Nearly 20 years after its debut, South Park is still running strong through syndication and in new episodes. Like any popular cartoon, the television series has spawned several games across a variety of genres.
The latest game to bear the South Park name is Obsidian’s RPG South Park The Stick of Truth. Before jumping into the world of The Stick of Truth, look back at the ghosts of South Park games past – games that never lived up to the success of the show.
Timeline of South Park Games
South Park (1998) – Nintendo 64, PlayStation, PC
South Park made its video game debut with a first-person shooter. Despite using the same game engine as Turok and solid voice acting from the South Park cast, the title is remembered as one of the worst first-person shooters of its generation. The one thing the game did do right was bring the humor of the TV series to life, evidenced by the game’s most memorable weapon – the Cow Launcher.
South Park: Chef’s Luv Shack (1999) – Dreamcast, Nintendo 64, PlayStation, PC
Developer Acclaim Studios Austin went in a completely different direction for the party game South Park: Chef’s Luv Shack. The title asked players a series of trivia questions based on the show with a variety of mini-games sprinkled in between questions. South Park: Chef’s Luv Shack was another failed attempt at bringing the South Park experience to video games. Many of the mini-games were bad recreations of classic titles that made players wonder why they aren’t just playing the original version instead.
South Park Rally (2000) – Dreamcast, Nintendo 64, PlayStation, PC
The third South Park game published by Acclaim was a racing game in the mold of Mario Kart, except not very good. In three years handling the South Park video game franchise, Acclaim’s releases went from bad to worse. Even South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone expressed regret regarding the titles and hinted at the future of South Park video games.
“Trey and I had little to nothing to do with the first games, and if we do another video game it will be R-rated,” Stone told South Park Studios in 2001. “We wanted to do that in the first place but everyone said it was impossible. Now everyone is doing adult-themed games.”
South Park Let’s Go Tower Defense Play! (2009) – Xbox 360
Following a long hiatus from the video game industry, South Park made its triumphant return in an unlikely form – a tower defense game for Xbox Live Arcade. With the backing of Parker and Stone and the help of newly-formed South Park Digital Studios, a game worthy of the South Park name had finally arrived. South Park Let’s Go Tower Defense Play! is considered the best South Park game to date.
South Park: Tenorman’s Revenge (2012) – Xbox 360
Tenorman’s Revenge brought South Park into yet another genre of gaming. The platformer exclusively available through Xbox Live Arcade was based on a rivalry between characters Eric Cartman and Scott Tenorman. Unfortunately, Tenorman’s Revenge was a poor experienced and a step back for a franchise that was gaining traction.
South Park The Stick of Truth (2014) – PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
There are high expectations for The Stick of Truth, perhaps unreasonable for a series that has failed to produce a complete video game. However, the long development cycle by Obsidian Entertainment and hands-on involvement of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone leads gamers to believe this will be the South Park game fans have been waiting for.