Video Game: Henry Stickmin Series

Henry Stickmin in "Stealing the Diamond".
The Henry Stickmin series is a series of Web Games created by Puffballs United, featuring the titular protagonist Henry Stickmin. The series currently consists of four games. In each game the player has to help Henry succeed in an assignment. To do so he can choose between multiple tools for Henry to use or actions to perform.

The games are:
  • Breaking the Bank: Henry tries to break into a bank to rob its vault.
  • Escaping the Prison: After having been caught while robbing the bank, Henry now has to escape from jail.
  • Stealing the Diamond: Henry tries to steal a large diamond from a museum.
  • Infiltrating the Airship: Henry is recruited to infiltrate the airship of a mighty criminal organization.

A fifth game titled Fleeing the Complex is in the making. The games can be found here. The series also has its own Wiki.

In the trope list below, please abbreviate each of the above titles as the last word of its name; Escaping the Prison, for example, should be Prison.


The Henry Stickmin Series provides examples of:

  • A-Team Firing: The guards in Prison suffer from this, but Henry himself suffers from this as well in Diamond. One scenario has him steal a night guard's rifle and try to shoot him down with it from point-blank range, but he still manages to miss.
  • Attack Backfire: Multiple examples. In Prison, firing a rocket launcher will result in the rocket getting reflected back at you. In Airship, firing a laser cannon at the Big Bad will result in Henry getting blown off the ship due to the backdraft.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: In Diamond, Henry can use a Super Mushroom to grow to a massive size.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Many of the weapons and tools are pretty awesome, but they have a tendency to backfire horribly.
  • Badass: Henry can be this, depending on the route.
  • Blatant Item Placement: No matter where he is, Henry always finds multiple objects he can use. Even objects you would not expect to find in that location. Who would expect to find a crowbar in a museum, for instance?
  • Bloodless Carnage: Almost no deaths in the series feature gore or blood, and explosions are always off-screen.
    • U GET CUT! Y U NO BLEED? note 
  • Boring but Practical: More often than not, it's the simpler and more mundane tools that get the job done rather than the the awesome gadgets. For example; in Prison, the file actually gets Henry out of jail while the rocket launcher and teleporter do not.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: in Diamond, several scenarios involve Henry or the guards using museum pieces to fight one another. For example, Henry can use a model airplane, shield and Super Mushroom, while the guards use a cannon against the giant Henry.
  • Bribe Backfire: Trying to bribe a police officer with the titular diamond in Diamond gets you shot for federal offense.
  • Butt Monkey: Henry. Quite a few of the options will result in a humiliating injury happening to him.
  • Caffeine Bullet Time: Happens upon ingesting the NrG drink in Prison.
  • Call Back: Many of the games make references to previous ones. The forth one even opens with a Call Back to each of the three games that came before it.
  • Ceiling Cling: used succesfully by Henry in Airship (with the help of glue on his hands) in order to make it past a meeting room filled with Toppat members.
  • Chainsaw Good: During the Cannonball Route in Airship, in Final Fantasy-style battle with the Right Hand Man, Henry pulls out a chainsaw and a hockey mask.
  • Choose Your Own Adventure: Multiple times during the game the player is offered several choices, mostly about what kind of action Henry should take or what object he should use.
  • Continuity Nod: Throughout the games, events from a previous game are frequently mentioned. For example; in the "Legal Ending" of Prison, Henry's lawyer presents a Doctor's Analysis in which it says that Henry survived a lot of cuts and hits day they found him, referring to the many fail-scenarios from Bank. Two of the prison guards from Prison return as museum guards in Diamond (they got fired because Henry escaped). In the start menu of Airship, you can take a look in Henry's garage and see both the police car he stole in the "Badass Ending" of Prison, and the scooter he used in the "Aggressive ending" of Diamond, while later the military shows Henry footage of his previous adventures to prove they know about his past.
  • Cool Airship: The Toppat Clan's airship in... erm, Airship.
  • Defeat Equals Friendship: One ending in Airship has the leader of the Toppat Clan admitting defeat and telling Henry that he's now the new leader. Depending on the choices he'll either just turn them into the authorities anyway or fly off and start a new life as a supervillain.
  • Didn't Think This Through: A fail in Diamond involves Henry ditching his motorcycle to escape the cops and succeeds, only to realize that he left the diamond behind on the motorcycle.
  • Dodge the Bullet: Henry does this in Prison.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: In Prison, several guards can be seen eating donuts. Clicking on all the donuts in the game gets you a medal.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The series started with this very simple prequel.
    • Bank can also be considered this. Compared to the other games it's relatively simple and straight-forward; the player can only make a choice in the very beginning, and every choice results in failure.
  • Epic Fail: Some of Henry's choices end in absolutely humiliating things happening. For example, trying to snap the final guard's neck in Diamond's Undetected ending path results in Henry falling down the small flight of stairs that's right beside him.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Guards, your own tools, worms...
  • Failure Is the Only Option: In Bank, every choice the player makes will eventually lead to failure. The other games avert the trope however; there are still plenty of ways you can fail, but they also have multiple ways of succeeding.
  • Fartillery: in Airship, while chasing the Big Bad down a hallway, Henry can eat a can of beans and use the resulting farts to gain the extra speed needed to make it past the closing Slow Doors.
  • Gang of Hats: A literal example with the Toppat Gang of Airship.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: The Center for Chaos Containment, which appears in Diamond (when you go for the Epic Ending) and Airship (when you start by entering the ship with the grappling hook).
  • Groin Attack: Attempting to use the magic pencil in the fourth game will result in Henry creating a "Nutshot Crawler" that proceeds to make good on its name by hitting him in the nuts and then crawling away.
  • Hammer Space: Most likely the place where Henry pulls all of his tools from.
  • Have a Nice Death / It's a Wonderful Failure: Every game is full of these kind of scenarios.
  • Heroic Mime: Henry rarely speaks, aside from screams of pain or fright as something horrible happens to him.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Henry, too many times to count.
  • Hurricane of Puns: One of the fails in Airship gives you four of them:
    "WATT are you doing?"
    "Why, I'd say that's quite SHOCKING!"
    "I'd rather not be in your CURRENT situation."
    "I bet you can't wait to go OHM."
    • And if you mouse over them...
    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: in "Airship", when Henry uses 'warp' while chasing the Big Bad down a hallway, the experience of traveling through warp space shatters Henry's mind. Upon emerging from it, he falls to the ground frozen.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: Henry can do this in Diamond, however choosing this option results in him getting eaten by a worm.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Henry's lawyer uses this to get him out of jail in one of the three endings from Prison. Being an Ace Attorney Shout-Out though, it was bound to happen.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Mecha: Diamond, sending a mecha after the enlarged Henry is one of the four things the Center for Chaos Containment can do. It's this choice that allows the player to reach the "epic ending" of the game.
  • Intangibility: Prison features a device that makes Henry intangible. Unfortunately, it malfunctions— and by "malfunctions" we mean "works exactly as advertised"— and causes Henry to fall to the center of the earth.
  • Jail Bake: at the start of Prison, Henry receives a cake that contains no less than six items, including a huge drill and a rocket launcher.
  • Kill Sat: The Center for Chaos Containment in Diamond has one of these at its disposal.
  • Klingon Promotion: One of the endings in Airship features Henry becoming the new leader of the crime organization, after he has disposed of The Dragon and taken the Big Bad hostage.
  • Magic Misfire: In Airship, one of the options for opening a door is for Henry to use wizard magic. However, the spell fails and causes Henry to freeze instead.
  • The Many Deaths of You: Too many to count.
  • Multiple Endings: Naturally, considering that it's a choose-your-own-adventure style game series.
  • Nebulous Evil Organisation: The Toppat Gang from Airship.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted in Airship. During the battle between the Toppat gang, the military and the Center for Chaos Containment, one of the CCC employees takes off his power armor so he can pee. Henry uses this opportunity to steal the armor and escape from the scene.
  • Nuke 'em: In Diamond, this is one of the ways the Center for Chaos Containment can try to deal with the enlarged Henry.
  • Only Bad Guys Call Their Lawyers: One of the options in Prison is calling your lawyer.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The "disguise" that Henry can use in Airship consists solely of a hat, yet the criminals fall for it anyway. Justified by the fact that all the characters in the game are stick figures.
  • Pun: The Game Over messages are filled with them.
  • Point-and-Click Game
  • Powered Armor: Two examples in Airship. Henry can use one of these suits to escape the airship after stealing the Ruby, and later the troops of the Center for Chaos Containment use Powered Armour suits to fight both the Toppat gang and organization that hired Henry. Specifically, the suit that Henry uses is the T-51b Power Armor of Fallout.
  • Reality-Breaking Paradox: In Diamond, one of the ways the Center for Chaos Containment tries to deal with the enlarged Henry involves sending him a pocket calculator that automatically calculates the equation "1337 / 0". Cue the universe destroying itself.
  • Reality Ensues: Some of the fails that happens because of this trope which the game often lampshades this trope if you fail. A few examples from Diamond:
  • Recruiting the Criminal: Happens to Henry in Airship.
  • Recurring Character: Dave, a police officer who made a cameo in the credits of Bank and during the intro of Prison in which he forgot to inspect Henry's package, this results in him getting fired and becoming a security guard at the museum in Diamond, he returns once again in Airship as a prisoner Henry must free to complete a sidequest.
  • Running Gag: The teleportation device appears in all games, but hardly ever works properly. The only time it works is in Diamond.
  • Side Quest: In all the games, you can earn medals for doing extra tasks, like finding all the donuts in Prison or clicking on all of the paintings in Diamond. Airship has a more detailed side quest in which you find Biggoron's Sword. Here's how you do it: when using the Grapple Gun to enter the ship, you can pick up a key found next to the computer to free Dave you run into later. This in turn allows you to pick up a flash drive he drops, which reveals a code. Then, when playing through the Earpiece route, you can use this code to open a door, which you can enter while playing through the Cannonball route, leading to you finding the sword.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: In-Universe. In Airship, one of the ways to fail is by clicking on a computer. Henry will go and try to download secret incriminating documents, but will get sidetracked by Civilization V, and play it for so long that he ends up getting caught.
  • Shout-Out: Several of the tools are these. In Prison, selecting the phone results in an Ace Attorney minigame. And in Diamond, some of the tools Henry can use include a Super Mushroom, a Pokeball, a Metroid and even the Falcon Punch! He can also fall down some stairs despite being warned about them and be shot in the head by a hat-wearing Aussie-accented sniper. These also continue into Airship.
  • Slow Doors: Downplayed in Airship. When the Big Bad is chased by Henry down a hallway, he tries to close the blast doors to escape. The trope is played straight in that the doors close one after the other rather than all at the same time, but averted in the speed with which they close; if Henry does not do something to speed up he will not make it past them.
  • Stock Scream: One of the night guards in Diamond utters the Wilhelm Scream when he is attacked by a Pterodactyl that Henry accidentally caused to hatch from an egg. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Take Your Time: Zigzagged. Most of the time, the player doesn't have to hurry with his choices and can carefully examine them. However, there are also situations in which not making a choice within a matter of seconds will automatically result in failure.
  • Treasure Is Bigger in Fiction: The eponymous diamond from Diamond is colossal; just as big as Henry himself. And in Airship, one of the scenarios involves Henry finding and stealing a ruby of identical proportions to the diamond.
  • Trojan Horse: in Bank, the only choice that comes close to succeeding is hiding inside a money bag and have the guards take you into the vault. It still fails, however, because upon leaving the bag, Henry sets off an alarm.
  • Villain Protagonist: Henry Stickmin is a burglar.
    • He has also been shown to be willing to take out pretty much anyone who gets in his way, be they evil goons or even police officers.
  • Worthless Treasure Twist: One of the scenarios in Airship ends with Henry stealing a vault from the airship, which turns out to contain nothing but a teddy bear.
  • Wrong Parachute Gag: Used in Prison.
  • You Shall Not Pass: The right hand man of the Big Bad in Airship tries this twice with Henry. Depending on the choices the player makes, he either succeeds or fails.