Laughter is the best medicine… especially in video games

A recent article on Tim Schafer quotes him saying that video games need to be funnier.

He is quoted as saying, “If the game is not funny, then you’re missing something.” The most recent game that he’s developed, The Secret of Monkey Island, caters specifically to this need. It is a text-based game that features a pirate named Guybrush Threepwood as the main character. The game is centered around the player attempting to solve puzzles and riddles, but with a funny spin-off.

In one part of the game, Guybrush falls in love with Governor Elaine Marley. Schafer was given the task of writing the love scene. But in five lines.

Phrases like “plunder bunny” and “honey pumpkin” tell us that this isn’t supposed to be taken seriously.

Monkey Island Remake – Guybrush & Elaine

I think that this element of humor could be added to Bogost’s chapter on Relaxation. He mentions the idea that video games should allow a player to “lean back.” What better way to lean back and have some fun than to add a bit of humor into a game? It would have served Bogost well to at least mention this in his chapter on Relaxation. Humor keeps the player interested. It also blurs the line between a gamer being active and passive. If you add too much humor, how much is the player really engaged in the video game? If too little, will the gamer will get bored and walk away?

So how can video game designers successfully incorporate humor into their games?


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