53: Hobby

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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The only one of these games I really played was Area 51
Title text: The only one of these games I really played was Area 51


This is the second in the "My Hobby" series of xkcd comics. In this comic, Randall describes a rather silly "hobby" which references a common video game mechanism. In some video games that involved the player harming enemies (whether the player is a police officer or some other character), there is sometimes a penalty for harming "good guys" or innocent bystanders. In score-based games, this is usually in the form of a deduction from the player's score.

Randall suggests that his hobby is going to drug busts (where police officers surprise suspects in the midst of drug usage or drug deals in order to catch them in the act and arrest them). Drug busts are usually depicted as a large number of police officers with weapons drawn barging into a room or speeding up to an alley or a parked car. If the police were startled by a person jumping out, they might be startled and accidentally react by reflex and shoot that person (although in theory police officers are not supposed to open fire until they have identified the target as a potential threat). The comic image suggests the police would lose 100 points for such an act. Obviously, doing this in real life would be a really bad idea, as the hobbyist would quickly be killed.

The title text references the game "Area 51" which was a popular shooter arcade game from 1995 (although a console/PC game of the same name was released in 2005) which was one of many cabinet arcade games which featured a light gun which allowed players to aim at the screen and shoot in a realistic control mechanic. The title text suggests that the comic may be referencing these light gun cabinet games specifically in the comic, although the premise applies equally to first person shooters of any type (and even other game genres).


  • The original title on livejournal was "My Hobby"
  • This is the fifty-first comic originally posted to livejournal. The previous comic was 52: Secret Worlds, the next is 55: Useless.


My hobby:
When the police bust drug hideouts, I sneak in and hide. Then I jump out and startle them into shooting me so they lose points.
[A dead body on the ground in a pool of blood, with "-100" over it]

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There was a later comic that referenced this one, and it should be mentioned in the Trivia. I don't know which one it was. 20:05, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

Found it. It was #188. I'll let Wiki Magic take it from here. 20:08, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
Done. --Alex (talk) 12:28, 16 April 2014 (UTC)