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Strange Donuts – where donuts in flavors like pizza, pho, and barbecued rib rise up to challenge, enchant, and make the weekend more funky – is at it again. The social-media mavericks, led by co-owner Cory Smale, are debuting a video game based on their kooky vibe this week (at midnight, Wednesday night).
According to promotional materials, “Strange Donuts vs. the World” challenges the player “to Rollerblade as far as possible down Sutton Boulevard, collecting coins and donuts while avoiding obstacles. If the obstacles weren’t challenging enough, the cops are trying to catch you for skating on the sidewalk! Toss donuts at cops to distract them, collect donuts for new and strange power ups, and get the highest score you can.”
Even those who aren't gamers will get a kick out of the shout-outs to players on the local food scene within the game. Your avatar skates past Mai Lee, Pi (both above), Schlafly Bottleworks, Pastaria, and about a dozen other beloved local businesses, said Smale.
Why is Strange Donuts doing this? Why not?
“Every kid of the late '70s, '80s and '90s wanted to make his or her own video game at some point,” said Smale. “Also, we've become really good friends with the people who actually made this, Happy Badger Studios. They're a super-small team, right here in Maplewood, literally down the street.”
Strange Donuts not only excels at turning flavors like peppercorn and seaweed into tasty “dones,” as they call them (the "Finding Nori: is at left), but in collaborating with other businesses. They've teamed up with and elevated the profiles of too many restaurants to count, in but a single year of retail business.
When Smale first conceived of a video game, he envisioned “something like Asteroids, but with donuts,” he said. “But then we agreed on something similar to Paperboy, inspired by early NES and eight-bit games, with side-scrolling. Happy Badger took it from there.”
Habitues of Strange Donuts will get a kick out of the power-ups players get when they eat specific donuts that have become staples at the bakery, as well as characters that look like some of the bakery's employees.
Gamers will be competing for real-world rewards, too. Each week's high scorer will earn the prize of a free dozen donuts, said Smale.
Other happenings in the Strangeverse include what should be a hoppin' one-year anniversary party, Strange Donut Day. On Friday, June 6, which is also National Donut Day, Strange will return to Kuva Coffee roasters in Dogtown. (Their party about a year ago at the same site featured donuts in Key lime and peanut-butter-and-jelly flavors, and an electric guitarist nicknamed "Shredder Dave" who performed in a closet.) This time the gala celebration features eats and drinks by Pastaria, Salume Beddu, Adam's Smokehouse, Mai Lee, Schlafly Beer, Perennial Artisan Ales, the Modern Brewery, Kuva Coffee, and of course, Strange Donuts. Other fun will be provided by Strange friends greetabl, the St. Louis Rams, Tower Classic Tattooing, SWEDlife, Happy Badger Studio, Knife & Flag, The Muny, East + West, Treehouse Networkshop, Fable & Lore, and Circus Kaput.
Strange Donuts is scheduled to open its second location in Kirkwood, at 107 1/2 E. Argonne, right near the Kirkwood Farmers' Market, in the first week of August, said Smale. At just 325 square feet, this secondary “Done Zone” will likely have lines of customers going out the door, just like the Maplewood shop.
“And we are in very preliminary talks about a third location,” he added, “because the time is right.”
We can't argue with that. We're happy to be players in Strange Donuts' game. Especially if they make that “slinger donut” (at right) again. It sounded like mad science, but tasted mad delicious.
Strange Donuts vs. The World Available for iOS devices and Android Free happybadgers.com/games/strange-donuts-vs-the-world
Strange Donut Day
Kuva Coffee Factory
Friday, June 6
6 - 10 p.m.