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style of the comedy in Sierra games
Since there is a recent topic about comedy games, it reminded me of something that i have pondered for a long time.
What sets the comedy in Sierra games apart of the comedy in LucasArts games? Amongst other differences, there is difference in handling parody elements. LucasArts bends genre cliches imaginatively into barely recognizable absurd humor. In Space Quest games and Freddy Pharkas made by Sierra parody is more foccused on staying on target than transforming cliches into something completely new.
Other difference is that Sierra foccuses more in a comedy of character flaws. (Sure, Guyrbrush is somewhat realized flawed character, but i always felt that comedy wise Monkey Island games are more close to Sierra style of comedy than other LucasArts games.) In Leisure Suit Larry there is satire about flaws of other characters too, not only Larry. When in LucasArts games genre cliches are just inspiration and satire is byproduct, comedy games by Sierra are foccused parodies and satires.
I conclude with a question -why comedy games often try to emulate LucasArts games which is a impossible endeavour if you don’t have the sense of humor of people who worked in LucasArts, instead going the Sierra way? After all, making parodies and satire is to some extent a craft that can be learned.
I don’t really look at it like that, if anything, I tend to recognize style of a certain designer, rather than a company. For example, Josh Mandel and Al Lowe had a distinct style, and you can sense that humor in their non-Sierra titles, like Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon and Al Emmo. But to answer the question, Sierra’s style of comedy was greatly influenced by 2 game elements LucasArts games lacked - there was no smart pointer, which meant that you can look at random items, and there was often more things to inspect than in LucasArts game, which left space for a lot of comments and element of surprise. Also, there was often a narrator in these games, which brought another dimension to a comedy.
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Also, there was often a narrator in these games, which brought another dimension to a comedy.
Yes!, Nuthin’ beats Gary Owens responses.
I agree there is no such thing as “Sierra comedy” or “LucasArts comedy” - only games by different designers. SpaceQuest was meant to be a parody, Larry was meant to be a game about a flawed character and sex. Humour that comes from narrators and interactivity is probably the only thing that unite those titles as well as all other Sierra games (even non-comedic). Personally I find Quest for Glory games funnier than both series - and they had neither a flawed protagonist nor they focused on parodying. Same with LucasArts games - Monkey Island, Sam & Max, Grim Fandango featured very different approaches to comedy, but they had no narrators/deaths and interactivity was limited by a smart cursor (or a smart nod).
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Lucas Arts humor often feels very Monty Python-esque to me. Dryly presented as if it weren’t funny, but so silly that you know it’s supposed to be comedy.
Sierra felt more outright slapstick to me.
But those are just overly generalized impression; in the end I’d agree with everyone else and it’s more of a game-to-game or at best lead-writer-to-writer thing.
The way I see it, Lucas Film, or Arts, games always had more of a cinematic vibe in the style of their comedy and in the style of their games as well. This was, in all likelihood, the direct result of them being a branch of a movie studio which probably meant that the writing process was at least in part influenced by movie script writing.
But other than that, yes, the style of humour is more dependant on the developers of the game, not the studio that is bankrolling it. Sierra humour varied quite a bit depending on who the developers were, just as it was with Lucas games.
There are many valid points in responses about Sierra games. What comes of the perception of LucasArts games, i find it interesting that no-one here seems to percieve them same way as i do. If i had to personally compare humor in Sam’n'Max and Grim Fandagno, i would say that the humor in latter is a more laid back version of the same kind of absurdism as the humor in former.