It’s the Problem Sleuth 15th anniversary today! Wow!
Yep, the Brawl 15th anniversary just came literally yesterday. Isn’t it crazy that two pieces of media vital to my teenage years released 24 hours apart?
Of course, Problem Sleuth was a much less direct piece of vitalness. I read it a little while it was popular and ongoing. But I didn’t read the whole thing until years later, probably June 2011 or so. The real vitalness is that it paved the way for Homestuck, which you may know was a bit of a hobby of mine…
But really, this comic pioneered so much in internet storytelling that has become so much more popular over the years. Quests and other interactive fictions existed, but this is where forum adventures and audience-guided comics really exploded. The use of GIFs to enhance otherwise simple sprite animations was also a huge deal. And that, of course, paved the way for the dynamic multi-media nature of comics like Homestuck and Ava’s Demon.
There was a conflux of nerd-powered, hyper-niche media that seemed to really dominate the internet in the late 00s, and they all had pretty similar themes or feelings even if the stories were completely different. Everything from Scott Pilgrim to Super Mario Bros. Z capitalized on years of building fandom for weird shonen animes, ironic meta-humor, and nostalgia for 80s and 90s video games, mixed it all together because that’s what the internet does, and unleashed it into cool projects.
Problem Sleuth absolutely feels like a product of that, but also stands apart thanks to Andrew Hussie’s unique bizarre interest in noir, clowns, and shitty wizards. The esoteric nonsense that made MS Paint Adventures what it is today.
It oozes style, and a style that hasn’t really been replicated since in any piece of media.
An ironic, cynical parody with cartoonish humor, yet legitimately really cool as well. And lots of hyper-niche sci-fi fantasy gamer stuff thrown in for good measure. It’s so WEIRD, almost groundbreaking at times.
Also, the sheer spiraling chaos of it all is the cap in the fedora of it all. Homestuck got too big too fast, and most adventures since have followed in that mold instead of the nutso puzzle game style. So Problem Sleuth was already the peak of the entire world around the heroes falling to pieces as they stumble through obstacles and mess up constantly. Somehow it all works out and all the brick jokes come to pass, and you sit there slack-jawed that they actually pulled it off somehow.
It’s good times, and audience-driven storytelling has never been better.
So let’s celebrate the Problem Sleuth 15th anniversary in style.