“If the game is not funny, you’re missing something” says Tim Schafer
Games today are a serious business, and I’m not just talking about profit and market saturation here. There’s a lack of warmth, fun and humour in most gaming storylines today, and what little there is, is usually of the kind that has comes with an expiration date, crackers and a bottle of red wine.
Cheesy humour aside, one place where you would generally find great humour and said heart is in a Double Fine title. Studio head and Kickstarter champ Tim Schafer is well aware of this, because after all, he’s the man who believes that timely humour is a feature that not enough games utilize in this day and age any more.
Speaking at the NYU Game Center last week that Kotaku attended, Schafer described humour as a tool that could be used to solve problems, a tool that he himself used to make Guybrush Threepwood and Elaine Marley fall in love in just five lines for the classic The Secret of Monkey Island game.
Schafer described the scenario as a comedic scene that had been expanded to “absurd proportions”.
“You can’t write a serious scene that has a pirate and a governor fall in love in five lines,” Schafer said.
If the game is not funny, you’re missing something. Humour is a tool to cover up the fact that this is not a solvable problem. If you don’t have anything funny to say about a situation, the player will realize something’s fake.
Schafer has also currently started work on his latest title, which will be a reality thanks to crowd-sourcing from a phenomenally successful Kickstarter initiative, which will also allow him to make the game that he wants, free of publisher requirements and red tape.
And of course, there’s going to be a healthy dose of humour in this title. Personally, I’ve always been a big fan of Schafer, from his days on Monkey Island, through to the motorcycle action that was present in Full Throttle, and of course, one of my personal favourites, Brutal Legend, a hard-rockin’ game that almost never was.
Games such as that are usually a welcome reprieve from titles that are littered with objectivist quotes and hard decisions with cosmic repercussions, little slices of charm and fun that remind that I’m sitting down to have fun in the first place.