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Telltale Games Interview - Strong Bad's Cool Game

Posted by Marcel van Duyn

Strong Bad's Cool Game For Attractive People (SBCG4AP for short) is perhaps one of the most anticipated upcoming WiiWare releases. When it was first announced it came as a real surprise, as people were not expecting a point and click adventure game based on one of the most popular flash cartoon series at all!

We recently caught up with Mark Darin, a designer at Telltale Games, to ask some questions about the first episode of SBCG4AP, Homestar Ruiner, which will be hitting WiiWare sometime soon.

WiiWare World: Plenty of mini-games were created for the Homestar Runner site already. Who came up with the idea to make a full-fledged game on a console?

Mark Darin: Most of the mini-games on the Homestarrunner.com site are really just jokes. Nostalgic references to the videogame era of the 80’s. What stood out to us were the characters themselves and the stories they would find themselves in on a weekly basis in the Homestarrunner.com cartoons. Homestar, Strong Bad and the rest of the cast were colorful, funny and wonderfully absurd… a perfect fit for the episodic storytelling that Telltale is known for!

WW: We know what the first episode will be about – Will the rest of the episodes continue where the first one ends, or will they all feature completely separate stories?

MD: We are approaching the storytelling almost like a sitcom. Each of the episodes are self-contained stories. You won't need to have played the first one to jump right in and be comfortable. But, like a sitcom, as you play more episodes, you’ll start to pick up on subtle character traits, running gags, and self-referential material that can really enhance the experience.

WW: Homestar Runner is the character the website was made for – Why did you decide to make a game featuring Strong Bad instead of Homestar?

MD: As Strong Bad himself exclaims on the website, “You don’t know it yet, but I’m the reason you’re here.” Strong Bad's crazy, self-centered, and mischievous antics are what really make the game (and the website) fun. Everybody wants to be the cool guy, and in the Homestar universe you just don't get any more awesome than Strong Bad.

WW: You’ve created two seasons of Sam & Max games, and the third season will start in the near future – How similar to the Sam & Max games will Strong Bad be?

MD: They are similar in the fact that they are both point & click style adventure games, and that they are both really funny. But they're funny in different ways. Strong Bad really has a style all his own. We have also made an effort to add more side activities to do in SBCG4AP, things that aren’t part of the story. Players can wander off at any time and just screw around. We have retro-style video games that Strong Bad can play, mini-quests, and even the ability to pull out your trusty Taranchula Black Metal Detector to search the environments for buried items!

WW: The game will feature all main characters. Will we also see some of the more popular minor characters, like Trogdor, Homsar and the past/future versions of the main characters?

MD: We are trying to squeeze in as many characters as we can that fit the stories we are writing. Don't be surprised if you see a few of fan favorites making cameo appearances in upcoming episodes.

WW: We’ve seen that the game will include some mini-games, such as Snake Boxer 5. Can we expect a lot of these, and is there a chance we might even see some games from the site?

MD: We’ll be including at least one of these retro style arcade games in each episode. We’ve decided against replicating the actual games from Homestarrunner.com within the game because... well... they're already on the website. Whether you have a Wii or a PC, these games are already pretty accessible and we felt that giving paying customers something they could play elsewhere for free would be a bit of a cop-out. We want to make sure to keep everything fresh and new!

WW: The Sam & Max games had loads of interactivity – Will there be tons of objects and characters to interact with here as well?

MD: I think on average we have a few more characters to interact with, but fewer objects in the environments. The Homestar Runner universe just isn't that dense. Early in the design phase we decided that if we started cluttering up the environments with items just so you'd have something to look at and interact with, it wouldn't feel like Homestar Runner anymore. Instead of junking up the world with stuff that didn't feel right, we took the route of including more side activities for the player to engage in.

WW: About how long would you say the first episode is?

MD: It usually takes me about 3 hours to play straight through an episode, and I know exactly what I am doing every time. That's without asking all the questions, taking the side quests, playing the mini-games and so on. The more you play and discover all the secrets and collectables (did I mention there are also achievements and hidden items to collect?!), the higher Strong Bad’s “awesomeness level" becomes. To max that out, you’ll probably end up having to play a lot longer. We made a conscious effort to make sure that the game doesn’t end just because you have completed the story.

WW: The Strong Bad section of the website has almost 200 emails now - How many emails will there be for Strong Bad to answer in the game?

MD: Not 200.

WW: Will some of Strong Bad’s emails feature Easter eggs, like on the website? (i.e. being able to click certain words to see secret clips or pictures?)

MD: Well, if we told you, it wouldn’t be an Easter egg!

WW: Do you have any other WiiWare releases in the pipeline?

MD: Not at the moment. We will be bringing Sam & Max to the Wii very soon, but it will be a retail release containing all six episodes of Season One... much too large for WiiWare!

WW: Will we finally figure out the mystery of how Strong Bad types with boxing gloves on?

MD: YES! …I mean no. No, you won’t. Sorry.

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User Comments (25)

KnucklesSonic8

#1

KnucklesSonic8 said:

Nice interview. And I like how WiiWare developers are incorporating Achievements systems using Badges, as was evident in TV Show King and Pop, to name a few. Hopefully Nintendo will take a hint since PS3 has started to do the same thing now. :o That would be awesome if we could have an Achievements Channel kinda like a Trophy Cabinet but then again.. there's that space issue.

Anyway, I'm quite interested in Strong Bad but I've never viewed the flash cartoon before. I heard mention of Mature content in the past. Can anyone elaborate on that for me? It may make or break the purchase for me.

Virus

#2

Virus said:

Awesome interview. Heck, I was looking forward to this game before, but after this, I'm moving this to my most-anticipated WiiWare game. It seems it has a heck of a lot more content than I originally thought. I may not get the latter episodes in the series, but I'm certainly getting this one!

Pshh... and Strong Bad is not the coolest... I'm with Homestar all the way

Phantom5800

#3

Phantom5800 said:

This has probably been covered before, but I am interested to know. Will the entire season one be located in a single channel as you add on to it? Or will each episode be different channel slots? Also, will there be any kinds of links between episodes? Like if you unlock Snake Boxer 5 in one episode, would you be able to play it in episode two if you had unlocked it in one?

Virus

#5

Virus said:

@KnucklesSonic8
Mature content and Strong Bad? Heh, sorry, I find it funny. No, the entire Homestar site contains nothing worse than the mention of the word "R-rated." It's innocent humor that is hilarious. Go check it yourself at homestarrunner.com!

KnucklesSonic8

#6

KnucklesSonic8 said:

Sorry.. maybe it was another game. It was definitely Pop and one other game. For some reason, TV Show King came up first in my mind... Or maybe it was VIP Casino Blackjack?

Read the Detailed Instructions on the Wii Shop for both those games. It mentions it. If it's not either of those, it's one other game but I can't put my finger on which one it is....

@Virus:
Maybe I should have been more clear. It was mentioned that the game may be given an E10+/Teen Rating. Would this be because of Crude Humor along the lines of WarioWare. By "mature content", I was referencing things that a kid shouldn't hear but some may find... "funny"/"immature". I'm just curious...

Kingston

#7

Kingston said:

@KnucklesSonic8: There is no mature content on the website, so I doubt the game will contain any either. There is "crude humor", because Strong Bad always says "Holy crap!" all the time, but there is nothing "mature" about it.

Terra

#8

Terra said:

I first got into Homestar Runner after watching of the pre-release videos of the game. Love it now and I'll certainly get the game

Pink_Rabbit

#9

Pink_Rabbit said:

I´m really looking forward to this game (as well as Sam and Max and any futher plans for Wii or DS from this dev)

Objection

#10

Objection said:

@knuckles Its rated Teen for crude humor, mild sugestive themes, and mild cartoon violence, but I dont think it'll be "edgy" like you seem to be concerned about. Strongbad probably just says "crap" and "boobs" somewhere. Its a PG show.

KnucklesSonic8

#12

KnucklesSonic8 said:

Ah, I see. Okay, thanks for clearing that up guys. I knew Crude Humor would show up but I wouldn't say I was... "edgy" exactly. I just needed someone to elaborate on what the "humour" of the game actually entailed. At first I speculated that maybe there were some immature jokes that would make some people laugh and others take offense, that sort of thing.

THATG0MEZ

#15

THATG0MEZ said:

Can't wait for this game. I'll have to clear space, of course, but I still can't wait.

Tim

#16

Tim said:

It's too bad we can't demo a game or get a proper storage solution from Nintendo. I'll have to pass on this. There is no way I'll be able to fit an entire season of SBCG4AP on the 667 blocks I have left. For that reason alone I have to be anal about what I download.

I can't wait though for Telltale's Sam and Max Season 1 coming out in August. I have all my pennies saved up for it :)

sailingtheseaoffools

#17

sailingtheseaoffools said:

"we can't demo a game"

Nintendo is smart about not requiring demos. They are the kiss of death to xbox live titles. Ever wonder why they never state how many sales of games there are?

Last time they did it the ratio of demos to purchases was six to one. The vc seems to sell ten times a month what the xbox live arcade does.

Five to ten bucks is an impulse purchase price. Demos would kill that impulse killing 90% of sales.

ACK

#19

ACK said:

Wow, what a fantastic interview! Sure sounds like Telltale Games is going all out with SBCG4AP--not like you'd expect any less, but this is unbelievably awesome news for Homestar Runner fans.

To anyone who's paying attention, I don't think there is any question whether this will be one of the definitive WiiWare releases. It could even be one of the most ridiculous and rewarding Adventure games in far, far too long.

@ Tim: You are aware that you can copy your games to an SD card and back, right? It only takes a few minutes and you can get a 2 gig card for under $15...

Draygone

#21

Draygone said:

@ ACK!
New to the VC/WiiWare scene, huh? People have been clamoring for a better storage solution than swapping data back and forth for a while, now. :P

ACK

#22

ACK said:

No, not at all. Actually, I own well over 50 titles, myself. Plus, I kind of review for this wonderful site...

I'm just dumbfounded that people bother to rebel against undeniably interesting, potentially great titles such as SBCG4AP simply because they are too stubborn to take a few minutes and transfer a few games back and forth. Maybe it's because I grew up uninstalling a game or two and possibly tweaking my system every time I got a new PC game, but I really don't mind dealing with a little inconvenience to enjoy good games. Sorry!

SmaMan

#23

SmaMan said:

And along with the typing with boxing gloves thing they gotta tell us what his parents look like and what he looks like underneath his mask! Bwahahahaaa!

ThNikkaMan

#25

ThNikkaMan said:

Dude.... secrets are one of the things that made HR cartoons cool!

Did you know that on the main page of the site, if you click the 8 in 2008, you can acess a secret main page?

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