Minor Recurring Reads: Homestuck, Pt. 2

Lost in the throes of suburban depression and ennui? I sure am. Let’s read more Homestuck and see if we can relate!

LAST TIME ON HOMESTUCK: John Egbert turned 13! Happy birthday to John. When we previously left him, he was checking the mail to see if the beta for SBURB, AKA the greatest game ever, has arrived yet.

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Unfortunately it looks like he’s going to have to go through his father if he wants that beta, because the mailbox has already been sniped.

John peeps into his father’s car to see a green package that is certainly not SBURB, and then through the kitchen window to see an envelope that certainly is. His gaming quest is nearly over. Unfortunately, it means that John’s going to have to interact with his father now. Will his disguise do the trick?

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do you think Hussie knew all these words beforehand or did he keep a thesaurus at the computer

Nope. Time for a fighting minigame! Here we have the choice to either aggrieve or abjure Dad Egbert. He’s far too adept at blocking with that cake to let us inflict any damage, though.

John thus has no choice but to abscond with SBURB. Unfortunately, Dad has even MORE confection lying in wait for John – which is to say he’s going to throw a pie at his son. John’s disguise luckily protects him from the worst of it, but his smoke pellets fall out of his sylladex.

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However, as John reluctantly accepts Dad’s cake into his inventory, our friend Colonel Sassacre of Colonel Sassacre’s Daunting Text falls out onto those smoke pellets and creates what else but a big puff of smoke. Success!

John absconds for real this time, toting a red package addressed to him and the SBURB beta. He does some weird stuff with the cakes in the sylladex as well which I’m not too concerned about. Please just show me SBURB, Andrew.

At last at his computer, John has two Pesterchum conversations with his friends. One is from gardenGnostic (who I know is Jade because she’s green), wishing him a happy birthday. She uses a lot of emoticons. The other is from Dave Strider, who, as part of the establishment of his cool kid persona, discusses liking things ironically and unironically. Dave seems to choose irony most of the time.

You might think this is where John gets it together and plays SBURB, but of course it isn’t. First, he’s got to go to mspaintadventures dot com for a chuckle.

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Then, while SBURB is installing, he reads about data structures and picks out a fetch modus, neither of which mean anything to me. His sylladex changes a bit in how it operates, which I’m sure I’d care about if this was a video game. I guess I’ll know for sure once I play Hiveswap.

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It turns out that the red package in the mail was a birthday present from Dave Strider (what a surprise!), and he opens it with the standard amount of sylladex tomfoolery. Boy am I tired of this, and we’re only at the beginning of Act I. Dave has sent John an authentic stuffed bunny that was an actual prop in…some movie I can’t quite catch the title of. That’s actually kind of cute but ITS SBURB TIME NOW.

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Rose and John FINALLY start to play SBURB! We enter a view of John’s room with bits of the game’s UI up at the top. Page titles now start with [TT], implying that Rose is now the one acting. It’s kind of like The Sims, but, like, a version of the game where if you screw around in build mode it happens in real life too.

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Case in point: magic chest on the roof.

She fiddles around with the controls a bit and even manages to make his room bigger. How in terms of physics does this game work? Who knows! In the new space she deploys a totem lathe. I have no idea what that is and doubt I’ll find out.

It seems that there are two components to the actual game that is SBURB, the client and the server. One party (or more, who knows) must be the client and one must be the server. In this case that’s John and Rose respectively. John’s server installation is still in his dad’s car, so for now he can only be the client.

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In order to chat on the go, John installs Pesterchum on Dad’s PDA. If this comic had been made a few years later, he would’ve been doing that the entire time with his phone. Seriously, this lack of smartphone usage really shows Homestuck‘s age more than anything else.

Things get even wilder once Rose accidentally uproots John’s toilet. Oops. By using the hole left from his toilet, however, John hops down to the utility room where he finds a sledgehammer. Naturally, he adds it to his weapons, or whatever term we use for weapons in this. Jade pesters John and we learn that the color coding of everything continues, since the green box in his dad’s car is a present from her. Unfortunately, she then goes AFK because she hears an explosion outside of her house – as one does.

Then Rose uproots the bathtub. She tries to store it in the driveway, but before she can make it she loses her connection and promptly drops it at the top of the stairs.

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This is actually the part of Homestuck that I remember most intently from when I was a teen, this one specific image of John Egbert standing in the tub on his stairs. That’s just what the franchise is to me.

As you can imagine, John is not very happy with this situation.

The weather apparently isn’t too good where Rose is, which is why she lost connection. In the ensuing pesterlog, we also learn Rose has similar problems with her mother as does John with his father, and that she lives in a different time zone – EST as opposed to John’s PST. As an east coast resident, I can relate to this!

This time zone info, combined with the fact that everyone refers to each other by their screennames and are mailing John packages, keys us in to the fact that these four kids are all just internet friends and haven’t met each other IRL. That’s honestly a really nice setup that takes me back to my own youth. I remember being 13 when half my friends were online-only (hell, this is practically still the case) and I often felt like I connected to them much more than the kids around me. This time shortly preceding the rise of social media where you legitimately would only know someone’s screenname and whatever details of their life they chose to share with you has really become kind of lost nowadays. I’m sure Andrew Hussie remembers this time in his life as well, which is probably why he wrote Homestuck. It’s also a bit of a portal to 2009, since you couldn’t set this story in 2017 without making it seem very dated technology-wise.

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Anyway, John hits the cruxtruder with his sledgehammer and something weird and blue comes out. A countdown begins, starting (of course) at 4:13. This probably wasn’t a good idea. John harvests some cruxite, and then it turns out that the weird blue atom-looking thing is called a kernalsprite. I know that -sprite is a pretty common suffix in HS so I wonder if this will be relevant?

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They add the big harlequin doll to the kernalsprite, and it’s still a blue orb but NOW it’s got a harlequin’s face. Spooky.

John uses some cruxite with the alchemiter to make some weird objects, whatever, but what’s really important is when he looks through his telescope and sees A GIANT METEOR COMING DOWN TO EARTH. ASSUMING WE’RE ON EARTH. Turns out that’s what the timer was for!

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so, like, can they get a refund on the game

Dad pulls up in the driveway just in time to witness all this chaos while Rose sort of fixes the bathroom, but of course we’ve got bigger problems now. John informs Rose and Dave that there is, in fact, a meteor headed towards his home as they speak, but neither of them seem all that concerned.

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Dave even gives us this particular monologue, which I admit made me chuckle.

Some other stuff involving cruxite happens, and John turns the cruxite into a totem via the totem lathe. He’s at a loss for what to do next, though, so he asks Rose. But there’s no response. She’s lost connection again.

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And now, with just two minutes until the meteor strikes, John is all alone.

Time to switch characters!!

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Next time on Homestuck: I chill with my close personal friend Rose Lalonde on the east coast?

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