In a realm of photo-realistic FPS’s, epic MMORPG’s & dark Indie thrillers winning the wallets of gamers, there has been less and less room for humour in modern day gaming. Is this really the case or is there room for a bit more funny?
As games are serving a larger and larger adult audience more gritty and realistic games have dominated many players bookshelves. Titles such as Amnesia: Dark Descent, DayZ, Stalker & even Dead Space have started to tap into more of the psychological arenas of the horror / thriller genre with a great success rate.
However I put forward the idea that there is another side of the mind that is ripe for the plundering. Humour! It used to be a big backbone of the gaming world especially in point and click adventure games. The graphics where limited but the writers imagination was not. These games where around in the 70’s as text adventure games. Some of the bigger titles of the era were Colossal Cave Adventure or Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Mine and a lot of other Gamer’s introduction to this was I’m the form of a suit.
Leisure suit Larry, it was made for audience that likes dirty jokes and so it took off like a rocket. Even though it was no Monty Python esq groundbreaking event in the comedy world it still made a lot of people laugh and giggle so therefore won a place in player’s hearts. At the time there was also Space Quest & Police Quest series that were engaging players in a world of humor and adventure that seemed to go hand in hand.
This area matured and brought us such titles as Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, Under a killing Moon, Simon the sorcerer to name but a few. Time however marched on and along with it came better and better tech which allowed graphics to become a more important part of the game experience. Scripts, whilst still important, where not an integral part of the process (it seemed) during this period and a new style of insta gratification game come about, humour had bowed out stage left, quietly.
Then Valve decided to update one of its titles and it global image. Valve announced a new Team Fortress and introduced us to ‘The Heavy’ for the first time. They made a bright colourful game (with violence) steeped in humor. I was a very happy camper and eagerly awaited the ‘Meet the’ series of videos a little more then I did the game.
This carried over to titles such as Portal & a little bit in Left 4 Dead but really stood out was the comedy value of TF2 character’s. Funny was back & Valve was leading the way. Building characters and a world with its own style of humor made a lot of people turn there heads and soon got the attention of other developers. A couple of companies that seemed to notice this trend was Gearbox Software and 2K Games.
They released Borderlands, (which is still pretty underrated) an FPS RPG crossover which made many people confused and unsure. Once I played it a little I got it! Shooting people, check! Searching for treasure, (which I didn’t understand why it was addictive until now) check! All within a unique world filed with absurd characters, events and a sense of humor of its own. Whilst the story within the game wasn’t anything to write home about the way it was advertised and media released around it was. A little robot called Claptrap became it’s mascot and has probably secured a place in history far more than Mendlock and Weasel (or what ever the Olympic mascots of fail name’s are).
All this leads me to believe that we are in for a treat in the coming years. We all need a laugh in our lives and especially if your already indulging your escapism side by playing video games. More humor in video games in my mind can only be a good thing and my prediction is that we will be laughing lot more and enjoying our games in a different light very soon.
In the meantime put the kettle on, put you feet up and YouTube yourself the Meet the ****** series of valve trailers and the Borderlands 2 Wimoweh Trailer to see what I mean.