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Webcomic / Superego

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"Everyone has their bad days."
— MSPFA description for Superego

Superego is another MSPA Fan Adventure by Jovian, who's also the creator of Godquest. Ten individuals, each designated by a numeral, a symbol, and a color, are trapped in a hospital and must work together to get out. But what surprises does the building have in store for them? And what deep, dark secrets lay within their minds?

Not to be confused with The Superego, the former name of a trope about logical, calculating people.

This Interactive Comic provides examples of:

  • Abandoned Hospital: Justified. It's a virtual one.
  • Aborted Arc: Cherry was going to tag along with Sam (and she would've gotten into the basement and been present for Sam releasing the shadows).
  • all lowercase letters: The shadows speak like this.
  • All There in the Manual: The author's Tumblr tag for Superego has many doodles and tidbits that aren't in the threads.
  • All Work vs. All Play: Percy and Ava, respectively.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Ranging from yellow to orange to pink to blue, none of the characters have normal skin tones. Or rather, they normally to have normal skin tones outside of the VR hospital.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Occurs as instances of hairstyle flipping (noticeably with Ava and Rick).
  • Angst? What Angst?: Invoked by Ava, when Percy interrupts a particularly heartfelt conversation with Quin.
  • Arc Numbers: 301 and 10, not to mention the numbers on the characters' hands.
  • Arc Symbol: The circle and variations of it.
  • Art Evolution: It has developed much better quality through the chapters, and character designs also get a bit of tweaking. Perhaps most noticably Percy, who has gotten a very different head sculpt.
    • The 'dolls' themselves have gotten more rounder eyes and a more realistic body shape. The early style tended to make the hair more of a big blob, rather than drawing the individual strands. See it for yourself.
    • The later glitches are much cleaner and have fluid animation, dynamic lighting, and expressive character looks.
  • Art Shift: Like in Alabaster: The Doomed Session, everyone has their 'vision' illustrated differently. For your consideration.
  • Big Damn Heroes: By Cherry, here, although accidental.
  • Bigger on the Inside
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Louis delivers one to Ava. It seems to have affected her.
  • Big, Flat "What": Rick has one when Percy has to tell Louis that he (Rick) left a bad impression.
  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: At least three groups follow this pattern.
    • Group 1: Sam (Brawn), Percy (Brain), Ava (Beauty)
    • Group 2: Cherry (Brain), Rick (Brawn), Helen (Beauty)
    • Group 3: Quin (Brawn), Grey (Brain), Juliet (Beauty)
  • Be Yourself: Downplayed theme.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: It's hard to see, but Ava (blonde), Sam (brunette) and Rick (redhead).
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: For a period of time beginning on February 11, 2012, Percy's shadow had gotten its hands on the Info Database that Percy was so meticulously keeping up-to-date and pretty much trashed it. At first, it was simply a black-out of the information (which copy-pasting into a text editor could easily undo), but then his edits started getting...nightmarish.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: Zigzagged. Some of them have similar body types, but they still have different facial features and hairstyles, and several of them have body detailing to set them apart.
    • Even when some characters are similar, they have very different concepts. See Rick and Louis, for example. And despite the vast number of shadow selves, they're all patterned differently.
    • It's even visible on the character's color itself. They're never one color (Percy's orange as well as brown).
  • Chekhov's Gun: Louis' deaf ear allows Cherry to sneak up on him and push him into the abyss.
    • After the rendezvous at the art gallery, Juliet reveals that there's a switch that could help them escape the hospital. Suddenly the title card for the comic makes sense.
  • Closed Circle: Literally and not-so-literally.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Everyone looks pretty distinct to begin with, but their colors make them almost impossible to confuse.
  • Conveniently Interrupted Document: The papers Percy finds.
  • Coordinated Clothes: They all wear the same uniform, but with some personal variations thrown in. Sam's collar is askew, Rick tucks in his shirt, Percy buttons up his shirt all the way, Louis rolls up his sleeves, Juliet hates shoes, and so on.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: A literal example, since Quin's associated element is ice.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The hospital, Detention style.
  • The Door Slams You: Juliet does this accidentally to Sam.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Unavoidable when all the characters have mental illnesses.
  • Eldritch Location: The hospital, natch. Through the course of the story, it gets more insane, containing Bizarrchitecture and Gravity Screw.
  • Elevator Escape: Sam employs this to get away from Percy and Ava.
  • Escape from the Crazy Place
  • Enemy Without: Also happens to be the Shadow Archetype.
  • Foreshadowing: Lots of it if you know where to look.
    • The light switch Juliet remembers in chapter 4 appears in her fleeting thoughts.
    • Among the basements symbols, only Louis' is dimmed. They also foreshadow the characters' insecurities, as detailed here.
    • Louis was first seen in this room. Notice the symbol on the wall?
    • The Show Within a Show, Vera and the Dragon (Cherry's original story presented as an alternate forum adventure on Eagle Time), was going to be a chunk of this according to this. Grace (Ava) was going to be shadowy about her past because her sister was the princess of the elves and she was a Half-Human Hybrid.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The hours passed can be counted on one hand.
  • Five Temperament Ensemble: Ava and Juliet are sanguine; Rick and Quin are choleric; Sam and Percy are melancholic; Louis and Grey are phlegmatic; Cherry and Helen are supine.
  • Freudian Trio: The first three characters introduced. Percy is the Superego (logical, perceptive), Sam the Ego (doesn't care about others and wants to get out as soon as possible), and Ava the Id (excitable, loves chatting and getting people's attention).
  • Genius Loci: The hospital appears to have elements of this. For example, one room traps Ava and Cherry within it.
  • Genre Savvy: Sam has clearly watched more TV than the rest of the group. One of the suggestions even lampshades this, referring to him as Genre Savvy man.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The whole place is Grey's idea that went off rails.
  • Hearing Voices: Mystery flavor.
  • A House Divided
  • Incoming Ham: YOU THERE!
  • Inside a Computer System: The entire hospital is a VR simulation.
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: Louis invokes this, referring to Cherry as Japanese (she's Chinese).
  • Imagine Spot: Often, with Art Shift and all. Word of God says it was a concept that never happened in Godquest, finally realized in full.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot
  • Just in Time: Rick is on the brink of falling into despair, when Grey speaks through the intercom.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: See Ontological Mystery below.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: Done between Percy and Rick, and Cherry and Ava.
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Ava and Quin.
  • Mad Eye: Vivian.
  • Madness Mantra: Occasionally uttered by Quin.
  • Minimalist Cast
  • Missing Episode: Side content, such as April Fool's updates and Cherry's original story Vera and the Dragon, are now unreadable due to image hosts' links breaking (first Dropbox, then Photobucket) and the MSPA Forums closing.
  • Missing Floor: Sam is surprised to discover a basement. So far, only one elevator leads to it.
  • Mobile Maze
  • Monkey Morality Pose: Briefly flashes as crossed-out ears, eyes, and mouth when Louis meets Helen.
  • Morality Pet: Cherry to Rick. They plan their stuff together, and Cherry acts as his assistant.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After Sam gets sorted out by his shadow, he directly realizes how unhelpful he's been. He clearly didn't expect things to go so far.
  • Mythology Gag: Grey says the only test he did before was with four individuals...Which showed up in the April Fool's 2016 update.
  • Neck Lift: Inverted. A shadowy hand restrains Sam onto the ground by the neck while he's in the black room with the mirrored floor.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Has its own page.
  • The '90s: According to Word of God, the story takes place in 1995.
  • No Antagonist: Currently, the hospital itself, along with the demonic voices and tentacles of darkness, seems to be the best candidate for one.
  • Oh, Crap!: Sam, meet Rick.
  • Ontological Mystery: Everyone has woken up in a room with no memory of what happened prior to their incarceration other than that they were leaving home for something.
  • Ominous Visual Glitch: It starts very subtle, but when Juliet loses it, turns to Antisepticeye kaliber.
  • Painting the Medium: Everyone and their dialog is colored a different hue while the demonic voices have black backgrounds in their text. As things get weirder, filter effects such as smudging and pixellizing are used as well.
  • Plot-Powered Stamina: The story stretches on well past midnight. Possibly justified as they're all in dream-like VR world.
  • Plummet Perspective: A variation occurs at the end of the prologue.
  • Portal Picture: Just don't get stuck in one.
  • Prelap: In visual form!
  • Psychological Torment Zone
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: Rick lands a hell of a beatdown on Louis to avenge his graduation invitation, but the most that he suffers is a slight nosebleed. Louis then does a big right jab on the coach's face, knocking off his glasses in the process. Even Rick's inner demon knew this right from the start.
  • The Rival: It is initially made a big deal that Rick does not like Louis. The status of this, considering they're both missing is unknown, since Louis genuinely went off the deep and Rick got stuck when Cherry's room collapsed.
  • Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Subverted.
  • Rotating Protagonist: You could easily divide the story into scenes with certain characters as focus.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Rick is one of the only people of the other hospital inhabitants that Cherry seems comfortable being around and talking to due to her rather shy and skittish personality. At one point they get separated after Cherry has a meltdown when he and Louis start fighting; she goes to search for Rick a few minutes later, only to see another woman now following him around. Feeling replaced, she runs away heartbroken and several walls come jutting up from the floor behind her to prevent them from following. In other words, her barriers just went back up.
  • Sanity Slippage
  • Scooby-Dooby Doors: The hospital causes the characters to run into these constantly. As neatly summerized by Ava:
    We've been chased by a sentient moving wall, gone upside-down more than three times, got lost and ended up back at the same elevator twice, apparently went up to the roof when we thought it was floor 2, are hearing voices again, walked through a wall, and we STILL can't find my room?!
  • Shout-Out: The fact that all of the characters trapped in the hospital have numbers on their hands is very reminiscent of Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors.
    • In the old forum threads, Word of God had stated that 999 was not an inspiration, but readers bringing up the comparison is what inspired her to play it.
    • Word of God also confirms that House of Leaves is another inspiration for this work.
    • Other inspirations include Psychonauts and Persona 4.
    • The narrative asks Helen how 'Stonequest' is coming along, much like how Homestuck itself has an option to ask Aranea how 'Cherubquest' is coming along. In both cases, they haven't been found yet.
  • Shy Blue-Haired Girl: Cherry is a pretty good example of this.
  • Sigil Spam: Each character has a symbol, which are found all over the hospital.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: To lead up to the light flicker. Mini Rotating Arcs also occur since the cast doesn't exactly like to stick together.
  • Skintone Sclerae: a good chunk of the cast.
  • Soaperizing
  • Soft Glass: The entire floor of the black room, as Shadow Quin demonstrates; Sam ends up on a hospital bed without so much as a scratch.
  • Spell My Name With An S: Word of God says that the adventure's title is one word, not two. Thus, the fan abbreviation "SE" is not actually appropriate.
  • Subliminal Seduction: During Sam's stay in the White Void Room, censored messages start to obscure his train of thought. When highlighted, they appear to be gibberish. However, if you get rid of the non-alphabetic characters, separate the letters into caps and lowercase, and reverse both strings, you will get two messages. The lowercase one reads, "run boy you should run they are going to get you you do not realize what you have done they want to kill you from the inside out they are the most terrifying things you will ever experience because they are you and only you alone can defeat them sam you better get out of here and quickly quickly," and the all-caps one reads, "I CANNOT POSSIBLY FATHOM TO TELL YOU THE FULL RAMIFICATIONS OF WHAT YOU HAVE DONE HERE YOU HAVE DONE SOMETHING DEMONIC AND YOU WILL REGRET IT SECONDS AFTER YOU LEAVE THIS ROOM I HOPE YOU ENJOY THE FATE YOU HAVE PUT UPON YOURSELF BECAUSE YOU WILL BE LIVING IT FOR EVERY SECOND FROM NOW ON."
    • This happens again after Sam gets struck by lightning, although the text is in Shadow Sam's color and it doesn't need to be highlighted. Although the capital letters don't seem to have a message, the lowercase ones spell out "sam im very disappointed in you/you have been rude and disruptive and entirely unhelpful/sam theres something you should do this is your last chance/it will help you will be fixed you can live normally sign here/sam sign here sam sam sam sign here sam sam sign sam" over the course of five pages.
  • Theme Naming: Not including full names (as the cast is rarely called by them in-story), they're ten letters long. Even including aliases (Red Diamond) and initials (Rick L. Worth).
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback: Sam is reminded of "someone" (with a censor bar over the eyes no less) later revealed to be his mom and tries to drop the subject ASAP.
    • This device becomes more common; even the comically arrogant Rick has one.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Despite being written in second person, the narration varies depending on the character in focus. Considering the characters' mannerisms...
  • Unsound Effect: EJECT.
  • Wall of Blather: Percy and Rick are prone to these.
  • Was Just Leaving: Sam Herbert, like the Tsundere he is, harshly rebukes any offers of help with all sorts of excuses, including saying that he was about to go.
    Sam: Look, I don't want your help, okay? I was just leaving!
  • Wham Line: Sam's realization after getting sorted out by his shadow:
    This is...virtual reality! This whole thing is virtual reality!
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Quin was going to have a bookstore.
    • There were originally going to be puzzles for the audience to solve, much like other MS Paint Forum Adventures.
    • There were going to be more "NPCs" inside characters' rooms to represent traumas from their past, Psychonauts-style. The author opted for a lonelier feel instead, so the ten main characters are all that's present in the story.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Rick did not care about Cherry when she ran away, so Quin pulls this on Rick after he shrugs off Cherry running away from them in tears, despite the fact that they'd been trying to find her.
    Quin: Did you even notice she was crying? Did you even care? You said you were specifically looking for her!
  • White Void Room: Sam ends up in one. And immediately gets assaulted by a mass of dark tentacles that may or may not be his inner demon.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Several of the characters, particularly those who believe they are in control of the situation.
  • You Are Number 6: Everyone has a numeral on their left hand which designates how they have one of ten personality disorders according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition. Read more about it here (you'll also understand why 301 is the other Arc Number). However, keep in mind that that relation is mostly to tip off the audience, and the numbers may in fact mean something deeper in-universe.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: In only a week's worth of updates, Sam, Percy, and Ava find the exit to the hospital which leads to a cliff that leads to an abyss. END OF PROLOGUE.

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