What is Homestuck, Why you might not have liked it, and Why it may be worth giving another go.


What is Homestuck?

“Let me tell you about Homestuck.” As the meme goes. If you haven’t heard about it, Homestuck is a flash based web comic by Andrew Hussie that is part dark comedy, part coming of age story. It gained a wave of popularity in the last 4 years, with some people getting it, and some not.

There’s a lot to Homestuck. It parodies pop culture and subcultures while sparing no expense. Its references are so well ingrained into the comic that even if they pass over your head, you won’t feel left out. It even references Andrew Hussie’s past work in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.

Now, you should be a nerd, whether it’s in literature, noir, film, theoretical physics, video games, anime, or any subculture like memes and trolls, you have to geek out about pop culture in some way to get it.

There’s a ton of depth to it as well. I won’t even begin to go over how it references 90’s Adventure Games, or its ton of running gags. Those are things you’ll need to discover for yourself.

It’s worth noting that Andrew Hussie, creator of Homestuck, actually gained some popularity with his flash animation “Jailbreak,” which was submitted to Newgrounds long before Homestuck was even a twinkle in his eye.

If Homestuck is a great webcomic, why didn’t I like it?

The answer to why you might not have liked Homestuck could be a number of things. So lets cover them.

The most obvious reason is you did what any sane person would do. You jumped right into Homestuck from Act 1, Scene 1, with no real idea of what Homestuck is other than that it’s popular. That’s what people do.
And that’s why you didn’t like Homestuck. Homestuck has some amazing plot points, great artwork, fun animation, and nifty little games. Unfortunately…

… You don’t find a lot of those in the beginning of the series, and the first 3 Acts are a bit slow and kinda boring. It feels awkward, the plot gets mired down in random jokes and storylines, and there’s excessive setup for the first 4 main characters we meet.

However the first 4 Acts are necessary to make sense of the rest of the story, and skipping them is ill advised. You can still jump into meeting the more fascinating Trolls in Act 5, but their role in the story is such a profound twist, it’s not worth it to ruin that by skipping straight to them.

You may also not like the fanbase. A lot of Homestuck’s audience is a mix of young and socially awkward. It is a coming of age story, after all, so it makes sense Homestuck’s primary audience are in the 12-17 demographic, with a strong periphery audience in the 18-24 range. A lot of them attend conventions as well, with easy to create costumes and messy face and body paint.


You may also have looked at Homestuck’s artwork and found it juvenile or amateur. While the first few panels are largely the style Andrew Hussie sticks to in the comic, you begin to realize it’s a choice of style, the way it’s drawn is intentional, and that it actually grows on you. I explain why in the “giving it another go” section. Plus his animation becomes superb later on.

Why should I give it another read?

We’ve talked about why Homestuck may have turned you off. Certainly Homestuck isn’t a living ball of perfection, at least not in the first 3 Acts. However, it gains huge momentum and credibility as it goes, becoming a powerhouse of ingenious, original storytelling. It has elements of dark comedy, satire, parody, and heavy drama working in its favor, and it will downright give you goosebumps, leaving you wanting to know what happens next.

Lets discuss why you may want to try it again by bringing up the parts of Homestuck that has given it such a fervent fanbase.

We’ll begin by addressing those who love video games. Homestuck parodies and satires games well. It mocks game currency, and sometimes the black monsters almost feel like a nudge at Kingdom Hearts, though they aren’t. I don’t think. Sburb, the game that kicks off the adventure, does a good job of parodying oldschool CD Rom gaming with friends, and the “Ghostbusters MMO” in the later part of the series is a hilarious nod to the MMOification of everything.  The “Specibus” seen early in the series becomes a running gag for half the comic and is a nod to Adventure gaming in the 90s.

It doesn’t stop there though. Andrew Hussie also went to the trouble of adding Flash based games into the comic, which while only serving to add a sense of interactivity, were nice to see on the rare occasion they had and definitely added to the flare.
Example 1 [S][A6I3]
Example 2 [S][Act 4]

There’s also a lot of smart stuff, like theoretical physics including time travel and alternate dimensions, afterlife, ghosts, creation theory and strong thematic elements and symbolism. While it’s mostly done to further the narrative, there’s a lot to wrap your head around, and plenty to theorize and ponder on. It has some really deep stuff.

Infact, I have to praise his approach to theoretical physics. He handles paradox time and space, creation theory, and other complex issues with a lot of depth, but still keeps a lot of humor and silliness intertwined to keep it from feeling overwhelming or dry. A lot of other writers who use time travel and space continuum often fall short of this.

If you’re into movies and celebrities there’s tons of references to famous celebrities, not the least of which are Nicholas Cage and the movie Con-Air. Charles Barkley is also referenced, as well as some old comedians and sci-fi movies. If you like the Noir theme, then there’s tons of that as well.

Anime gets a minor reference as well, but not as much as you might think. Odd considering how closely the fan-base crosses over. However there’s a clear reference to Gurren Lagen in there.

If you’re a big fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender, then it may interest you to know Dante Basco, voice of Prince Zuko and the actor who played Rufio in the movie “Hook”, has given a gracious nod and has shown a lot of interest for Homestuck. He’s even gone as far as voicing Dave Strider in his blog.

But maybe you’re still stuck on the animation. You just don’t see how it can make a dramatic scene good, and how can you take the narrative seriously when everyone is some sort of western chibi thing? Like I said though, Andrew Hussie is actually a superb animator and drawer. He changes his art style for more dramatic scenes, and alters the characters body shape as they grow older. This is suppose to be a Dark Comedy, so he uses the chibi to accentuate the comedy portion.

Don’t take my word for it though, allow me to reference two exemplary flash animations he does for the comic. There are spoilers in both, but I suggest seeing them anyways as you won’t understand why they’re spoilers.

This first one shows off both animation styles in the comic.
You can see for the more dramatic, important scenes he uses a non-chibi style, while his dramatic scenes are drawn more realistic.

This is a great example of how complex the story has become, and how well he can draw and animate.
This scene is purely drama, and thus never uses the chibi style. Actually, his animation is far more fluid at this point in the story.

As for the fanbase, there’s really nothing I can say to explain that away. Just know there’s some justification for their obsession.

[For a more indepth discussion, check out this article by Brian O’Malley, creator of Scott Pilgrim, as he interviews Andrew Hussie.]

The Friendzone, Part 1 of a Multipart Series


So, I find the friendzone to be an interesting subject. Some people deny it exists, some say it’s women being jerks to nice guys, some say it’s guys charading as nice to get sex.

So lets touch on all of these ideas.

First, does the friend zone exist? I wouldn’t be writing about it if it didn’t. Yeah, this would be a very short and boring entry if that was the case.

As modern society has finally started acknowledging that woman are not possessions but rather, miraculous epiphany incoming, they’re human beings, we find the gender quality barrier begin to deteriorate. Cool, right? Yup!

That also means that women get to choose who they want to be with, and are able to establish friendships with people who could possibly have a romantic interest to them.

So a quick sidenote here, and forgive me for this fast tangent, but to say that men and women can’t be friends undermines gender equality as a whole. To say they can’t be friends undermines our equality. Friendship is about mutual respect and understanding. If you can’t be friends with the opposite sex, re-evaluate how you see the sexes. There’s a good chance you are viewing them as being on unequal footing.

Further, to say men and women can’t be friends is like saying homosexuals can’t be friends with those of the same sex. This just does not hold true.

So why do I say the friend zone exists? Well it’s existed for as long as I was a child, and can be found in a lot of media. (Friends, Doug, Phineas and Pherb, The Fairly Odd Parents, Adventure Time, Just Friends)

What is the friend zone, though? It’s pretty simple. It’s when two people in a platonic relationship (aka a friendship) have two different ideas for where the relationship should go. One is interested in friendship exclusively, while the other is interested in romance or sex. Simple as that.

Friendzone is not when two people agree to start off as friends to see if there’s chemistry. While there’s a gray area there, if both parties can see potential in dating, no one has been friendzoned yet.

What complicates this is the behavior and intentions of the two people.

So lets start covering this convoluted subject of the friend zone!

Who can be Friendzoned?

If it’s not obvious by this point, anyone can be friendzoned. Heterosexual females can friendzone homosexual females. Straight males can friendzone homosexual males. Men can friendzone women. But more common than not, it’s the girl who friendzones the guy.

Why is someone friendzoned?

This is a huge topic to cover, so I’ll try to go over it quickly. It’s because Person A has no romantic attraction to Person B. Simple as that.

Usually it’s because Person B is not exhibiting behavior that would lead Person A to see them as a potential partner.

Usually that means they fail to flirt, and/or do not create hints that Person A should also be qualifying themselves as a potential partner for them as well.

The obvious one, failing to flirt, tells Person A that Person B is not interested, and is not trying to qualify themselves as a potential partner for Person A.

When we put someone on a pedestal and decide they’re the perfect person for us, that we crave their attention or affection, then we are telling them they no longer need to qualify to be with us. This can become boring and without challenge. You should understand that you are a mountain that needs to be conquered.
Why do chicks “gravitate towards assholes”? It’s because “assholes” act as though they’re a mountain that needs conquering, a challenge that must be overcome. Because that is actually interesting.

And so this is why making sure the person you’re interested in is qualifying themselves as a potential partner is important. Why pedestaling someone is a mistake.

There is also a good possibility that you lack a strong personality or a clear identity. If you’re a faceless mass, how can you rise above? Develop your personality and discover who you are, then try. Explore all aspects of yourself; professionally, spiritually, romantically, platonically.

How do you escape the Friendzone?

Hopefully my excerpt on Why you get friendzoned has given you an idea of what to do. But you really need to read some advice articles and find detailed info. People try negging or confessing, neither of which works. So here’s a quick excerpt of things you should do. Nothing is guaranteed, but at least you can hold on to shreds of dignity.

Create behaviors that are subtle but flirtatious. Follow through with behavior that may lead your romantic interest to start qualifying themselves to you. Remove them from that pedestal and most importantly, start building your self esteem.

Escaping is, more than anything, about changing your mentality, building your self-esteem, and establishing your independence.

If you’re truly doing this, then you will begin to move towards a new mindset that you will need if none of the above works.

The mindset that you were pining over someone who wasn’t the one for you. You will find the strength and clarity to walk away from your romantic interest. And sometimes this is what boosts our confidence the most.

If you’re still struggling though, it may be in your best interest to terminate the friendship yourself. Holding onto a friendship that you desire romance from can tie you up emotionally and prevent you from finding love. Let it go.

It’ll be better for you.

End of Part 1

Alright! I will likely return to this excerpt to cover the intentions found in the Friendzone. Probably the darker side of this coin. Expect things like misogyny, feminism, manipulation, and self-defeating mindsets to come up.

If you want to learn more about romance, flirting, and dating as a geek I suggest checking out Dr NerdLove.

What I’ve been up to: Project Ace Academy

So just a quick summary on what I’ve been doing. I usually write off my activities as boring and void of interesting content, but after thinking about it, that’s probably not true.

As some of you know I’m fond of pixel-art, which is what I’ve been teaching myself. I’ve switched from focusing on doing the art for my game tho.

I am now switching back to a project I’ve had in the works for a while that holds a bit more appeal. I always struggle to describe it, because it’s rather unique.

A lot of people like to use games as a story-telling medium. But making a game is actually a lot of work.
I want to teach people to make small games for practice, have fun, and focus on the various parts of game development separately.
My project, Ace Academy, is mainly aimed at two kinds of people. Those who want to tell stories through games or those just starting to make games.

Modeling my idea after “Academy of Heroes” (AoHC) on Deviantart, I began work on this project. People contributed a lot to it’s development by giving me ideas, suggesting new ways to approach the project, and providing valuable feedback.

The designated tool for this is RPG Maker VX Ace. The idea is focused on guided narrative, which has bits of Roleplay intertwined.
The setting is “Magic Academy”, similar to say Hogwarts.
You come up with a character to attend the Academy.
Using the software, you develop a game that follows the life of this character during his or her attendance at this Academy.
You are assigned a dorm with other Student-Players, and work along side them to earn points for your “House.”
Points are earned by creating game related resources or fully working game excerpts.
By interacting with your house-mates and joining in on any Roleplay activities, you can encourage and share ideas for quick games about your misadventures.
You also pick classes, which will help raise your stat points and earn you skills.
At the end of the semester, there is a Final Exam. The Final Exam pairs you up with 3 random students. Together, you collaborate to make a game.
Optional things, such as dances and story driven plots help you design fully working game excerpts. As well, optional assignments encourage you to make resources in your areas of interest, such as drawing furniture for your dorm, or coming up with fun, easy systems like getting items from a fridge.
There will also be a tutor base of volunteers who will help teach people how to make games and resources for assignments.

Already I’ve had people show a ton of interest, and though the project is still in production, I’ve had so much feedback. I am actually worried I will have to turn people away when it starts.

So, this is my current project I’ve been working on, and trust me, it keeps me busy.

Here are a few of the banners and headers I’ve made for it:

Ace-Academy Four-Houses AA

I’ve finished up the layout for the four houses enough to show them off:

Spades House Hearts House Diamonds House Clubs House

30 Day Pixel Challenge – Day 8

Sidewalk Start

Hey guys! Alright been a bit lax here. With all the things happening and projects under way I will be tweaking my rules here.

Instead of doing this for 30 consecutive days, I will be doing it whenever I can and each day I do work on it chronicling what I add.

Eventually there will be 30 Days of Pixel artwork on this. If I run out of canvas space I’ll transform the space I do have. This will prevent me from forcing work on the piece, and instead allow it to come naturally and easily.

That aside this days piece adds Mega-Evolution Charizard to the picture, from the hotly played Pokemon X & Y that I’ve been seeing a lot of in people’s Facebook updates. I’d go back to Pokemon if Jade Cocoon hadn’t made me fall in love with a different kind of Monster Capture game. I am sorry. OTZ


Reality of AAA Video Game Publishing

We’ve heard it time and time again. You ruined my game. You being the big name publisher and the game being any triple A title that failed to hit the benchmark.

What’s happened lately? Games use to be well designed, fun, and innovative! What’s this crap we’re getting from companies that use to make amazing games?

It’s no secret. Our favorite video game franchises are dying off, and publishers aren’t taking chances. I’m gonna use this blogospace to first tell you why, and then to tell you why not to despair.

Somewhere in the last 15 years, probably around the time when the first XBox hit the shelves, the cost to make a video game skyrocketed. Slowly but surely we saw small teams grow, and grow, and grow. Video games became about money. “Play” and “Fun” became arbitrary terms. Innovation is out of the question.

As the reward for game publishing for companies shrinks, and cost increases, we are seeing less and less risk.  If it sold the first time, it’s gonna sell again; that’s the mind of the publisher. Only in the case of highly established designers is freedom allowed.

So we see these games that just don’t hold up anymore. They look nice, but they play like an already chewed pack of bubble gum. Rehashed and so been there, done that. Sometimes they even dumb it down. We’re taking steps back.

Video games are now a carefully calculated risk seeking a return on investment. Also insert any other monetary terminology that makes it sound like a big bank investment. (Because it is now)

That’s not to say the horizon is bleak. There’s good AAA titles out there. It’s just you find one publisher that just holds on to their franchise.

So instead I advocate for the Indie game center. The place that’s brought you League of Legends and Fruit Ninja and everything ranging from hardcore to casual gaming. I won’t lie and say there isn’t a barrel full of garbage out there, but you can find some truly amazing games that invoke nostalgia, innovation, and wonder.

In time I’ll try to showcase reviews on these little gems to let you know what you’re missing out on. What better way to show you then to show you. So stay tuned for it.

Empowerment of the Cosplayer

I’ve been seeing a lot of videos and posts in circulation across the social mediasphere. The topic? The “Con Creep”. The term is  too light-hearted to describe what is a real problem at conventions.

For those who don’t know, and those who do, let me put it into perspective. Imagine you’re hanging out with your friends, and some stranger walks up to you, makes an awkward comment that 80% of the time will be sexual in nature. It may be subtle or not subtle at all. They may then proceed to invade your space or boundaries. The other 20% it’s an insult.

This almost always happens at conventions because of the character costume choice one makes, and it shouldn’t.

I’m all for the message stating that what con creeps do is not okay. But we need another message. We need a better message. We need a new message to pick up where this one leaves off.

Cosplayer Empowerment. All cosplayers should be free to wear whatever costume they want. And not only that, they should be empowered to do so. Big or small, endowed or petite, black or white, you should be free to walk the halls of a convention and not feel judged or shamed.

Whose job is it to make a cosplayer feel comfortable? It should be ours, the cosplayers and costumers, the ones who are brave enough to and the ones who wish they were brave enough. Anyone who speaks out against the con creep should also speak out to encourage others to wear what the character they love wears. The next time you walk the halls of a convention, tell people that are brave enough to wear something that shows off their assets that they wear it well. Tell them you’re happy they’re wearing it because others may feel it’s okay to be that character too. That enough of us together and maybe the convention will be safe. Safe from con creeps.

Empower yourself and your fellow cosplayer to tell creeps that under no specific circumstances is it okay to make you feel degraded or disrespected. To feel judged or shamed. That it’s okay not to take their shit. You deserve that strength for your bravery.  You took the chance and walked as the character you wanted. And hopefully one day it won’t be bravery. It will just be the norm. And it’ll be okay.