Beavis and Butt-Head in Virtual Stupidity
First posted on 01 December 2009. Last updated on 17 July 2010.
Have you ever watched Beavis and Butt-Head? Chances are if you are a fan of MTV from the mid 1990s, you may have been a regular fan of this animated cartoon series. If not, allow me tell you a bit about the series and its stars.
Beavis and Butt-Head are a pair of stupid teenagers... Wait, have I just said "stupid"?! They are not just "stupid"—they are actually idiotic and moronic, almost in every aspect of life. They spend most of their free time watching television (rock music videos, to be precise), eating chips, fantasizing about sex, and pretending to be tough guys. Yet, as "stupid" as they are, they can be quite inventive when trying to pick up girls, skipping school, or trying to realize their dream of joining the gang of a local thug. When Beavis consumes too much coffee or sugar, he turns into The Great Cornholio—or The Almighty Bungholio, as he calls himself—his hyperactive alter ego. Butt-Head is the leader of the duo and is a bit (but not by much) smarter than Beavis.
Even as a game, Beavis and Butt-Head in Virtual Stupidity has very few differences from the television show on which it is based. The game follows the same plot and shares a similar graphic style, especially in the cut scenes, as its cartoon series. It opens with the same warning, proclaiming that both Beavis and Butt-Head are not good role models and that they are not even humans but only cartoons, after which the familiar "Don't try this at home." message appears. Many of the game's subsequent cut scenes are taken from the television show, though some have been reanimated specifically for the game. Likewise, the few music videos in the game are also lifted from those appearing in the television episodes.
The exact plot of the game is bare: Beavis and Butthead want to join the cool local gang, and they must do whatever it takes to please the gang's leader Todd. To do this, they need to run mindless errands through different parts of the town, including a café, a war museum, a slaughter-house, and even the city jail, all the while trying to get closer to Todd. However, they must first skip class and escape from their school—a task that is certainly not as simple as it seems to be.
The cartoonish graphics of the game seem quite simplistic but are in accord to the dated style of the television series. The humor is juvenile and follows closely to the cartoon. Again, if you have watched the show, you will know what I mean. If not, here are some examples: in a mini-game called Bug Justice, you must protect sweets from the bugs by burning them with the lens of a magnifying glass in another mini-game called Air Guitar, you must record a tune using gratuitous sound bites such as farts and burps. There are 4 mini-games in total, including the aptly named Hock-A-Loogie.
For a licensed game, it is surprisingly well adopted to the source material. Many of the locales from the cartoon appear in the game, including Highland High, Burger World, Maxi-Mart, and other familiar marks. Likewise, many secondary characters from the cartoon also make appearances in the game, such as Principal McVicker, Tom Anderson, and even Daria Morgendorffer. Majority of gameplay is based on a classic point and click adventure. By clicking on the correct hotspots and characters, you direct Beavis and Butt-Head to participate in many of the pranks and mayhem that make up most of the game. The cursor is context sensitive, and right clicking the mouse brings up a verb coin to select more specific actions. There is also a rudimentary inventory. Dialogs are strictly linear and are triggered whenever Beavis and Butt-Head engage another character nearby. A map is used to navigate between different locations in the game.
Thankfully, the game is voiced by the original television cast. Mike Judge, the creator of Beavis and Butt-Head (and also the creator of King of the Hill), provides the voiceovers for both lead characters. It is hard to conceive how Beavis and Butt-Head can even exist without Judge's snarky voices. Several other (but not all) cast members also lend their voices to the game. Undoubtedly, the type of humor that the game (much like the cartoon) portrays is not to everyone's likings. However, to those gamers who enjoy the rather harmless "toilet" humor, the attractions of the television series definitively permeates through the game.
The game can be run in window or full screen mode. It supports only a fixed resolution of 320x240 pixels, so resizing to a larger screen while running it in a window can make the graphics look pixelated.
The general verdict of Beavis and Butt-Head in Virtual Stupidity is as straightforward as the game itself: if you enjoy the television series (sorry for mentioning it so often), or just like that kind of juvenile humor, you will love this game. Just do not complain to me afterwards if you are that sensitive.