curved bottom you COULD GET IT TO WORK by using the pieces to make a flat surface. so its just an additional challenge and not really hell.

    I'm guessing he didn't really think it through.

  29. Who has the gall to make a comic about video game hell when Desert Bus already exists?

  30. So a common complaint of trolls here is that we're all a bunch of dumb jocks too stupid to get the awesome obcurely nerdy references in xkcd.

    In the alt-text, Randall writes about a star that is just out of Mario's reach. Hmm, sounds TANTALIZING, doesn't it? In Katanari, you roll a large object around (up a hill repeatedly)?

    If Randall intended to have the comic be about frustrating video games and classical punishments in the afterlife, then it's not too bad. I don't get what punishment Tetris references, but that's because I'm a dumb jock (either that, or Randall's comic is a failure).

    However, Randall usually beats you over the head with his "obscure" references (which are usually no more obscure than Star Wars). None of the super smart folks in the xkcd forums have picked up on the Tantalus connnection. I'm inclined to think it's a coincidence; Randall ripped off classical mythology without realizing it (if he'd realized it, he sure as hell would've made the reference explicit). In that case, there is no classical antecedent for the Tetris situation, and the comic just sucks.

    Are there any racing games that involve airborne vehicles? I'm thinking Dante's punishment for the lustful.

  31. Oh great, now my earlier comment decides to show up.

  32. Today's comic was decent, which is unfortunate because I was really believing that if Randall continued his suck streal he would finally axe off the rest of his community.

    It didn't cause me to laugh out loud (I'm don't have that style of reaction) but it did give me a little grin.

    The idea was nice, but if I look hard enough it's quite easy to see problems emerge. Namely, the similarity to many existing games, the fact that such a concept would actually appeal to a gamer more than the original tetris (at least it did for me, my mind instantly clicked to: oh cool a physics based tetris, I bet if I tried hard I could still clear some lines), and the fact that the original joke is a bit pedantic (durr this is what hell could be like because it is bad and bad = hell, but not demon and eternal torment bad, only clever game annoyance bad).

    The concept could probably have been couched in a better joke for a better execution. However, this would require Randall to put in more effort than "oh an interesting concept, comic done."

    But, honestly, this comic was the first in a long while that didn't cause me to punch my monitor, and I can't handle any more dead pixels.

  33. I didn't mind today's comic, it was ok.

    Also, would it be possible to form a perfectly straight line with Tetris pieces under those circumstances? I figured it would ALWAYS be slightly off, which the game wouldn't be willing to forgive.

  34. This has been done many times before. Do a google image search of "Tetris fail" for a bunch of good examples. For INCREDIBLE examples, check out the Achewood links 'R' posted earlier in the thread. Those are particularly brilliant.

  35. I originally also had a gripe with the fact that he has two instances of the word 'Hell', but then I realized that if the image is being displayed somewhere else without the title then it makes no sense without the caption. The only way he could have avoided this really is to have come up with another name for the comic, however I think that the current title fits the comic best.

    Not an incredibly funny comic, but I smiled a little. Could definitely have been executed worse.

  36. xkcd sucks regularly, but I liked this comic. I dunno, maybe because i'm a stupidass fag who deserves to writhe in the flames of hell, but its kinda cleverly funny.

    Also the newest comic is kinda funny, too. I guess it's because I haven't read any other webcomics besides PBF. Nobody in particuluar claims "it's been done and it's not the best, so it is a mediocre piece of shit." But, I think we all have to admit, it's better than the crap Randall usually rolls out.

  37. This one made me almost chuckle just from the gut-level visual gag, but then the Achewood ones were much better.

  38. So, there is a reason for his choice of games on the alt-text. Nice. I actually can believe he is making a clever reference and his fans just don't get it. Seeing he's been pandering to high schoolers, not many would get any reference that's not to recent popular culture...

    I still hold this sort of game-related comic doesn't feel right in xkcd. It really seems as if Randall is trying to get whatever audience he can get...

  39. Is there really a "reason" for the choice of games in the alt text? I actually found the alt text absolutely horrible: it drags on the joke unnecessarily, and WITHOUT the hard-hitting, quick effect of the visual gag: "oh, okay, here are some more examples of stuff that could be funny." Awful. He should have went for something short and sweet: the short, punch caption really enhanced the effect of the comic.

    Yeah, I enjoyed the comic. It's the kind of thing I would truly love if he had made it back when I was a fan.

  40. Are you mad? MAD? MAD? It sucks. It sucks real bad. The idea of Hell being somewhere where things are just that little annoying bit off is hardly new, and it's not like this Tetris would be Hell anyway - you'd just go 'fuck it, no point playing', I mean Jesus. The alt-text is clumsy too. "Mario with the star out of reach"? That's not Hell. What particularly stunk is that the star comes right at the end of a mission: there's no sense of personal failure or lack of achievement, it's just "The end-of-level token is too far away for you to reach! THUS ETERNAL TORMENT". In general: lazy, pathetic, and stupid.

    Also, maybe a link to a round-bottomed version of Tetris will go viral in the next week, and that makes me sad.

    tl;dr You're all stupid and I'm not.

  41. Full disclosure: I'm in high school.
    What makes this in any way relevant is that I fully understood his references to Tantalus (Mario) and Sisyphus (Katamari). I don't consider myself a particularly nerdy person- certainly not by xkcd forumite standards- but I think it's hilarious that nobody else in that forum picked up on those references. Are they really that obscure?

  42. I think there should be a "Alt text extends the joke too far" category.
    Oops that's about half of the comics.

  43. Veslfen, I guess I should apologize for the horrible stereotyping. =P

    Anyway, Fernie, I'm not sure anymore, since, you know, the Katamari reference isn't about rolling the ball eternally and getting back to place again. Then again, I never played Katamari Damacy, so I'm not sure, but I guess the alt-text is just a rework of Tantalus in two different forms.

    And, driving the point further again... xkcd is highly considered a webcomic enjoyed by smart and educated people, and yet they don't get a simple reference to Greek mythology, if there's one to be got. And let's add this: Greek mythos is in vogue with Percy Jackson and Clash of Titans around the corner.

    But, thinking better, I'm not sure why I should bother. If there's an actual reference to the round bottomed Tetris, though, I'd be amused.

    Also, I'm guessing this one will inspire another "wetriffs.com", except it'll probably be a wave of shitty badly programmed round-bottomed tetris clones.

    All in all, I should be sleeping, but instead I'm here posting inane comments. Ha.

    Mole out.

  44. Charles Augustus FortescueApril 8, 2010 at 7:23 AM

    Also Tetris sounds a bit like Tartarus, the Greek version of Hell.

    Also in Dante's Inferno, Hell has a well at the bottom where the ninth circle is.

    This comic works in so many ways!

    I'm going to have to repeat all this when the actual XKCD Sucks entry for this comic gets put up, aren't I?

  45. If the latest comic were on SMBC, the votey would be a quarter circle and the words "Deus Ex Machina".

  46. Charles

    That approach is called an allegory and it requires each element in the symbol to represent something specific in the object to which it is referring. In this case, the dip at the bottom correlates with the well in the ninth circle. What do the pieces represent? Or the score? Or the "next"? It does not make sense as an allegory, so your interpretation is invalid.

    The joke is actually very simple. The "L" block and the "Square" block make an opening perfect for the "S" block to fit into, yet it cannot because the two in the well are caved in on each other. That's the essence of it - that being unable to squeeze the block into it would torment you endlessly, just like being unable to pick up anything in Katamari or being unable to get the star in Mario.

  47. Charles Augustus FortescueApril 9, 2010 at 1:12 AM

    I disagree. A text can include allusions without being a full allegory.

    For example, in House, Dr Wilson's name is very close to Dr Watson, alluding to certain similarities between his relationship with House and Holmes and Watson's relationship. But that doesn't mean that every single character in House has to correspond to some character in Sherlock Holmes! Think about what you are saying.

  48. "I disagree. A text can include allusions without being a full allegory. "


    "For example, in House, Dr Wilson's name is very close to Dr Watson, alluding to certain similarities between his relationship with House and Holmes and Watson's relationship."

    The allusion is within the House-Watson dynamic, though. It's a clean, well-organized, easily accessible allusion.

    Comparatively, your analysis makes very little sense outside of it trying to be an allegory; ok, so Tetris kinda-sorta sounds like Tartarus (which, if that was his intent, *should* imply that everything references the Greek version of hell, but whatever) and there was a well at the bottom of Dante's Inferno (which is an Italian's version of hell). Those are two incredibly disparate allusions that are tangential in relation. It's pretty much like saying "Greek hell is like/leads to/is shitting on Italian hell!"

    Honestly, I don't think Randall was trying to make any allusions to Tantalus, Sisyphus, Tartarus, Hades, Dante, Machiavelli, or George Bush; he was just trying to say "Haha, in hell you can't play common games because they're all infernally broken!" It's simple and it fits the comic and the alt-text.