667: SkiFree

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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And from that day on, I wore this little 'F' pendant everywhere I went.
Title text: And from that day on, I wore this little 'F' pendant everywhere I went.


SkiFree is a free to play video game. In it, you're a downhill skier trying to go as far as you can down the hill without crashing. At some point, a monster similar to one in the comic will begin to chase you and will inevitably try to hunt you down. Since it's much faster than you normally, you'll get caught.

One of the lesser known commands in SkiFree is the 'F' key, which speeds you up, even faster than the monster.

The joke here is that Megan has thought long and hard about the concept of the monster and is shattered in an instant from a less popular command.

The title text refers to pendants that are used to ward off death. Here, it's implied that SkiFree is taken so seriously that the command to escape death, the monster, will seemingly save them in reality.


[We see a screenshot of SkiFree, with the abominable snowman running towards the player]
[Megan is sitting at her computer.]
Megan: (thinking) I've always thought of the SkiFree monster as a metaphor for the inevitability of death.
[Cueball comes up behind her.]
Cueball: SkiFree, huh? You know, you can press "F" to go faster than the monster and escape.
[The screenshot again. The player is zooming away from the monster.]
[Megan sits at her computer in silence.]
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The reason that so many people think the monster is unbeatable is that the game was often found pre-installed on many computers along with the Windows operating system in older days. However, the game would typically be installed without any documentation, resulting in a generation of younger gamers discovering and playing the game, but not the unintuitive "F" command needed to survive the monster. Psyren (talk) 22:24, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

"F" does make you go faster than the monster, but it also makes it more likely that you'll hit an obstacle, at which point the monster will catch up and eat you. HOWEVER, if you pause the game with F3 and then repeatedly press "T", the game will go in slow motion.--Rael (talk) 20:16, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

The title text explanation is way deeper than it probably should be. Knowing Megan, she probably *literally* wore an F key pendant--looking for meaning in the wrong places. 12:53, 27 October 2017 (UTC)