The Adventures of Willy Beamish is a graphic adventure game developed by Dynamix and published in 1991 by Sierra Entertainment. The player takes on the role of nine-year-old Willy Beamish in a game that is somewhat of a parody of the adventure genre. The game pioneered the use of in-game graphics drawn to resemble classic hand-drawn cartoon animation. It was initially released for MS-DOS and the Commodore Amiga and was ported to the Sega CD in 1993. CD versions of the game complemented the in-game text with speech, and included a few other cosmetic changes. A sequel was reportedly planned starring Willy Beamish as a late teenager, but the project was canceled.
Willy Beamish is introduced as a Millennial brat archetype of early 90s, being the middle child in a typical upper middle class American family, who is obsessed with science fiction, console games and hanging out with his gang in their tree house. His existence is not entirely idyllic, though; he is periodically tormented by a number of people. These include various staff members at Carbuncle Elementary School, a vicious teenaged school bully named Spider, and his two sisters, one of whom is a preschool prodigy and the other of whom is an angsty teen who undergoes a disturbing transformation midway through the game. His parents love him, but are at their wits end with his mischief, and are seriously considering enrolling him in military school. His adventures take place over the first few days of summer vacation, in the (fictitious) American town of Frumpton. He is occasionally visited by his grandfather's ghost, who serves as his conscience.
As the game begins, Willy Beamish is sent to detention on the last day of school; his pet frog "Horny" disrupted the final school assembly by dislodging the principal's toupee. This initial scene is a good example of the game's array of choices presented to the player: Willy can stay in detention until it is over, but then he won't get home in time to pick up the mail and intercept the report card that shows a "C+" in Music Appreciation. To sneak out early, he must forge a hall pass and either avoid the school bully or pacify him by giving him something from Willy's inventory. It is ultimately impossible for Willy to keep the card out of his father's hands, but it is a good exercise in problem solving; Willy will later face challenges that cannot be avoided.
Many of the challenges that Willy faces are typical choices that a nine-year-old boy must make: whether to push his little sister on the swingset (and how high to push her), whether to wash his dad's car, and whether to take his dog for a walk. Making unwise choices can produce negative consequences of various sorts. For instance, if Willy does not wash his father's car, he does not receive his allowance, and cannot buy an item that he will need later in the game. In addition, Willy has a score system called the Trouble-O-meter, a thermometer with "Good Boy" at the bottom and "Cadet School" at the top. Actions that annoy Willy's parents will cause the meter to go up one level, and really infuriating them will cause it to go up more. If the mercury reaches "Cadet School", that's where Willy goes, and the game is over.
Here is a complete playthru of the game