We’re all about comics here at Panels on Pages, but a geek cannot live on comics alone. Outside the Longbox is our chance to spotlight something outside our typical four-color realm – be it movies, music, TV or whatever.
Spoiler alert: This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. It’s no secret we’re big fans of NBC’s too-smart-to-be-a-hit comedy Community. We’re not the only ones. You see, during the three-episode finale last month, the Study Group was pitted against each other in the episode “Digital Estate Planning.” Each character was scanned and put into a “state of the art” video game designed by Pierce’s late father. The winner of the game would get Pierce’s inheritance. The episode was fantastic. Most of the story was told via an old-school 8-bit video game. The game sprites were hilarious and the attention to detail was pretty phenomenal. Well, now Journey to the Center of Hawkthorne is real thanks to a group of talented Community fans.
The game is still in its infant stages, but every release brings new improvements and bug fixes. The goal is to finish all the levels shown in the episode before moving onto areas like Gay Island and the Valley of Laziness that were only referenced, but not fully shown. All seven characters are in the game and their sprites look exactly like they did in the episode. There are multiple costumes, too, and more are being added all the time. Obviously, Inspector Spacetime and Constable Reggie are there, but so are Pierce’s pillow man “armor,” a couple of “darkest timeline” costumes, Abed as Batman, Shirley as the Chef from the season finale and Jeff as Dean Pelton. That is amazing.
Not content to simply play test each release? You want to actively get involved? Help the planning of the game in the story dev wiki or get cracking on the many sprites needed to get the game fully operational. There’s a master spreadsheet anyone can use to sign up and bring this thing to life. It’s crowd sourcing at its best. There’s an enormous enthusiasm from everyone involved and the constant improvements don’t look to be slowing. Every couple of days, a new version is released. Sometimes it’s something as simple as better edge detection, but more and more of the game is coming together.
It’s still early in its development, but so far NBC/Universal has yet to bring the thunder down. With any luck it will stay that way. Really, this is nothing more than elaborate fan art. The game is free and there’s no profit being made off of the intellectual property, so hopefully the suits can recognize how awesome this is and let it be. There’s a lot of talent and love going into this. I’d hate to see it crushed.
If you want to see what all the fuss is about (And if you’re a Community fan, you do.), head to ProjectHawkthorne.com and download the latest release. It’s available for Widows, OSX and Linux. Everyone gets to play!
Filed Under: Outside the Longbox