Longtime readers will know about "Could Be A Tweet", my tag for comics that... could have been a tweet. In these comics, the art adds nothing to the joke and the text is a short one liner type thing. Longtime readers will also know that I kinda wish I'd come up with a better name for it, something like "pointless visuals" or "text-driven" but also something better than those. "Could Be A Tweet" implies shortness, which this comic obviously doesn't have, but it does feature no real visuals.
Some guy whose name I can't remember once said something like "comics are where visuals and text become interdependent". The implication of this is that a comic generally shouldn't make sense if all the text is removed or if it's boiled down to just the dialogue. TV/Film is the same way; there are exceptions, but generally you're going to need a steady interplay between audio and visuals. You don't have a guy say "this is a bomb!" before he presses the detonator, you have him hold it up and then when the explosion goes off we understand that he caused it.
The point of this is that while this comic couldn't be a tweet, the visuals still don't matter. Yes, there's formatting that helps us understand that this comic takes place on Wikipedia, but we can also understand that from the caption and the fact that every new line has a number in front of it.
So, while "why is this town so bad at mining" is a chuckle-worthy line, it's robbed of additional impact it could have if we saw a character saying it out loud, seeing their exasperation through their body language and stuff.
Those last two paragraphs connected better when I was thinking over how I'd write this review in the shower.
Props to Randy for adding that second line of dialogue. If it was just that first line I'd be able to criticize this comic for CouldBeATweet-ness and for not making sense (how does studying help the parasite procreate?). But he went and added that second line and made it better, the jerk. It even makes the dialogue feel more natural, instead of one person elaborating on their own point unprompted.
I do still feel like there was a bit of a missed opportunity by not showing the fungus in action. This might be because I'm a bad person, but I find the mental image of someone trying to stop themselves from studying something HILARIOUS. Maybe it's because I'm a college student so the idea of anyone doing any studying at all is inherently funny because of how absurd it is. (some college humor for all the colleges out there)
There's also a place for a second punchline with Ponytail, although it does require a little bit of editing of ShortHair's line. Instead of this being an announcement or whatever, they're giving Ponytail a tour, and Ponytail says something like "Well, I wasn't convinced at first, but now that I've seen this in person, I'm on board"
Overall though, this wasn't a bad comic, just one that had a lot of potential I feel it didn't live up to.
By the way, I know my last XKCD Wasn't Funny didn't go over super well, but I think writing them might be the best way to have a backlog for this blog. Obviously I can't write these reviews before the comic is posted, but XWF could be a good way to make sure you guys have something to read even if I'm busy or etc? Let me know what you think in those comment places!
Before we start: My friend Lightning released a new album the other day! It's called Golden Age and it's all 90s rave themed so if that's up your alley definitely give it a listen or two!
I'm really digging my decision to do double reviews sometimes. I'm not going to make it an everytime thing, but I like how when I have very little to say about a comic other than it's wrong, I can have a kinda short review but add a longer review on top of it so that I don't feel like I'm ripping my audience off.
This comic is wrong. You build wells at the top of hills so they don't fill up with runoff from higher ground, plus you carry the heavy bucket full of water downhill instead of uphill every time you get water. Randy is a goddamn city slicker who wouldn't know how to plow a field if his wife was a tractor.
Woo! On to the next one!
So, this is the first XKCD since the comic started to be delayed by three whole days. It had so much buildup that it ended up counting as Friday and Monday's comic, breaking Randy's technically perfect upload streak. Was it worth the wait?
Well, I can definitely appreciate the effort that Randy put into this. This has interactivity and randomness and stuff! ...unfortunately, it really just feels like a slightly more sophisticated version of one of those mid-2000s simulator flash games, or a more artsy version of the Plants Vs Zombies 'zen garden' minigame.
I also really don't see what it has to do with April Fool's Day. In the multiple delay status updates, the comic was referred to as 'the April 1st comic' rather than 'the Friday comic' or 'the latest comic' or just 'the comic'. I understand that the last two April Fool's comics were both interactive, but that's not really a prank or a joke (as in, more of a joke than a comic is already supposed to be, like that time Dinosaur Comics swapped out the dinosaurs with gifs of other webcomic characters that constantly switched with each other).
So, not saying that Randy should have done the work on the comic sooner, since I totally understand missing deadlines and underestimating how long something will take, BUT since the comic isn't actually holiday-themed in any tangible way, couldn't he just have done a quick filler-type comic for Friday and then finished working out the bugs at his leisure?
Now, the comic obviously isn't supposed to be funny, but does it accomplish what it set out to do? Not really. Like, it's neat, but also kinda screensaver-y, you dig? It's not unpleasant to look at, but I'd never seek it out (unless by 'screensaver' you're thinking of the pipe animation thing because that was the fucking bomb).
This last point is likely a more subjective one, but I think relaxation tool things are more relaxing if you have more of an influence on what the screen's displaying. In this comic, you control the lamps, and everything comes from how you place them. You don't plant the seeds or control how fast they grow or how fast the wind is blowing. Compare that to Silk or Neonflames, which, even though you don't completely control the finished result, you're given several controls that give you a good idea of how it'll look. Good on Randy for doing something new, but this really feels like XKCD's Chinese Democracy: a lot of buildup for nothing that impressive.