The Brothers Chaps have given quite the Decemberween gift to fans of Homestar Runner in the form of the long-awaited final level for Flash-powered platformer Stinkoman 20X6. For those not already in the know, Homestar Runner is a popular animated series from the early days of the internet, functioning as a comedy series before the advent of sites like YouTube and the rise of content creators. Based on a fan-favorite episode of the Strong Bad Emails series, Stinkoman 20X6 places Strong Bad's anime counterpart into a Mega Man-esque platformer. The game was originally released in 2005 during the height of the website's popularity but has remained unfinished until this week.
Stinkoman 20X6 is just one of the many video game projects that the creators of Homestar Runner have engaged with over the years. Through their gaming arm Videlectrix, the pair have produced a bevy of flash games, including many that expand on brief references from the cartoon. Available alongside the recently updated platformer is the Thy Dungeonman text adventure trilogy, an arcade game starring famous burninating dragon Trogdor, and a "roomisodic" point and click adventure game starring spy spoof character Dangeresque. Videlectrix also teamed with Telltale for Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, a five-episode adventure that was recently republished following the developer's demise.
In a launch trailer and a series of tweets that celebrate the final level's launch, the Homestar creators reveal the journey to completion for Stinkoman 20X6. An Australian programmer under the username jezzamonn reached out to the official Strong Bad account back in 2017 offering to finish work on the long-awaited stage. It seems that they were hired on the spot and work began for this 2020 debut. Strong Bad also thanks QA and several musicians that have worked on the project over the many years it was in development.
The final bit of Stinkoman 20X6 had a firm due date for all involved, and that's because the Flash technology that powers the game will go offline at the end of 2020. Many Flash game preservation efforts have been underway for years and the entire Videlectrix library has been included in several. Still, for those who grew up browsing the original Homestar Runner website in a school computer lab, there's no experience quite like loading up the old game with a new update using janky 2000s technology. It's truly a fitting sendoff for a more innocent era of Internet culture.
While The Brothers Chaps have springboarded off their popular Internet cartoon into various projects with Disney and The Aquabats! Super Show!, they've always kept Homestar Runner as it was. They've offered merchandise, Kickstarted a board game, and teamed with a few partners for bigger projects, but the characters are still primarily in the same style of cartoons they've been in since 1996. There have never been advertisements on the site, and the popularity was always generated through word of mouth. In that way, the site recalls an older internet bereft of brand deals, Raid: Shadow Legends plugs, and invasive privacy concerns. That's the only kind of Internet that would update a free game after 15 years, and it's certainly worth preserving.