241: Battle Room

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 13:56, 10 July 2023 by (talk) (i don't see that as particularly "politically correct", really)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search
Battle Room
Bean actually sabotaged it just to give Dink the excuse to make that joke.
Title text: Bean actually sabotaged it just to give Dink the excuse to make that joke.


The book Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card is about Ender Wiggin, a boy of extraordinary intelligence, who is recruited to be trained to be one of the commanders of Earth's "Defense" Fleet. The Fleet serves to protect Earth should the aliens known as "Buggers" invade again. (Future books renamed the Buggers to the Formics, since in British English, "bugger" is a swear word meaning to engage in anal sex, and an insult, as in "you silly bugger"). Ender is taken to a space school called Battle School. At the center of Battle School is the Battle Room, where all the training revolves (literally and figuratively) around. Ender's Game has also been discussed in later comics like 635: Locke and Demosthenes and 304: Nighttime Stories.

The Battle Room is described as a hollow perfect cube. "Stars" (smaller cubes) can be pulled from the walls (without changing the shape, more stars come in to fill the space where the old ones were) and can be used as obstacles in the Battle Room, as they will remain absolutely stationary, no matter what force is exerted on them. There is no gravity in the Battle Room. Most squads entering the Battle Room keep their orientation from the hallway (gravity in the hallway dictates where "down" is in the Room). Ender realizes that because the room is a perfect cube, and that even the entrances, called "gates," are perfect squares and do not give any hint about which direction is up or down, that keeping that orientation is useless. He instructs his squad to orient so that the enemy's gate is down, a line of lateral thinking that gives his team three big advantages (smaller targets, "shielding" themselves with their own feet, and unprecedented angles of attack) and leads them to a perfect winning streak.

The joke here, as made by Ender's squadmate Dink, is that the enemy's gate is "down," as in broken. A computer or a website is said to be "down" when it stops operating or is unavailable, due to a cause such as a crash, the power is cut, or it is being taken offline for maintenance.

The title text suggests that the enemy's gate was sabotaged by Bean, another, possibly even smarter, friend of Ender's, for the sole reason of allowing Dink to make the joke. This reflects the developments in Ender's Shadow, the parallel story to Ender's Game, which showed that Bean was manipulating many of the events of the original book.


[A scene is depicted from the Battle Room of the novel Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. The boys are floating in a room with random cubes.]
Dink: Sorry, Ender — seems like there were some system crashes. The battle's gotta be cut short.
Ender: The lasers still work.
Dink: Yeah, but the enemy's gate is down.

comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


Should there be some sort of spoiler tag at the top of this explanation? NixillUmbreon (talk) 08:20, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

That's not really a spoiler (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

^ you learn those things in the first few chapters. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

"I think Card would be unpleased with Bean's antics." 20:25, 19 December 2016 (UTC) Ender's Game: The Movie That Shows How Being Politically Correct Can Screw a Movie Up

Also, it's revealed in the Bean books that Bean had actually already hacked into the school's computer system, so it makes sense that he's the one that sabotaged the gate

"[...]a boy of above-average intelligence, which means he is recruited to be trained to be one of the commanders of Earth's "Defense" Fleet[...]" I never read the books, but does this mean a) that about half the boys get recruited to be commanders? or b) is the setting using a distribution of intelligence, which puts the average (arithmetic) far away from the median? Or is c) average here something else but the aritmetic middle? Or is it d) supposed to mean "far above-average"? The current explanation leaves an (average) reader who never heard of Enders game truly confused about this.--Lupo (talk) 14:00, 3 March 2020 (UTC)

Lupo - the correct answer is debatable. it seems that the explanation might be talking about slightly above the rest at the station, as in above average among geniuses.

if not, the correct answer is d. --naveh 23:17, 3 February 2021 (GMT+2)

Thanks for the clarification :) how sure are you about it? should we put it to the explanation? --Lupo (talk) 09:55, 4 February 2021 (UTC)

Hi guys! 22:21, 26 April 2022 (UTC)