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Old 11-10-2011, 10:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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A Look Back at the Beavis and Butt-Head Game that Didn't Suck



Huh huh huh... I said "put out."

Er, anyway, Beavis and Butt-Head are back with new episodes, and strangely enough, the duo hasn't changed an iota since they left basic cable way back in 1997. Even though modern musical tastes have since surpassed the bands referenced on their dated-in-the-90s t-shirts, the antics of brain-dead teenagers remain a universal constant in our ever-changing world. If you haven't checked out their recent misadventures, please do; I don't intend to shill for the show in this blog post, but it's downright startling how Mike Judge and his creative team managed to pick up exactly where they left off 14 years ago. And though this new season has taken on modern pop culture movements like Twilight and the recent repulsive wave of shows about pregnant teens, Beavis and Butt-Head aren't logging onto Facebook or checking in on Foursquare -- in fact, they don't even own a high-def TV.



Back in the mid '90s, Beavis and Butt-Head existed in an age that didn't treat licensed games kindly. Since 2D platformers dominated the marketplace, this genre unfortunately acted as a quick go-to for cheap cash-ins. And thanks to this unfortunate trend, gamers of the Clinton era saw their share of terrible licenses which inappropriately adopted the antics of Mario and his ilk -- seriously, did anyone think fighting dinosaurs with Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor was anything but the world's worst idea? (Plus, viewers of the show knew that only Wilson possessed the power to fell giant lizards, due to his Highlander status.) Beavis and Butt-Head suffered the same fate, delivering disappointed fans a pair of lousy side-scrollers -- even though the Genesis version added a few adventure game elements to spice up an otherwise bland outing.

1995 marked the peak of popularity for both PC adventure games and Beavis and Butt-Head, so it wasn't strange to see these two worlds collide and form Virtual Stupidity -- a game far, far better than it had any right to be. While wearers of rose-tinted glasses tend to evangelize the PC adventure game genre, it's important to note that for every Monkey Island or Sam and Max, we saw ten similar games that should best be preserved deep within a distant landfill. With Virtual Stupidity, though, developer Viacom New Media smartly set out to make a LucasArts clone, and the final product ultimately reflects this decision; while Virtual Stupidity's puzzles lack the elegance of PC adventure classics, the game takes one key design cue from their direct inspiration: in Virtual Stupidity, there's no chance of fumbling your way into an unwinnable state -- and this wasn't as uncommon as you'd expect, even so late in the genre's life.

Really, the one thing that makes Virtual Stupidity stand out is authenticity-- an extreme rarity for licensed games of the '90s. During the game's development, Viacom New Media worked closely with MTV Animation, which provided the game with an entire episode's worth of original animation, voice work from the entire cast, and a script from two of the show's staff writers. And though the developers didn't have the highest of resolutions to work with, they did a fantastic job of replicating the lived-in look of Highland, Texas and its many depraved characters. All of these elements come together to make playing Virtual Stupidity akin to participating in an original episode of the show, which makes the action-based content of the console games look even more unnecessary as a result -- and besides, 16-bit processors didn't have the horsepower to fully render The Great Cornholio, or provide speech for his rants. Despite the leads' low IQs, Beavis and Butt-Head has always been a show about dialogue, and this element could only be captured with the power of CD-Rom technology. And though Virtual Stupidity emerged during the birth of the 32-bit generation, strangely enough, it didn't see a console port outside of Japan -- go back to the beginning of this sentence and read it again. Aren't you baffled?

To be honest, there's actually another good Beavis and Butt-Head game out there, though it's not nearly as notable as Virtual Stupidity -- hell, it doesn't even have a page on Wikipedia! Due to its 1999 release date, Beavis and Butt-Head Do U didn't exactly strike while the iron was hot; in fact, the game hit shelves just as King of the Hill's third season started winding down. While Do U pares things back a bit when compared to Virtual Stupidity, it actually feels like a Telltale take on the franchise: short, sweet, and not too complex. Speaking of which, wouldn't Beavis and Butt-Head be the perfect intellectual property for Telltale to pick up, given its established adventure game history? My sources say yes. Now only Telltale has to agree.

Luckily, someone uploaded a longplay video of the game to YouTube, and the whole thing feels like a slightly pixelated (if overlong) episode of the show. There's no such thing as too much Beavis and Butt-Head, so feel free to watch it at your leisure.



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Old 11-11-2011, 02:21 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: A Look Back at the Beavis and Butt-Head Game that Didn't Suck

Retro Uprising - Arcade - Beavis And Butt Head - Snes

Retro Uprising - Arcade - Beavis and Butthead - Genesis

Retro Uprising - Arcade - Beavis and Butthead - GameGear

Retro Uprising - Arcade - Beavis And Butthead - Gameboy

The article is right it's weird how they were able to start the show back up and pick up right where they left off. I was skeptical at first but it's funny, in that really stupid way. Good to hear Hank Hills voice again as the neighbor Anderson.

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Old 11-13-2011, 12:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: A Look Back at the Beavis and Butt-Head Game that Didn't Suck

I honestly enjoyed the SNES game. It wasn't all that bad.
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Old 11-14-2011, 12:15 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: A Look Back at the Beavis and Butt-Head Game that Didn't Suck

Wait, there's new episodes of Beavis and Butthead?

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