(originally written for the currently in construction MSPA newspaper thingy)
One of the issues that detractors have with MS Paint Adventures is that while readers do submit choices, the author has the final say and as we are (possibly) aware, some ideas have been planned in advance. So does this mean that the readers actually contribute anything? On the surface, the answer for those unfamiliar with the series is a hearty "No!" and yet as a reader and a fan I've given it some thought and I disagree. Instead of being two separate entities, the reader and Andrew are one in the same, part of a zeitgeist.
In this community where we submit actions and commands and art we have a role building the stories. Yes, Andrew could theoretically pick random choices or even the first choice but that is not telling a story or it doesn't work well in the end. In fact, it would be like playing Scrabble blindfolded if anything. Random letters might make up a word but the value and quality of the choice are suspect. As such, if Andrew had just picked random choices , Zoosmell Pooplord would be in his room sending money to a Nigerian prince while his house burns down around him. Or at least it would according to the alternate reality viewer but that is a story for another article.
By planning ahead and framing out story aspects you allow a natural growth to occur. I myself figured this out while working on my own writing project. By building the universe some things solve themselves in a natural way because you are familiar with the characters. And then it become less about Andrew picking what he wants and it becomes him picking what the character might actually do. We help to define the characters though through submissions, posting and so on.
People for the most part will submit ideas to move the story along and to make it progress. I doubt there are really any people who forcibly wish for the comic to die. Actually, I will retract that, but I think there are not enough to alter the zeitgeist who are on the forum. Even if it were so, the community would take action as part of due process because we hold our own stakes in this comic.
MSPA has transcended beyond being a comic. It is also a movie, a game, a musical, an inspiration and a community. It has gathered one of the most friendly online communities that I have seen and I do a decent amount of internet surfing (under assumed identities). People here want to work together. They openly support each other in their endeavors. Writing the comic with Andrew is just another project for us as a group and while we may not always seem to be in full control, it works just as well that way because direct control for any party might take away that magic.
Long live MS Paint Adventures and Andrew Hussie.