|: My Hobby|
Title text: The only one of these games I really played was Area 51
This was the fifty-first comic originally posted to LiveJournal. The previous one was 52: Secret Worlds, and the next one was 55: Useless. It was among the last eleven comics posted both on LiveJournal and on xkcd.com after the new site was launched. This comic wasn't published on the same day across both sites, but most of them shared the same posting day. It was released on LiveJournal on January 25, 2006, two days after originally being posted on xkcd.com. See the triva section below.
This is the second comic in the My Hobby series. It humorously compares the rules of light gun cabinet arcade video games with real life. Randall suggests that his hobby is going to drug busts with the expressed purpose of getting shot as an innocent bystander, thereby causing the police to lose 100 points.
Drug busts are events where police attempt to catch drug dealers, suppliers, and financiers in situations with enough evidence to convict them. In the style of arcade video games being examined, drug busts are usually depicted as chaotic events with villains, innocent bystanders, captives, and allies popping up like spring loaded targets at a shooting range in a setting with lots of places to hide. If you don't shoot a hostile target sufficiently quickly, you will be shot, so it is common to shoot the wrong targets. To add extra challenge, these games often deduct points — or worse, cause damage to the player character — if the player shoots the wrong target. This is often frustrating; not only does the player feel that they have failed to judge their target properly, but the wasted time can cause them to get shot by the real targets.
Obviously, doing this in real life would be a really bad idea, as the hobbyist would quickly be killed. Whether this can even be a hobby is questionable because hobbies typically refer to actions that one does repeatedly, but if one was killed the first time, one would not be able to sneak into drug busts and startle police officers again. Also, if Randall actually did this, he would be dead and therefore unable to draw a comic about it. The title text of 188: Reload references this comic.
The title text is a reference to 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). Area 51 was one of many cabinet arcade games that featured a light gun that allowed players to aim at the screen and shoot in a realistic control mechanic. The title text confirms that the comic is referring to these light gun cabinet games specifically.
- [A person with hair lies on the ground in a pool of red blood. At the top of the panel there is a caption. Then a text. And above the person there is a score with small lines around to indicate that it has just appeared over the body.]
- 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.
For unknown reasons, on January 18, 2006, 54: Science was posted on LiveJournal on the same day that 51: Malaria was released on xkcd.com. Three days later, on January 21, 2006, 51: Malaria was posted on LiveJournal, thus forcing the next two comics (52: Secret Worlds and this one) to be released on xkcd.com two days before LiveJournal. Four days later, on January 25, 2006, 54: Science was finally posted on xkcd.com, which fixed the date discrepancies and allowed the next comic, 55: Useless, to be published on the same day across both sites.
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