Decemberween 2022: Homestuck Made This World

I did a Decemberween post a few years back on a podcast called Game Studies Study Buddies which is a great podcast about reading academic texts from the field of Games Studies, a field distinct from Game Theory, which is math, and Gameology, which doesn’t exist. It’s a good podcast, it features two twitter personalities and general gaming space wordboys, Cameron Kunzelman and Michael Lutz, one of whom is a country boy who loves dubstep.

If the point of Decemberween is to point you to free media that you can enjoy during a time where you may be seeing other media going into big long slow downtimes, then it seems to me that this is a great time to point you at a podcast that’s something like eighty hours of long-form reading of a webcomic that is also thousands and thousands of panels long. It helps that it’s honestly a really good podcast on that topic.

I don’t want to talk too much about my opinions of Homestuck here because they’re largely negative and every time I approach something I think I’ll hate because I’ve been asked to give it a second chance it tends to go bad (not always). But what I want to talk about is the way this podcast serves to onramp the experience of Homestuck in two major ways.

First and foremost, it’s actually disciplined enough to release on a meaningful schedule while covering a meaningful quantity of the comic. It isn’t hitting dreadful schedule slippage or existence failure, goodness willing. It’s just that this is going to get through the comic in a meaningful pace and is going to include the things that are in the comic without needing to spend two hours dwelling on one small set of panels. There’s a focus to it.

Secondly, there’s no need to mystify or exalt the text while they’re reading it so you don’t get a introduction that starts with something like Homestuck is an Experience but instead a much more robust, much more clear examination of what the text is, the form it takes, the source from which it comes, and that author’s other, related works. It’s a sort of autoethnography where these two people are sharing an experience and engaging with their reactions to that experience academically.

Homestuck is a thing that happened, and we can look at that thing, and it is through these two gents talking about it in a way that was willing to go ‘oh hey, this bit is boring’ and ‘this bit is bad’ while still bringing to bear tools of textual analysis (ie, looking at what’s in the text rather than necessarily the sort of paidic experience most people seem to get about Homestuck) it makes the whole task seem a lot less arduous. I know every time I’ve considered digging through Homestuck I’ve looked at the screen of a dork in his room and gone: There are ten years of this and most of it is bad, why bother?

But Homestuck Made This World looks at it in a historical context, and don’t just tell me what they think or feel about it, they show a meaningful sourced representation of what the culture at large thought of it. It’s really inspiring as a way to handle a big, challenging text.

Who knows, maybe I’ll give an examination of Homestuck a shot.

For money.