As told through the images of Perfect Strangers’ intro sequence—and the inspiring strains of its Jesse Frederick-penned theme song—Balki Bartokomous left the Mediterranean island of Mypos with little more than a newsboy cap, an infectious smile, and winged dreams on which to rise and fall. Of course, there’s a lot that’s left out between the images of Balki’s arrival in New York City and his eventual settling in Chicago: For instance, at any point in his journey, did our hero run through an apocalyptic hellscape while the lyrics of Frederick’s theme whizzed past him?
Those mysteries are solved thanks to Perfect Strangers: The Video Game, an odd bit of viral marketing courtesy of developer/ad man Jason Oda, creator of Web 2.0 watershed Emo Game. Like Emo Game, Oda’s latest pays homage to its subject matter while maintaining a satirical distance, playing up the ludicrous (or rather “ridiculous”) platitudes of the show’s theme song while also providing an entertaining, if fleeting distraction from the things that could very well stop you now. [Insert harmonica riff.]
It’s not entirely clear if the game is promoting anything beyond awareness of a 26-year-old sitcom (there’s no mention of an upcoming DVD release for the show’s third season or an ironic Adult Swim revival). What is clear, however, is that Oda ought to be working on follow-ups based on every TGIF series that employed a Frederick theme. If it’s this fun to help Balki get through the rain, thunder, wind, and haze, why can’t we lose 30 minutes of some future workday guiding Full House’s Danny Tanner through a Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego? riff, the goal of which is to find what ever happened to predictability, the milk man, the paper boy, and evening T.V.? There’s all sorts of possibilities… waiting just around the bend.