Who didn’t love those old “Choose Your Own Adventure” books as a kid? Who possibly didn’t love those? Don’t bother to raise your hands or anything, as this is the internet and I actually don’t care. YOU love those kind of books. You know its true. Just relax and roll with it.
There were only two things that I didn’t really like about the genre, though. First, you had to try to puzzle out exactly the way that the book’s author would have thought, or else the main character (you, I guess) would die a grisly fate. Second, I didn’t like the fact that all choices seemed to lean toward a unified goal. In short, you couldn’t just choose the option “eh, screw this. I’mma go get a burger.”
That was before Tauhid Bondia launched Epicsplosion, which features the adventures of Tripp Roguestar, adventurer extraordinaire, his disgusting, annoying Praxillian sidekick Grope, and a limitless number of bad decisions.
Epicsplosion follows a format that those who have ever read MS Paint Adventures might find familiar. A picture, composed of animated GIFs or whatsits, takes center of the page, with a block of text displayed underneath to provide additional humorous or narrative tidbits. Under that, next to a liberally labelled “what do you do??” heading, are your choices. Most of the time, we’re only given one choice to follow. Every so often, however, you have to make a choice.
We join Tripp as he’s fleeing an alien mothership after presumably schlepping some alien holy figure. What? Seducing alien women is like ninety percent of what space adventuring is all about. We’re quickly given several choices on how to best respond to this situation. Does Tripp bank left or right? Or does he attack the mothership head on? Spoiler alert: While two of these options lead to vastly different plot lines, the third one, in fact, will get your shit blown up.
Tripp does the space adventuring gig with a liberal helping of apathy, laziness, and ignorance, choosing to spend any chance he get to blow off his duties for a good time. His only companion in the world is the long-suffering, ever loyal Grope, who Tripp calls disgusting and irritating early on. Between Tripp and Grope, you’ll have to find a way through their adventures, which could feature everything from clones and time travel to a hideous worm society based around snot.
The writing in Epicsplosion is always good for a chuckle. Bonida is well suited to the medium, and having a chance to write as much text as needed under those pictures gives him tons of opportunity to show off. The art is clean and neat, and each of those animated pictures could take quite some time to properly animate and post. The whole endeavor is a lighthearted romp through science fiction (or horror, depending on what, exactly, you find to be horrifying), wherein you have numerous chances to kill Tripp by making poor decisions.
There are some negative points to having this format, though. Bonida can’t update every single story arc at the same time, and as Epicsplosion grows and continues to branch off in new directions, it could take longer and longer for him to update the branch that you’re dedicated to. When you hit a wall, of course, you can go off and explore how Tripp’s tale would have played out if you had decided to maybe tip that bartender a little higher, or to maybe see what would happen if Grope had tried to communicate with those aliens instead of trying to feel them up.
As a result, the archives of Epicsplosion are neigh impenetrable. Updates are numbered as Bonida works on them, though each story isn’t followed through to completion each update. What you’ll find is that you could jump from page 10 to 50 in the span of one click, follow through about eight updates, and then jump another 15 numbers to the next one. The archives try to keep all these stories central, so you know which updates should be grouped together, but if you haven’t checked Epicsplosion in a few days you’ll be rather lost and having to start over from the beginning to get yourself up to speed.
Other spots in the story are obviously meant for a decision, though it hasn’t been added yet. You’ll make a mental note to return to that page someday, but a hundred pages later you have a hard time remembering exactly what number it was, much less how to find it again.
I stumbled across Epicsplosion early on in its development, and then dropped it, resolving to come back when it had more updates for me to read. From what I’ve seen so far, the adventures of Tripp Roguestar are definitely hysterical, but I have to worry about long-term planning.
Honestly, I’ve seen a lot simpler comics collapse under their own weight, and those were only following one story line, one adventure, and no branching arcs. I hope Bonida can pull this off while maintaining the current rate and quality of updates, and that someday we’ll see a completely and totally complete Epicsplosion chronicle, about Tripp and Grope and everything that could be and might be in their travels.
It’s all about the choices you make and the consequences you’ll have to reap. You’ll have to be prepared to sift through endless updates if you head off to Epicsplosion, but you know what? Tripp Roguestar isn’t afraid of the consequences. In fact, he’d be embarrassed to be seen with you if he caught you dithering like that.
Filed under: Comics | Tagged: Choose Your Own Adventure, Epicsplosion, Grope, Praxilian, sandworm, Science fiction, space adventure, space adventurer extrordinaire, Tauhid Bondia, Tripp Roguestar, webcomics |