No matter how good something is, sometimes a lower-quality version is good to cleanse the palate. Sometimes a nice steak is the greatest thing in the world, and sometimes I just want a fast food hamburger. Sometimes I want to revel in some Vivaldi, and sometimes I just want the 1-2-3 blast of the Ramones. Sometimes I want to play Alone in the Dark, and sometimes I just need to have a dose of Beavis & Butthead.
For those not familiar with the cartoons on which Virtual Stupidity is based, here is the simple premise: Beavis and Butthead are two teenage losers whose lives revolve around making fun of music videos, trying to see women naked, making crude jokes, and terrorizing their school and workplace with their crude antics. For new-school cartoon fans, the show was the creation of Mike Judge, who later went on to create the wildly popular animated series King of the Hill.
As with the cartoon, there isn’t much to go on as far as the story behind Virtual Stupidity is concerned. Beavis and Butthead want nothing more from life than to score with some chicks and join tough guy Todd’s gang. And, as with the cartoon, this simple premise leads off into an outlandish, hilarious, and incredibly juvenile game. Only in the world of Beavis and Butthead could trying to score and trying to join a gang involve a stolen tank, a Save the Sperm Whales Rally – insert your own joke here – and a prison break. And if you are a fan of the cartoon, this is exactly what you expect out of our duo.
Very few game adaptations have done this good of a job keeping with the original tone of the show. The entire game captures the washed-out watercolor look of the cartoon perfectly. In addition, animated video sequences – some created for the game, some from the show – are present in the game, and also retain the proper look and feel.
The sound in Virtual Stupidity is another home run. The original cast is present for the voice-over work, and honestly it couldn’t have been done any other way. The character voices are such a part of the show, from Daria to Cornholio, that it would have detracted greatly from the game to change them or hire other actors to imitate them.
Music was always a big part of the Beavis and Butthead world, and the game score fits the show like a glove. From the opening cinematic with the classic Beavis and Butthead theme, to being able to sit on Butthead’s couch and watch a GWAR video while the boys make fun of it, this is a show and a game that takes its music seriously. It’s small touches like this that most companies would have missed – and one of the small details that makes me like the game even more.
Virtual Stupidity is not an innovative game, and it doesn’t try to be. This is tried and true point & click adventure gaming, and anyone who has played an adventure game in the past will have no problems navigating here. Puzzles are all very logical and well thought out – although I will warn those who haven’t watched the show before that there are a few puzzles based around character quirks that may give the uninitiated some problems. But if you are doing the standard “pick up and try everything” method of gameplay, then you should have no problems figuring out the solutions to these.
Another nice addition to the gameplay is the set of mini-games that are unlocked as you move through the game. These games entail hocking loogies over a ledge onto people, frying ants with a magnifying glass, using a tennis ball machine to fire at annoying tennis players, and playing air guitar. They are simple games, but they fit the style of the game well, and add a little extra game time to an already fairly long game.
Viacom really went all the way with this adaptation, and it shows in every part of the product, from graphics, to sound, to puzzles. If you are not a fan of juvenile humor, or are the parent of a young gamer, then this is not the game for you, but otherwise you owe it to yourself to hunt down a copy immediately. As a fan of the show back in college, I really have a hard time finding something to dislike about Beavis & Butthead: Virtual Stupidity. It’s the type of game that will remind you why you started playing this genre in the first place.