Monday, May 21, 2012

Spotlight: Community's 'Journey to the Center of Hawkthorne'

We've already seen the world of Community bleed over into the real world with Travis Richey's Inspector Spacetime project that, due to legal issues, cannot be called Inspector Spacetime anymore.  Take two for turning this into the coolest timeline?  Journey to the Center of Hawkthorne.

Last Thursday NBC unloaded the rest of Community's third season with the final three episodes, one of which was "Digital Estate Planning".  In true Community fashion - we've already seen a claymation Christmas special and ping pong anime inserts - the creators went for a completely new style, this time allowing the show to take the form of an old-school 8-bit video game.  The episode has a ton of Easter eggs for hardcore video game fans, but certainly didn't exclude anyone else (Britta asking what button to press to straighten a painting and being chastised for playing like a girl, and Annie and Shirley accidentally killing a shopkeeper, immediately spring to mind as events that can be enjoyed by anybody).  The question on every viewer's mind, though, even as much as the future of the show itself, was...

...why can't this game be real?

Trick question, because it can be!  And is!  Kind of!  Over on Reddit, someone is hard at work creating Journey to the Center of Hawkthorne.  So far there's only one level (the study room), one player (Abed), and a sprite sheet, but more is to come.  It's completely open-source and everything is available on Github, so go ahead and check it out.

There are the types of awesome things that can happen for a show with a passionate, creative fanbase.  Hopefully NBC/Sony won't step in and neuter this like they did with Richey's project; Journey does nothing to hurt the show, and even works as a type of free advertising.  It's not a commercial endeavor, and it seems like the best move NBC could pull would be to let the project go and put it to work for them.

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