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No. 166: Chew Toy

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Chew Toy

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Strip by: Xindaris

Title: A STORY
Narration: Existence is pointless and futile...
{an image of the dog howling}
Narration: The Earth nothing but a speck drifting through the blackness, awaiting its inevitable demise.
{an image of the chew toy with a 'no' circle around it}
Narration: Its inhabitants toil and suffer, their "lives" never even registering on an uncaring, unfeeling world.
{an image of a volcano which is on ice which is on lightning}
Narration: We're all nothing more than an insignificant cosmic joke in a cold, heartless void.
{an image of the dog sniffing its tail}
Guy: There's nothing sadder than a dog who's list his chew toy.

The author writes:

Okay, this one requires some explanation. A STORY is a work that, as far as I know, no longer exists. It was about a dog whose chew toy (which resembles a duck) had been imprisoned inside of a volcano, which was on ice, which was on lightning, and also some other stuff involving fantasy world creatures and dragons and things. When I saw this particular Pooch Cafe strip around the time it was originally published, I thought of A STORY and decided to make this edit with some of A STORY's images and post it to the thread as a bit of a joke fanart thing. Now I'm sending it here because the reason A STORY no longer exists deserves to be told somewhere.

The MSPA Forums were the home of a brand new form of media. Invented by one Andrew Hussie, this media has been variously called "MS Paint adventures," "adventures," "MS Paint Fan adventures," etc. If you've ever heard of Prequel, All Night Laundry, or Problem Sleuth, you've seen such a thing. It's like a combination of a webcomic or story with a text-entry-based adventure game, where the author posts updates one at a time and responds to commands and suggestions from the readers of the work themselves. It works very well within the format of a forum, and the official fan forums of the original MSPA were pretty much The Place to be to experience it. There were hundreds of different works made by innumerable creators, ranging from terrible, samey junk to amazing, imaginative stuff.

So what happened? Sometime a year or two ago, someone hacked the forum, it went down, and it was slowly revealed that the owners of the forums hadn't been keeping backups. It's a unique combination of malice and incompetence that has lead to the destruction of a large collection of true works of art. The experience was a bit like walking up to one's favorite art gallery only to find it burned to the ground because somebody threw a lit match in through a window and nobody had ever bothered to install a sprinkler system.

Ever since then, the supposed location of the MSPA forums themselves holds forth a promise the forums will be back online someday. But since backups were never kept, it really doesn't matter; none of the wonderful, amazing things that were once there will ever be able to return in their original state. And since those who frequented the forums for the adventures back then, myself included, have fractured off into various other locations like Eagle Time or Omegaupdate or wherever else, and since the drawing factor of being the official fan forums for Homestuck matters an awful lot less now that that story is over, it seems rather unlikely that the kind of giant community that once fostered the creation of a new form of art will simply never exist again, at least not in that forum.

It's not all bad. A lot of the better or more persistent adventures did indeed move elsewhere, to their own websites or the aforementioned other forums. The art form still exists, it's just not got the kind of massive community support all in one place that it once did.

Original Strip- Unknown Pooch Cafe; A Story