Minor Recurring Reads: Homestuck, Pt. 3

Last time on Homestuck: John finally installs SBURB and a meteor strikes his house. Pretty unforgiving game mechanic if you ask me.

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A young woman whose house has just lost power stands in her room. What is her name?

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Rose Lalonde, of course. Rose likes creepy obscure literature, knitting, and playing SBURB, and she is my favorite kid already because I love weird goths.

Despite John being about two minutes away from annihilation, Rose doesn’t seem too stressed about the whole thing. In fact, she gets out her violin and plays a haunting refrain.

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Meanwhile, John kisses his poster of famed actress Liv Tyler goodbye as one of his last living acts.

As if sensing John’s great desperation, Rose finally gets her act together and heads up to the observatory, which is a normal thing to have in one’s home, so that she can steal WiFi from the laboratory next door, which is a totally normal building to live beside. Before she goes, she capchalogues her knitting bag. Her sylladex is arranged in alphabetical fashion, which is how I’d do it if I were a Homestuck. It’s also got this weird root and branch item system determined by weight, which is not after my own heart because it’s confusing.

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Rose’s mom collects memorabilia of exquisite wizards much like how John’s dad collects harlequins. Obviously Mom Lalonde has much better taste, since I’ve been totally unable to rid my head of the phrase “exquisite wizard” ever since I read this page.

Speaking of Mom, guess who Rose is going to have to pass if she wants to get to the observatory.

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me, drawing up cosplay plans based on a silhouette

…I love her already. I’m a big fan of wine mom characters, so I can imagine the dark hole I’m about to fall down once we actually meet her.

But unfortunately for me, Rose makes it safely across the hallway without encountering her mother 😦

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Rose enters the observatory! Which…is a room in her home that she lives in. For some reason. I guess Mom’s into astronomy?

She whips out her laptop, causing all her other inventory items to fall out onto the ground since it was, like, the root or whatever. Wholly unimportant right now – we need to save John from literally dying.

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And maybe we’re going to need to stop Rose from literally dying soon too, because this is the sight she sees when looking through the observatory’s telescope. Seems like it wasn’t just any storm that knocked out her power.

Is it SBURB that’s doing this? It is, right? Does it just, like, send a meteor down towards anyone who installs the game? How would you even program that?

Either way, it’s time to get online.

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this really is the quintessential mood of Logging On

Back at the ranch, John is flailing wildly with 41 seconds left on the clock. Rose swoops in and tells him to use the totem he has, which will…make an item? No one on GameFAQs has gotten this far yet, so they’ll be sailing uncharted waters from here on out.

She removes John’s door from its hinges for some reason, which uses up her build grist. That’s like building energy that you could pay to refresh if SBURB was a F2P game. Unfortunately, it’s not, so we’re going to have to regenerate that at some point.

She also puts the bathtub back, destroying the most iconic image in all of Homestuck in the process. Jeez.

John takes his totem to the alchemiter and gets an apple!

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It’s munch time.

Or not. In our longest flash yet (yes, I know they get much longer), John simply stares at the apple with great trepidation as the meteor continues to come closer. And as we zoom out of his suburb, it just keeps falling.

John stares at the apple, not biting. The last few seconds tick by. Dad, fool that he is, has no idea how many seconds are about to make up the rest of his life.

c9e9f4d354416d4590e7772cd07eac7fAnd then it all comes to an end.

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The end…of Act I, anyway!

Wow, I really should’ve checked the archive list to check how close I was to the end of the act, since this would’ve made a much better cliffhanger for the last update. My bad.

A brief intermission:

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A few years following the events we have just witnessed, a strange figure walks in the sand and comes across a suspicious green atom-like symbol that definitely has something to do with SBURB.

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I mean, it’s got that green color

The curtain then rises upon Act II.

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We’re on GameFAQs, eternal ally to all gamers! Get a load of those relevant 2009 consoles up top.

Rose has written a very wordy walkthrough for SBURB, which shows us that she at least is still alive and well. It’s really more of a note for the future than it is a walkthrough, though, since if you’ve installed this game on your computer you’ve now got to help prevent the end of the world that you inadvertently contributed to.

This reads a lot like a survivor’s log, which is really making me wonder what happened to John. I mean, he can’t have died since this is so early in the story, but also this is Homestuck, so dying isn’t really a big deal from what I understand. I wonder if we’ll get to see his god tier outfit-

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Oh never mind, turns out he took a bite of the apple after all. Death averted. His house is intact and everything’s fine!

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Well…mostly fine. RIP John’s neighbors.

Before we can get a full read on what exactly happened, the Kernalsprite divides itself and one half just peaces out. So now it’s just a weird clown spirit.

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The title of this page is “BOY.”, which I’d assumed at first was commentary on John’s current situation in, like, a “HOO BOY” kinda way. But it seems that someone out there, though John can’t quite make out who, has actually said “BOY” out loud. Who could that be?

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OH JEEZ IT’S A GAME NOW

This is certainly a weird creative choice, but it’s a lot more fun than just reading about John walking around the house in search of his dad. Its layout is consistent with all the rooms we’ve seen in the pages thus far and there’s a ton of detail everywhere you click. Translating individual 2D pages to a game that operates in 3D can’t have been an easy task, but Hussie and Gankro both did a great job. Jeez, to think we’re only on Act II and there’s already stuff like this.

The “BOY” voice is fairly persistent, as we see whenever we try and click on anything and one of these shows up.

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Always speaking in all caps and addressing John as BOY, telling him to do various weird, destructive things. John doesn’t really listen, but I’m a bit concerned. Does this voice have any actual sway over John’s actions?

Anyway, we can’t find Dad anywhere in the house in this game, just some weird oil stains, so we return to John’s room for now.

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It seems that John’s house was teleported right before the impact into the void it currently occupies, but that his neighborhood is, indeed, now toast. I’m surprised that multiple meteor collisions over the past few days hasn’t made bigger news…?

It really makes you wonder how this game hasn’t gotten more complaints, seeing as how it, well, literally kills you if you can’t play well enough. I mean, that in itself would put a huge damper on the let’s play industry. But John and Rose doesn’t seem all that angry at the game for doing this? I think I’d at least leave a bad Steam review. Maybe they’re more the “this game destroyed my neighborhood and almost killed me, 10/10 would play again” types.

John’s aggressive disembodied voice tells him to go bring his totem to the alchemiter, which he does. Now we have more build grist!

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Rose uses the grist to build a plank so John can go get the PDA and pester on the go again. He reeeally doesn’t want to walk the plank, but he puts his fears aside for the greater good and the PDA is retrieved!

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John’s not the only one looking for Dad, it seems – everyone on the Serious Business social network is too. Even dads can have close online friendships, I guess. And aww, I just noticed that Dad’s username is 413 for John’s birthday, that’s cute.

John mentions the weird voice that he keeps hearing to Rose, but she writes it off as just a symptom of PTSD. Admittedly, I don’t know much about PTSD but I don’t think that’s really how it works. This is obviously some separate entity we’re dealing with.

 

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It might fit the bill for intrusive thoughts, though, since now the voice is telling John to jump down onto the car. He continues to refuse, and I’m kind of on John’s side here since there’s nothing but void below if he misses.

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Aaand we’re back to the future! Check out this bandaged fella.

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Whatcha up to, little guy? Gonna check this place out? Search for clues?

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Oh, I see. Are you reading Homestuck too?

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I can relate to this since I too start typing about boys when I get near a computer

Oooh. I see.

Yeah, kinda figured.

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Meanwhile, Rose has updated her walkthrough! It actually clarifies some things about SBURB for once. Here are some key points:

  • Activating the cruxtruder’s countdown triggers the meteor. This is obviously BAD. Don’t do this.
  • There are four objects of interest: the cruxtruder, the totem lathe, the alchemiter, and the pre-punched card.
  • The cruxtruder produces cruxite dowels (raw material) and the kernalsprite. It also sends a meteor towards your house.
  • The pre-punched card produces an item such as the blue apple, and needs to be activated with a totem from the totem lathe. This will help you not die when the meteor hits your house.
  • The alchemiter uses cruxite to make stuff, such as generic green objects and the all-important card item.
  • The totem lathe…makes totems.

Honestly, I’m kind of impressed. Hussie actually explained something in a mostly understandable, coherent way. For once I feel like I actually know what’s going on.

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No matter how many fancy words she writes, though, Rose still has to deal with a couple of immediate problems: the forest next to her house is on fire due to the meteorite storm, and her laptop is slowly running out of battery. Luckily, there IS a backup generator behind the mausoleum (a totally normal thing to have by your home), but she’s gonna have to take the time to go and get that.

At John’s house, Rose tries to prototype the ClownSprite with some Betty Crocker mix. I’m assuming this will fuse with the sprite and then we’ll get…CrockerSprite? The sprite doesn’t seem very into the idea, though. She next tries Colonel Sassacre’s text (SassacreSprite?), but drops the heavy tome, creating a tremor through the house that topples a certain urn

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HA, I KNEW IT, SAY HELLO TO NANASPRITE

But before we can meet Nana, Rose needs John to get his SBURB server installation from the car so he can repeat the necessary steps to warp her house away from the calamitous weather.

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And HEY look who’s HERE!

Rose lifts the car up to the balcony so John can get to the installation CD, but uhhh

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Yeah. Oops.

In the midst of this intensely bad outcome, John gets a pester from Jade reporting that the explosion outside her house was, in fact, a meteor. Huh. You don’t say.

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She’s a pretty good friend! I like Jade, she seems like a sweet girl.

Jade doesn’t play SBURB (good for her) so now John’s going to have to ask Dave Strider to log on and help Rose. Dave says it’d be weird because he, like, lost his copy but also he could use his brother’s copy but his brother isn’t gonna like that so he doesn’t really want to? Anyway he’ll do it.

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Rose obviously needs to get to that backup generator and charge her laptop, but instead she’s reading and messing around with the sylladex, as one does. She takes the opportunity to equip knitting needles as her weapon, though, which is extremely cool. I can’t wait for her to stab someone.

Finally, she goes to get the generator accompanied by what Homestuck does best: cryptic, ominous text.

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Honestly, these little fake-deep bits are really keeping me going. I unironically sort of love them. They’re like these weird little pauses between all the wackiness to reveal this melancholy emotional core underneath. Teen angst is just so good.

But OHHH YESSS it’s time for Rose to confront her mother in the hall! I can’t wait to finally see-

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Oh, great. It’s Dave Strider and he wants to show me his mixtape.

Next time on Homestuck: We get to meet Rose’s mom? Please?

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