Cookie Fonster’s Problem Sleuth Commentary Part 1: Things Aren’t As They Seem, Ever


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Chapter 1

Pages 1–83 (MSPA: 219–301)

You are one of the top Problem Sleuths in the city…

Problem Sleuth, like all three other MS Paint Adventures, starts off simple enough: by introducing the main character in a default starting situation. Jailbreak and Bard Quest both put the main character in a definite predicament of sorts, but Problem Sleuth and Homestuck simply introduce the main character in the most everyday setting possible. While Homestuck soon tells us that John, the protagonist, is getting a video game called Sburb for his birthday, thus setting up a premise*, Problem Sleuth does not give us any premise at all in its opening pages, instead revealing it through Problem Sleuth (the character) realizing through command-based exploration that he is trapped in his office.

* I’ll be doing A LOT of comparing Problem Sleuth with Homestuck in this post series. That’s part of the point of this project, to see Homestuck from a different perspective by comparing it with its predecessor.

The text accompanying the page is as follows: You are one of the top Problem Sleuths in the city. Solicitations for your service are numerous in quantity. Compensation, adequate. It is a balmy summer evening. You are feeling particularly hard boiled tonight. What will you do? It’s a simple introductory line that gives a bit of introduction fluff that doesn’t have much relevance to the real story. The three main characters are all supposedly detectives, but they do almost no detective work at all in the comic; I bet this is to parody how character introductions in video games are also hardly relevant. In Homestuck, the interests brought up in character introductions sometimes actually are relevant to the plot; sometimes they’re not relevant to the plot but very character-defining; and in a few cases, such as Dave’s supposed interest in bands nobody has ever heard of but him, never brought up at all.

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