637: Scribblenauts

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Let me look away and type 'guy who's just jealous that I beat all his MarioKart times' and turn back, and... yup, there you are again!
Title text: Let me look away and type 'guy who's just jealous that I beat all his MarioKart times' and turn back, and... yup, there you are again!


Scribblenauts is a game for the Nintendo DS in which the player controls a character named Maxwell, whose goal is to get a "Starite" in each level. The player has the ability to summon over 22,000 different objects into the game by typing them on the touchscreen using the DS's stylus device. Those items are then ostensibly used to help Maxwell collect the Starite (for example, typing "ladder" to help him reach a Starite that's inside a tree), but the player can decide to forgo the objective and just type in random things for fun.

The Large Hadron Collider is the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, and has excited the imagination of writers and journalists in popular culture, some of whom posit the theory that a catastrophic accident at the LHC could destroy the world. One of those ideas concerned the LHC creating a black hole that would proceed to suck in all the surrounding matter. However, in the game, the LHC, when tapped, creates a comically small black hole which only kills Maxwell.

Megan discovers that the LHC can be summoned in Scribblenauts, and has a fun time creating black holes with it. Cueball's snide comment is an unfortunately rather common reaction among adults towards entertainment geared for children, and the fact that Scribblenauts is a portable game just gives him another stick to beat it with. Irritated, Megan types in the phrase "pretentious asshole", and then pretends that Cueball has suddenly appeared. It is unclear whether she is referring to Cueball spawning in-game, or his presence in the real world. Note that, in reality, Scribblenauts doesn't respond to profanity.

In the title text, she types "guy who's just jealous that I beat all his Mario Kart times" (this could be a reference to 423: Finish Line and 290: Fucking Blue Shells) and once again, Cueball "appears" right in front of her. Mario Kart is another video-game series geared towards children, and there's a version of it for the DS, which implies that Cueball's just being snooty about Scribblenauts because Megan has so thoroughly dominated him in another "DS kids game".


[Megan is sitting on bed.]
[In Scribblenauts word input format.]
Megan: Wow, Scribblenauts even lets you summon the LHC.
[Cueball is sitting at a computer. Megan talks from off-panel.]
Megan: And it makes a black hole! This game rules.
Cueball: I guess it's okay, for a DS kids game.
[In Scribblenauts word input format.]
[Megan looks up.]
Megan: Oh, hi! It worked!

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I thought that she was looking up and seeing Cueball in the room, rather than on the screen? 22:35, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

I thought that there were two copies of her in the third panel because she succeeded in summoning herself in reality with the phrase 'pretentious asshole', much like a Calvin and Hobbes comic where he duplicates himself and then when Hobbes says the duplicate is really good, Calvin says "What do you mean? This guy is a total jerk!" -- Gman314 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Yes, and no. 01:57, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

A bit of clarification would be nice – can the LHC really be summoned in the real Scribblenauts game? -- 22:48, 6 November 2017 (UTC)

Uh...yeah? Why wouldn’t it be? 19:14, 30 December 2020 (UTC)

The joke in the third panel is that when summoning "pretentious asshole", that she summoned a clone of her self (the pretentious asshole), but the clone is unaware that the original is behind her and thinks Cueball was summoned. Explanation should be updated.

I agree that it is not immediately clear what is happening in the last panel, but the official xkcd transcript says that "the woman looks up". L-Space Traveler (talk) 11:38, 21 October 2022 (UTC)

Am I the only guy who still plays this? [User:Chilli3564|Chilli3564]] (talk) 11:26, 14 May 2024