Review: What Do You Do


If you’re around my age or so (which I’m sure at least one or two of you are), you probably remember the Choose Your Own Adventure series. For those of you either too young or too old to know what this fogey/whippersnapper (your choice) is talking about, here’s a quick description: imagine, if you will, a novel that follows every possible outcome of every choice the protagonist makes. The reader is set up as the protagonist and sent off to make choices that will catapult the main character either to a fabulously happy ending with riches and splendor . . . or to a spectacularly gruesome death . . . with plenty of truly illogical intermediate steps that the reader forgave on account of being about eight years old and not realizing that the universe didn’t work that way.

The ability to control the main character (within bounded guidelines) is something of the driving force behind What Do You Do. Taking a bit of an example from MSPaint Adventures, WDYD relies on a certain amount of reader input to influence where the artist takes the main character (and, in one instance, a side character narrating a flashback). The artist is just as likely to take serious suggestions as daft ones, although immature ones will be mutilated as he sees fit.

The site design is fun and frustrating at the same time. It’s fun because the pixellated art lends a nice “late 80’s/early 90’s computer game” feel to things, but frustrating in that the sidebars cram in over the main text and comic. It turns out that you can deal with that problem by zooming out on “really low resolutions.”* The site programmer also provides you with plenty of resource screens, in case you forget how things work (which you will).

Now, while I mentioned that openly dirty suggestions won’t be tolerated, this isn’t to say that the artist won’t have his fun when he feels like it. And oh, what fun he has (warning: sound, plus reference to both Benny Hill and the Keystone Kops).

The art itself manages to look both hurried and polished, with the occasional animated moment adding to the charm. And for some reason, I’m occasionally reminded of Charlie Brown (y’know, other than the language).

As you can see, I had a lot of fun reading through What Do You Do. Once the layout issue was taken care of, it was an enjoyable reminder of all the ways that Dungeons & Dragons and similar games can be hilariously abused.** Read it if you enjoy fantasy, comedy, or just messing with the guy in charge.

Comic Rating: Four party members of variable competence.

*Boy, does that ever sting, given that my current monitor is running at 1024×768. I’m old enough to remember when 800×600 started falling out of favor, and I was just as stung to be called out-of-touch back then.
**Yes, I’m looking at you, Alan and Tom.

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