With a brand new South Park game coming out tomorrow, and a full blown RPG later this year, we take a look at the gaming history of South Park… Get your reading glasses on, it’s a long one…
Posted on Thursday, March 29th, 2012 by Alex Trotter-Fernandez
I’m never embarrassed to say that I’m a huge fan of South Park; I don’t just love the show, I have a fanatical obsession and uncanny knowledge of it and everything Matt Stone and Trey Parker have ever done. Does that mean I’m sad? Probably. My passion for all things South Park started at the tender age of eleven, back when watching things you weren’t allowed to watch was inappropriate and children had bedtimes. Luckily for me my first encounter happened whilst on Holiday at a caravan park, and I was allowed to stay up with my cousin. The Graham Norton show had just finished, and I didn’t understand a single joke; I did not know what a gay was being a naive child. Then the intro started up and what I had experienced would forever change my life. Of course I didn’t get half the adult jokes, however the beauty of early South Park lay in it’s healthy helpings of potty humor and randomness, and the fantastically engaging characters. It quickly became my choice cartoon – one that I was explicitly not allowed to watch under any circumstance.
J’adore everything that Matt and Trey’s micro universe has to offer, and have never been disappointed by an episode, however the same can’t be said in to Park County’s foray into the gaming world. With two brand new titles coming out this year; a Tennorman influenced side-scrolling platformer due 30th March on Xbox Live, and an Obsidian developed full blown RPG, I can’t help but think of the missteps and half arsed attempts that have befallen my most beloved franchise. In this article I take a trip through time, to revisit South Park’s long gaming history, and what awaits us in the future.
1998 – 2000: South Park Vs. Acclaim
These were dark years for South Park fans whom were also gamers, suffering from release after release of half arsed rushed games. Sure there were the signs of greatness shining through the licensed titles released during that period, but the general output was a times just so shockingly bad, it reminded us that video game adaptations of beloved animated shows at the that time just plain sucked. Matt Stone and Trey Parker personally criticized Acclaim, and is apparently the leading reason why it took almost a decade for a new South Park game to be released after South Park Rally.
“Acclaim did such a good job of fucking up the games that now no one is really that interested in the license. I will say this… Trey and I had little to nothing to do with the first games, and if we do another video game it will be R-rated. We wanted to do that in the first place but everyone said it was impossible. Now everyone is doing adult-theme games.”
Matt Stone, 2001
Did that stop me from buying everyone of those games, or enjoy playing that round friends houses? The answer to that is a twelve year old simply doesn’t have a lot of taste…