And so, I have finished Episode 5 of Strong Bad’s Cool Game For Attractive People for the Wii, closing out the (hopefully first and not last) series of the game.

In a rather quiet year for the Wii, the Strong Bad series has come to be one of my more favorite 2008 experiences for Nintendo’s console.

One of the things that really struck me about episodic series like Strong Bad, and even XBLA’s Penny Arcade Adventures titles, is how much these games stand out as games created by genuine gamers. While both series are made up of licensed characters from popular internet sites, they don’t feel like “fun” that is generated by a marketing department’s demographic survey chart.

I’ve followed the Chapman Brothers (no relation) for several years now. I’m well aware of the world populated by Homestar Runner, Strong Bad, and The Cheat, the Monday e-mails, Decemberween and everything else. I’m also familiar with the spin-off company Videlectrix (“We use computers… To make video games!”), and actually grew to be quite fond of such titles like Peasant’s Quest, Trogdor, and Where’s An Egg? – The Brothers Chaps get old-school gaming, especially those that grew up on the Infocom and Sierra adventures, or owned an Atari 2600 and/or a NES. One of the first Homestar Runner cartoons was actually created using Mario Paint.

So “street cred” aside, how does the series actually play? It’s a classic point and click adventure (a largely dying genre, yet ideally suited for the Wii’s interface). It’s typical Strong Bad at his finest: Pulling pranks, hatching elaborate schemes, starting a “Battle of the Bands”, starring in his own home super-spy movie, and finally, saving reality from the video game world. The humor is silly, with a lot of ’80’s and ’90’s pop culture references (something the late 20’s, early 30’s crowd will appreciate), but the humor is light enough to be enjoyed by anyone.

Of all the episodes, the 5th one is my personal favorite, having played years of video games, getting those jokes, and even the appreciation for the Videlectrix titles. Exploring Peasantry is a high point of the series, and there’s plenty of nods to gaming fads, from the old Nintendo references, to Doom, to even those ugly mapped polygons of the original Playstation era. I don’t think Telltale Games could have done a finer job covering the odd little world that is video gaming, and it was a great way to close out the series.

The reason that I’m writing this at all is to point out that this series is a little gaming gem on the Wii that might be overlooked by the less savvy. For those complaining that “there is nothing fun on the Wii” would do well to check out this series. Each episode is about 2-4 hours long, and it helps to know a little of the Homestar world, or even those classic adventure games like Lucasarts and Sierra used to do. You don’t see that type of game too often anymore, so when it comes around, it’s like welcoming an old friend.

I had a wonderful time with the entire series, and it was certainly one of the highlights of 2008. If this is the kind of game that Telltale is offering to release (they also did the new Sam and Max), I’ll be keeping an eye in these guys.

Be Sociable, Share!

Filed under: post-scriptstrong badvidelectrixwiiware