I’m loving South Park: The Stick of Truth

It was 1997 when I first saw the original Spirit of Christmas video clip circulating around the office at Interplay. I, like so many of my coworkers, sat there laughing hysterically at these cute little foul-mouthed kids. South Park was gaining some considerable buzz as the TV show was getting ready to premiere later that same year. The rest, as they say, is history.

Throughout its ongoing 17-year run, it has remained popular, and still provides some great laughs and its trademark biting social commentary on world events, celebrities, movies, race, videogames, sports, disabilities, you name it. They are equal opportunity offenders — offending everyone equally — but I usually find myself agreeing with the underlying message of each episode. That’s been a key quality of the show: They know what we’re all thinking, but they’re bold enough to say it. Loudly.

My interest was through the roof in 1999 when Bigger, Longer & Uncut was released, which I just loved (it was a great year for movies in general). The episode Chinpokomon also first aired that year, which is still one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. I haven’t been able to look at anything Pokemon-related in quite the same way ever since!

I started playing The Stick of Truth last week, and it’s been a fantastic game so far. Even though there are characters I’m unfamiliar with and surely references that are going over my head, the core components of what make South Park great are all here. The important qualities that make a successful RPG are also here, courtesy of Obsidian, a developer who knows a thing or two about the genre.

I’m very impressed by the look of the game, which is so convincing that you could swear you’re watching an episode of the show. Controls are crisp, objects you can interact with are clear, and there is a nice variety of activities and quests to complete. Combat requires attention and very good timing, which is similar to the excellent Paper Mario series.

Although I’ll be 40 in less than 4 weeks, this game’s reaffirming the fact that I still love lowbrow, childish humor, and probably always will. It also makes me want to go back and watch the show again, but for now, it’s time to continue my quest as Douchebag.