RPS Speaks Exclusively To Videlectrix*

By John Walker on December 17th, 2008 at 10:16 am.

The Videlectrix boys at the cutting edge of technology.

While there was almost another Telltale-related controversy yesterday, it remains completely shadowed by the rift between Telltale and Videlectrix that we first reported last week. For those unaware, Videlectrix claim to have been making cutting edge videogames for the last thirty years, and more recently have been closely affiliated with the Homestar Runner website. Their output includes classics like Salad Daze, Pigs On Head, and of course Thy Dungeonman 3. It’s literally impossible to calculate their impact on the gaming industry. Creative differences over the direction of the Strong Bad’s Cool Game For Attractive People episodic adventures have spilled over into the public in an ugly foray. Determined to prove there’s investigative journalism alive and well in the games media, Rock, Paper, Shotgun conducted a world exclusive interview with both developers at Videlectrix, in an attempt to uncover the Whole Truth.

RPS: Before we get into the current dispute, could you explain a bit about Videlectrix for our readers? Who are you, and what drives you as a development company?

‘TRIX: Weclome to Videlectrix! We use computers…to make video games! Never before has a company so all-the-time tried to make really good games and really good games graphics. We take a heads-down approach to game development and haven’t even checked out what the competition is up to in over 30 years! Now THAT’S dedication!

A small selection of the games generated by Videlectrix.

RPS: We want to say what respect we have for your company, and your portfolio of games. We are bemused each year when your products don’t appear in reward nomination lists. Are you often frustrated when you’re missed out of such ceremonies?

‘TRIX: We’ve never really been concerned with being REwarded. Getting warded once the first time is plenty enough for us. Though we ARE often frustrated. Mostly by the vending machines in the break room.

RPS: We’ve noticed over the last few years that Videlectrix games have made some leaps and bounds in terms of technology. Hallrunner, for instance, is in 3D, and STRONGBADZONE uses vector graphics. How do you respond to critics who suggest that you have abandoned your roots in favour of the latest special effects?

‘TRIX: Critics also scoffed at the joystick back when the paddle and trackball ruled the earth. But the ‘Trix knew the ‘stick had something special. Plus, we were all pretty big fans of joy to begin with. How could we go wrong?

Things can get stressful during crunch at all development studios.

RPS: You’ve long been associated with the Homestar Runner website. Could you tell us a bit about how you first came to work in partnership with Telltale? Why did you find it necessary to team up with another studio?

‘TRIX: Fortunately there is a ‘coat tails’ clause in our contract with Homestar Runner that says if they ever made a videogame with somebody else, we would get to horn in on that action. Also, rent was due and it looked like we were gonna come up short. Thanks, Telltale Games, Inc.!

RPS: Obviously there were some creative differences from the beginning of the Strong Bad episodic adventures. Telltale’s decision to use full 3D graphics and non-pixelated characters was not in line with your own direction for the series. Why did you not object earlier on?

‘TRIX: It’s a classic case of the old switchjob. We thought WE were making the Strong Bad game for months until we were informed that what we had been working on was a “mini-game.” Well, if thousands of hours of coding and severals of pixels only makes a “mini-game,” then I guess you can just start callin’ us “Mini-lectrix.” I suppose Activision, Imagic, and Mattel are just MINI-game companies too, huh?

Keeping things in the two dimensions in which they belong.

RPS: Now of course the disagreement with Telltale has become public, with the release of the first of your Roomisodes. Telltale are distancing themselves from you, and going ahead with the release of Episode 5 despite this all. Could you explain what led up to the current situation?

‘TRIX: It’s very simple, actually. Telltale claims they invented the ‘sode’ when they know good and well Videlectrix did decades ago. Are they just ignoring our ‘Cartridgisodes’ or forgetting that we pioneered the ‘LCD Handheldisode?’ Roomisodes were just a natural extension of our earlier innovations. And we will continue to innovashe despite whatever fanciful, pranciful claims Telltale makes.

RPS: Where do things stand now? Are the differences between the two companies irreconcilable? Will there be a second season of Strong Bad episodes?

‘TRIX: With a big enough novelty-sized check, I think we could come to some sort of middle ground. But until they get rid of that ridiculous THIRD dimension, a season 2 is on hold.

They're not a PC exclusive company.

RPS: For the record, we are also speaking to Telltale to get their side of the story. Are there any responses they might give us we should be suspicious of?

‘TRIX: Anything that comes outta that Dan Connors is a filthy lie! Or a filthy joke. Heh heh. He actually did make some good ones. Gotta remember to send him a Decemberween card.

RPS: Many thanks, and good luck with the rest of the Roomisodes. We look forward to playing them.

The first Roomisode as Videlectrix had always intended.

Episode 5 is sort of available on Telltale’s site now. And Roomisode Ep 1 can be downloaded for free from Videlectrix. Coming soon, we speak to the CEO of Telltale Inc., Dan Connors, to find out exactly how he thinks he can show his face in public after this. Enormous thanks to Videlectrix assistants, Mike, Matt and Emily for their help arranging this interview.

*Well, we speak to other people too.

__________________

« | »

, , , , .

69 Comments »

  1. Poet says:

    I apparently am out of this loop.

  2. Gap Gen says:

    For some reason they remind me of Cliffy B with moustaches.

  3. Al3xand3r says:

    So how much are they paying you for this ad-campaign? Or it just for fun?

  4. Al3xand3r says:

    Not saying it’s not entertaining btw…

  5. Senethro says:

    Wait, I do’nt get it. I was reading this hoping for some drama. Videlectrix is actually just the makers of Homestarrunner, right? And this “spat” with Telltale is some marketing thing, yeah?

  6. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Videlectrix is a made up company, it’s just something the Chapman brothers label their Flash games, and now SBG4CAP, with. The fictional spat is just a bit of fun, or marketing ploy for the overly cynical.

    @ Gap gen: One Cliffy B, whether moustachiod or not, is more than enough, thanks!

    Also, any chance of a proper interview with the brothers Chaps on their work with Telltale?

  7. Ben Abraham says:

    Is this RPS’s school-boy attempts at “selling out”? You can’t even do THAT properly! =P

  8. MeestaNob! says:

    The day RPS sold out.

    Joking, joking. Fun article, I look forward to Telltales rebuttal. :D

  9. Alec Meer says:

    Al3xand3r: you are a paranoid loon. And not even one of the fun ones.

  10. Al3xand3r says:

    It’s paranoid to believe that even though everyone knew this was just fun-marketing from the first related post, the “joke” keeps going on due to some sort of agreement?

    When did I accuse you anyway, or implied it’s bad IF they paid you?

    Your site already has ads on it you know, if I asked how much you’re getting paid for those you’d tell me I accuse you of selling out? You jokers.

  11. Alec Meer says:

    In answer to the first question: yes.

  12. Arcadian says:

    Can people who enjoy it stay?

  13. Dinger says:

    Hey, Walker gets to delete his posts! No fair!

    By the way, the images that accompany this article are just awesome. I love the BASIC prototype for the Strong Bad game they’re working on. It reminds me of the first program I wrote that evoked strong emotions in its audience. Unfortunately, the audience was my older brother; the emotion was rage; and he whacked me so hard I vomited over the keyboard. Thing never really worked after that.

    Basically, some games are so dangerous they’re best left in prototype stage.

  14. John Walker says:

    Puffins – that’s something I’d really love to do, and will try to arrange some day. I’m a huge H*R fan. As a PC games site, we’re somewhat limited in what’s relevant for us, so their Videlectrix guise was a great opportunity to get in touch. And I’ve loved this running gag Telltale have been using to get people to talk about their game. It’s working!

  15. Dominic White says:

    Videlectrix may be both inept AND fictional, but sometimes they put out some gems. Peasant’s Quest and Stinkoman 20X6 were both pretty badical games.

    Still, Telltale and worming their way into my heart. The final two Strong Bad episodes were probably the best they’ve done so far.

  16. Richard Beer says:

    I don’t know about this. I love a good giggle and all, but this strikes me as trying just a little bit too hard to be funny. The kind of thing I did at Uni.

    Am I just an old cynic?

  17. Gap Gen says:

    Man Raised By Puffins: Wasn’t it the Videlectrix brothers who brought down the Atari by claiming that it was ruined by disk copying?

  18. Larington says:

    What would be funny is if season 2 actually was in 2D, because then season 3 would implicitly have to be in 1D, if thats even possible.

  19. Malcolm says:

    Blimey, some people take these things far too seriously.

  20. Joseph says:

    @Larington: Season 3 would be a line with no thickness! Awesome! And nobody could ever have one because it’d be a mathematical abstraction! 1D here I come! Take my money! Hehe.

  21. Gap Gen says:

    Well, a text adventure would be a 1D stream of characters (with carriage returns).

  22. Rob says:

    Having read the article’s title, I can’t wait for RPS to start speaking to other people again.

    WHAT DID WE ALL DO WRONG? SPEAK TO US!

  23. John Walker says:

    Rob, I totally beat you to that joke with my footnote : )

    Richard, remind me not to invite you to parties.

  24. dhex says:

    if only their games were as good as their mustaches. :(

  25. Brian says:

    Holy shit that roomisode was FUN! =D

  26. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    @ John: That’s good to hear, cheers. Having asked that question I’ve since found an IGN interview with them, which seems to have been conducted shortly after SGCG4AP was announced, which answers a couple of my questions about what they’re up to these days.

    @ Gap gen: Of course! I was thinking of Videlectricks, silly me.

  27. A-Scale says:

    If the Telltale interview isn’t pre-recorded/scripted, could you ask them what the reasoning behind dumping episodic sales for strongbad is?

  28. Muzman says:

    Although this is funny, I’m actually diappointed that it’s ‘real’. For a moment I thought RPS had shed its normal ish games site thing and ploughed into ‘We couldn’t get a real interview with actual people about (X), so we made one up’ OMM country.

  29. John Walker says:

    A-Scale, I asked Telltale that last night, but no answer was forthcoming, other than the details of the deal to make sure anyone who had bought multiple copies would get ep 5 at a decent rate. It remains a mystery.

    Muzman – only RPS readers would be disappointed that an interview isn’t faked.

  30. A-Scale says:

    Thank you, John. I deeply appreciate a news outlet that both listens to its readers and investigates. RPS is a very good example of each.

  31. Pags says:

    Just lols all the way through. I do enjoy playing their severals of pixels.

  32. Down Rodeo says:

    Hee hee hee, these are very funny. Good to see RPS investigating the tales behind the headlines, getting the full story from the characters involved in this spat.

  33. D says:

    I didn’t get it.

  34. manintheshack says:

    Well, it’s all very nicey-nice. I wouldn’t love RPS if the majority of the readers didn’t complain about everything from here to the sun. So here I go:

    They spelt ‘cheque’ wrong. I hate that.

  35. John Walker says:

    Orrrrrrr, they’re from another country where they speak a variant of your language. You must have a heck of a time hating words in some countries!

  36. Pags says:

    Nope. Definitely spelt it wrong.

  37. dhex says:

    spelt? who said anything about bread?

    i like british slang because you guys can get away with saying the baddest word you can say to a lady and apply it to just about anyone or anything, though it makes me wonder what you say to a lady when you want to call her the baddest thing ever.

  38. Pags says:

    We usually call them strumpets and then hop into our motor cars and pootle away.

  39. Gap Gen says:

    I love the thing in Crysis: Warhead where he explains what a muppet is.

  40. qrter says:

    i like british slang because you guys can get away with saying the baddest word you can say to a lady and apply it to just about anyone or anything, though it makes me wonder what you say to a lady when you want to call her the baddest thing ever.

    I’ve never grasped this peculiar meme – Americans seem to be under the impression that Brits tend to use the word “cunt” more or less as liberally as someone would say, for example, “fuck”.

    I might be completely out of the loop, but as far as I know “cunt” is still a pretty intense word in the UK and not used all that much (if I used the word when around my mum, say, the atmosphere in the room would take a sharp downward turn – she wouldn’t like me saying “fuck” either, mind you, but not nearly as much as when I said the other one, oh god, I can’t even TYPE it anymore!!!!).

  41. Chaz says:

    @ qrter

    You should try going shopping in Wilkinsons, lots of mothers making liberal use of the “f” and “c” words in front of their children in there. Hurrah for the unwashed masses of Great Britain, flying the flag for verbal abuse and child kidnap.

    http://www.gorillaenterprises.co.uk/upload/uploadFiles/shannon_plate.jpg

  42. Kieron Gillen says:

    qrter: We really do use cunt a lot more than Americans do. In that, we use it at all. It’s a step up from fuck, but not quite as big a step up as the yanks.

    KG

  43. Gap Gen says:

    Cunt apparently was less offensive a while back, having roads named after it (and indeed towns, if Sc**thorpe is anything to go by).

  44. Mister Hands says:

    I think Derek and Clive are evidence enough that the word “cunt” is inherently hilarious, and anyone offended by it is, indeed, a cunt. (Possibly)

    Anyway: good to see investigative journalism is still kicking and screaming…

  45. Pags says:

    @Chaz: In gaming-related news about Karen Matthews, apparently they gave her a PS3 and a copy of Haze in prison for her behaviour.

    You’d think being locked up was punishment enough.

  46. Chaz says:

    Well she got off light then, they could have made her play Metal Gear Solid 4, but I suppose they’ve got to consider her human rights.

  47. dhex says:

    I’ve never grasped this peculiar meme – Americans seem to be under the impression that Brits tend to use the word “cunt” more or less as liberally as someone would say, for example, “fuck”.

    i’m under that impression because it’s true. i used to work for a british company, and its usage was gender neutral, and sometimes directed at objects.

    here in the states, “cunt” is the a-bomb of gender relations. also women use it when they truly despise another woman. i mean, you could call a dude that but depending on whether or not you were wearing a scarf i’d presume they’d think you were putting on airs or watching too much masterpiece theatre.

  48. MeestaNob! says:

    This is the best thread on RPS.

  49. Dr Snofeld says:

    I’d like to take this opportunity to say that I just finished Episode 5, and it is the greatest thing.

  50. Psychopomp says:

    RPS: Discussing the usage of the word “cunt” since 1873.