MS Paint Adventures
|MS Paint Adventures|
|Current status / schedule||Hiatus until epilogue (as of May 20, 2016)|
|Genre(s)||Action-adventure, puzzle, comedy-drama, science fiction|
MS Paint Adventures, abbreviated MSPAdventures or MSPA, is a collection of webcomics written and illustrated by Andrew Hussie. According to some estimates, MS Paint Adventures is the longest collection of comics on the Internet, containing over 10,000 pages as of April 2016[update] among its four series thanks to its frequent updates.
The comics are written in serials, or "adventures", in a manner that parodies interactive fiction games. The characters' actions were originally driven by commands suggested by fans in the comics' official forum, but fan suggestions were eventually abandoned due to the size of the fanbase and the author's desire to tell a more coherent story. The comics tend to draw inspiration from video games, imitating and parodying genres such as RPGs and simulation games. They frequently reference other aspects of current internet culture. Despite its name, the site's comics have been created primarily in Adobe Photoshop, not Paint, since the second page of Jailbreak; Hussie decided after the first page that telling a story using Paint was not feasible. Over time, the comics have evolved from simple static images and captions to frequent animations set to original music, (denoted by a [S]) and occasionally to interactive games created in Flash and HTML5.
The current adventure, Homestuck, has given rise to a large fan community as made evident by the increasing amount of fan art and cosplay at comic book conventions. The rapid rise in the popularity of Homestuck has led to its recognition at the Toronto Comics Art Festival for two years running, and it brings, on average, over 600,000 unique views to the site daily. An adventure game spinoff of Homestuck titled Hiveswap is planned for a 2016 release, produced with funds contributed by fans of the comic via Kickstarter. This project raised nearly $2.5 million, exceeding its goal of $700,000 in a little under two days, at that time being the 6th largest kickstarter drive.
MS Paint Adventures is one of many webcomics which supports its author financially, through the sale of merchandise on the online store TopatoCo as well through advertising, and the site's own store and record label, What Pumpkin.
Jailbreak, the first adventure written by Andrew Hussie, was conceived as a forum game following an unnamed man as he attempts to escape from a prison cell. The first page of Jailbreak is the only panel of MS Paint Adventures that was actually created using MS Paint; Hussie created the rest of Jailbreak and later webcomics using Photoshop. Jailbreak was only drawn to a vague conclusion, and Hussie considers it unfinished, but wishes to leave it as is. Jailbreak was written entirely as a forum adventure, and the first suggestion anyone posted was taken, however ridiculous, leading to a rambling and haphazard story line. This led to the creation of the MSPA site and the closed format of later adventures. In 2011, a short official ending was added to Jailbreak as a callback during a notably lengthy Homestuck hiatus.
The second adventure, Bard Quest, was an experiment in the creation of multiple, branching paths rather than a single linear storyline. In Bard Quest, Hussie provided choice hyperlinks in a choose-your-own-adventure format. It was the first adventure to be hosted on its own website, but was ultimately left unfinished due to the difficulty Hussie faced in maintaining the complex web of branching storylines. Bard Quest was updated from June 12, 2007 to July 6, 2007, after which the site was left on hiatus.
A parody of interactive fiction games and the film noir genre, Problem Sleuth began by presenting three detectives who are attempting to escape from their respective offices, though the story quickly turned into a pastiche of video games and science fiction. Problem Sleuth ran from March 10, 2008 to April 7, 2009. Unlike its predecessors, it received a proper ending, becoming the first complete adventure. It is the second longest comic on the website so far, after Homestuck itself.
Homestuck is the most recent adventure on MS Paint Adventures. It ran from April 13, 2009 to April 13, 2016, and followed four teenagers as they play a reality-altering video game that brings about the end of the world. They must work with an alien species from another universe to create their own universe and essentially become the "owners" of the one created. Its basic premise is inspired by games like The Sims, Spore and EarthBound. As in Problem Sleuth, the adventure is characterised by time travel, mystery, a complex fictional universe and frequent references to pop culture and previous adventures. Changes from previous stories include an emphasis on contemporary society, such as online gaming and Internet culture, which contrasts with the historical settings of Bard Quest and Problem Sleuth. Additionally, this adventure introduced complex Flash animations and games, many making use of music and assets contributed by other artists. This represented a step-up from previous adventures which exclusively used GIF images for animation. Ten major soundtrack albums have been released under the comic's own record label, What Pumpkin, in addition to fourteen side albums. Homestuck has been compared to James Joyce's Ulysses by PBS's Idea Channel, in relation to the webcomic's complexity and how the task of finishing it is an example of effort justification. Homestuck has a large following and fandom. Homestuck's Adventure Game Kickstarter reached approximately $2,485,506 of a pledged $700,000 by the ending of the fund, and had 24,346 backers. The video game was expected to be released some time in early to mid 2015, but was delayed.
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