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Humor in Games?

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the stick-around dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 345

commiesubverter writes "Slate.com has an article up about humor in games. It's a decent summary of where the gaming industry has been and is going with its humor. From the article: 'Comedy is typically marginalized into background sight gags and interstitial cut scenes. Even games that generally strive to be funny incorporate humor into window dressing: In Grand Theft Auto, you can sow mayhem while listening to a mock-NPR that's broadcasting a roundtable discussion on violence.'"

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Monkey Island (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10741265)

Nothing beats the Monkey Island series!

Re:Monkey Island (2, Informative)

PoopJuggler (688445) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741338)

Even though it's a totally separate game style, these guys seem to have a good sense of humor Alien Hominid [alienhominid.com]

Re:Monkey Island (1)

arcanumas (646807) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741402)

Monkey Island were excellent, but surely not the only 'funny' game.
One of my favorites is "Eric the Unready".

Re:Monkey Island (5, Insightful)

accelleron (790268) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741471)

I particularly like the first three Monkey Island games (the ones based on the SCUMM engine).

P.S. For all the geeks with a Pocket PC (what self-respecting geek is without one?), there's ScummVM ( http://www.scummvm.org/downloads.php ), which I've been using for MI 1-3 and great old games like DOTT (Day of The Tentacle for the newbie geeks). I highly recommend it.

Re:Monkey Island (3, Funny)

Per Wigren (5315) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741462)

You fight like a dairy farmer.

ok, I'll say it if nobody else will (4, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741490)

You fight like a dairy farmer.

How appropriate, you fight like a cow.

Re:Monkey Island (1)

Gi0 (773404) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741466)

..and i would like to add to that Neighbors from Hell (1&2) http://www.gamezone.com/gamesell/p20504.htm [gamezone.com] .Annoy your neighbor till he gets a heart attack!:) The next funniest game since the monkey series for me!

Re:Monkey Island (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741489)

Turn off the computer and go to bed!!

(worst thing was, when I finished MI1 and saw that screen, it was past midnight and my wife was fast asleep.)

Just like in reall life unfortunately (2, Insightful)

sammykrupa (828537) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741271)

That sounds to much like real life.

Misguided article (5, Interesting)

Ignorant Aardvark (632408) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741272)

I play games because they're fun, and not for any other reason. Recently I've been playing GTA:SA, and I can see why WCTR is window dressing - because it gets old. It only has so much content, and after that, it becomes stale and repetitive. To make a good game that is genuinely funny the whole way through would take a LOT of work - and frankly, I'm not even sure it would be possible. It's much easier to make a game fun by allowing you to run over pedestrians or what not - this stays fun for awhile. But once you've heard a joke once, it's pretty much used up.

Re:Misguided article (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10741281)

To make a good game that is genuinely funny the whole way through would take a LOT of work - and frankly, I'm not even sure it would be possible.

Sigh, youngsters nowadays are so deprived. You've never played "Monkey Island" I suppose?

Re:Misguided article (4, Funny)

beacher (82033) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741294)

Talk about making up your own fun... Here's a shot from lineage [mindspring.com] . heheheheh

Re:Misguided article (5, Informative)

kormoc (122955) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741315)

Some games that were funny the entire way though:
Money Island
Sam and Max hit the road
Day of the Tentacle

Those three are classics, the entire game was funny and fun and required thinking. Give them a shot once and then say that a game can't be funny.

Re:Misguided article (3, Informative)

wadam (563519) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741327)

And don't forget the Spellcasting 101 / 201 / 301 series. I have fond memories of moments where I was laughing so hard that I had to take a break.

Adam.

Re:Misguided article (3, Insightful)

wo1verin3 (473094) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741328)

Don't forget Leisure Suit Larry 1 through 7. The new LSL Magna Cum Laude is horrible however, very disappointing.

Re:Misguided article (1)

Taladar (717494) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741340)

The Simon the Sorcerer Series and Floyd (the game the same people made after Simon the Sorcerer) were fun to play as well.

Re:Misguided article (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741358)

Simon the Sorcerer were quite unappreciated games. In one part of STS 1, a discussion between three woodworms had me laughing so hard i had to stop playing for 10 minutes.

Re:Misguided article (2, Insightful)

danila (69889) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741410)

I haven't played these ones, but I don't suppose they were very interactive, free-roaming do-what-you-like games like GTA, were they? You can make a traditional quest funny, that's right, but the truth is noone wants to play quests anymore (or so it appears from the sales charts).

Frankly, one could make a GTA with all cut-scenes remade as comedy, not gangsta/mob films, but they they would be so out of sync with the gameplay itself. Jokes are something you create, not something that emerges from the gameplay (unless you are talking about "once-in-a-while" accidental funny moments that could happen even in Quake).

So a comedy game requires that you script it from the beginning to the end and that no traditional gameplay is possible. Because if you allow driving a car in a comedy game, you need to make it funny too, regardless of where you go. If you don't, there will be conflicting expectations from the gamer - do I want the driving to be cool (then why do I need all the jokes) or do I want it to be funny (then someone needs to create a lot of them)?

Re:Misguided article (2, Interesting)

kormoc (122955) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741448)

hrm...

Interactive? yes, way moreso then gta is imho. Free roaming? no, it's a smaller world overall. Quest games still sell, the fact that the old games like sam and max and monkey island and dott still are being sold close to 10 years later is just proof that they still sell, not as well, but given the age, I'd say that's still very good.

Yes, comedy requires scripted events, but if you can script it in 2d, you can script it in 3d.

What about postal 2? it had lots of funny violence, and moments, and it was just as open ended as gta is. Now postal 2's humor isn't as good as the classics, but it's still funny if you want funny violence.

Re:Misguided article (1)

selderrr (523988) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741367)

Day of the Tentacle was funny all the way. Not only the dialogue, but also the situations made me laugh several times over. And the solutions you had to come up with. A classic for instance : you need a screwdriver, but can't find it anywhere. After 20min of searching you go back to your car where a burgler is forcing the window. By trading your car-keys (and your car) for his screwdriver, the game got going again.

Nuts...

Re:Misguided article (1)

Dwedit (232252) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741399)

1) You get a Crowbar
2) It's not YOUR car, it belongs to the big guy who's sleeping on top of the sweater.

Lucasarts Adventures (4, Insightful)

Xpilot (117961) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741273)

I remember countless adventures from Lucasarts where the principle element is pure comedy. From Monkey Island to Day of the Tentacle to Sam and Max, these classic games were both funny and fun. They don't make many games like those any more ever since FPS's became popular (and hence, more profitable for the majority of game studios to develop).

Re:Lucasarts Adventures (4, Insightful)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741290)

Agreed. If one game genre got humor right, it was graphic adventures. Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion, DOTT, Grim Fandango, Simon the Sorcerer, even titles like Full Throttle. It always work well in such games, probably because most graphic adventures had great "scripts" to begin with.

Re:Lucasarts Adventures (2, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741381)

The good thing of the adventure genre is that they not only have humor, they can also get quite serious with other emotions (fear, hate, love, whatever). From all the genres out there adventure games are really the only one so far that is really well suited to tell a movie-like story, all other genres kind of boil down with some action levels here, some cutscene there, but they don't give you much good feel of being really into the story.

There are of course some games like 'DeusEx' or 'Beyond Good&Evil' which manage to make a good cross between adventure game elements (dialogs, use of inventory, walking around at your home with being threatend by monsters, etc) and action elements, however its kind of sad that there are not more of such games around. The gaming world has really lost a lot after the dead of the adventure genre and only slowly the elements they provided are coming back into the games world.

Re:Lucasarts Adventures (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10741291)

What about a funny game where the aim is to kill Iraqi children? That would be both fun and educational.

If you're an anti-social nerd living in your parents basement, despair not. There will be a draft, and you will be able to rape iranian poontang. Yeah, pussy for your sorry Libertarian nerdy ass.

Burn USA, burn.

Re:Lucasarts Adventures (0, Offtopic)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741440)

(Guybrush feeds a troll)

Guybrush: I am rubber, you are glue.

Re:Lucasarts Adventures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10741302)

Ooh you said it buddy. I really loved the swordfighting insults and the "A Pirate I Was Meant To Be" song.

Re:Lucasarts Adventures (1)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741310)

Yesss ! :) For me, the Monkey Island series are the most humorous games ever :) Countless hours of fun and laugh on the jokes :)

Hey, do you remember the rubber tree joke, or the scene when G.T. had to make the dogs sleep with the meat+y.petal (assuring they aren't dead just sleeping :) And I could go on 4ever :)

When there's enough fun (meaning not only the jokes and humor, of course) with a game, it can be a long lasting experience, that's for sure.

Grim Fandango (3, Interesting)

Anaphiel (712680) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741318)

Possibly the most consistantly funny game I've played, with a very sophisticated sense of humor.

"Run you pigeons, it's Robert Frost!"

Monkey Island (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10741277)

The Monkey Island series was one of the funn(i)est things I've seen in my life.

Computer games are less funny because they're interactive, and that's hard to do for comedy.

Re:Monkey Island (2)

kormoc (122955) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741326)

hrm, so monkey island wasn't a computer game?

I may just not know what a computer is then :P

Re:Monkey Island (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741451)

Neverhood. Nothing I've seen beats the Neverhood game for incredibly funny and fun to play as well. The puzzles are good but not too wildly difficult, and the giant crab scene alone was worth the full commercial price of the game.

Games are not funny (4, Insightful)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741278)

For the simple reason that the first couple of times you play it a joke is amusing, the 200th time you play, its a worn out fucking nuisance.

Re:Games are not funny (1)

TOGA! TOGA TOGA! (606472) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741289)

The other reason games aren't funny is that the designers aren't comedians. Mostly, programmers have a math/science background, and they would honestly prefer to focus on improving the physics. Can you really imagine a programmer geek saying, "Oh boy, look at this great improvement I made to the story!"

Re:Games are not funny (1)

Negatyfus (602326) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741395)

Uhm, yeah. You don't think they will have hired a professional writer for this to accomodate their team of programmers, graphics designers, producers, QA, etc.?

Ps. Programmers like stories, too.

Re:Games are not funny (1)

Uerige (206572) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741305)

I swear I have played monkey's Island 20 times at least, and it never wears out. Don't assume that FPS are the only games everyone plays only because you don't know any better.

Re:Games are not funny (3, Insightful)

Nevenmrgan (826707) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741405)

Do you have any idea how many times I've seen the Parrot Sketch? The Cheese Shop Sketch? MST3K's treatment of "Manos, Hands of Fate"? 'The Producers'? Because I don't. I just know they're hella funny every time.

Re:Games are not funny (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10741452)

Your MOM's a worn out nuisance.

Heh. That one never gets old :)

This would be fun.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10741279)

A game where you wantonly kill towelheads. Those animals aren't worthy of breathing American air anyway. And what about them fucking eurotrash? A game where you run over eurotrash would be funny.

America... fuck yeah!

Re:This would be fun.. (1, Troll)

Le Marteau (206396) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741309)

A game where you wantonly kill towelheads. Already been done. It's called "Operation Iraqi Freedom" by Bush! It's the best! And it has the best force-feedback hardware in the industry! They can shoot back, and you actuall feel it! Yee ha!

New mod rating? (1)

LitigiousBastards (758159) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741353)

-1 Too scary

Re:This would be fun.. (2, Funny)

tepples (727027) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741414)

Well at least he whom you call a "towelhead" knows where his towel is.

No One Lives Forever (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10741280)

I've only played the sequel and that has to be the funnies FPS I've played. Some of the conversations between the guards were priceless, and the overall goofiness was highly entertaining.

Re:No One Lives Forever (4, Insightful)

Inexile2002 (540368) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741346)

The writing and voice acting in that game were priceless. Every gaurd you snuck up on was in the middle of a hilarious conversation. Dozens and dozens of times I found myself sitting in a shadow waiting for them to finish before I killed them. (Strange sentence.) The cut scenes, general camp of the game and some of the in game details were well done too. All in all, probably the best combination of comdey in an action game that I've seen. (Also one of the most amazing games I've ever played. Why this didn't do better I'll never understand.)

Agreed. (2, Interesting)

antdude (79039) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741355)

Both No One Lives Forever [noonelivesforever.com] and its sequel [sierra.com] (not Contract Jack) made me laugh a lot. The dialogs and the humor.

Examples:
  1. "Are you insulting my monkey?!" --a moroccan civilians line"
  2. "Do not be apprehensive about this apprehension!" --the HARM guards in Morroco
  3. Cate: "Spare yourself the suffering and you might walk out of here with clean underpants."
    Harm Guard: "Too late for that!"
  4. Cate: Who is your favorite historical character?
    Baron Dumas: Hmm...I would have to say....er....Beowulf.
    Cate: Ah... I was thinking of historical rather than fictional individuals.
    Baron Dumas: Beowulf is a historal character.
    Cate: You mean the Beowulf who slew Grendel and is mother?
    Baron Dumas: Ah, yes: thats the one.
    Cate: He's a FICTIONAL character.
    Baron Dumas: YES, I know that, but there was also an HISTORICAL one.
    Cate: The Beowulf who fought the dragon?
    Baron Dumas: Indeed.
    Cate: But there AREN'T any dragons. Unless you count the dinosaurs of course, but there weren't any of those wondering around during the time that Beowulf WOULD have lived, had he been a REAL person instead of a fictional one.
    Baron Dumas: Are you quite sure?
    Cate: Yes.
    Baron Dumas: I see...

DOH!! I wasn't supposed to post that! (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741377)

That is incomplete. :P See post [slashdot.org] for the correct one.

Remind me to sleep. ;)

Re:Agreed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10741443)

That didn't make me laugh. At all.

Indeed (1)

Thiam (828757) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741366)

Both NOLF 1 & 2 are great FPS games where the humor is very well woven into the story line. It makes these games still stand out and fun to play, even now they're outdated technologically. A great game doesn't need the latest eye-candy, it needs great game-play.

Agreed. Some quotes as examples... (3, Informative)

antdude (79039) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741372)

Both No One Lives Forever [noonelivesforever.com] and its sequel [sierra.com] (not Contract Jack) made me laugh a lot. The dialogs, cutscenes, etc.

WARNING: SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN'T PLAYED THE GAMES!!

Examples:
  1. "Are you insulting my monkey?!" --a moroccan civilians line"
  2. "Do not be apprehensive about this apprehension!" --the HARM guards in Morroco
  3. Cate: "Spare yourself the suffering and you might walk out of here with clean underpants."
    Harm Guard: "Too late for that!"
  4. Cate: Who is your favorite historical character?
    Baron Dumas: Hmm...I would have to say....er....Beowulf.
    Cate: Ah... I was thinking of historical rather than fictional individuals.
    Baron Dumas: Beowulf is a historal character.
    Cate: You mean the Beowulf who slew Grendel and is mother?
    Baron Dumas: Ah, yes: thats the one.
    Cate: He's a FICTIONAL character.
    Baron Dumas: YES, I know that, but there was also an HISTORICAL one.
    Cate: The Beowulf who fought the dragon?
    Baron Dumas: Indeed.
    Cate: But there AREN'T any dragons. Unless you count the dinosaurs of course, but there weren't any of those wondering around during the time that Beowulf WOULD have lived, had he been a REAL person instead of a fictional one.
    Baron Dumas: Are you quite sure?
    Cate: Yes.
    Baron Dumas: I see...
  5. Funny scenes with the HARM's director keeps getting nagged by his mother thru the entire NOLF2 game.
  6. "Bend over and kiss yer potatahs goodbye!" --combat taunts
  7. Two words: Human cubes
  8. Many more funny scenes in this thread [thegluefactory.com] .

    Thanks to NOLF Girl [nolfgirl.com] for a lot of these. ;)

Re:No One Lives Forever (2, Interesting)

jnd3 (116181) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741417)

Tron 2.0 (by the same company that did NOLF) had some good humor as well ... enemies known as "Resource Hogs" would often carry names like "lookout.exe" and "wordwin.exe" and other assorted plays on Microsoft programs. Definitely more "geeky" humor, but still good.

LucasArts' Armed & Dangerous is pretty fun slapstick as well -- from the tea-brewing robot to shark launchers and topsy-turvy bombs -- and the cutscenes are just a hoot. And to top it off, it's hit the $10 bin.

Re:No One Lives Forever (1)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741454)

It all makes sense now. For some reason, both games were frustratingly hard and I quit both after about a week.

Humor works a lot better if you don't piss off the player first. Such a waste, too, Tron 2.0 had such great sound, music, and graphics. But they had to screw it up by giving the enemies god aim and the player no way to restore health frequently.

Humor in games in the past 20 years (5, Interesting)

BrotherZeoff (776525) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741283)

Actually I thought that a lot of the earlier games were firmly tongue in cheek.

Infocom's Zork and Enchanter series had a lot of gags. Planetfall and Hitchhiker's Guide were, too.

Bard's Tale, as the aticle mentioned. But Keef the Thief and Escape from Hell were funnier. There were quite a few funny cut scenes in one of the Duke Nukem games--I remember Duke ripped off a defeated alien's head and, uh, took care of business down its throat...

I think gaming used to be geekier and have more self-depracating and sarcastic humor. Later, console systems opened gaming up to a younger and less geeky population, and games became more fast-paced and serious.

These days, it seems that Blizzard is keeping up the humor tradition more than most other publishers.

Re:Humor in games in the past 20 years (4, Funny)

dabigpaybackski (772131) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741308)

Dude: Fallout 2.

"Now SHOW ME THE MUMMY!"

sheesh... (1)

krymsin01 (700838) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741292)

not one mention of Zombies Ate My Neighbors...

Re:sheesh... (1)

DrJonesAC2 (652108) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741376)

I think that you and me are the only two people in the world who have played this game. I love it but whenever I ask people if they have played it they look at me like I'm some sort of deranged psychopath.

Another funny game that doesn't appear to be mentioned is Conker's Bad Fur Day! That game is funny every time I play it.

Favorite part of game: The evil little girl attached to the gigantic Tedi. (Spoof of the exorcist)

What about games (4, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741293)

where how the user plays creates the comedy? I laugh my ass off when I am playing Monkey Ball with friends because of some of the wonderfully random ways you can kill your monkey. The best comedy is usually unscripted, and the best games usually provide lots of unscripted comedy(whicih is also another reason why I don't play 1 player games or games on the internet, too boring)

Re:What about games (4, Funny)

AEton (654737) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741348)

I laugh my ass off when I am playing Monkey Ball with friends because of some of the wonderfully random ways you can kill your monkey.

Usually before I kill my monkey I make sure there aren't other people around. Common courtesy, you know.

But whatever works for your friends, sounds great!

Slapstick, FPS-style (2, Insightful)

No Such Agency (136681) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741388)

Tons of interactive user-created violent slapstick occurs in FPS/action games, especially during multiplayer. Everything from some guy rocket-jumping and exploding on impact, to accidentally driving the Hellbender off a cliff when two other teammates are riding on top is FUNNY. It's just very unsophisticated humor, which is part of what the article is complaining about.

Sadly, I always sucked at the funniest games - even Monkey Island had me reaching for a walkthrough every ten minutes or so, because while the game is brilliant, it's a little *too* brilliant for me to solve half the puzzles on my own. And being frustrated, or "cheating" are not so much fun even when you can appreciate the game's humour.

Re:What about games (1)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741467)

Two words: Katamari Damacy

I was laughing my ass off when I saw footage of that game. You may have seen it before. It's that one where you have to roll a ball around streets and parks, etc., and have to pick up objects with it. Eventually, the ball gets big enough that you're picking up innocent old ladies and then cars, buses and buildings. By the end, there's so much crap rolling around it just looks hilarious.

Re:What about games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10741496)

killing your monkey - some kind of masturbation technique that's more violent than the usual spanking, right?

Monkey Island is still good for a laugh but (5, Funny)

fussili (720463) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741295)

... if you want an FPS which will make you laugh check out Giants: Citizen Kabuto. Absolutely hilarious plot as a bunch of Cockney Aliens end up on a planet with a magic using race of merfolk and a 300 foot tall beast.

The cutscenes are brilliant but the comedy is left out of the action with the exception of the various cockney aliens chiming in with progress reports and saying things like "Oooh my leg!".

And as for comedy being annoying upon repetition. I could play Monkey Island till Guybrush Threepwood actuall becomes a mighty pirate.

Come on people! Bob, Float, Drift? What's NOT to love about that series!?

Who wants to see Mario do slapstick over and over? (4, Insightful)

BetterThanCaesar (625636) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741299)

Maybe the reason games are low on humour is because most jokes are only funny once or twice, whereas a game needs to be playable many, many times. If playing the game a second time is like watching reruns of Fresh Prince in Bel-Air, I'd rather not.

Of course, there is comedy that will always be funny, such as Monty Python, but who dares create a complete game hoping that all or most of the comedy will last?

The Incredible Machines and Day of the Tentacle are two of my favourite old games with lots humour. But I think the reason I still like them is because I haven't played them for a long time.

Re:Who wants to see Mario do slapstick over and ov (1)

mr_snarf (807002) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741347)

Why exactly does a game need to be playable many, many times? Most single player games are only played once.As someone else pointed out, multiplayer games, on the other hand, can have player-created humour.

Re:Who wants to see Mario do slapstick over and ov (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741404)

Most single player games are only played once.

Not if I have to waste 29 lives on a level to beat it.

Re:Who wants to see Mario do slapstick over and ov (1)

BetterThanCaesar (625636) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741445)

Most single player games are only played once.

From the beginning to the end, perhaps. The article does mention between-level humour, but (if I read it correctly) asks for in-game humour. That will drive you crazy if, for example, as tepples writes, you need 29 lives to complete a level, and the same joke is repeated each time.

Player-created humour, now that's something completely different, and unavoidable. It doesn't have much to do with the game itself, I think, but the players.

I just remembered the cow level of Diablo II. That's another kind of humour, a hidden level, and a reference to the Diablo fan-base created myths.

Games should be fun (3, Insightful)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741300)

... so why does humor seem like a distraction? Maybe it's because the game designers aren't comedians, they're geeks? Geeks can be funny, as seen on these very pages, but to step out and design a game that tries to be funny is way too risky. What if someone buys the game and doesn't laugh? Bad news.

Comedy takes a certain mindset. You have to program the user with a setup, then redirect them to the punch line. That's a different plot than blowing up an alien mother ship or whatever.

Comedy is usually only funny once. By the time the designer has seen it for the six hundredth time, it's not funny to them any more. By the time the user has seen the gag a few times, they're bored with it. By contrast, I still pull out Doom 2 now and then.

Re:Games should be fun (1)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741419)

Let's face it. Most of us geeks are funny to each other but not so much to non-geeky public. Lots of game buyers would not appreciate the fine tuned wit produced by the geeky game designer. Add to that, most geeks do better with those off the cuff, spur of the moment type comments. Give us to much time to think about it and we would blow it.

Re:Games should be fun (1)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741436)

Geeks are only funny to each other?

Who wouldn't laugh at 'All your base are belong to us' or 'In Soviet Russia, the game laughs at you'.

Oh, I see what you mean.

There still are a few gems out there... (1)

SenorCitizen (750632) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741306)

Lucasarts' classic adventure games have been mentioned already, and they are funny as hell. But, there still are a few actually funny games out there, the first one that comes to mind is No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way. A mix between James Bond and Austin Powers, this FPS had some hilarious moments. Of course, it's heavily story-driven - more open games like GTA would have to have huge amounts of scripted stuff that it just wouldn't be possible to make them thoroughly funny.

Scripted comedy... no thanks (5, Insightful)

ldm (676254) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741312)

Surely this depends on what you personally find amusing? I have fond memories of Dungeon Keeper & DK2, which I thought were wickedly funny... torture, anyone? Similarly, Carmageddon & Carmageddon 2 had me laughing out loud as zombies exploded around me whilst pulling off utterly insane stunts. A whole bunch of LucasArts games (Sam & Max, Day Of The Tentacle, etc) are funny. Grand Theft Auto's gouranga bonus. Simply playing Unreal Tournament and for example, jumping at an oppenent, emptying a weapon at them, completely missing, and they pick you off with one shot... I find that funny (or maybe I suck at UT ;)). Max Payne. Countless sub/side games in countless titles.

Maybe I'm just twisted.

I don't think traditional comedy will work in games... you tend to get in-jokes in games, which is ok because those playing the games will usually get it. Jokes that are scripted and get forced at you again and again as you replay, whilst they may have been funny the first few times, they almost certainly aren't after a few dozen.

In my opinion, scripted humour can not replace gameplay touches that allow the player to make their own fun.

Re:Scripted comedy... no thanks (1)

krymsin01 (700838) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741325)

Carageddon didn't have zombies in it, as I remember. Those things are called pedestrians. Easy enough mistake, though.

Re:Scripted comedy... no thanks (1)

myster0n (216276) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741350)

I believe that in the UK version the people were replaced by zombies.

Re:Scripted comedy... no thanks (1)

krymsin01 (700838) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741360)

Weird, didn't know that... Then again they could've already been zombies in the state's version too, I could just be remembering it wrong.

Re:Scripted comedy... no thanks (1)

ldm (676254) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741368)

Indeed, and not just the UK, across Europe... iirc, the BBFC in the UK & whoever rates titles sold in Germany wouldn't rate the game with humans in it, so pedestrians were replaced with zombies. There was a patch available to restore the human targets, but this didn't alter the gameplay at all -- it was still damn good fun =)

Re:Scripted comedy... no thanks (1)

KozmoStevnNaut (630146) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741441)

The pedestrians were replaced with robots in the German release. Thankfully, the danish release was untouched :)

Re:Scripted comedy... no thanks (1)

OneHungLo (265284) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741407)

The UK version of Carmageddon 2, as well as Carmageddon 64 featured zombies that bled green blood instead of red-blooded humans. Personally, I preferred mowing down and splattering zombies instead of normal human beings anyways. It' not that I have anything against graphic violence in video games, in fact I'm all for it, but it just seemed like the violence against zombies was a lot funnier.

There were several times that I could recall having some beers with my friends, and playing Carmageddon on the N64, just so we could have contests of who could get the funniest "Splatter Bonus". The zombie theme seemed to encourage it more than just running over pedestrians for the fun of it.

Re:Scripted comedy... no thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10741374)

I've read through a bunch of comments, and while you mentioned most of what has been said and then some, I still haven't seen the one funny adventure game of my youth...LEISEURE SUIT LARRY! My God...he just had another game come out. Give the guy some credit for being one of the few to survive the Sierra shakedown.

Re:Scripted comedy... no thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10741479)

Right on, poster ... Carmageddon 2 is the de-facto sick humor gaming champ. The instant replay of a mad rush through a shopping center in slow motion, while the peds are crushed and electrocuted in slow motion, limbs flying everywhere... it's beautiful (sniff) Does the darn thing even work anymore on DirectX9.2.0.0 or whatever is out now??

Humor in Games (1)

TrikerII (773103) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741323)

Humor is in the eye of the beholder, however, I really like the humor in Duke Nukem 3D, even the online insults were great!

Who needs intentional humor (5, Funny)

mfivis (592345) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741324)

Someone set us up the bomb
or
The President has been kidnapped by ninjas. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the President?

Re:Who needs intentional humor (4, Informative)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741426)

I guess it's linky time. There's an entire website dedicated to weird video game quotes, even many that aren't even Japanese:

Zany Video Game Quotes [overclocked.org]

Real People (1)

corexian (828038) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741339)

I'm finding with my recent exposure to MMORPG's, that a good bit of the humor is coming from *surprise* other people in the game. Also, the games typically have some extremely funny things that designed to be there, but random, unintentional things tend to be hilarious (i.e. someone getting stuck in a column or an enemy materializing right next to you in a tree so that they can't attack).

My favorite in game humor... Warcraft/Starcraft (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10741341)

Everyone knows if you click the people in Warcraft/Starcraft enough, you get some funny jokes, but my favorite was in WC3.

"I'll attract the enemy with my human mating call. I'm so wasted! I'm so wasted!" -- The Dryad

Not any more (4, Insightful)

tarnin (639523) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741342)

Straight up comedy games ala the original Lucasarts ones wont work now. A lot of those were filled with injokes and specifically geeky jokes. Now that the demographic has changed to the non-geek and general populace they don't work. Not only do they not work, but to create a game that would the humor would have to be so broad as to be either unfunny or work once.

I have seen some humor left but it is either background, in jokes, or specific. Case in point, alot of the quest givers in WoW have some funny stuff to say and the voice emotes are a riot but the game itself is pretty serious.

One thing that people fail to mention is the switch in humor in the games has worked. People are buying these games or subscribing to the serives in record numbers even in this declining economy. Weither or not any of us agree with humor in games in its current incarnation it moot really. Pander to the lowest common denominator and make lots of money. Sad but true.

Re:Not any more (-1, Offtopic)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741422)

I'm Bobbin Threadbare. Are you my mommy?

If this gets modded offtopic or troll, I've proved a point about injokes not working in current games.

Yegads! (1)

dasunt (249686) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741369)

They praise HHGTTG (text-based game), yet I know several people who found that game very, very unfun, due to the gameplay.

Its not enough to have gags if the gameplay has problems.

Just my $.02

If only... (4, Funny)

chrisbolt (11273) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741370)

If only Super Turkey Puncher 3 was a real game...

sierra (4, Funny)

Triv (181010) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741389)

Old-school sierra games were designed for comedy and problem solving. Well, some of them were, anyway. The Space Quest series was designed to be funny, and Leisure Suit Larry wouldn't've won any awards for its gameplay.

Triv

Two games wirth comedy as the centerpiece (1)

fzammett (255288) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741391)

Might want to have a look...

http://www.omnytex.com/ [omnytex.com]

Specifically:

http://omnytex.com/kgarcade/ [omnytex.com]

and

http://omnytex.com/products_invasion_info.shtml/ [omnytex.com]

They have two games for the PocketPC, Invasion: Trivia! and K&G Arcade. They both star two aliens named Krelmac and Gentoo. You could describe them as a cross between Kang/Kodos and Beavis/Butthead. The games are rather fun but most importantly are comedy-focused. Naturally as with all comedy whether you find it funny or not is subjective, but plenty if people do find them rather amusing.

The guys at Omnytex Technologies are actually getting started on K&G Arcade II (code-named "maybe this one will sell"), which they say is going to be even more comedy and story-driven.

I know mentioning something Microsoft-related (PocketPC) here on Slashdot is a no-no, but I think these two games are worth checking out if you own such a device.

Space Quest! (3, Insightful)

A Boy and His Blob (772370) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741394)

Space Quest and the Quest for Glory series are what really got me into gaming. Some of the later Icon based Sierra games were half-way decent, but in my mind the text-input games were the ones that really shined.

Re:Space Quest! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10741416)

Holy shit new Psykosonik! I always wondered what happened to them.

Duke Nukem 3D (4, Interesting)

turgid (580780) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741408)

May years ago there was a DOS game called Duke Nukem 3D, which was very similar to Doom in many ways.

One of the things I found very funny was that you could actually "use" the toilets in the game. If you walked up to one of the urinals and pressed the "use" button, Duke would do a wee wee and flush the toilet.

One day I was playing it over a direct modem connection with a friend. He shot me in the face with a rocket. I jumped up and backwards, breaking my chair in the process.

I don't have time to play games nowadays, and I don't have Windows, so my choice is severely limited anyway. Xbill is about my limit now.

Re:Duke Nukem 3D (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741465)

And don't forget the unspeakable act committed upon the corpse of the alian leader. It's a good thing our hero had something to read while doing that....

Re:Duke Nukem 3D (1)

Nonillion (266505) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741485)

Don't forget the OJ Simpson chase that was showing on the TVs in the bar.

Re:Duke Nukem 3D (3, Informative)

Dicky (1327) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741470)

Dude.

Duke Nukem 3d for Linux [icculus.org] . With TCP/IP networking.

Name a time. And tell your wife that yes, you do have time.

Painkiller is funny (0)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741415)

There is no doubt that the people at People Can Fly share a similar sense of humor of mine. Their game, Painkiller, doesn't really do anything at all to be humurous, it's just that the awesome physics engine causes some hilarious things to happen. Huge chain barrel explosions as well as the way the enemies look when you use the rotating blade.

Maybe they were watching Dead Alive (hence the similarity between the main weapon and that lawn mower from the movie) or some Troma movie when they came up with the idea of the game.

Minesweeper (4, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741423)

That wacky Minesweeper game just cracks me up!

Based on bottom (the UK comedy) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10741464)

How to be a complete bast**d.

Some screenshots:
http://zxspectrum.mobygames.com/game /shots/gameId, 12456/

What other game gives you the opportunity to pee on someone?

WR

Mario (1, Troll)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741478)

For some reason, I find the original NES Super Mario Brothers jump sound to be hilarious. "Bleeeeeeeeee!" Hopefully that doesn't make me retarded or anything.

Similarly, the sound the 1-wood makes when you miss the ball while swinging in Lee Trevino's Fighting Gold is extremely funny to me.

Simpsons: Hit And Run (1)

Fez (468752) | more than 9 years ago | (#10741493)

One of the funniest games I have played in recent memory is "Simpsons: Hit And Run", a GTA-like game in The Simpsons universe. It's nothing but comedy wall-to-wall, and it's great. I replayed it several times and, at least to me, the humor didn't lessen.

Of course the Lucasarts classics are still the best, but in today's age where mass appeal is crucial, it's hard to find jokes that everyone will get, let alone find humorous.
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