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Wednesday, August 20, 2014 | Last updated: 9:24pm

MS Paint Adventures provides online fun





Andrew Hussie is probably the best storyteller you've never heard of. The reason you've never heard of him is because he uses a medium to tell his stories that, for a very long time, has been reserved for a small audience. The medium I speak of is that of the web comic.



It isn't that many people read web comics, but rather that there are so many clogging the internet that it's hard to find the good ones. Hussie's, I assure you, is one of the best there is to find.



His website is called Mspaintadventures.com, and was started after a game Hussie played on a forum became quite popular. The idea was to tell a story based entirely on what other readers suggested the characters do. His first attempt was ""Jailbreak,"" which, while never finished, ended up spurring him to create his site and the ""Bardquest"" comic.



""Bardquest"" was an experiment with branching story lines, and had panels to illustrate it. It also took on the form of a ""mock, text based adventure game,"" giving them the feel of the classic genre of video games. ""Bardquest"" also was left undone though, having been deemed a ""failed experiment"" by Hussie himself.

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After a six month hiatus, Hussie returned with what would ultimately become his crowning achievement of awesomeness. At least so far. ""Problem Sleuth"" is what Hussie would dub his story, and it started very simply with a detective, appropriately named Problem Sleuth — PS for short — standing in his office. After a few reader commands, it was discovered that PS was stuck in his office.



After a handful of further shenanigans he escaped the confines of his workplace with the help of his competitors turned friends, Ace Dick and Pickle Inspector — who go by AD and PI, unsurprisingly — who were also stuck in their offices. Over the course of escape they discovered imaginary worlds, extra-dimensional window portals, insane, almost pointless gameplay mechanics and plenty of ""weird puzzle shit.""



But that was only the beginning, because as it turned out, they were all still trapped in their office building. Obviously they would need to get out somehow. I'll leave the rest of that tale a mystery that you can solve yourself by reading.



So, over the course of exactly one year, Hussie created 1,621 pages, 1,915 images and wrote 45,000 words. ""Problem Sleuth"" became one of the most hilarious — due to a perfect mixture of amusing reader commands and Hussie's own brand of comedy — and epic stories I'd read in years.



Who could have imagined that a trio of seemingly idiot detectives could be so awesome and entertaining at the same time? More importantly though, who could have believed that one person could make a coherent story out of what were mostly reader suggestions?



Hussie did it more skillfully than it seems. It must have taken some elaborate planning, because at times he would go off on such far-off tangents that I never thought he'd be able to find his way back to the main plot. Yet, every time the story became more complicated, he always made it relevant in the end. As the story came to a close, there was not a single loose end left dangling.



Following the conclusion of ""Problem Sleuth,"" Hussie took a month's break to recharge his batteries before coming back with his newest and ongoing project ""Homestuck."" Again, it features a protagonist — this time a young boy named John Egbert — who is exploring his room. This time though, he is not stuck, as the name of this project would suggest.



Instead, what has unfolded so far is a mystical tale that is so intricately planned and so amazingly complex that it makes Hussie look like some kind of mastermind. To give it a reference point, it is both more complicated and more interesting than the hit TV series ""Lost."" In all seriousness. The cliffhangers that Hussie leaves will have you refreshing the page constantly until he uploads another round of his daily updates.



Story aspects aside, mspaintadventures.com has undergone another type of evolution. As the stories created there grew, so did Hussie as a writer and artist. His skills with flash animation can be seen visibly improving over the course of ""Problem Sleuth,"" and with ""Homestuck"" it has reached an all-time high.



In addition to minute-long animations with great action and beautifully-detailed scenery, there have been a couple interactive flash games thrown into the mix, just to add depth.



Hussie has even developed such a large fan base that members of the community have stepped up to compose original pieces of music for many of these animations. And these aren't the creations of some wannabe musicians. These individuals are extremely talented, and have compiled so many good pieces that there are five albums available to purchase on the website. And though they are all instrumental, they are all catchy and worth your money considering just how many songs you get.



Now, while this may have seemed like some fan-boy gushing over one of his favorite artists, believe me when I say that mspaintadventures.com is a true diamond among coals in the world of web comics. If you have the time, I suggest you sit down and become enthralled with Hussie's adventures. You'll be glad you did.



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