Why Are Good Comedy Games Hard To Come By?

Can't seem to find another decent comedy game? Learn here why funny games are so few.

What Makes Good Comedy Game
What Makes A Good Comedy Game?

Video games can take players on an emotional journey if done right. I still remember playing Last of Us like it was yesterday, and how much that story impacted me. At the time, I was blown away at how much good story game writing can impact your gameplay. However, in my opinion, making someone laugh is way tougher than making someone cry.

Key Takeaways
  • Funny games are rare but impactful in gaming. Crafting humor for games is difficult due to length and subjective taste.
  • Successful comedy games (Deadpool, High on Life) balance humor with gameplay and have memorable elements.
  • Poor comedic writing can ruin a game experience compared to shorter movies.
  • The future holds promise for innovative humor in games.
  • Laughter is valuable in games, it reduces stress and makes playing more enjoyable.

If you ask me, that may very well be one of the most difficult things developers may need to do.

What Makes A Good Comedy Game

The answer to what makes a good comedy game is as simple as, a game that will make you laugh. However, the intricacies behind it are what these games so memorable. I can only look back and remember a handful of good comedy games I have ever played.

Although, not many, these games are funny and keep players hooked with their decent gameplay mechanics. Deadpool is one of those games that I often think about, just because of how over-the-top and bonkers this game was. I mean sure not all jokes land, considering this was 2013. But, the game still has moments that made me laugh out loud.

Deadpool Game
Deadpool Game

One of the things that carry this game is the meta-humor and fourth-wall-breaking abilities of the game. Deadpool and the narrator directly talk to the player and often complain if you are not doing something right. The game goes completely off the wall most of the time, introducing seasoned Marvel X-men like Wolverine and Deadpool defeating the final boss with a crotch punch.

It’s everything and more you can expect of a game that doesn’t take itself seriously. However, remember that story is only part of the game. If the game had bad gameplay mechanics, then this game would have surely failed.

Another comedy game that instantly comes to my mind is the recently released, High on Life. This was my most recent experience with a good comedy game. Being a Rick and Morty fan, I sort of got what I was expecting. Created by Justin Roiland, the creator of Rick and Morty as well, High on Life is a comedy done weirdly right.

High on Life and Talking Gun Kenny
High on Life and Talking Gun Kenny

The game features foul-mouthed talking guns, all voiced by comedians at the top of their game. I mean this would have been enough to sell you on the game, but, the game also features a weird alien-infested future. This game sort of reminds me of Interdimensional Cable from Rick and Morty. 

Justin Roiland - Voice and Creator of Ricky and Morty
Justin Roiland – Voice and Creator of Ricky and Morty

This game was genuinely funny and that is all in part of extremely good writing by writers that understand comedy. The gameplay loop is also fun with various guns and some of the most creative boss fights in gaming.

Why Are These Games So Few

One of the biggest issues with good comedy games is, that they appear once in a blue moon. Most of the time the comedy writing in these games falls flat, even bordering cringe at times. This is why it is incredibly important that Developers when creating a comedy game, really focus on the comedy part.

Guardians of the galaxy characters marvel
Guardians of the Galaxy

For example, take Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. This game has quite an enjoyable main campaign as well as satisfying gameplay mechanics that would keep players engaged. However, now imagine this game with not as good of a writing. In a game, where characters are constantly talking and taking shots at each other, it would have been almost unbearable.

Good comedy is good but bad comedy can ruin an entire video game, regardless of their amazing gameplay mechanics. Unlike a two-hour movie, a game can take dozens of hours to complete. Jokes that land well initially can become stale after repeated encounters.

Saints Row 4
Saints Row 4

One of the biggest issues with comedy is that it is subjective. What one player finds hilarious might leave another cold. Striking the right comedic balance for a diverse audience is a delicate act. I remember Saints Row’s fourth installment, and how I found most of the jokes to be stale, while some players remember it fondly. 

The Future Can Be Funny

Developers are increasingly recognizing the power of humor, and with advancements in storytelling and character development, we can expect even more innovative ways to make us laugh. Imagine a game that adapts its humor to your preferences, or one that seamlessly integrates humor into complex narratives.

This would eliminate the subjective nature of comedy and allow for a tailored experience. The best strategy would be to hire writers who know comedy well and build a game around that. High on Life builds around its comedy and it shows. Similarly, Deadpool is funny because of how the character has always been in comics. 

Laughter is not easy to come by. Therefore, celebrate the games that make you laugh and encourage developers to craft more of what makes people laugh. After all, who wouldn’t want a bit more joy and side-splitting moments in their virtual adventures?

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