"You answer the phone in a hard boiled manner. You explain to the woman gruffly that you'd love to help her out, sweetheart, but you're up to your neck in all this weird puzzle shit. You hang up."
Problem Sleuth is the third webcomic under the MS Paint Adventures banner, written by Andrew Hussie, and was arguably the one which first brought Hussie and his work into the limelight. Written and presented in the style of an ersatz text/point-and-click adventure game, it details the antics of three especially hardboiled detectives -- Problem Sleuth, Ace Dick, and Pickle Inspector -- in their attempts to get out of their offices, all the while working to aid the turmoil-stricken Kingdoms of the Weasels, Clowns, Hogs and Elves, and to foil the dastardly plots of Mobster Kingpin.
While initially presented as a take on the Film Noir genre, its strength is in how it parodies numerous point-and-click adventure and JRPG mechanics and tropes, and in its ever-increasingly complicated story which still neatly ties up all loose ends. Much like its successor Homestuck, it also demonstrated a very steady level of Art Evolution up until the end, evolving from relatively crude static panels to featuring increasingly complex Animation Bump panels depicting Super Move Portrait Attacks, Summon Magic and Wave Motion Guns galore.
Warning: High chance of spoilers. Proceed with caution.
- All Just a Dream: Averted.
- All There in the Manual: The author's commentary in the published edition often explains (jokingly) a few plot points not otherwise apparent, including a few Aborted Arcs.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Godhead Pickle Inspector.
- Amateur Sleuth: All three protagonists, allegedly: they never actually do any sleuthing.
- Anachronism Stew: Despite being "vaguely Prohibition-era", characters will play board games invented in the 50s, paint ethnically diverse murals of the 90s, and use computers to search GameFAQs.
- And the Adventure Continues...: "There's a problem. And you'll be damned if you aren't gonna be the fellas to sleuth it."
- Arc Words: Shit just got real. Shit is real
- Asskicking Pose: because SHIT JUST GOT REAL.
- Behind the Black: A giant mural celebrating ethnic diversity is unexpectedly revealed to be on the 'fourth wall' of Problem Sleuth's office.
- Body Horror: DMK.
- Bond One-Liner: "You drop your cold blooded line which you spent the last few minutes thinking up."
Hate to cut and run...
- Born Lucky: Mobster Kingpin. "As luck would have it, your VIM gauge maxes out." Later, it's revealed that he was cheating.
- Bottomless Bladder: Lampshaded/subverted: "You remember you're pissed off at Ace Dick, and in addition to which, you haven't been able to pee once in the 13 and a half hours you've been locked in your office."
- Brick Joke: Almost every Brick Joke is also a Chekhov's Gun, but one example that fits better here is Ace Dick walking the UGLY DOG.
- Bullet Dodging: Each hero's "Auto-Parry" does it differently: Problem Sleuth on purpose via Unnecessary Combat Roll, Pickle Inspector accidentally via distraction, & Ace Dick auto-parries by... taking the shot directly in his gut.
- Call Back: Many Call Backs develop into Running Gags, making it difficult to distinguish between the two.
- The story is manifest out of building previous one-off gags into stable pillars of the game world. From the FAQ:
For instance, the seemingly idiotic and highly ignorable command "Build fort out of desk" lead not only to a short-term humorous payoff, but to an entire imaginary universe paradigm, and in a way, a whole gaming system which appeared to exist from the beginning, but only became manifest through the command.
- Call a Hit Point a Smeerp
- Calling Your Attacks: SEPULCHRITUUUUUUUUUUDE!
- Calvin Ball: Game mechanics adhere to Rule of Funny and Rule of Cool, and nothing else.
- Canon Immigrant: Ace Dick ends up falling backwards in canon into Jail Break, revealing answers brought up to questions in a different game.
- The Cassandra: The Infinite Summation Honeybee Professor might be annoying, but it turns out his advice would've actually been pretty useful.
- Character Alignment: Using the ALLEGIANCE MENU.
- And later the ALLEGIANCE MESH.
- Chekhov's Gun: Many, including just about every named battle command, but the one with the longest time to fire and biggest effect would have to be Problem Sleuth's CANDY CORN.
- Chekhov's Skill: PI and the Labyrinthine Sudocube Comprehsensile.
- Chess with Death: Happens quite a few times, even without anything at stake, and never once with chess.
You desperately bargain with Death, challenging him to any game you can think of for the fair damsel's life. CLUE, CONNECT FOUR, UNO, BATTLESHIP, SUDOKU, well ok not SUDOKU, but how about SNAKES AND LADDERS, that's fun, or what about HUNGRY HUNGRY HIPPOS god you LOVE HUNGRY HUNGRY HIPPOS.
You're here for two things: to fucking ruin someone's shit, and to play a friendly game of make-believe.
AND YOU'RE ALL OUT OF IMAGINATION.
- Also, in an extra:
You're here for two things: to rain unspeakable devastation down on the forces of evil, and to flail your limbs about in a playful manner.
AND YOU HAVE NO ROOM IN YOUR FORT TO FLAIL ABOUT WHATSOEVER.
- Chicken Walker: Candy mecha is a sentient example. In fact, even after the head is detached so that it can fly off to fight the villain, the legs still are used for various purposes.
- Don't forget the first beast the party slew, which Problem Sleuth then mounted the legs of and walked around in.
- Closed Circle: The entirety of Problem Sleuth. It gets to be a BIG (imaginary) circle.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: "Sensing his impending demise, DMK grows a few extra health meters."
- Comic Book Adaptation: There is now a book of the first five chapters at Topatoco.com, with commentary and a foreword by Ryan North.
- And chapters 6-9 in Volume 2!
- And chapters 10-13 in Volume 3!
- And chapters 6-9 in Volume 2!
- Concealing Canvas: Frequently subverted and otherwise played with.
- Continuity Nod: Over 1000 strips later and we rejoin the sunglasses that were stolen from the Starsky bust.
- Although the plot relevance makes this technically a Call Back, it has the largest "time since last mention":"relevance to plot" ratio in the game.
- Cool Airship: Mobster Kingpin's ship, the CHICAGO OVERCOAT, black thorn of the imaginary skies.
- Creation Myth: With equal parts absurd myth and hard science.
- Critical Hit: by many names: BRUTAL AFFRONT, SAVAGE UPBRAID
- Cut and Paste Comic: Lampshaded in some of the "Pose as a team" commands; "You copy and paste your previous poses into a new file and animate the background rapidly."
- Cutting the Knot: After having a solved puzzle reset, Fiesta Ace Dick uses this to solve it a second time.
- Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Five separate times Problem Sleuth tried to call forth the "righteous fires of charisma" of Sepulchritude, and every time he was stopped. After it is finally used, he turns grey and beaten and, greatly weakened, falls into BHMK's Event Horizon.
- Death by Origin Story: Your losses cause you to feel an all-consuming sense of vengeance. You feel like every superhero origin cliche is swirling around you at once!
- Death Is Cheap / Death Is Not Permanent: You get 3 imaginary lives, and if your physical body dies, you can challenge Death to the game of your choice in the afterlife, or just sneak out while he's not looking.
- Delicious Distraction: Battle Technique: Torso Flail.
- Department of Redundancy Department: If your IMAGINATION was a face you would punch it. In the face.
- Designated Distaff Counterpart Fight: Hysterical Dame + Nervous Broad vs. Madame Murel.
- Deus Ex Machina: DEUS EX SEWING MACHINA
- Did Not Do the Research: Only two of the three masters of brass are actually playing brass instruments; Buttermilk Stubbs is playing a woodwind.
- The unrelated oboe is identified as a woodwind instrument, so there's a chance Hussie knew that.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: No, Fluthlu
- Also, defeating DMK certainly counts as well.
- Dissimile: "the candy mecha's legs scramble around like a chicken whose head decapitated itself and flew into the sky to fight a demonic mob boss."
- Distaff Counterpart: Both played straight and played with: Each of the three detectives eventually had spirit quests, where they were psychically linked with female counterparts of themselves. They later meet the counterparts.
- Directly as described on the site:
PS, AD and PI each have a lady counterpart, in accordance with deep seated mythology that dictates that any man secretly wishes to have sex with a female version of himself (re: Alvin and the Chipmunks, Mickey/Minnie, etc.) HD is PS's counterpart, NB is PI's, while AD is his own counterpart because he has a very poor imagination. So that's one duplicate AD, the one with the wig/helmet.
- Dividing By Zero: All the damn time. Their favorite method seems to be ramming a window through itself.
- Don't Fear the Reaper: Death is actually a pretty nice guy with a love of games.
- Epic Fail: Past Future Pickle Inspector's ultimate attack against the Midnight Crew in this bonus strip.
- Wicked Weasel
- Exposition Fairy: The Infinite Summation Honeybee Professor.
- Fight Woosh: Going outside with a window unplugged would make the world become metaphorical for a moment. And then a Beast appears!
- Fighter, Mage, Thief: Team Sleuth consists of an easily-riled stocky brawler, an imagination-wielding loon, and a dagger-throwing, smooth-talking speedy bastard.
- Additionally, the whores collected by NB and HD become this.
- Film Noir: The series started out as a pastiche of this before things got considerably more zany.
- Final Boss Battle: Parodying several tropes:
- Five-Man Band: Due to a series of odd events, the three detectives fit into this.
- Foreshadowing: Mixed with Call Back due to the strip's improvisational nature.
- Gaslighting: Done subtly and hilariously to the audience at the beginning. The reader’s introduced to a private detective, and the reader assumes as part of his profession, possesses a gun. Second panel, he is commanded to retrieve his gun, and the third panel shows he rebukes the notion. Might also cross into Fridge Logic and Foreshadowing due to answering how the audience saw the gun in the first place? Through the audience IMAGINING a private detective would own one for self-defense. Now, think how the story continues late in the game.
- The Gods Must Be Lazy: GPI will only respond to the command "Fondly regard creation." He actually does do two things, but those things are create the universe via Stable Time Loop with the help of the temporally replicating Pickle Inspectors and sewing the universe back together when it is torn apart. Never once does he directly help the protagonists.
- Good Bad Bugs: Every real weapon has a tendency to not be a weapon.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: You call for a diplomatic laying down of arms.
- Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: You suddenly remember the universe is upside-down!
- Grievous Harm with a Body: AD attempts this with BATTLE TECHNIQUE -> LV. 2 TORSO FLAIL, but fails at even providing a Delicious Distraction like with the original Torso Flail.
- Half the Man He Used To Be: "The window loses it's extra-dimensional portal properties, and severs you mid-way through. You are dead."
- Hand Cannon: The Sniper's Sextant controls a giant cannon. Not a strict example, but a roundabout literal one.
- Happy Dance: Frequently. THIS one is REALLY impressive.
- Hardboiled Detective: The titular hero and his friends.
- Hard Gay: Hunk Rump, and by extension most of the gay porn magazines featured.
- Heroic Sacrifice: the candy corn.
- Sepulchritude was presented as one, but Sleuth survives it. Also, the Collider of the Pickle Inspectors.
- Humongous Mecha: Made out of candy.
- I Fell for Hours: When characters fall, they sometimes have enough time to decide to "fall in more [adjective] manner".
PS: Quit falling and land already!
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Mobster Kingpin ends up falling onto the Ham Needle from an really large distance.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: Fondly regard creation/crustacean/crenellation/donation.
- Succumb to unfathomable bloodlust/bratwurst.
- It has a HAIRPIN trigger.
- It could be that these are the one thousand angels which are said to dance on the head of a pin... Or the head of a KINGPIN.
- You attempt to woo your fan by turning it on.
- The Infinite Summation Honeybee Professor peppers his speech with bee-related puns ("Avoid 1:1 duplications which will lead to unwelcome 100% matter accretions, and you'll keep hiving a honey of a time!") until he gets muted.
Very well, bee that way!
- And then he gets right back at it once he gets unmuted.
Once we have completed building your Impetus Comb, and all of its Jocose Honey has ripened and is sweet as can bee, that is when the fun beegins!!!
- And then there's this.
- Interactive Comic: The Trope Codifier, as it pretty much refined the technique of MS Paint Adventures as a whole.
- Interdimensional Travel Device: There are two ways to travel between the real world and the world of imagination: Either climbing through a window, or entering a fort and imagining really hard (booze helps with the latter).
- Interface Screw: The whole keys/gun thing mentioned above in Gaslighting. Each of the three main characters and their female counterparts have a similar problematic weapon. It's supposedly a bug in the game that gets exploited for laughs and frustration. See also You Can't Get Ye Flask below.
- It Makes Sense in Context:
- "Appoint Pickle Inspector as chosen savior of the weasels."
- "You cannot descend into the sky because the universe is not upside-down!!!"
- It's DMK's third and final face. He is more fearsome than ever, with THREE HEALTH METERS, and a deadly BLACK HOLE VERSION OF HIS NON-IMAGINARY SELF pulsing on top of his HAT.
- Kevlard: Ace Dick's variation on the Auto-Parry technique involves taking the attack in the gut. Zombie Ace Dick extends this to taking attacks in his rotting body as a whole.
- Kitsch Collection: Fancy Santas.
- Kleptomaniac Hero: Your motto is "Let no inventory go uncluttered".
- Lampshade Hanging: "You feel it is incredibly important that events in this adventure maintain strict adherence to the laws of physics, because it would just be so stupid if there were any inconsistencies."
- Last Breath Bullet: Zombie Hired Muscle heroically saves Problem Sleuth from the last of the Cultural Rainbow mob.
- Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club: Mobster Kingpin's LEGITIMATE ESTABLISHMENT, a front for his speakeasy.
- Limit Break: Charm Break, Comb Rave, Schema Form, Ostentation Drive, Murder Flux, Parliament Uproar
- Also, some characters share a common limit break bar.
- Locked Door: Almost all of them, except, ironically, Death's door.
- Locked in a Room: Problem Sleuth and Ace Dick start out bitterly hating each other and both locked in their respective offices and the game ends when they finally escape.
- Marathon Boss: The battle with DMK lasts for about half the duration of Problem Sleuth.
- The Merch: For a $20 donation, Andrew Hussie would draw a short comic of any command the donator wished (until increasing demand forced him to stop.) Past ones can be seen here. Also, there are several prints and shirts, and a Sepulchritude hoodie, still available at Topatoco.
- Mighty Glacier: Pickle Inspector's "Tootsie Roll Frankenstein" transformation. Twice as strong as an actual glacier, but twice as slow, too!
- Mind Screw: It can become increasingly difficult to tell where (and when) everybody is. Summed up in this line: "You're not totally sure, but you think this means there are now three Ace Dicks running around."
- Mind Screwdriver: Thank goodness Godhead Pickle Inspector explains it all at one point. He also thinks you should just relax and have fun, and not worry too much about it.
- And then Death provides a recap later.
- And later there's one by The Devil.
- Mythology Gag: Running gags from other games, such as:
- Trusty knives
- Hunk Rump magazine
- The pumpkin doesn't count, because clearly there is not and has never been a pumpkin there.
- You can't imagine what could possibly go wrong, unless you remember the Unexplained Aftermath from Jailbreak. This is followed by a series of homages to Bard Quest (each linked in the description texts).
- Nice Hat: If Problem Sleuth's regular hat doesn't qualify, the Admiral's Hat certainly does.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: DMK and BHMK never would have formed as they did if not for Fiesta Ace Dick's actions.
- No Fourth Wall: On a couple of occasions the characters look up an FAQ for the game on GameFAQs and input cheat codes to bypass certain parts of the 'game'.
- Also, at one point in the game, Ace Dick beats someone to death with a stat meter.
- Also also, when DMK's final form starts generating additional life bars, Problem Sleuth starts physically attacking the life bars.
- Also, at one point in the game, Ace Dick beats someone to death with a stat meter.
- Nonstandard Game Over:
- Ominous Latin Chanting: "Fast-paced organ music and a haunting vocal chorus accompanies your epic struggle."
- Ontological Mystery: When you boil down the plot, the characters are trapped in their office building and need to learn how to use their environment in order to escape.
- Opposite Sex Clone: Ace Dick had too little imagination for a Distaff Counterpart, and instead just became a clone of himself with a blonde wig/Prussian Picklehaube.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: A quick change in headgear makes all the difference.
- The Pen Is Mightier: The Tectrix of the Arbitor has item confusion with the legendary TECTRIXCALIBUR.
- Physical God: Pickle Inspector ascends to godhood at one point. One of many Pickle Inspectors.
- Playable Epilogue
- Plot Coupon: Anything can be a Plot Coupon... even your own skull.
- Portal Cut: What happens if a window loses power while something is in it.
- Portal Network: What would at first appear to be what is outside Problem Sleuth's window.
- Porn Stash: Gay porn stash, no less! Problem Sleuth seems to have a tendency to be keeping Hunk Rump magazine somewhere nearby.
- Pothole: " Death throws down his hat in disappointment. He really must remember to invest in stronger security measures for the afterlife."
- Power Gives You Wings: Problem Sleuth gains a pair of wings upon using Sepulchritude
- Power Levels: Understandable in the sense that this IS an RPG.
- Power Trio: Early on, before the cast expands:
- Ego: Problem Sleuth
- Id: Ace Dick
- Superego: Pickle Inspector
- Pretty Little Headshots: Dramatic variant.
- Private Eye Monologue: Parodied, in several places.
This is what being a hard boiled problem sleuth is all about. It's about being a strong, silent type, oozing with confidence, charisma, and other fine qualities such as not being trapped in your own office. It's about having a working phone. A real desk. Not one, but two steak dinners. And some hysterical broad on the line, yackin' about some fella she's got troubles with. It's always the same thing with dames. You comfort yourself in your sublime fantasy by now and then saying things into the phone such as, "Now calm down a second, toots..." and "Hey, take it easy, sweetheart. I can barely understand a word you're sayin'..."
- Pungeon Master: Honeybee Professor
- Puppet Gun: Pickle Inspector aims the CLOCK TOWER SNIPER CANNON via the SNIPER RIFLE.
- Reality Warper: Pickle Inspector, in the Imagination realm
- Recap Episode: Two of them (the first one by Death, The second one by the Devil), and a third one on the wiki.
- Red Herring: Several items are presented to the reader as possible scopes for the SNIPER RIFLE before Pickle Inspector finally gets one.
The Swain makes a valiant play for his eyepiece, which in no way shape or form could ever be used in conjunction with a sniper rifle, and possibly could serve as one of numerous red herrings to this effect.
- Reveal Shot: Technically a Closeup on Head, at least by name.
- Role Playing Game Verse: All of the detectives and the Mobster Kingpin have (weirdly named) stats and hitpoints -- towards the end more and more bizarre bonus powers also appear.
- Imagination: Magic, intelligence, and bonus to power in Imaginary areas.
- Pulchritude: Evasion and Diplomacy/Charisma.
- Vim: Strength and Health.
- Each also has a expendable item that temporarily boosts it much in the manner of potions. Imagination is boosted by alcohol, Pulchritude is boosted by candy, and Vim is boosted by hotsauce.
- Early in the game Vim is boosted by coffee, so really any hot drink will do.
- Rube Goldberg Device: A puzzle so particularly difficult that it's solved by loading a save state from a point after the puzzle is solved. It is later revealed that a time traveling Pickle Inspector did it.)
- Running Gag: Items switching back and forth between weapons and completely unrelated objects (e.g. a revolver becoming keys or a chainsaw becoming lipstick), responding to characters attempting to ride something like a mechanical bull (at times something about to explode) with "Wow, what a fucking waste of time!" and weasels "flipping the fuck out".
- Business cards loaded with Double Entendre.
- Ace Dick punches X in the snout to establish superiority. Xhearst is particularly enamored by your rowdy, no-nonsense brand of ruffianism.
- And of course: "Quickly retrieve arms from [X]." "You've already got arms, [another word for idiot]!"
- "Throw hat down in disgust."
- Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: "Complain that the MASS of the OBSERVABLE UNIVERSE is only thought to be 3x10^52kg. DMMK, at 100x10^100kg, weighs about thirty trillion trillion trillion trillion times MORE than the MASS of the OBSERVABLE UNIVERSE."
Actually this sort of bothers me too.
The bottom line is I just started rattling off numbers without even realizing how big I was making them.
A while ago I went back and changed the volume exponent, just so the number wouldn't indicate that he was almost infinitely tiny. I left the mass as it was, because I didn't think it mattered too much if it was just indicated as "VERY BIG".
But I might go back and just delete the exponents altogether, and just string more zeros after base of "10".
It's safe to say that with the numbers as they are now, MK would be the biggest black hole in the universe.
- Serial Escalation: How utterly ridiculous can the game mechanics get? How ridiculously powerful can the cast's attacks get? Answer: Very.
- Serious Business: Any and all forms of anything but chess with Death. Such as Sudoku.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Newly-introduced names take on more and more of this further as the game gets along.
- Shout-Out: Get ye flask.
- PS: Ctrl+Alt+Del. GAME FUCKING OVER May also qualify as a Take That.
- You're here for two things: to fucking ruin someone's shit, and to play a friendly game of make-believe. AND YOU'RE ALL OUT OF IMAGINATION.
- And let's not forget our history! It comes, of course, in the form of a delightfully charming KATE BEATON-style comic.
- Death plays Wizard's Sudoku with one of the characters.
- Summon Moe.
- One of the scythe's forms is Dinosaur Comics' T-Rex, after Ryan North's praise of MSPA.
- Another form the scythe takes is the head of Manny Calavera from Grim Fandango.
- The Space Whale and "This all seems highly, highly improbable." Guess.
- LV. 4 HOOPTECH -- DMMK KATAMARI BALL
- You got the CHRONOSCOPE!! NYARGH PARODY DUMB
- Ace Dick and Bathearst head out West in the board game Life, shifting an unnamed parody of Oregon Trail.
- When the Dapper Gentlemen are beating up Fiesta Mobster Kingpin, the narration launches into "A British Tar" from HMS Pinafore.
- Silent Protagonist: There's not a lot of dialogue in this game.
- Sinister Scythe: Death's scythe, which Problem Sleuth borrows for a while. It transforms too, into (among others) a rocket launcher, a F-16 fighter jet, a T-Rex, and an atomic bomb.
- Sniper Rifle: The SNIPER'S SEXTANT
- Solve the Soup Cans: More and more weird puzzle shit as the story progresses. The Moonlight Sonata piano from Resident Evil makes a cameo.
- Space Whale: Harpooned.
- Stat Meters: Not merely an abstraction.
- Strongly Worded Letter: Provides the page image.
- Super Move Portrait Attack:
- Sleuth Diplomacy is structured like one of these, with a quick-moving background and a zoomed-in pose.
- The introductions of the Gambit Schema make them sort of like Epic Move Portrait Attacks.
- Super Sentai Stance: ...because SHIT JUST GOT REAL.
- Stairway to Heaven: DMK: LADDER TO HELL
- Stout Strength: Ace Dick and his various forms, as well as Mobster Kingpin.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: A command suggested switching hats with an enemy to disguise Problem Sleuth, but to no avail. Later, Mobster Kingpin does this successfully.
- Summon Magic: You do not have enough ELF TEARS to summon the WEASEL KING!
- Swiss Army Tears: Elf tears.
- Thememobile: The whore-mobile.
- Theme Table: Each detective has a certain body type (which in turn are each associated with a type of food, a truck carrying that food, and a district of the city that is named after the makers of that food, a gentleman with some sort of optical accessory, and a room in the Sleazy Brothel in the sky), an office, something keeping them from escaping their office, a different kind of window/portal to the World of Imagination, a stat in which they excel, a standard weapon/key, a candy weapon, a type of candy armor, a Super Mode based on both a classic movie monster and type of candy, a Distaff Counterpart (each of which have their own weapon/other object, two of which get a weapon/object used in painting and a undergarment that warps their physical properties, and one of which is just a clone of one of the detectives wearing a wig), an ultimate move, and a non-human race they go on a quest for (each of which terrorizes another of the races somehow, and each of which has some kind of emissary and a champion that represents a Fantasy Character Class). Mobster Kingpin gets in on most of this as well.
- Time Travel: Pickle Inspector, to downright incredible levels.
- Transformation Sequence: An incredible transmutation takes place.
- And then subverted, when a phenomenal transmutation takes place.
- Turns Red: The 3 forms of DMK. Ace Dick does this literally when he becomes Fiesta Ace Dick in the Transformation Sequence linked immediately above.
- Unstoppable Rage: "The [Weasel] Emissary flips the fuck out!"
- Unusual Euphemism: All of Problem Sleuth's gun attacks are named for negotiation techniques-the longer and more complicated, the more powerful.
- Useless Useful Spell: BELLY OF THE WHALE!!! Ace Dick's Operandi is basically an instant-KO move, swallowing the enemy whole . . . only problem is whenever its used its either completely ineffective or simply extorted and turned against him. The only time it DID work was when he used it to swallow himself.
- Victory Pose: Victory dance!
- Visual Pun: The typewriter/tommygun used near the end of the comic. Another nickname for the tommygun is the Chicago Typewriter.
- Villain Protagonist: Mobster Kingpin takes user commands just like the three detectives.
- Wave Motion Gun: The most recent instance.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Mobster Kingpin is completely invulnerable to all harm... until his Emotions or Blood Sugar are raised.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: So very, very much. Highlighted in the Clip Show Tribute which takes all the frames of the entire comic and sets them to orchestral music.
- Best example: DING.
- A Winner Is You
- Word of God: Andrew Hussie often made posts responding to suggestions individually in the Suggestion Box.
- World of Chaos: The world accessed through desk forts and window portals.
- World's Strongest Man: Ace Dick. Fiesta Ace Dick is stronger than that.
- Written Sound Effect: Thud.
- You Can't Get Ye Flask: Averted, since the command parser is a person. You DO get ye flask!
- Except when the game refuses to acknowledge the existence of the pumpkin you're trying to get.
I beg your pardon? I'm fairly sure that there's nothing resembling a thick-skinned, orange, and woody-stemmed gourd here. The very idea is as incredulous as it is silly.
- and the imaginary world, which together form a very large Closed Circle
- Despite being trapped in his own office, Problem Sleuth knows remarkably little about it.