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What happened to comedy adventure games?

Total Posts: 29

Joined 2012-12-08

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Why there are so few comedy adventure games these days? Back in the 90s almost every point and click had some comedy elements, even Broken Sword which was supposed to be more mature had funny moments. Not to mention the classics like Monkey Island series, Day of the Tentacle, Toonstruck, Discworld or Flight of the Amazon Queen to name just few.

Today adventure games are mostly gloomy, dark and serious. It’s so boring to hear yet another horror or detective story. I want to have cheerful adventure once more with wacky characters like Guybrush Threepwood or Simon the Sorcerer. The last two well made point and click I remember is Deponia.

     
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Jenny LeClue is a detective story with lots of funny moments, but the last comedy I played is The Inner World: The Last Wind Monk. So yes, I agree, there should be many more humorous adventures. I guess gloom and doom is easier to make, especially for indies.

     

I’m a politician. That means making the hard choices.  Unforeseen Incidents

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Joined 2017-12-19

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tom - 14 November 2019 06:10 AM

Why there are so few comedy adventure games these days? The last two well made point and click I remember is Deponia.

There’s a banner to a new comedy adventure Kickstarter campaign right above your message…?

A couple of others have just recently been funded:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/scarecrowstudio/3-minutes-to-midnight-a-comedy-graphic-adventure
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hardascheese/super-inconvenience-mart

If you count Adventure Game Studio games, most are comedies, it seems.


One of the best comedy games that have been released relatively recently, is Kelvin and the Infamous Machine.

http://www.infamousmachine.com

     

Total Posts: 29

Joined 2012-12-08

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GateKeeper - 14 November 2019 06:49 AM
tom - 14 November 2019 06:10 AM

Why there are so few comedy adventure games these days? The last two well made point and click I remember is Deponia.

There’s a banner to a new comedy adventure Kickstarter campaign right above your message…?

A couple of others have just recently been funded:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/scarecrowstudio/3-minutes-to-midnight-a-comedy-graphic-adventure
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hardascheese/super-inconvenience-mart


Yes I noticed the banner but knowing kickstarter it will be released in couple of years or so. I am aware that there are some humorous adventure games but they are so few of them compared to 90s.

GateKeeper - 14 November 2019 06:49 AM
tom - 14 November 2019 06:10 AM

If you count Adventure Game Studio games, most are comedies, it seems.

Most of commercial AGS games are serious in tone. The free ones are very short or often not finished.

GateKeeper - 14 November 2019 06:49 AM
tom - 14 November 2019 06:10 AM

One of the best comedy games that have been released relatively recently, is Kelvin and the Infamous Machine.

http://www.infamousmachine.com

I agree. That was a great one. It had that LucasArts vibe. I also tried Irony Curtain but it wasn’t that good. The story was meh and puzzles too disjointed from the plot. The humor was not really my taste.

     
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Total Posts: 143

Joined 2018-03-07

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Paradigm was really funny from two years ago. This year Irony Curtain: From Matryoshka With Love was really funny, Gibbous: A Cthulhu adventure was another good comedy adventure and Guard Duty wasn’t half bad either, although some of the VA is grating.

Another semi recent game that stands out would be The Book of Unwritten Tales 2. Probably one of the best comedy adventures of all time. There’s also the new Great Ace Attorney game that was just fan translated, which mixes comedy and murder mystery very well.

     
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Joined 2013-08-25

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This year’s Hypnospace Outlaw is hilarious up until the last part, which is intentional. While I found Irony Curtain, Gibbous and Guard Duty totally unfunny, they were still supposed to be comedy games. And if you want some real over-the-top oldschool fun and don’t mind RPG elements, play Disco Elysium - it’s comedy gold.

     

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Total Posts: 5831

Joined 2007-07-22

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They’re being made, but there’re no standouts. Every genre (detective, horror…) benefits from good writing, but in comedy games it’s essential, and when you’re tight on the budget in a niche genre, it’s not an easy task. I seriously suspect comedy games are the hardest to make.

That said, Paradigm (comedy) and Unforeseen Incidents (mystery with comedy elements) are two high rated games that you can look into.

     

Recently finished: Four Last Things 4/5, Edna & Harvey: The Breakout 5/5, Chains of Satinav 3,95/5, A Vampyre Story 88, Sam Peters 3/5, Broken Sword 1 4,5/5, Broken Sword 2 4,3/5, Broken Sword 3 85, Broken Sword 5 81, Gray Matter 4/5\nCurrently playing: Broken Sword 4, Keepsake (Let\‘s Play), Callahan\‘s Crosstime Saloon (post-Community Playthrough)\nLooking forward to: A Playwright’s Tale

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Joined 2017-04-14

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I thought The Darkside Detective (2017) was hilarious. I understand some people are rebuked by the graphics, though (they didn’t bother me at all).
Released that same year, Thimbleweed Park definitely has some comedy elements.
I haven’t played it yet, but I’m pretty sure Gibbous (released this summer) falls under the comedy banner.
And I agree about Jenny LeClue being lighthearted and sometimes funny, even though it’s not a bona fide comedy game.

These random titles are mainly for inspiration in case you were looking for some, I’m not going to make a rule out of a few examples. Sometimes I get the same feeling about detective games, then I come across a series of articles mentionning several ones and the feeling vanishes. Perhaps the main problem is the type of humour (or, in my case, detective gameplay), and its quality - it’s a very personal variable.

(I miss lighthearted games with serious themes like Broken Sword, too Frown )

     
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Joined 2012-01-02

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Seriously the most cracking game in the past three-four years is kelvin and the infamous machine, and there nuthin that can even it.

     
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Total Posts: 205

Joined 2013-02-26

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tom - 14 November 2019 06:10 AM

Why there are so few comedy adventure games these days? Back in the 90s almost every point and click had some comedy elements, even Broken Sword which was supposed to be more mature had funny moments. Not to mention the classics like Monkey Island series, Day of the Tentacle, Toonstruck, Discworld or Flight of the Amazon Queen to name just few.

Today adventure games are mostly gloomy, dark and serious. It’s so boring to hear yet another horror or detective story. I want to have cheerful adventure once more with wacky characters like Guybrush Threepwood or Simon the Sorcerer. The last two well made point and click I remember is Deponia.

Um… well here are 7 such games in a bundle right now (until 25th November 2019)...

SCABB - Super Comedy Adventure Bargain Bundle

https://itch.io/b/389/scabb

Got 2 great write-ups today:
https://www.wraithkal.com/scabb-bundle/

https://xgeeks.co.uk/2019/11/14/scabb-super-comedy-adventure-bargain-bundle-review/

From the latter:

“If you enjoy point and click games or like to help out independent game designers and studios, then this bundle will make a welcome addition to your collection! The games may differ in story and design, but what they have in common is great storytelling, warm humour and are very enjoyable to play! So why don’t you go on an adventure today?”

All 7 devs involved in this bundle were inspired by the classic games of the 90s and at least some of us have directly chosen to emulate that exact style.  Smile

     
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Total Posts: 65

Joined 2005-10-04

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A lot of quality humour requires pushing the envelope and risking offending someone. Cliches and stereotyping is where a lot of great humour thrives from. Something which a lot of people, companies and institutions are very averse to doing these days.

Comedy was a lot more liberal in the 90`s and you had more freedom to say what you wanted without some minority group, institution or politically motivated click-bate gaming website jumping down your throats for. Not anymore.

Having said that, perhaps people should keep an eye out for `Nick Bounty and the Dame with the Blue Chewed Shoe` next month.

     
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Joined 2007-07-22

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Terramax - 17 November 2019 01:05 AM

A lot of quality humour requires pushing the envelope and risking offending someone. Cliches and stereotyping is where a lot of great humour thrives from. Something which a lot of people, companies and institutions are very averse to doing these days.

Comedy was a lot more liberal in the 90`s and you had more freedom to say what you wanted without some minority group, institution or politically motivated click-bate gaming website jumping down your throats for. Not anymore.

Having said that, perhaps people should keep an eye out for `Nick Bounty and the Dame with the Blue Chewed Shoe` next month.

There’s some truth in what you’re saying, but I don’t think that’s the deciding factor (or we would have witnessed the “comedy crisis” in all media). What we really miss compared to 90s is a “complete package”, meaning games that have really strong writing, excellent jokes, but are also games that are well produced and rounded as a whole. It’s just like if you’re telling a joke to a friend: it’s not enough for a “joke” itself to be good, it’s how good you’re at interpreting the joke, the contest and the timing.

     

Recently finished: Four Last Things 4/5, Edna & Harvey: The Breakout 5/5, Chains of Satinav 3,95/5, A Vampyre Story 88, Sam Peters 3/5, Broken Sword 1 4,5/5, Broken Sword 2 4,3/5, Broken Sword 3 85, Broken Sword 5 81, Gray Matter 4/5\nCurrently playing: Broken Sword 4, Keepsake (Let\‘s Play), Callahan\‘s Crosstime Saloon (post-Community Playthrough)\nLooking forward to: A Playwright’s Tale

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Joined 2019-05-03

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I never found p&c hilariously funny. Oh, sure, I chuckled at some stuff in some games, but “You fight like a cow!” isn’t going to get me to cry of laughter, if you know what I mean. And I somewhat wonder how it’d be received today with no nostalgia attached to it ...

In the “technical” sense of the humor I see no difference between today’s attempts like the games already mentioned, or stuff like Deponia and so on, and older Lucas Arts games.

I also do like the blend of seriousness with deceptive humor - whether it’s in Edna or Fran or whatever. I think that’s a great way for a p&c to be engaging.

“Just” comedy doesn’t do anything for me unless it’s absolutely hilarious and that’s so difficult for a game where I have to stop and figure out puzzles and drudge around and backtrack and so on that I’m not sure it’s a goal worth pursuing in the first place.

     
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Joined 2015-05-25

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Dave Gilbert once told me that he published some comedic adventure games, but nobody knows about them!

And as someone who made a comedy adventure game (Demetrios), I’ll tell my conclusion - they’re hard to sell nowadays, especially if they’re based on personal humor like I did. I personally won’t make the same mistake twice.

That’s not to meant my new in-development game has no humor (actually I’m pretty sure many people will have more laughs while playing it!) but I feel it should be a side aspect in a serious game through the possible interactions offered to the player (as it was in Broken Sword for example), not the main thing.

     

Single developer of Demetrios - The BIG Cynical Adventure. Available on PC, iOS, Android, PS4, Xbox One, PS Vita and Nintendo Switch !

Currently working on a new classic adventure mixing genres in “never been seen ways” - Project Brok. Watch me developing it on Twitch! https://www.twitch.tv/cowcatgames

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Pyoro-2 - 19 November 2019 11:27 AM

In the “technical” sense of the humor I see no difference between today’s attempts like the games already mentioned, or stuff like Deponia and so on, and older Lucas Arts games.

I have no idea how to explain it, but to me the difference is huge, as I found old Lucas (and Space Quest) very funny (even The Dig has its moments Smile) and games like Unwritten Tales or Paradigm or Deponia absolutely unfunny.

The only recent game that elicited more from me than a half smile was Darkside Detective (and man was I surprised at actually laughing while playing a game, that’s a feeling I had forgotten), and its humour reminded me strongly of the old Lucas’ games, although, again, I’m not sure why. Oh, and there’s also Portal 2.
I’m guessing it has to do with british humour… but then again, perhaps not.

     
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Pyoro-2 - 19 November 2019 11:27 AM

I never found p&c hilariously funny. Oh, sure, I chuckled at some stuff in some games, but “You fight like a cow!” isn’t going to get me to cry of laughter, if you know what I mean. And I somewhat wonder how it’d be received today with no nostalgia attached to it ...

“You fight like a cow” isn’t about the particular sentence (well, it is, among other things) - the humor would be familiar to those who followed early swashbuckling movies, the ones with Errol Flynn and such. In those movies, writers would go over the top and neglected the actual fight while putting the accent to the verbose “duel” and insults the fighters fired between themselves. This scene is a direct parody of those, a homage if you will. Not to mention that the puzzle itself was original dialog puzzle - not hard, perhaps a bit dragging, but nevertheless original (Monkey Island 3 “upgraded” it brilliantly so that the insults have to rhyme). As far as I know, remastered edition of both Monkey Island games met with a good critic both from editors and players.

     

Recently finished: Four Last Things 4/5, Edna & Harvey: The Breakout 5/5, Chains of Satinav 3,95/5, A Vampyre Story 88, Sam Peters 3/5, Broken Sword 1 4,5/5, Broken Sword 2 4,3/5, Broken Sword 3 85, Broken Sword 5 81, Gray Matter 4/5\nCurrently playing: Broken Sword 4, Keepsake (Let\‘s Play), Callahan\‘s Crosstime Saloon (post-Community Playthrough)\nLooking forward to: A Playwright’s Tale

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