Personally, I feel like with films and tv shows, videogames too have given us more selection than ever. We can cite plenty of experiences that we look for in videogames. There are games where you feel like immersing into a ruthless killing spree e.g Hotline Miami. Other times you just try to find a good story that would sober up your emotions, like To The Moon. Now the classification of humor in videogames has been given quite a stretch. Let’s not think about children’s stuff. We perhaps like to think that humor has been taken somewhat as a component of a script in some videogame. Usually it’s like an intentional cheesy dialogue or cracking up a funny joke. But not all of these games limit themselves to humor as the sole feature. I think there are plenty of humor-driven games in the open now and this recent surge will catapult a form of genuine comedy that gaming has been missing forever. So what are some of these humor-driven games?
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
If you’re a fan of over-the-top satire then just go and buy Jazzpunk. Hell, I’ll make it simpler. If you loved the timeless Airplane! then go and play the game to relive that glorious absurd experience all over again.
The guys over at Necrophone Games have made a sweet deal of joking into our hearts by giving us an interactive package full of silly gags, inside jokes, ridiculous voice acting, all layered with a brilliant stroke of foolishness. It’s a pile of beautiful mess honestly. An art style that would acknowledge the appreciation for Saul Bass, Jazzpunk puts on all the seductive colors with tasteful music in the background to leave you impressed and wanting more. Spoiler: We’re frankly talking about a dashingly snappy intro to begin with. Aside from that, everyone has their favorite forms of comedic entertainment and no matter how many times they repeatedly watch it they’ll burst into laughter. Well, this game left me with such effect. Seriously, the scope of replay value is no joke here.
Yet the best understatement to the game has been its experience of playing with friends. Like good theatre, the aim is towards the audience, not just the player. In addition, going-in blind for a playthrough has never felt so rewarding. Jazzpunk won’t be for everyone though. It’s hilariously dumb and it can be a huge turn-off for the ‘serious-jokers’ types. But for those who would adore it in the first few minutes, they would have an amazing nonsensical ride that’ll stick with them for a damn good time.
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Surprise! A videogame based on the long running and insanely popular comedy TV show, South Park, has indeed turned out to be really funny. For those of you who might be wondering, that was not sarcasm. While I had certain expectations from this game during its development period, I was never quite certain that its attempts at humor would hit the mark, despite the fact that the series’ creators Matt Stone and Trey Park along with the entire cast of the show and South Park studios were actively involved in the production of the game.
You see, comedy in videogames has always been a hit or miss kind of situation. One of the major reasons is because comedy is all about timing and delivery and it’s not easy to pull it off, even when using the conventional means. On top of it, it gets even harder when you take into account the interactive nature of videogames.
What makes the comedy in The Stick of Truth well, stick, is that firstly the source material is fantastic and b) it has a lot of history, being based on 17 years’ worth of TV show and all. So for anyone playing this game who’s also a fan of the show (cause who else would play this game?) there’s a huge nostalgia factor. Moreover the genius masterful execution of the South Park’s signature vulgar, heavy handed and often blunt comedy routines in videogame form is just faneffingtastic. The game utilizes some very creative and funny uses of background scenes. In addition to easter eggs, the gameplay mechanics to deliver punch line after punch line is all in line with typical South Park outrageousness. I mean come on, those fart abilities are just freaking priceless. Those who’re familiar with the show will know the lengths to which it can go and despite being a fan of the series, certain moments in the game left me baffled and thinking to myself “Did they seriously put that in the game?”
As with the show, this game is not for those who get offended easily by vulgarity or heavy handed jokes so you’re still better off trying out the TV show before you dive into this. However for those of you who can enjoy and appreciate jokes of that nature, this game will be real treat and is easily one of the funniest videogames I’ve ever played.
Platforms: PC, Mac
This is the story of a man named Stanley. How dubious can a line become when you start an adventure? Arguably featuring the greatest narrator since Portal, this is a relatively simple game joking about the narrative elements that all videogames suffer or exceed from and it still is an experience none like other. Let’s put it this way, you’ll find Stanely to be an intelligent exploration into the hysterical blocks that come with almost all videogames. It’s best to not describe how that happens. But if you like some good wit equipped in humour, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. There’s a lot to The Stanely Parable. I’m not even going to talk about the number of endings. It’s best you start unaware and just dive into it. I like to think of the The Stanely Parable as somewhat close to the Catch-22 of videogames. It’s a splendid showcase of exposing narrative constraints in game development. I’ve even kept the Dota 2 announcer pack of it.
To conclude, I’ll just say that we have been blessed with a variety of subjects to choose in videogames. Comedy has always been in the shadows and it’s time we see it in a mature position. Nearly every form of entertainment has delivered on humour and gaming is finally having a share of it too. After all, who doesn’t like laughing their asses off when gaming?