Game Development Reference
Just as in any other media, comedy in games is a very subjective thing. Lines
or routines that will have some people in stitches will leave others very cold.
We all have our favourite comedies on TV and can be quite surprised when
we speak to others who do not share our love of those programmes. This
subjectivity means it is very difficult to write comedy that will appeal to
everyone and to try would probably lead to the humour feeling forced at best
and may very well fail altogether.
The opportunities to write comedy games are much less common than
they used to be.There has been a definite move towards games with a darker,
more serious feel and such games dominate our perception of the current
state of gaming.While there are many games that have funny, even hilarious,
elements, the humour mostly tends to be physical and slapstick in nature, but
without care, even these games can prove to be problematical.
Probably more than any other area of writing, making sure that the comedy
works is vitally important to the way the game is received. Players may
overlook weak lines in a more serious game, but if a joke falls flat it will stick
in their memory because this is the heart of the comedy game. If the humour
and jokes do not work, then you really do not have a comedy game at all.
The writer and designers must have similar senses of humour to create the
game.Without this, there is always going to be conflict over what is funny or
not. There must be a shared comedic vision for the game that parallels the
gameplay vision and how the two of them go hand in hand through the
design and development of the game. Is the comedy going to be slapstick or
a more subtle brand of humour? Is the comedy going to be interactive in
some way and if so how is this mechanism going to work? Are there visual
jokes as well as dialogue humour? Try to plan as much as possible about the
style of comedy and the way it is going to be presented to the player so that
you are able to maintain consistency.
Working on a comedy game can be tremendous fun for the whole develop-
ment team as the ideas are created, refined and implemented. However, this
regularly leads to the situation where everyone thinks they have great ideas