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Joystiq impressions: Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People (WiiWare)

Zack Stern

Days before the Nintendo Media Summit, Telltale Games revealed Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People. I tried the adventure game at the event and spoke with Telltale's marketing coordinator, Emily Morganti.

Strong Bad follows in the game style of Sam & Max and other adventures, but it trades some of the linear, story elements for more random activities. For example, Strong Bad can make prank phone calls; play mini-games, including fake-retro throwbacks from the online cartoon; check in-game email, and otherwise explore his world.

Players drive most of the game interaction by pointing and clicking with the Wii Remote, although some mini-games use an NES-style approach. Morganti stressed that for this game and the upcoming Sam & Max conversion, Telltale won't add motion controls for their own sake.

Telltale's own team of writers and producers, including many who have been part of Sam & Max, are collaborating the Chapmans, Homestar Runner's creators. But unlike Sam & Max, Telltale plans to have different people lead the production on each of the five, roughly monthly episodes.

Morganti explained, "Each episode, a different designer [is in charge], which is more like they do on TV. ... It's still the same team. [But] it'll be interesting to see how the episodes feel as a result. With Sam & Max, we've had complaints that they feel too similar. We might find with Strong Bad, that each one feels very different."

Gallery: Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People | 28 Photos

As I wandered through Strong Bad's house, I clicked on objects to interact. Homestar had been convicted of indecent exposure, and my goal was to clear his record so he'd leave the house. Dialogue options are represented by thought bubbles and iconic images, so I'd tap on a picture instead of a line of text. Then Strong Bad and other characters spoke their lines.

The graphics faithfully resemble the Flash cartoons. Telltale uses only a single game engine across its products, but the design looks unique. The game is drawn in 3D, but various shading techniques give it a 2D style. Additionally, in the areas I sampled, I could lead Strong Bad roughly along a single line, further flattening the game's depth. Morganti noted that the engine runs on the PC, Wii, and Xbox 360. The company plans a PC version of the game, with release details to be determined.

Also like Sam & Max, Strong Bad might be published in a physical product after the season of episodes concludes. While firm plans aren't yet established, Morganti said, "I would be surprised if we didn't consider packaging it up and putting it at retail at the end. A whole other group of people buy things at retail and aren't going to download it." Sam & Max subscribers get a free, physical copy of the full season after it ends, but if Strong Bad makes it to a Wii disc, Morganti expects it will be stand-alone and unrelated to any WiiWare purchases.

The first WiiWare episode will launch in June, and Telltale is still planning a few surprises. Morganti mentioned WiiConnect 24 support but is saving specifics for a time closer to the launch.

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