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Video Game / Improbable Island

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Beware of falling rabbits. Or, you know, man-eating rabbits.
How did I end up here?

Improbable Island is a web-based browser game that uses the system from Legend of the Green Dragon.

It takes place 20 Minutes into the Future on a small island in the middle of the ocean known as Improbable Island. The goal of the game is to find and destroy the "Improbability Drive", which releases improbability energy. Improbable Island was the location for a scientific project being headed by a man known as Doktor Improbable, and his assistant David Abraham. Doktor Improbable set sail for the island in the late 2050s, back when it was known as Island Four. He wanted to create a device that outputs more power than it consumes, in blatant disregard for the second law of thermodynamics and the law of conservation of energy. He was sent to the island ostensibly to work on his machine in an environment without electromagnetic interference, but the truth of the matter is that he was sent there because nobody at his university could stomach the man.

Long story short, he was partially successful, because in the end he created a machine that generates a type of energy that the human race has NEVER before experienced; thus causing all sorts of chaos. That energy is what created the island, along with the unusual flora and fauna that inhabit it. Fun part is, you get to go around and try to kill said flora and fauna while trying to find and destroy the Improbability Drive.

Enjoy it free (with the option of buying things— er... supporting the game) here.

There's also a webcomic based on the game, including player cameos, here.

This game provides examples of:

  • Action Commands: After training in the bar in New Pittsburgh, you can double your attack and defense by pressing the attack button at the right time.
  • After the End: The internet arose to sapience, scaring the governments of the world into setting off EMPs over the entire planet to kill it — taking all the rest of modern technology down as well. That was in 2075. The game takes place in the late 2080s or early 2090s — the math is kinda fuzzy on that point.
  • Alternate Self: A Running Gag in combat encounters is having to fight another version of yourself — Your Past Self, Your Future Self, Your Present Self, Your Pasta Self... It comes to a head around level 14, when you fight a horde of seven Other Yous, after a brief attempt at diplomacy that collapses when you realize you can't agree on which one of you is the "real" you.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: If you spend an entire game day logged out, that day can be saved in a Chronosphere and activated on command when you have time to play it. Chronospheres can be bought with Supporter Points, though you start with two free ones (already filled, even, so you can play three game days immediately after you create your character).
  • Anti Poop-Socking: Your Stamina runs out as you fight monsters and travel about, and as it goes down your effectiveness at doing stuff goes with it. You can restore it with food (but you can only eat so much per day) and a few random events, or starting a new game day.
  • Apologetic Attacker: The Gestalt Treebranch, a single sapient branch on a random tree, is incredibly bored and wants to die, but when you raise your weapon to grants its wish, it starts attacking you with Psychic Powers, apologizing and explaining that it's a reflex.
  • The Artifact: The entire purpose of the timed combat system was to reduce stress on the servers by artificially spreading out page loads. Once the game was optimized and got better hosting, this wasn't needed — but the feature was left in just because people liked it.
  • Automatic New Game: Visiting the site while not logged in drops you directly into an intro scenario, eventually leading to character creation.
  • Ban on Politics: When the game was originally created in 2008, there was a "No Politics" rule. The 2020 Code of Conduct update loosened this rule, explaining that in the twelve years intervening, the idea of what is and isn't "political" had, itself, become political, making a blanket ban on "politics" impossible to define.
  • Brain Food: All the food at the Zombie diner involves brains.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Shouts of "Buy! Buy!" "Sell! Sell!" and "Put down the chainsaw and let's talk about this!" are heard in eBoy's Trading Station.
  • Break Meter: Whale on each of your opponent's targets until they break. If they aren't dead by then, they can't hit back, so feel free to put them out of their misery.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Donate to the game, and you get Supporter Points, which can be traded in for Req, cigarettes, and other benefits. Most of the uses for Supporter Points are meant for roleplay — things like being able to customize your title, the color of your name, the name of your weapon and armor. But there are some actual gameplay advantages in there, if you're into that.
  • Brick Joke: Some low-level monsters are referenced in higher-level monster's descriptions.
  • CamelCase: The FailBoat, CyberCity, and KittyMorphs, to name a few.
  • Canned Orders over Loudspeaker: On the FailBoat, a recorded voice of the Watcher blares every minute, reminding the battered and bruised contestants that they won't be leaving until either they succeed at retraining (earning the Watcher's favor by defeating monsters below decks) or the day ends, and until they do, the contestants back on the island are stealing their spotlight.
  • Capital Letters Are Magic: Basically every noun in the game can safely be capitalized, along with some verbs. For instance: Robots live in the Outpost CyberCity 404, which Titans and Monsters frequently connive to Breach.
  • Chainsaw Good: The strongest weapon available in the shop for new players is, yes, a Chainsaw.
  • Confusion Fu: Jokers, who are infused with improbability and are extremely unpredictable in combat. One day, they may be completely defenceless, the next, they'll be quicker than any other race alive.
  • Continuing is Painful: Every time you get KO'd you lose 10% of your EXP, all of your current on-hand money, and are sent to the FailBoat, where you have to fight to earn favor with The Watcher if you want to return to the Island before the next game day.
  • Cool Boat: The Watcher, when she's not greeting the newbies, rides around on the FailBoat, which, despite the name, is actually a large yacht containing lots of cages with dangerous monsters. Whenever you're not bleeding to death on it, you can converse with other players. The boat also acts as a cruise ride for viewers of the show at home who have ridiculous amounts of money and want to get close to the island without actually being a contestant.
  • Critical Hit: You have a chance, each attack, to execute a power move, a minor power move, a double power move, or a MEGA power move.
  • Death or Glory Attack: The August 2018 Monthly Memento is the FLOPT, a malfunctioning flyback transformer that zaps someone in the battle for a whopping thirty thousand damage. Whether it hits you or the enemy is entirely random, so the description advises players to use it as a last resort.
  • Depraved Dwarf: Squats are filthy little people who live in squalor, feast on Crap Meat, and steal anything not nailed down.
  • Developer's Foresight: After winning any combat, you have a small chance of finding a cigarette. Cigarette-related enemies tend to have special messages if a cig drops after beating them in particular.
  • Didn't Think This Through: The Distraction Delivery Man encounter starts when he asks you how to find a player he's trying to deliver an in-game mail to. You, not knowing the recipient, suggest inviting him to your current location... by Distraction. Your intractable failure to see the obvious flaw in that plan eventually enrages him into attacking you.
  • Encounter Repellant: Monster Repellent Spray, as the name implies, reduces the chance of getting into a Random Encounter while traversing the world map.
  • End of an Age: Specifically, ours. The game takes place a few years after EMP waves of unknown origin fried every piece of circuitry on Earth.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Including your tongue, your shadow, the pebble in your shoe, Tom Cruise, a zombie worm, your own paranoia, thin air...
  • Explosive Breeder: The May 2017 Monthly Memento is a rabbit. If you have a boy rabbit and a girl rabbit in your inventory, then come the New Day, you'll find yourself with a new rabbit. For obvious reasons, this is one of the few Monthly Mementos to be consumed on use.
  • Extreme Omnivore: After you train under Maiko from Kittania, you have an option to clean the carcass of your kill for meat. Monsters you can get meat from range from Turkey and Three French Hens to Thing From The Back Of Your Fridge, Zombie Puppy, Little Old Lady and even Your Own Tongue.
  • Fan Myopia: invoked Parodied with the April 2022 Monthly Memento, the Jammy Jellyfish. It's a jellyfish covered in blackcurrant jam, and the description on the Monthly Mementos page is just your character asking what the hell it means and CMJ saying "if you know, you know".
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: According to an aside in the "Laughably Impractical Burger" encounter, all teleportation on the island takes place at exactly c plus 1 m/s. It is hypothesized that the Drive is doing it like that to show off, "presumably simply because it goddamn can".
  • Full-Frontal Assault: You start the game with no weapons or clothing, since anything you bring with you could potentially turn into something else, and it's feasible to spend all your money on weapons early on. Kittymorphs can even get advantages from fighting naked.
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    • Many of the clans on the island. Examples include CHAOS (Causing High Amounts of Strangeness) and ICEE (Inorganic Catlike Enlongated Elements).
    • The upgraded stat system (which allows for more possible stat types and greater granularity in existing stats) was originally going to be called Arbitrary Stats System, until CavemanJoe "noticed that the acronym was inappropriate and changed it to Arbitrary Roleplaying Stats Engine".
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Some players get caught in 'badnav' (the default redirect when someone tries something they cannot do) and cannot control what they do. It does NOT go away by logging out and logging in again or playing on a different account. To this day, the devs have no idea what causes it, and the best solution they have is a warning that appears when you seem to be stuck, informing you in no uncertain terms that the only way out is to file a bug report so a mod can manually fix it.
  • Greasy Spoon: (British style) Joe's diner. The "Chips" (french fries) are described as tasting like "paper bags filled with pus". The "Family Trough" meal is served in a pail, and you feel less hungry just from looking at it.
  • Gargle Blaster: You can buy one from Dan in the Prancing Spiderkitty. Those who drink one tend to wake up covered in other people's (or monster's) blood.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: The Corporal, who begins his instruction by telling you to press the "f" key. As it turns out, this is the command to "(f)ear for your life," which your character continues to do for the rest of the training.
  • I Call It "Vera": One monster's description has you refer to your weapon as "sunshine", not capitalized even once.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Mister Stern and Corporal Punishment appear to be a pair of men with a mutual attraction for each other. However, one of them is in fact a woman playing an entirely fictional male character for the Reality Show, which is initially a problem, as the other one is very definitely gay. After some self-reflection, he decides that realizing she's a woman doesn't actually change how he feels.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: It's possible to acquire, cook and eat meat from human enemies you've slain.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Perhaps fittingly, the island does contain quite a lot of improbable weapons for you to use, from sporks, to prosthetic legs, to internal organs... The "Weapon Disguise" item lets you rename your weapon anything you want, allowing you to invoke the trope yourself.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: A Game Day lasts four hours real-time. There are clocks in various locations like the FailBoat that tell you the in-universe time, though this information is seldom useful.
  • It Came from the Fridge: "The Thing from the Back of Your Fridge" and "The Pizza that Time Forgot" enemies.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: A later encounter with the sneaky bastard lion has it trick you into thinking it's hidden itself in a flower pot so it can ambush you while you're calling it out for thinking its clever. Somehow, despite being a Nearly Normal Animal, it manages to mock you for falling for its trick and thinking a lion could fit into a flower pot (and never mind that this same lion has previously hidden itself Behind a Stick, inside a sandwich, and in your underwear).
  • Katanas Are Just Better: A katana is available at Sheila's after a few drive kills. In addition to boosting attack by 140 (just ten less than a chainsaw), it also looks so cool that it boosts your charm and your favor with the Watcher. While other weapons can be more effective if used properly, the katana is one of the best for a simple Attack! Attack! Attack! strategy.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: One of the monsters you face is a parody of Leeroy Jenkins called "Bumbling Ally". He attacks you with "dangerous incompetence".
  • Limit Break: Given to you by your very helpful cybernetic brain implant that is not suspiciously generous in any way. Squats also have a limit break racial ability
  • Local Hangout:
    • The Common Grounds, which is Improbably linked to the rest of the cities on the Island. It has its own bar gremlin!
    • Newhome has more activity in general than the other cities, because it's the home of humans and all new players start off as humans.
  • Mad Scientist: Professor Joeseph Hawton aka Doktor Improbable (spelled with a k because he's not a real doctor). The man who created the Improbablity Drive in 2072 (after being alone on the island since 2050-ish), and apparently is as mad as a hatter. Also a genius, he created the Drive to skew probabilities in the users favour. Of course, since he's MAD, things didn't go like that. He's also a Name to Run Away From Really Fast.
  • Marathon Boss: Titans. Most ennemies have HP that range in the hundreds (the player themselves can reach about 2000 at high level), sometimes more than 1 thousand. Titans start over a million HP, meaning you'll likely have to spend several game days on significantly damaging one, let alone kill it.
    • They also come in several varieties, with Green Titans in particular taking even longer to kill. They deal pretty much no damage, but regenerate a portion of the damage they receive every turn, ensuring the player will just run out of stamina before running out of hit points.
  • Memory Wipe Exploitation: After defeating the Improbability Drive and being permanently changed by the resulting explosion of Improbability, the Watcher suggests that the best way to handle this would be to alter your memories so that you had always been that way. When you agree, she takes the opportunity to let down her facade as The Dreaded and admit that you were always her favorite contestant, and kiss you, admitting that she's only doing this because you won't remember it anyway.
  • Misspelling Out Loud: When registering at the beginning of a run, the guy taking down your information is... not the most literate. "K-I-T-E-M-O-R-F. Kittymorph."
  • Money for Nothing: Requisition Tokens are extremely useful when you have gear, drinks, or beds to buy. Other times, cigarettes are the only valuable currency you have.
  • Multilayer Façade: Mister Stern and Corporal Punishment are in the habit of sending each other messages encoded in a fairly simple substitution cipher. It's very easy to break, as Stern admits, even explaining how to do it before having your deliver his reply to Punishment. This is of course because the encrypted message itself is largely irrelevant — as Stern obliquely hints, the real message is hidden in the key.
  • Naked on Arrival: New contestants have all their belongings removed, including the very shirt from their back. This is ostensibly to prevent the items from being changed into something else by the island's improbability field, but really because it's hilarious.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Kittymorphs prefer to fight naked, which causes their foes to be "hilariously distracted" and lowers their stats.
  • Nerf: The food system received a major overhaul in August 2012 to solve the problem that cooking the meat you get from monsters was much less effective than simply buying food from restaurants. One of the changes was that restaurant food was nerfed. It now gives less stamina, costs more and is not always available.
  • New Game Plus: Once a player reaches level 15, they have the choice while venturing in the jungle to try and defeat the Improbability Drive. If successful, the player then gets to choose to change their race(or stay the same), implant, and upgrade health, attack, or defense. Finally, they are deposited back in an outpost as a level 1 player, having kept only their cigarettes and stamina levels from their previous form. Word of God says that there are new things that are unlocked all the way through 50 drive kills.
  • No Indoor Voice: The Corporal from basic training, who SHOUTS at EVERY other WORD OR PHRASE. When CONFRONTED, he seems NOT TO NOTICE. Then gets INTO an ARGUMENT with YOU about IT.
  • Not the Intended Use: Theoretically, nicotine gum is meant to handle addiction from overuse of cigarettes. In practice, this problem is so infrequent that the playerbase has collectively decided to make it artificial Shop Fodder, to the point that, before the introduction of cake, one of the recommended ways to spend one's req before a drive kill was to buy some gum just to drive the price up.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: The game's introductory sequence briefly breaks the fourth wall to inform players that despite the amount of nudity, it is not a porn game and should not be treated as one.
  • Off the Scale:
    • Food bought from restaurants is rated according to three criteria : how filling it is, how nutritious, and how much fat it contains. Depending on culture, emphasis will be put on different aspects.
      • Kittymorph food is typically healthy, being low on fat with a high nutritive value, with some expensive, higher-end meals completely filling the "nutritional value" gauge.
      • Squat cuisine typically does the reverse, being always made with the shittiest, fattest pieces of meat. Of course, their more expensive meals are off the "Fat content" Scale.
      • Finally, Mutants have specialties that can do both : the Mutant Steak's nutritional and filling bars are full, the "Special"'s are explicitly even higher, and eating a single "The Unrepentant" is enough to make a skinny character obese.
    • It is quite common to begin a day with more than 100% Stamina, and hitpoints can also go over their supposed maximum.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: If you encounter one, he will be reluctant to fight because he has a family. You will still be convinced that he is evil, though, and happily use this to butcher the rest of his family when you kill him.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: From Mister Stern, of all people, about the CuratorBot.
    "It!" shouts Mister Stern, "Is! A! MACHINE!"
  • Railroading: While you're not required to challenge your master and level up the instant you have enough EXP, if you put it off long enough that you have the EXP to level up twice, the dojo will hunt you down for "truancy" and demand a challenge. Once you reach level 15, you're expected to seek out and destroy the Improbability Drive. If you try hanging out in outposts instead, you'll eventually encounter a crowd of NPCs celebrating your deeds and insisting you add the Drive to the list. Alternately, if you wander around the map, the Drive itself will eventually chase you down. And don't think you can avoid it by staying at level 14; there may be no actual level 16, but the dojo will still eventually hunt you down for your truancy.
  • Random Encounters: There's a chance of getting into a fight while travelling across the island. It's highest in forests, lower on plains and mountains, and zero in water (unless your stamina is low).
  • Razor Apples: The October 2019 Monthly Memento is a lifetime supply of Razor Daves, created by a mishap with two poorly-programmed AIs at the razor blade and candy factories and an inspector so overworked that the only possible solution he actually had time to implement was to repackage them all with bright yellow labels reading "free bonus razor (caution: contains razor)".
  • Reality Show: The entire war against the Drive is televised.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The punningly-named "Hannibal Lecture" encounter starts off by pointing out all the reasons you're obviously a newb.
  • Recursive Ammo: All of the larger Candy Bombs have a chance of containing any or all of the smaller ones, which will go off a minute after the previous one — so if one sets off a Gargantuan Candy Bomb, it's possible to see a total of nine explosions.
  • Reset Button Ending: Destroying the Improbability Drive results in the machine exploding in a burst of Improbability, then reconstructing itself in every outpost simultaneously before quantum-wavefunction-collapsing into just one location. This has the side effect of transforming you into a different race that you retroactively choose a bit later, which is sufficiently distressing to you that the Watcher agrees to make you forget you were ever any other way. The upshot of all this is that you're back in much the same situation you were when you first landed on the island — you even go through a not-quite-identical copy of the starting scenario.
  • Riddle Me This: A random encounter has you meeting a mysterious Joker in the jungle. Answer the riddle right, and you get a bonus on your attacks. Answer it wrong, and you get a penalty instead.
  • The Rival: One of your recurring enemies is a lion, who attempts to ambush you in increasingly silly ways (and occasionally helps you out by breaking the necks of irritating romance writers).
  • RPGs Equal Combat: About half of the combat encounters begin with your character getting annoyed by an otherwise passive improbable being, until they decide that stabbing would be easier than putting up with the irritation.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Budget horse says "neigh", instead of actually neighing.
  • Shout-Out: There are countless references to pop culture in the game.
    • There is a monster called "Hannibal Lecture". When killed, the player yells "Shut up, Hannibal!" Yes, they reference TV Tropes. Ironically, despite cribbing off the trope namer, the changed context means the speech is no longer an actual Hannibal Lecture.
    • There's a Gargleblaster drink.
    • One of the Lion encounters is a clear parody of Aslan.
    • A Rind Flayer.
    • One of the encounters is Gary Gygax himself.
    • One of the ads mentions Chainsaw-Chuks.
    • Chips that taste like "paper bags filled with pus" are also mentioned in Harga's House of Ribs in Mort.
    • A Joker tries to sell you a sad looking carp for an unreasonable sum. When you turn the carp down, he gets very angry and, with Improbability, transforms the carp into a flying water dragon. A carp turning into a dragon is originally from Japanese Mythology, but the Joker trying to sell it to you first makes this pretty plainly a reference to Pokémon.
  • Start of Darkness: The Watcher used to be a nice, normal girl growing up in England. Then, shortly after she kissed a boy for the first time, she had an aneurysm. Which put her in a coma. Which she woke up from on the day all the tech died due to a massive EMP. Which caused her father, who had a pacemaker, to die. She decided from then on that the most important person in the world was her.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • The Play, which happens to be on the subject of *cough* Words.
    • Or Words on Play, which happens to be the word "WORD" stamped on scripts for plays. You attack both Play on Words and Words on Play out of sheer rage at the puns.
    • When fighting Room with a View of HELL!, its fourth wall is always hidden...
    • An early monster is a pile of uncooked meat. It attacks with "raw power".
  • Stripperiffic: Inverted by the Watcher. She's required by the conventions of the genre to wear clothing that's highly impractical for her situation... so she wears a turtleneck and a skirt that extends below her knee in the sweltering heat.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: The Watcher's message stating that the monsters are not getting more intelligent, and are not starting to target groups and not just individuals, and are CERTAINLY not preparing to attack the outposts.
  • Take Away Their Name: Jokers are capable of taking a person's name away from them. While this doesn't grant control over the person, it "unlinks" them from the world and prevents anything from happening to them ever again.
  • Take That!:
    • There's a "Completely Rational Monster", the description of which makes fun of all the monsters that are puns, references to other series, references to the character's past, or something completely silly - then it makes fun of itself for being boring. Less self-deprecating is the "List of Rejected Monsters", which is much the same.
    • One of the fightable enemies is "Professional Romance Writer", who you attack out of sheer impulse.
    • So's "Slash Fic", the description of which is in the style of Mad-Libs. Except, well, slashier.
    • One of the monsters works for Disney's historical accuracy department, and is in the process of trying to get celebrity voices on board for a project...
    • One weapon (available after your first Drive Kill) is The Da Vinci Code. It costs fifty req, reduces charm points by five, and is constantly called tripe.
    • The privacy policy mentions that one of the reasons the site collects information on what browsers the userbase favors is to "rub our hands together with glee at seeing Internet Explorer die a slow, painful death".
    • After an unfortunate experience with American Airlines in August 2017 that ended up unexpectedly costing him a lot of money, CMJ released an "Official 2017 Commemorative Limited Edition FUCK AMERICAN AIRLINES Bonus Monthly Memento". On use, it claims to be taking you to New Pittsburgh, but instead drops you off in Squat Hole and tells you to go fuck yourself.
    • The Monthly Memento for July 2021 is a "Non-Functional Tulip", which makes a big noise about its blatantly-artificial Uniqueness Value despite being one of the few Mementos which could be purchased more than once by the same account. The whole thing is a parody of NFTs, which CMJ described as a "novel means of money laundering" (on the Monthly Mementos page) and "a weird and appalling thing that rich people do for no reason" (in a MOTD).
  • Un-person: A person who has their name taken by a Joker gradually disappears from the memories of those who knew them. Jill loses her name in a card game, and is forgotten so thoroughly that no-one can see her when she's right in front of them.
  • Unsettling Gender-Reveal: The very masculine Corporal Punishment is a fictional character in-universe, and his actor is a woman. This proves problematic when she confesses her love to Mister Stern, who until this point has only known her in-character as Punishment and is definitely gay.
  • Veganopia: Parodied and subverted: The cafe in Kittania is introduced by a server going on a spiel about using only locally-grown produce to produce their selection of vegetarian and vegan meals... the effect of which is rather marred by the lovingly-detailed dripping, bloody steak that's also on the menu. As the server admits when you point this out, Kittymorphs are still carnivores, and just because they try to "tread lightly on Mother Earth" doesn't mean they can actually completely give up meat.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The Prosthetic Leg weapon item description utterly chews you out because it was "stolen from a blind man. With AIDS.
  • Wildlife Commentary Spoof: As a random encounter, you fight David Attenborough himself. He narrates what you're doing, which annoys you into attacking him.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: With the proper training, you can fight monsters by insulting them.