Thoughtstuck follows the adventures of four sixteen-year-old kids. We'll examine them in in-universe chronological order for consistency's sake.
Tony Ellment lives in the middle of the secluded Australian desert, somewhere in the GMT+8 time zone, with his elderly adoptive grandmother. Wednesday, September 19, 2012, the date that Thoughtstuck picks up on, was Tony's 16th birthday. On that day, he received a variety of gifts from his three friends, including a set of journals on his psychological state (from Gina), a hat (from Brad), and an expensive suitcase (from Bach). Tony appears to be a habitual liar, telling each of his friends that their gift is the best. Tony's grandmother (called "Gramma"), who spent her formative years exploring the world, decided that she would give her grandson the gift of being able to do the same, giving him a plane ticket to Peru and a blank check for seeing the world. Somewhere in there, he also has an incredibly long game of Go Fish with his grandmother, which allows his timeframe to catch up to that of his friends.
Gina Leonard lives at the top of a skyscraper in the heart of Paris, France, GMT+1, with an adoptive figure she identifies as a brother. Gina spent most of the morning waiting for her friends to wake up, except for Tony, who she is clearly not extraordinarily fond of. It is revealed that for her 16th birthday, which occurred on March 2nd, 2012, Bach gave her the shirt she wears on a daily basis, Brad gave her something we don't know about and won't for a while, and Tony gave her a hang glider, with which Gina apparently has some very frightening connotations. She occupies her time with such activities as eating tea and chocolate, playing the piano, and attempting to defy French law that every household have a robotic picture of Marie Curie on its wall. She spends a good hour and a half playing the piano, which allows her remaining friends to wake up and the story to move on.
If one were to look close enough, it would be clear that there are some strange political happenstances on Earth. What exactly these are have yet to be explained.
Brad Treller and Bach Merdith (a girl, no matter what you associate that name with) woke up at more or less exactly the same time on the 19th. Brad lives in a comfortably small house on a small island off the coast of the island-state of Haiti, GMT-5, while Bach lives in a tiny cabin surrounded by a very large house somewhere in the wilderness of what we would call Alberta, Canada, GMT-7. Brad lives with his paternal-archetype father, while Bach lives with the remainder of her family, her eldest brother, a crafty bastard who may or may not be involved with a number of confusing subplots and is also apparently a massive troll. Brad was born the same day as Gina, March 2nd, in what could only be a massive cosmic coincidence, while Bach celebrated her 16th birthday on March 13th, 2012.
Brad and Bach have been planning to play a computer game called SBURB together for a while. Bach has had her copy for quite some time, but because Brad didn't splurge on shipping, his copy takes a while to arrive. According to the USPS' rather unreliable shipping tracker, it is set to arrive in a number of minutes, though that number ends up being revised upward. In that time, we learn about Brad's strange fascination with hats and Charlie Sheen, see his cactus garden, and watch him get into a strange fight with his father that was more likely than not a product of Brad's impulses and nothing more. We also see that Brad holds a very distorted view of the nature of the relationship between himself and Gina.
Meanwhile, Gina learns that her brother is playing SBURB too, apparently with a member of the development team. When she presses him for questions, he reveals that the environment-manipulation abilities of SBURB are in fact happening in real life, powered by some master server somewhere. He is, however, incredibly pressed for time with the game, and needs to cut his conversation short. In an unrelated event, a meteor crashes somewhere in Paris, and Gina consults with Tony on the matter, since he has been reporting similar events for several weeks. He is thoroughly unhelpful.
Brad exits his front door in time to see the mail helicopter land in front of his house. A mailwoman emerges, spends a good deal of time staring off into the distance, gives him his copy of SBURB, and then reenters the helicopter, takes off, and leaves. Brad waves her goodbye. Upon reentering his house, Brad faces his father again, this time beating him unconscious with his own hat. He then boots up SBURB and connects to Bach as her client player, Bach being the server.
Bach spends some time moving things around in Brad's house using the game, which physically manipulates Brad's environment. The two of them have difficulty mastering the controls or figuring out the point of the game, the former because Bach is using a pen and tablet as mouse input, and the game refuses to recognize a button press unless maximum pressure is applied, and the latter because the only potential source of information they can find, a rulebook that Bach can deploy to Brad, appears to be completely empty.
After dropping his couch through his roof and dropping and breaking his magic mirror, Bach finally concedes to take the game more seriously and try to make some progress. They relocate outside to Brad's balcony, where Bach deploys a large machine called an Alchemiter, nearly crushing Brad. They cannot find any purpose to the machine, so, having used up most of the space in the area, relocate to Brad's bathroom. Bach deploys a Cruxtruder, which Brad decides is to be use by torquing the attached wheel as hard as possible. To achieve this, he has Bach set up a pulley system above the Cruxtruder connected to the wheel, to which he jumps from a nearby ledge and hangs on to. The system predictably fails, and Brad falls from the ceiling onto the lid of the Cruxtruder, popping it off and releasing a flashing blue kernelsprite in addition to starting a countdown from nine minutes and nineteen seconds. Brad is understandably distressed, and when a sylladex accident leaves him without a fetch modus and throws a cactus into the kernelsprite, he is even more so. Luckily, he gets the idea to replace his bucket modus with the sink from his bathroom using some dubious meta-interaction logic.
Bach then attempts to deploy a third machine, the Totem Lathe, to Brad's living room above, but accidentally drops it because of her tablet. The lathe breaks a hole in the floor and falls through into the bathroom, revealing the strange geometry of Brad's house and nearly crushing Brad again. Furious, Brad demands that Bach go get a mouse before continuing the game. She deploys a hole-punched captchalogue card and then leaves, though she spends a good deal of time dawdling in her room before actually going to find a mouse.
Brad is stumped in the game when Gina contacts him. The two work through the rest of the game, discovering through etymology and trial and error that the proper procedure is to twist the Cruxtruder wheel once the lid has come off, releasing a blue cruxite dowel. The dowel can then be put into the totem lathe. The punched card provides instructions for the machine to lathe the dowel into a totem. The totem can then be brought to the Alchemiter, which will take the totem as instructions to create a physical object. Following these steps under Gina's guidance, Brad creates a blue gift box.
Brad then has a long conversation with Tony, only ending it when he realizes that there is a meteor headed directly toward his house and his only hope is probably to open the box. He attempts to, but realizes that the lid is strongly attached. He frantically searches his house for a pair of scissors, eventually finding them, but he cannot use them on the box. In a last act of desperation, Brad tosses the box into the air and cuts the top off with a swipe of his hat, which works somehow.
At this time, Bach chooses to exit her room after choosing a small Rubik's cube as a weapon in case of emergencies. She sneaks over to her garage, not wanting to be seen by her brother for reasons of sibling strife. While rifling through storage boxes in the room, she finds a box with the SBURB logo on it. Inside is a tablet computer marked as a SBURB porta-server. Using it, she reconnects to Brad, who has been transported with his house to the top of a particularly large tree on a strange planet covered in forest and inhabited by birds, the Land of Trees and Eggs. Unfortunately, Brad's father was on the roof at the time of the transportation, trying to fix the hole in the roof Bach made. He became disoriented and fell off, landing in Brad's cactus garden and dying instantly.
Brad is understandably distressed upon learning this, but is soon interrupted by a loud voice in his head, his Exile. The exile identifies himself as one of his guides for his adventure and asks Brad to talk to his friends. The conversation with Tony goes uneventfully, but when Brad tells Gina about his meteor, she pieces this information together with the sudden disappearance of her brother from the chat program after a loud explosion in the distance and his playing SBURB. She leaves abruptly, leaving Brad very confused. During his conversation with Bach, Brad notices that his hat is missing, subsequently seeing it on the head of an evil-looking wood cactus imp. Brad takes two other hats and beats the imp to a pulp, retrieving his hat and gaining the spoils of the encounter as experience points and shiny drops. Brad gains two levels on his echeladder (an experience ranking system with 100 levels in total) from his conduct during the encounter.
In her terror over her brother, Gina successfully retrieves Tony's hang glider from her sylladex and flies across town to the site of her brother's former house. She finds his body in the crater, captchalogues it, and races across town, partially through the sewers, to the base of her apartment building. She then scales the numerous floors to reach the roof, where she collapses from exhaustion.
Brad's exile contacts him again, telling Brad that he can throw his father's body into his sprite, currently occupied by the cactus that fell into the kernelsprite earlier, to bring him back to life. Brad promptly does so, and has a joyful reunion with his father. Being a sprite and yet another mysterious guide for Brad, his father then exposits on various aspects of Brad's adventure, including his title as the Bard of Hope, the purpose of the empty rulebook, and his next goal, to get Bach to build his house up far enough to reach one of the floating spirographs called Gates. Brad expresses a desire to get off the giant tree-island his house is on, but when Dadsprite refuses to help, Brad's exile chimes in, saying that he can find a path down by pulling apart the leaves at his feet. This turns out to be true, and against his father's orders, Brad jumps down.
Meanwhile, Bach finds a mouse in her brother's laboratory adjacent to the garage along with a number of strange items her brother has either built or bought. Her brother then ambushes her, and the two engage in strife, her brother using a working lightsaber he somehow made, and Bach doing her best to dodge. Somehow, the rubik's cube Bach took appears to be capable of blocking the saber, and attempt to go on the offensive, but her bro disarms her and advances for the kill. It is here than he is revealed to be a massive troll, turning the saber up from the "hard light" setting to the "tickle" setting and tickling Bach unconscious. He absconds.
Below the canopy, Brad fights off another imp and finds his hat again, which had fallen off the tree at one point. However, he is then ambushed by a giant wood cactus ogre, who chases him around until Brad uses a giant bird as a decoy and escapes, running back up to his house. Brad's father reprimands him for disobedience and punishes him by launching his hat into the distance. Brad reluctantly dons another hat and accepts his father's offer for a quest he could take: to retrieve all this father's bananas, which have been stolen by imps. Brad enters his father's bedroom for the first time in memory, discovering a raided banana hoard and nearly having a mental breakdown.
Bach wakes up to an alert from her brother's computer, which indicates that there will be a meteor strike on her location in about twenty minutes. She panics and contacts Brad, who tells her to get in touch with Gina or Tony, they can get a copy of SBURB and save her. She does both, but neither respond. Bach deploys one last machine to Dad's room, the Punch Designix, and goes to being building up Brad's house, both at his request. She makes a good deal of progress, but runs out of Grist, currency necessary for construction that Brad can gain from fighting imps.
Brad finds that the codes on the back of Captchalogue cards can be used with the Punch Designix to punch holes in cards like the one that made his giftbox. He attempts to create a banana with this process, but is ambushed by group of imps. With his exile's tactical help, he fights some of them off, but is stabbed in the back by a one. At this point, Dadsprite intervenes, healing Brad an offering to take care of the rest of the imps, but Brad refuses, ripping through the rest of the group with apparent ease.
Gina gets up, still on the roof. While mourning her brother, she finds a captchalogue card in his pocket - a card for a SBURB server CD. Understanding what he wanted, she takes his body back down to her room and begins a game of SBURB as Bach's server, to her relief. However, upon opening the Cruxtruder, Bach discovers that she has only a minute to do her entire entry procedure, and freaks out. She and Gina then rush through the game.
Seeing this, Bach's brother heads to his laboratory, makes some edits to a computer program, and runs it, then absconding to the roof.
Bach prototypes her kernelsprite with her obviously-dead bird, Tiggles. She then creates her entry item, a gigantic green egg. As the sun finally rises over her house, she looks up and sees her brother standing on the roof for a moment before he disappears in a blur. Shocked, and with no time whatsoever to think, Bach instinctively takes her rubik's cube and smashes through the egg with it, entering the medium.
And then the wall turned on and I started spouting exposition and recap to you.
So what's next?