Died in a Blogging Accident has lived up to its name and died... in a blogging accident. That is to say it has concluded. You can still re-live the magic by clicking here to start at chapter 1. For genuine criticism of XKCD, please click the top link to the right (XKCD Isn't Funny).

Friday, February 14, 2014

Comic 246: Xkcd-sucks loves you

Happy Valentine's Day, Cuddlefish. Since you are cuddlefish, you most likely are alone for the 14th of February. Allow me to fix that. Tonight I will be reviewing comic 246, while naked.

Comic title: Labyrinth Puzzle

Alt text: And the whole setup is just a trap to capture escaping logicians. None of the doors actually lead out.

This is one of cptnoremac's favourite comics, though I can't imagine why. It's not that it's awful. It's just that it doesn't really excel in any way.

The premise is based on a classic riddle, which most people have already heard some variant of. If you are familiar with cult '80s films, you may have seen it in Labyrinth, which I am guessing the title is alluding to. It would be nice if the comic told the reader why they would be asking the guards questions, and not just assume that the knew that part. It's a minor gripe, but C- for standalone value.

I'm just gonna say the joke is kind of weak, and leave it at that. D for humour. The joke in the alt text is a little bit better. D+ for alt text humour. But then again, didn't Labyrinth already do something similar to that? The idea of solving a riddle but failing anyway because the riddle itself is a lie is not a cliched attempt at humour per se. It's just that it's obvious. People don't make jokes if they're obvious, unless they're just passing around quips in casual conversation, or unless they're Randall Munroe. It works as a movie plot twist, because the last fifteen minutes have set up the expectation that the titular labyrinth is a cruel place, but has a few rules. When those rules are subverted, it is a surprise for the audience as well as the character. But the joke in the alt text has no set up, except for the single panel comic with an even weaker joke. This panel only sets up the expectation that the system is rigged towards not letting anyone escape. How is it at all surprising that all the doors lead to failure.

I am probably overthinking this. Let's move on. D- for Black Hat not being Black Hat. C for... I dunno, the artwork?

Thanks a lot cptnoremac for hardly giving me anything to review. But of course, it wouldn't be Valentine's Day without a gift. I know I promised you fanfiction in the summer, but you're such a lovely audience, I think I will give you a little taste of it right now.

❤        ❤        ❤

Randall's Bad Dream

Randall woke up in his ball pit. It had been the thirty-fifth time in this dream that he had woken up, and yet his creative mind was not working. For all he tried, he could not think of a witty reference to a 2010 sci-fi thriller for this situation.
"Wait a minute. You haven't even seen Inception," cackled the ugly Carl "Ugly" Wheeler, as he sneered at Randall from underneath his balls.
Suddenly, Carl transformed into a velociraptor. Carl had always been a velociraptor. And he was an ugly velociraptor. Randall could hear the Jurassic Park theme, playing all discorded and out of tune. He tried to run, but the door was on the other side of the ball pit. He stumbled and fell face first into a load of balls. The raptor lunged, and snapped its jaws closed upon Randall's spindly neck. Clever girl.

Randall woke up again. Where could he be this time? He was in a bed with white sheets, right where he remembered falling asleep. Surely he was properly awake now. All the walls in his apartment were white. The sunlight from the bedroom window was shining brightly in his eyes, so everything in the room looked white.

Randall crawled out of the bed, and walked through the open door to the bathroom, hoping to find his Megan reclined over the bidet, shirtless, offering him a chance to suckle at her milky milk pillows. But what he actually saw was a mirror, the large mirror that hung above the sink. But it was not showing his usual reflection. Instead of his body, he saw a skinny black line, extending from his crotch up to his neck. Two more lines jutted out from his neck line at odd angles, his arms.

And his head... His head was nothing more than a big white circle, slightly larger than his original head, but perfectly smooth and white and bald and slightly elongated. Featureless. Randall had turned into a stick figure. He had always been a stick figure. Randall tried to scream, to open his mouth, but he could not, because he had no mouth. He tried to close his eyes to shut out the blinding horror that confronted him, yet he could not. Nothing could take away the hideous ugly situation that faced him now that was having no face with no eyes. He couldn't draw eyes.


  1. So I was reading goatkcd, and saw the Kola Borehole one, and got curious as to what the actual punchline was supposed to be.

    Turns out there wasn't one. The final panel amounted to "haha, I had a pretty good idea, right guys? hahaha (ps. black hat guy is edgy)"

    A good reminder of why I read goatkcd more than xkcd.

    Jon Levi, any chance that you'll review some of your fave goatkcds one day?

    1. Replying to first post to get top spot.

      Please do me next, Jon. Please do me.

  2. I combed through this piece trying to find a spelling error, and I couldn't find one to comment about.

  3. Please do comic 137.

  4. I've always been a fan of logic puzzles and game theory (I also kind of like the movie) so I might be biased, but I think it's a solid joke. It's just a parody of a logic puzzle, which can't be logically solved. Throwing in the third guy adds in an element of luck to the game that completely ruins the point, because no matter how clever you are, there's a 1/3 chance you'll get stabbed anyway. I also like how subjective "tricky question" is. You obviously assume the standard answer (would he tell me that this is the right door?) qualifies, but how do you really know how what he considers too tricky? Again, no logic, just guesswork.

    It's funny in the same way as that Tetris mod where the bottom of the screen is rounded so you can never make a line, but everything else plays by the normal rules in spite of the fact that it might as well just skip all of it and say "game over" to begin with.

    Why didn't we get a crappy webcam capture of you nakedly reviewing the comic? You call this a Valentine's Day treat?

    1. > I've always been a fan of logic puzzles and game theory

      You are the worst person in the room in any given social or professional situation.

  5. The Randall story is wonderful.
    Much better than XKCD.