How Homestar Runner Mastered the Flash Art Form

There wasn’t much time to get good at Flash when it was alive. But no one did it better than Homestar Runner.

Eric Ravenscraft

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Lord Ravenscraft is a video essay series created by Eric Ravenscraft. You can watch the latest full episode on YouTube.

Flash may have died an extremely timely death at the end of 2020, but it deserves more credit than it gets at times. It enabled a generation of artists, animators, and game designers to create online in ways that wouldn’t be possible without Flash for years to come.

And no one made better use of Flash than Mike and Matt Chapman — a.k.a The Brothers Chaps — when they created Homestar Runner.

This site featured cartoons, minigames, eventually full-sized games, and even video at a time when the internet wasn’t good at doing much. Strong Bad Emails gave people a recurring show with dozens of episodes to rewatch before The Office ended up on every streaming site. Peasant’s Quest was an adventure game you could play in your browser before Stadia ever launched.

And the trailer for the live-action movie adaptation of Peasant’s Quest crashed Homestarrunner.com before YouTube ever launched. Homestar Runner was even streaming video before it was cool.

Amidst all the cartoons and games and skits on the site, The Brothers Chaps hid easter eggs and secrets all over that turned the site into an experience unlike any that came before it, and, owing to Flash’s demise, possibly any that came after.

In this video, I explore the many facets of Homestar Runner that made the site and its cartoons unique, using a platform that was doomed to the dustbin of history.

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Eric Ravenscraft

Eric Ravenscraft is a freelance writer from Atlanta covering tech, media, and geek culture for Medium, The New York Times, and more.