on Apr 2, 2014
I love how
Kelly Mumbles and I lament that the Homestarrunner site is dead, and then two days after the recording we get the first new entry in three years. High five, Mumbles.
Next week we’re just going to play the Strong Bad game and do nothing but bitch about how long it’s been since the last Strong Bad email. Maybe we can jump-start the site again.
Ruminations on Homestar Runner follows:
It’s actually hard to introduce people to Homestar Runner these days. The jokes mostly stem from this fractally complex meta-lore that grew over the years. The team would make new versions of existing characters as part of a one-off joke. Teenage versions of the characters. Anime versions. Mid-90’s “edgy” re-designs. Comic book version. Vaudeville version. Storybook version. Then the joke characters would grow in complexity until they had a little world of their own. Then there would be a joke that created a crossover between the worlds, or made a new spinoff within the spinoff, or whatever. The jokes are impenetrable to people who don’t understand the origins and lineage of all these characters. Imagine a version of the Star Wars universe that you couldn’t follow unless you were familiar with all the movies, the novels, the 80’s cartoons, the videogames, the arcade games, and the comic books.
The longer the site ran, the more rewarding it was for longtime fans and the more impenetrable it was to outsiders.
So obviously the way to experience the site is chronologically, right? Except, there’s no easy way to do that. The Strong Bad Emails form a nice orderly numbered progression, but they often make references to the holiday specials or one-off toons that aren’t part of any series. I’m not even sure how you’d go about watching the site in order. The wiki would certainly help, but you’d still need to jump around quite a bit and understand the different types of toons and when they tended to appear.
Making matters worse is that a lot of the old toons are pretty rough by today’s standards. They were amazing in 2001 when animated, voiced content was hard to come by and the net didn’t really have the infrastructure for instantaneous video delivery. They’re much less impressive in a post-YouTube world.
I’d love to know how the Strong Bad videogame went over with people unfamiliar with the site. My guess is that the whole thing would feel like random nonsense, but I don’t know. It’s very hard to look at this through the eyes of an outsider.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.