1757: November 2016
Title text: Once you've done this, make a note of how old they were. Then, when their age reaches double that, show them this chart again.
The comic takes the form of a table of ages between 16 and 41, and next to each, a list of things that originated approximately half that age ago. Thus, by mentioning those things to a person of that age, that person becomes aware that those things have now been around for the majority of their life. People tend to underestimate how long ago things happened, so the revelation will usually come as a shock and make them realize that things they think of as new and modern are actually a lot older than they thought. This, in turn, will make them feel old.
For example, if talking to a 24-year-old, the relevant sentence would be:
- "Did you know that Facebook has been around for the majority of your life?"
To a 24-year old, Facebook likely still seems like a new innovation, so they may be shocked to discover that it has been around for more than half their life.
The joke at the end is that the guide isn't necessary for people over 41, since they already feel old, and are more than capable of providing any number of demonstrative examples.
It should be noted that the guide is only current for the time it was published, which is why it is billed as the "November 2016 Guide to Making People Feel Old". This is because the examples given in the table are relative to a person's age at that time. However, the title text sneakily suggests a way to get an additional use out of the guide: by noting down the person's age at the time you show them the guide, and then showing it to them again when they are double that age, they will realize that more than half a lifetime has elapsed since the last time they viewed this comic, and will thus feel old again.
Table for the guide
|Age||Birth year||Date of occurrences||Occurrences||Explanation||Half age||Years ago|
|16||2000||April 29, 2008||Grand Theft Auto IV||Popular video game published by Rockstar Games; the 11th title in the Grand Theft Auto series. The games are often rated as Mature (and thus aimed at adults) and this entrance should not really affect 16 year olds, who may have tried the game now, but should not have played the game when they were only 8 years old.||8||8.5|
|17||1999||May 2007||Rickrolling||A prank and internet meme involving an unexpected appearance of the music video for the 1987 Rick Astley song "Never Gonna Give You Up", a bait and switch which has been referred to often in xkcd. Since this was aimed at people who knew the song (from 1987) and were online (mainly young adults in 2007), this entry should not really affect 17 year olds who are unlikely to have been rickrolled when they were only 8.5 years old.||8.5||9.5|
|18||1998||April 13, 2007||Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters||American Flash animated surreal comedy film based on the Adult Swim animated series Aqua Teen Hunger Force. This seems to be a joke, as both this movie and the one it was based on are for adults, and the people this targets would only have been 9 when it was released, and probably won't recognize the reference. The joke will fail, because they will not feel old. Very few people have ever heard of this movie, which is probably part of the joke.||9||9.6|
|19||1997||November 19, 2006||The Nintendo Wii||2006 is the time when the Nintendo Wii was released, with the Wii dominating 2006-2012. Ten year olds were likely to play Wii, and thus as 20 year olds remember and be surprised at how long it is since the first time, and feel old. This is the first entry that might actually work.||9.5||10.0|
|20||1996||March 2006||2006 was a big year. Twitter was created. There were probably only a few 10-11 year olds that used Twitter in the first year of its release, and thus not many twenty year old people today would have been active on Twitter at the very beginning. This will only make that minority of people feel old.||10||10.7|
|21||1995|| November 22, 2005 (Xbox 360),
September 30, 2005 (xkcd)
| The Xbox 360,
|2005 saw the creation of the Xbox 360, another successful console. Randall also decided to throw in a 'reference joke', referring to the fact that xkcd was also created in 2005 where the first 13 comics where released on LiveJournal on September 30, 2005. As a callback, he has two x words in the same sentence, referring to 1750: Life Goals. The same two words were both in that comic. (Average release date for the two was October 25, 2005). The Xbox will work on the twenty-one year old, for the same reason the Wii above would work. xkcd would not, because it is not directed at pre-teens. They would not have any feelings towards the comic. It is included to make faithful xkcd readers feel old. "Is it really more than 10 years ago I read it first..." (and also for the self-reference).||10.5||11.0|
|22||1994||2005 (no specific date)||Chuck Norris Facts||Satirical factoids about martial artist and actor Chuck Norris began to appear on the Internet in early 2005. To begin with, they where not centered on Norris, instead focusing Vin Diesel. This makes it difficult to put a precise date on their appearance than "During the year 2005." Chuck Norris has replied to these factoids more than once, but the first time was in December 2006, almost two years after the memes began appearing. The "facts" are mainly based on his series Walker, Texas Ranger, which ran from 1993-2001. Since the series ended when the twenty-two-year-old of today was 7, they were not the target group for the crazy Chuck Norris Facts. It seems unlikely that this entry would work.||11||11.5|
|23||1993||January 25, 2004||Opportunity's Mars Exploration||Opportunity is a Mars rover that landed on Mars on January 25, 2004. Mars Rovers are a recurring subject on xkcd. Even people who were not interested in science were very aware of Opportunity's voyage--it was covered in every type of news medium for a long time.||11.5||12.8|
|24||1992||February 4, 2004||Facebook is a social networking service created in 2004 as a competitor to Myspace. It grew quickly to become the #1 social networking service. Since kids under thirteen are not allowed on Facebook, twenty-four-year-olds could not have signed up at the time of its foundation. When it was opened up for anyone in 2006, they would have been fourteen, but that would then only have been 10 years ago. However, today everyone knows about Facebook (and many preteens created accounts by lying about their ages), and to learn that it has existed for half of your life may make you feel old even if you didn't sign up immediately.||12||12.8|
|25||1991|| April 1, 2004 (Gmail),
July 9, 2003 (Pirates of the Caribbean)
Pirates of the Caribbean
|Gmail is an email service created by Google. It was originally invitation-only (until 2007), and not marketed to kids, so it is unlikely that many thirteen year olds would have been using it in 2004; however, it has since been opened to anyone, and a lot of 25 year olds use it today. The first movie in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Curse of the Black Pearl, debuted in 2003. Three more movies followed before the release of this comic (average date is November 4, 2003). The movie was rated PG-13 and would likely have been a hit among 12-13 year old kids, so this would make many people born in 1991 feel old.||12.5||13.0|
|26||1990||January 7, 2003||In da Club||Rap song by 50 Cent. The song was a #1 hit on multiple charts and in multiple countries. It is very likely that people who were thirteen at its release would have been aware of it, even if they were not "clubbing" themselves yet.||13||13.8|
|27||1989||September 20, 2002||Firefly||Firefly is a space western drama TV series created by Joss Whedon, that became a cult classic. This may be Randall's favorite TV series, and it has been referenced often in xkcd.||13.5||14.1|
|28||1988||October 7, 2001||The War in Afghanistan||The United States of America invaded Afghanistan shortly after the September 11 attacks (popularly known as 9/11), in an effort to eliminate the terrorist group al-Qaeda. Almost anyone who was 14 in 2001 would have been aware of the war.||14||15.1|
|29||1987||October 23, 2001||The iPod||The iPod was a music playing device created by Apple Inc. in 2001. This would probably make lots of 29 year-olds feel old. 14-15 year old kids were likely to have had (or wished they had) an iPod.||14.5||15.0|
|30||1986|| May 18, 2001 (Shrek),
January 15, 2001 (Wikipedia)
| Shrek is a popular parody film about fairy tales. It quickly gained a cult following and became a mega-hit, earning it three sequels and a franchise. It was a big hit popular for ages. Fifteen-year-olds were likely to know and love the movie, so they would probably feel old as 30-year-olds realizing it came out half their life ago.
Wikipedia is a an online encyclopedia created in 2001, which anyone can edit. (It is massively linked to from explain xkcd which has a Wikipedia category for comics like this that reference the website directly). (Average date is March 17, 2001). It is questionable how many kids used Wikipedia during the year it launched. Of course, realizing that before Wikipedia, you had to use a paper encyclopedia may still make a 30 year old feel old.
|31||1985||July 14, 2000||Those X-Men movies||The X-Men film series, probably only referring to the first trilogy (X-Men (July 14, 2000), X2 (May 2, 2003), X-Men: The Last Stand (May 26, 2006) - us release dates). The release date refers to the first of these three movies. Presumably Randall is counting the series as existing from the time of the first release. 15-16 year old kids are likely to have loved X-Men, and feel old when they realize it came out half their life ago.||15.5||16.3|
|32||1984||February 4, 2000||The Sims||The Sims is a simulation video game created by Maxis in 2000 in which you build homes, cities, and families. It was an immediate success upon launch. It seems likely that many people would have played The Sims, and thus many 32 year old people would feel old. This was the one that Randall could have used on himself to feel old. He turned 32 a few weeks before the release of this comic.||16||16.8|
|33||1983||October 19, 1998||Autotuned hit songs||1998 was when non-audio-professionals became aware of autotuning songs. Cher's song Believe, released October 19, 1998 may be the first time that most people really noticed autotuning. This is the only entry where there seems to be more than one year between the age of the thing and the half age of the person. However, it is also one of the entries where specific dating is difficult. Because the dates are not specific, it is difficult to judge how it would affect 33 year old people. Autotuning has been a standard for years, so it may make one feel old to know it has around for half your life.||16.5||18.1|
|34||1982||May 19, 1999||The Star Wars Prequels||The Star Wars prequel trilogy (Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (May 19, 1999), Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (May 16, 2002), Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (May 19, 2005), us release dates). The Star Wars universe is most likely the most referenced movie universe in xkcd. The release date refers to the first of these three movies, because even only taking the first two movies, the average would only be 16 years ago, less than half the age of a 34 year old. These movies were awaited eagerly by many 17 year old kids, so they would remember the release well and feel very old.||17||17.5|
|35||1981||March 31, 1999||The Matrix||Action film created by The Wachowskis (formerly known, at the time of The Matrix, as The Wachowski Brothers). Two more films followed, although they were widely regarded as inferior to the first (by for instance by Randall as seen in 566: Matrix Revisited). The Matrix was something new and is likely to have influenced 17-18 year old kids, so this entry would likely to produce feelings of age.||17.5||17.6|
|36||1980||September 28, 1998||Pokémon Red & Blue||A popular video game franchise in the Pokémon series, a series often referenced in xkcd. The game was first released in Japan in 1996, but not in North America until 1998. It seems likely that many people interested in playing computer games would have played Pokémon games. and in particular this one, which was released when the target group was 18 years old. And now that's half their life ago, perhaps making them feel old.||18||18.1|
|37||1979|| August 29, 1997 (Netflix),
June 26, 1997 (Harry Potter),
September 15, 1997 (Google)
|All three are still major things 19 years later. "Harry Potter" refers to the original publishing date of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Google refers to the date that the Google domain name was registered. (Average date is 03-07-1997). Harry Potter is widely read, but at the time of its release it was probably not at first taken up by those of 18-19 year old. That may have first come later, maybe with the release of the first movies in 2001, four years later. This may not be the best example for this age group. Also using Google and Netflix just when they where launched may also not have been so popular among 18-19 year olds in 1997. Still, all three things are big, and to realize that they have been around for half of a life may still make someone feel old.||18.5||19.4|
|38||1978||May 11, 1997||Deep Blue's Victory||Deep Blue was a chess computer, who defeated Garry Kasparov, the reigning chess champion, in a match in 1997. It was the first chess computer to defeat a world champion under tournament conditions. Randall has a great interest in chess and it is a recurrent subject on xkcd. Unless a 38 year old is interested in chess, they may not even know what Deep Blue is, let alone have any impression of long ago the victory occurred. Chess players and computer nerds (both of whom are very likely to be xkcd fans) would certainly be aware of this particular day.||19||19.5|
|39||1977||September 13, 1996||Tupac's Death||Tupac Shakur was an American rapper, record producer, and actor. He was fatally shot in a drive-by shooting in 1996. Eight of his albums are certified platinum (five released after his death), and he has been ranked as one of the greatest artists of all time. (Rolling Stone ranked him 86/100). It seems likely that many 39 year olds would feel old realizing that 2Pac has been dead for half of their lives.||19.5||20.2|
|40||1976||December 31, 1995||The last Calvin and Hobbes strip||Calvin and Hobbes is a comic strip by Bill Watterson that ran from November 18, 1985 to December 31, 1995. It is a recurring subject on xkcd . This comic had a lot of fans among people that are 40 today. Even those who didn't read it during its run may have discovered it later. Even those who didn't notice the ending at the time, might still feel old realizing it was so long ago.||20||20.9|
|41||1975||November 22, 1995||Toy Story||The Pixar animated film Toy Story was the first feature length digitally-animated film to be released theatrically (and also Pixar's first feature film). Given that this was the first film of its kind, many 20-21 year olds would have seen it. For xkcd fans, such movies might be a big thing. For anyone who saw this movie (and the sequels) this could cause feelings of age. Side note: 41 year olds might actually feel young when reading this comic in November 2016, because they are the last people to still be expected to feel young before Randall deliberately destroys the feeling.||20.5||21.0|
|>41||Before 1975||N/A||[Don't worry, they've got this covered]||This joke is that people who are legitimately old already feel old. This could also be a reference to the number 42, 42 being the "Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything" in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. He has referenced this number more than once before, for instance in 1213: Combination Vision Test and in the messages in the Play Area of 1608: Hoverboard. Showing people 42 years or more old this table will make them feel old, when they look for their age and find this. Also, it may disappoint older readers of xkcd, as they do not to get their own humorous half-your-life entry. (See the opposite effect mentioned for the 41 years old above).||>20.5||N/A|
- [Caption above the panel:]
- The November 2016
- Guide to making people
- feel old
- [A chart with a list of items to be put into the two first lines above the chart. First there are a line using the first column, then there are two lines using the second column. Below those lines are the two columns with underlined captions above. Between the columns are a long line connecting the two.]
- If they're [age], you say:
- "Did you know [thing] has been around for the majority of your life?"
- Grand Theft Auto IV
- Aqua Teen Hunger Force
Colon Movie Film for Theaters
- The Nintendo Wii
- The Xbox 360, xkcd
- Chuck Norris Facts
- Opportunity's Mars Exploration
- Gmail, Pirates of the Caribbean
- In da Club
- The War in Afghanistan
- The iPod
- Shrek, Wikipedia
- Those X-Men movies
- The Sims
- Autotuned hit songs
- The Star Wars prequels
- The Matrix
- Pokémon Red&Blue
- Netflix, Harry Potter, Google
- Deep Blue's Victory
- Tupac's Death
- The last Calvin and Hobbes strip
- Toy Story
- [Don't worry, they've got this covered]
- The comic 891: Movie Ages, released 5 years earlier, used a very similar technique to make people feel old, by giving the number of years that had elapsed since landmark movies were released. Some of those movies (Toy Story, The Matrix, Shrek) also appear in this comic. That same comic also ended with a similar punchline, by ending the chart at 35 (with people over 35 considered as "too old" for the chart). It is possible that Randall's increasing of the limit to 41 reflects his own increasing age; perhaps he no longer thinks people at 36 are too old to try to make them feel old.
- Other comics with date-based titles include:
- Month-day format: 656: October 30th, 680: December 25th
- Month in the name: 1595: 30 Days Hath September
- A single year: 998: 2012, 1311: 2014, 1624: 2016, 1779: 2017
- The comic 1898: October 2017, released almost a year later, uses the same title format as this comic, and is also about making people feel old.
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