The game's storyline, which roughly follows the show's plot, is built out over 15 videos (13 minutes of animation in all). Here's how the gameplay works: viewers—or rather, players?—can go off in different directions using YouTube's "annotations," an in-video linking tool that in this case redirects viewers to other videos. Think "choose your own adventure" applied to Web video.
"From early on … we really looked at the Internet as a whole new way to provide storytelling and entertainment," said Benny Fine. "These interactive things, once the annotation system came on YouTube, [it] became literally the way to put the control of the story into the audiences' hands, which is something we've always been super passionate about."
Indeed, Freaks and Geeks isn't the Fines' first foray into interactive Web video. They made an animated game for Twilight Eclipse, recreated Saved by the Bell in a similar fashion and produced an interactive 2010 year-in-review feature.
Rafi and Benny Fine write and direct the animated games, but they get a hand from an artist who goes by Doctor Octoroc (his real name appears to be Levi Buffum) with the animation and music.
The game took about eight weeks to produce—at least for the first part. The "freaks" portion of the game goes live today. But in about a month, an additional 15 videos will go live to round out the "geeks" component.
The brothers didn't secure rights from NBC before moving forward with the game, but Rafi Fine said he believes they're in fair use territory with the creation. However, the issue of copyright has gotten them in slightly hot water before: their Twilight game was pulled down very briefly after Summit Entertainment complained.
While the Fines won't actively solicit Freaks and Geeks stars—who include Seth Rogen, Jason Segel and James Franco—to help promote the game, Benny Fine said there's a pretty good chance those actors will come across it organically.
Check out the first video in the game below: