Tuesday, June 16, 2009

elsewhere in the webcomicsosphere

I will get to the newest xkcd in a minute. But first - who has been reading MS Paint Adventures? Everyone bugged me about how freaking great the last story, Problem Sleuth, was and I tried to read it but after 250 comics it was like "End of chapter 2!" and I was like "out of how many?" and it was like "26!" and I was like "fuck that!" and then the end. People tell me it takes until about 700 to get good. This is my summer project.

But that is beside the point. The point is, when he announced a new story I was like "well ok, I will read this one in real time and it won't be too hard and then I too will be in the crowd of happy happy people who read this comic."

So: Now it is two months later and I am still reading. I think there has been one panel that made me laugh. I kept thinking to myself, "this guy better know what he is doing" and my friends were all like "trust me, it took a while for Problem Sleuth too" and I was like "yeah ok but whatever, he better know what he was doing" and that was before the insanity that was the end of Act 1 and the beginning of Act 2.

And then there was this recent installment, which just bothered me. I don't think the format he has there is conducive to humor, or for that matter, story telling. It takes a long time to find all the content he's put in, it's frustrating to find because of the controls and movement, and I just feel like I'm missing things. His blog says he wants to do this more often, so I retierate: he better know what the hell he is doing.

Also, woah hey, qwantz.com redesign, crazy! I think it looks pretty classy. Oh and I thought today's Pictures for Sad Children was pretty great. Oh webcomics. How I love you, for the most part.


  1. Tbqh, I never had that hard a time getting into Problem Sleuth. It got into the final boss fight pretty quickly, and then just stayed there for approximately forever. I had fun with it.

    I find it weird that my favorite part of Homestuck is the chatlogs. Normally I think that posting IM conversations is pretty much the antithesis of humor, a few good bash.org counterexamples notwithstanding. But whatever.

  2. WHY HALLO THAR. I happen to be the guy who programmed the Homestuck page in question. Overall it was well recieved (although the easter eggs I tossed in became some what of an obsessive thing by the fans) with some complaints over the open endedness of it all. We are considering ways to improve it for next time. Namely, there will be some weird puzzle shit to do with easter eggs leading to a satisfying conclusion if the user so cares. But ultimately, this page was created as a sort of WHAT IS GOING ON. As it would be annoying to have to re-wander the whole house page by page.

  3. oh cool famous people read my blog!

    There wasn't really anything wrong with the page on its own, so I don't mean to insult your work, I just don't think it works for the story (or at least, not as I want to read it).

  4. I liked MS Paint Adventures at first but yeah it got really old really fast. It was all like LOL RANDOM and I was all "I am not enjoying this" and so I stopped reading at like 400 in.

    His temporal-CYOA thing for Qwantz last week was brilliant though. I ended up cheating and loaded the image into a thing that let me step through the animation frame-by-frame and even then it was still insane to keep track of everything that was going on.

  5. The "MSPaint Adventures" guy is some sort of savant for the absurd. The more I read, the more it blows my mind just how out there it is, not to mention how much work the guy puts into it.

    I haven't gotten too far either, but probably one of the most important things to keep in mind with the Problem Sleuth story is that it was an experiment in giving a ton of control to the 'players' who submitted commands. I forget how much or in what ways, but it's a lot less structured for a reason.

  6. Don't judge Problem Sleuth by reading the current "adventure".
    Setting is better.
    Jokes are better.
    Characters are more likable.

    I don't really blame him because he's trying something new but do give the original a go too.

  7. Andrew is always experimenting for his stories...

    Jailbreak: Fully user driven, first command said was always used

    Bard quest: Uncertain as to the user driven levels (I assume high) but his use of branches became problematic.

    Problem Sleuth: Slightly user driven, the infamous example is the "fort feature" which led to the imaginary realm. But ultimately largely Andrew's commands. I highly recommend reading it in its entirety as it is amazing, but it's so long that the rising action is very long and not very steep, but that's not too say it doesn't get VERY CLIMACTIC.

    Homestuck: Initially released as flash (you can see that if you change the s=6 to 5 in the url) but Andrew found it too "hamfisted" so now he animates 100% in photoshop and if he wants to use flash for sounds, he imports animations in as .gifs at refines them in flash. This one is only slightly user driven (often for comical relief or such) because there are TOO many users yelling out commands. As of right now the suggestion box has been locked for a week~ and replaced with an image of a crater. It has been like since since "mr. all caps" showed up.

    please disregard any typos as am not a grammermatician or very good typist for that matter... evne though typing is my job...

    -Gankro the MSPA Ambassador

  8. Malethoth, I feel the exact same way. As Lint of Death put it, he's a 'savant for the absurd', and at the same time he has the brilliant writing style that tickles my funny bone in just the right way.

    The gamebro review was one of my favorites.

  9. According to the FAQ, the control of the flow of Problem Sleuth was more and more driven by the author as the story progressed, because of the frequent changes of the style of the fictional game.

    After all, it starts as a quirky command-line adventure, get some JRPG elements, becomes a full-fledged RPG, then goes through fantasy and adventure, all while throwing weird puzzle shit and free physics, It's random enough to be unnervingly funny, while maintaining its consistency to tell a very, very convoluted plot.

    It's really, really long, sometimes it drags a bit for the excess of details, but hey, it's a hella interesting story.

  10. Problem Sleuth is not something that you can try to sit throught in a single read, you definitely have to set aside some time to read it, go make a snack, fanatasize about being a prohibition era private detective, then come back to it.

    It is, however, also somthing that builds quite slowly, introducing RPG-esque elements wherever they seem to fit until it reaches a critical mass and begins to run off of its own absurdity, which is where the real enjoyment is, I think.

    Homestuck, on the other hand, is definitely trying as hard as it can to seperate itself from the absurdity of Problem Slueth and be its own world. Though I swear that John's dad looks a whole lot like what PS would be in this new artstyle.

  11. Stick to making fun of xkcd, Carl.

  12. MSPA is brilliant once you stop looking for humor, and start looking for epic. >_>

  13. I don't know, I think it works really well. If you're the obsessive player who needs to check every single item, you can do so. If you're the objective player who wants to check the most important things (for example, Dad), you can bypass all the optional stuff. If you're the lazy player, you can skip the whole page if you want and go right to the next one.

    I confess it is slightly confusing the first time that there is no objective to be completed. It looks like a game, but there's nothing to do other than check stuff.

    Really though, Carl. You're the only person who could read a webcomic and be disappointed to find a .swf in place of a .gif. The consensus among fans is that this update was awesome.

  14. Problem Sleuth is truly amazing. I must have spent at least 2 weeks reading it non-stop! Seriously though, you'll need to make some time for this.

  15. Newsflash:

    People have different opinions! And sometimes, people who usually agree on things still disagree!

    In related news, my penis is HUGE.

  16. Hey do you remember Brunching Shuttlecocks? Lore Sjöberg does a webcomic, Bad Gods. This comic seems to be a perfect thing to respond to every single cuddlefish with.

  17. Jesus Christ. "Pictures for Sad People" almost makes me like xkcd.

  18. i sat down to read problem sleuth one day when it was 700 pages, 6 hours later i stood up, my mind completely blown.