If life is a marathon and not a sprint, The Bros. Chaps and The Homestar Runner have truly surpassed us all. Often imitated and never replicated, I want to say that homestarrunner.com has aged like a fine wine, but that would imply it ever had a gap in quality. Instead, a (relatively) consistent stream of content has been married to a ceaselessly loyal fanbase, resulting in an impressive legacy of no-hitters. The consistency of their product is so apparent that the Brothers have managed to successfully Kickstart a board game based on Trogdor/Peasant’s Quest nearly two decades since the launch of their website. With this sterling reputation in mind and again at the forefront of the internet, now is as good a time as any to revisit a perfectly preserved Flash fossil: Peasant’s Quest.
From the sort of people who brought you Trogdor and Litigation Jackson comes an invaluable piece of Web 1.0 pie in the style of a classic DOS adventure game. Peasant’s Quest puts you in the short pants of Rather Dashing, a local peasant who is out for revenge against the iconic dragon Trogdor for burninating his village. Modeled after the King’s Quest series of games and with tasteful nods to its laundry list of influences, Peasant’s Quest has you traverse the land of Peasantry in search of a proper disguise to convince the knight protecting the entrance to Trogdor’s lair that you are, in fact, a peasant. The game has fun retro graphics but is in the style of a text-based adventure, featuring lots of typing ‘LOOK’ and ‘TALK’ to any and all things on the screen, with a heaping helping of ‘GET’ thrown in for good measure. You’ll try to make friends with the Kerrek, attempt to raise a baby, make and lose some riches, and have a climactic final showdown with Ol’ Beefy Arm himself.
A Trog-venture for the whole Trog-family!
The strength of Peasant’s Quest is in the writing, not unlike the lion’s share of the Bros. Chaps family of products. This game came out in 2004 but could have easily come out last year as the writing is still that timeless. All of the jokes hit, references feel chic as opposed to boorish, and the puzzles are more often clever than obscurantist. While it still suffers from a few of the issues that can make adventure games feel frustrating, I would argue that Peasant’s Quest manages to circumvent the majority of these irritating tropes. You aren’t plagued with MacGyver levels of item combining, the majority of puzzle solutions are relatively straightforward, and the map is easy enough to remember. Not to mention, you can speed up Rather Dashing by just tapping the + key, which is a fantastic quality of life change if you’ve ever played an adventure game with an unbearably slow walk cycle.
Peasant’s Quest is something you can knock out in an afternoon at most, and it’s something that sticks with you because it’s so ingrained in the video game zeitgeist. If you’ve played it before, take another visit to Peasantry as some of the best bits on Homestar Runner are localized entirely within this browser game. If you haven’t played Peasant’s Quest before, you can finish it in the time it takes to read this article and it’s well worth the investment, both on the virtue of it being a masterclass on how excellent free flash games can be as well as a perfectly timed look back on a unique slice of Interneticana.
Play Peasant’s Quest for free now at Homestar Runner.