1797: Stardew Valley

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Stardew Valley
I have accidentally watered virtually every person and object in Pelican Town.
Title text: I have accidentally watered virtually every person and object in Pelican Town.


Stardew Valley is an indie farming simulation role-playing video game created and published by Eric Barone. Just as in similar games like Farmville and Harvest Moon, the player takes the role of a farmer who establishes their own farm and performs everyday tasks such as watering plants, growing food, and tending to animals. Pelican Town, referenced in the title text, is a fictional village in this game.

In this comic, Cueball begins his morning routine in a Stardew Valley session by waking up and watering some of his farm's plants. However, he then walks up to a sleeping cat, pauses for a moment, then pours water on it, startling it awake. He says "Dammit." to this, likely indicating this isn't the first time he's made this mistake.

In the game, watering plants is an essential chore, which requires the player to "equip" a watering can. The player moves their character up to a plant and simply presses an action button (or key) to perform the watering action. The same action button is used to interact in different ways with other things, animals and people (e.g. to talk to them), so accidentally leaving the watering can equipped while trying to talk to someone can cause the player to "water" them instead. The comic illustrates how easy it is to do this in the game, as well as the comedic value of seeing this happen from the point of view of the player's character.

The title text reinforces this humor by indicating that Randall has used the watering can, probably unintentionally, on nearly every person and object in the game. It's amusing to think that he may curse each time he realizes he's still holding the can when he tries to talk to someone. (His use of the word "Dammit" in this comic also calls to mind a brief discussion on the word in 559: No Pun Intended.)

The use of the word "virtually" in the title text plays with the word's double meaning. It is used here in the sense of "almost", however when swapping the words "virtually" and "waters", the word assumes its alternate meaning, but the title text still makes sense: Since the game is only a simulation, the player "virtually waters" his plants.

Stardew Valley was also mentioned only two weeks prior to this comic in 1790: Sad; this comic explains why.

Interestingly, this comic is drawn in a slightly unusual style for xkcd. Of note is the border around the caption ("Stardew Valley Morning Routine"), the thicker-than-normal penmanship, and the use of drawn borders around the watering sound effects, Cueball's yawn, and the cat's sleeping word balloon. The cat's balloon in particular follows the visual style of the game (in which certain objects and animals may show their current emotional states with word balloons) - more generally, actions that normally occur in the game, such as the yawn and the watering action, appear to be shown in balloons while Cueball's "Dammit!" is written in the style of other xkcd comics. This likely suggests that Cueball's epithet here represents the player (Randall) actually saying this in response to the incorrect action of his character in the game.


[Inside a slim frame at the top of the comic there is a caption:]
Stardew Valley morning routine
[Below this frame there are two rows each consisting of three small panels taking up the same width as the caption panel above:]
[Cueball wakes and rises up from his pillow sitting beneath his blanket in his four poster bed with round knobs. He yawns with a hand to his mouth. Above him floats a large sound bubble:]
Cueball: Yawn
[Cueball walks to the right with a small watering can held in front of him.]
[Cueball pours water from the can over the three small plants. A line goes from the water to another bubble:]
Water: Splish
[Cueball walks back to the left with the watering can.]
[Cueball stops with the can right next to a sleeping cat, which has a speech bubble pointing to its head.]
Cat: Z
[Cueball proceeds to pour water on the cat which immediately jumps up away from him trying to escape as water cascades on it. Again there is a line from the water to a speech bubble, but both the cats angry sound and Cueball's comment is written without bubbles.]
Water: Splish
Cat: Mrowl!!
Cueball: –Dammit.

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Expanded the explanation. Feel free to add on to my post. --JayRulesXKCD what's up? 12:16, 10 February 2017 (UTC)

OK ;-) --Kynde (talk) 15:19, 10 February 2017 (UTC)

Is it just me or is Cueball drawn "fatter" than usual? 14:00, 10 February 2017 (UTC)

I was thinking that the whole style of this comic is rather uncharacteristically of xkcd. Maybe someone who have played the game, could confirm (or not) my suspicion that there are some of these differences that comes from him "copying" parts from the game. The first I noticed was that the caption was in a frame. This almost never happens. Either it is just above the panel below, or at the top of the panel inside it. The second was the many speech bubbles which are not used for the speech, but for sounds made by things or involuntarily (yawning, snooring and splishing). Only when the cat wakes up and mrowls and Cueballs spoken word is normal style. And yes I had not seen this but maybe the lines are in general a bit fatter, not just Cueballs. --Kynde (talk) 15:19, 10 February 2017 (UTC)
Randall was probably just deciding to go for a more organized comic. --JayRulesXKCD what's up? 18:30, 10 February 2017 (UTC)
I think he has done something similar before, but it is rare. And that was why I wondered if there were also such bubbles in the game, or captions etc. I do not think he tried to make it look organized. The only organized about it is the caption frame. --Kynde (talk) 19:41, 10 February 2017 (UTC)
Is it just me who thinks the style looks more like "old-timey" xkcd? Enchantedsleeper (talk) 13:07, 11 February 2017 (UTC)

I haven't played Stardew Valley, but it did remind me of similar situations in other video games, such as hitting a villager with a net in Animal Crossing. ...Also, "virtually"? Heh. Nyperold (talk) 17:47, 10 February 2017 (UTC)

Yes I also thought about that pun. Have tried to add it into the title text explanation, but this could probably be phrased better by someone native to the English language. ;-) But usualy it is easier to make someone edit what they do not like to something better than to get them to start the explanation ;-) --Kynde (talk) 19:41, 10 February 2017 (UTC)
Animal Crossing also has a watering can, but when the player presses the use key (A) while wielding it and facing a villager, the player character automatically puts it away until the conversation is over. -- Tepples (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I get the feeling Randall's feeling down at the moment, and he's using Stardew Valley as an escape, especially so soon after being mentioned in #1790. It seems like a bit of a random time to start talking about Stardew Valley. 21:39, 10 February 2017 (UTC)

I couldn't agree more with you. I have collected all the evidence for what you say here: Sad comics. Although I have not included this one, then coupled with 1790: Sad, which spawned the list of sad comics as it was already the fourth, this one makes it clear that the sad Ponytail in Sad could just as well have been Randall. But women have even more to worry about at the moment. All the sad comics have come out after Trump was elected. --Kynde (talk) 21:06, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
What do you mean by "this comic explains why" (diff)? 13:32, 13 February 2017 (UTC)

I'm not an editor here, but I do play the game. In Stardew Valley it's very easy to water people and your cat instead of speaking to them if you have your watering can equipped, and since watering the crops is the first thing you generally do in the morning, you could totally find yourself watering your cat right afterwards every day. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Thanks for sharing. I signed you comment, which you can easily do with the signature icon above the editing window or by inserting ~~~~-- after your comment. Kynde (talk) 21:06, 12 February 2017 (UTC)--

Is Stardew Valley anything like Terraria? I saw it in the steam store and thought it was another one of those types of games. This is also my first time posting on this site did i sign the comment correctly?XFez (talk) 17:45, 12 February 2017 (UTC)

You did sign correctly as opposed to the post above yours, which is signed later with the used IP (I just did that too) --Kynde (talk) 21:06, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
Clarify what?

I'm not entirely sure what the request for clarification is - the text in the "incomplete section" is unclear about what needs fixing or verifying. I'm guessing by the quick discussion above that people aren't sure about the word balloons on the game's sound effects and the cat's "z" bubble? Let me see if I can help a bit.

Stardew Valley does put small word balloons over characters, animals and other things in certain situations. For example, a human NPC might show his/her emotions through a word balloon, a pet may be asleep and show a Z balloon (like the cat), and barrels and other containers show a balloon with an icon in them indicating that you can collect something from them (e.g. finished wine or honey). The game doesn't give text or icons for sound effects (e.g. the sound of watering a plant is just a sound - there's no accompanying visual for it except the animation itself) - my guess is simply that Randall was using the wavy lines around the "Plissh!" for the watering action to give a sense of it being a wet sound, since it does sound like spattering water in the game.

Overall, I'm thinking that Randall put things in word balloons to indicate that they'd happen normally in the game, but then the cat's reaction to being watered, and Cueball's "DAMMIT!", are XKCD-normal due to being abnormal events. The "DAMMIT!" would likely be the player speaking aloud, not the player's character doing something normal in-game.

Does this help? Let me know if I can answer anything more specific. Obviously, I can't speak for the border around the caption or the thicker-than-usual lines. KieferSkunk (talk) 03:19, 12 February 2017 (UTC)

Great thanks. That was exactly what I was looking for, as I made the incomplete note. And I have just deleted it again as someone (you?) have entered the important part of what you wrote here.--Kynde (talk) 21:06, 12 February 2017 (UTC)