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Article - 'Making a Successful comedy RPG' by Erave

An item about Game Design posted on Aug 12, 2003

Blurb

Erave gives a series of tips and definitions to help you in your comic endevours.

Body


Hello, today I am going to discuss how to make your comedy game successful. I’m not here to lecture on what’s funny or the jokes you should use, just to provide some tips to help people create that feeling they are going for.

First let’s clearly define what “comedy” is.

Comedy:
Popular entertainment composed of jokes, satire, or humorous performance.

Notice the key word “entertainment.” That is a Comedy Game’s overall goal, to entertain. The way you do this is by using jokes, satires, humorous situations etc...

With that in mind, let’s go over some tips for making the game “entertaining,” since that is the ultimate goal.

1. A crappy game does NOT equal a funny game!

A lot of comedy games now a days, are horrible designed, hoping that this will add to the humor. While sometimes this can work, (If you are a fan of random, retarded, nonsense) a better idea would to be, to invest time into the game to make it as good as possible. It’s great when people who play your game say, “Remember that scene in the game, it was hilarious!” But wouldn’t it be better if they said, “Remember that scene in the game, it was hilarious! And the maps were designed great! The characters had feelings! The music was superb!”

Bottom Line: Don’t just make your game funny, make it great!

2. Keep it original!

While satires are always funny, the best comedies come from a little place called your imagination. Think of a original plot with original characters, even it is a little bizarre. Or combine real life things (Like School for instance) and use funny, original characters. Originality helps the game stick out, and it doesn’t just fall into the “Another Lame Comedy Game Pile”

Bottom Line: Original Games are the ones people remember.

3.Characters are the key!

While you should always have an original plot, and a well designed game, the way a game can either broken, or made great is with characters. Unique character personalities, and traits can really win an audience. Instead of just having jokes constantly being said, why not make your character react differently to different situations? For instance, maybe have a character that is quick to temper. What do you think he would do if he arrives home, only to see half of his house blown up!! Or a character that is very persistent in annoying the hero, this can be used for some great dialogue there!

Bottom Line: Having each character have a distinct personality and different ways of reacting to scenes, can make the game all the better.

4.Emotions and dialogue!

This is probably the single most important element of a comedy game. You have to have very good dialogue skills, and have a way of clearly expressing emotions in a scene. Nothing is worst than hearing the hero speak in such a boring lifeless manner. Observe.

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(Chicken runs out and blows up the Hero’s House)

Hero: Oh no, my house blew up.
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LAME is all I can say. Spice it up by doing this:

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(Chicken runs out and blows up the Hero’s House)

(“!” emotion icon appears above Hero’s head)

Hero: HOLY SHIT!!! My whole house.... gone.... ARGHHH THAT CHICKEN’S GONNA DIE!!!!

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Even if you don’t exaggerate THAT much, it still delivers the impact of the comedy better. Even though in the first dialogue, the joke is present, it just isn’t funny, if the dialogue is bland. Also try using emotion icons, such as: “!” “?” “...”

Bottom Line: Make your dialogue spiffy and full of energy, and use emotions to your advantage. It adds to the humor!

5.Have a plot!

Yes, your game should be funny, yes it should contain wackiness and stupid situations, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have a plot. No matter how random or stupid your humor is, you should ALWAYS include a plot. And a good one at that. Plots that give the characters direction in the story helps a lot, and a bad one can just RUIN the game.

Bottom Line: Make your plot good! Nuff said!
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How do I make “humor?”

Now I will briefly discuss how to make humor in your game. There are three main types of humor that are available to use in your game.

Stupid Humor: You use stupid characters, random situations and overall zany stunts to make your audience laugh. Hard to pull off right, if done wrong, it can backfire, and just be an annoying game.

Example: The Most Stupidest Game Ever.

Serious Humor: Who says you can’t take a serious plot with human like characters and make it funny? NO ONE! This comedy completely depends on great dialogue and scenes to make it funny. If used right, it can be respected as a great comedy and a great game overall. If used wrong, you will most likely have people telling you your humor attempts were lame.

Examples: Three The Hard Way, RTP Unlimited: Silent Thoughts.

Serious/Stupid Humor: Why not take a serious plot setting and mix zany characters in? You wouldn’t believe how successful this setup can be, and it also gives you the freedom to have serious moments as well as comedy.

Examples: Legendary Adventure, Final Fallacy.

Now that you know three main types of comedy, try choosing the one that best suits you, but regardless of which one you pick you will still need to deliver in the 5 aspects listed above.

Now the part that should really be useful. How exactly do you deliver humor? How do you make something funny? And the answer is: your imagination. Trust me, anything can be found funny, it depends on the person, so use your imagination to create humor.

But Erave, that doesn’t help much!!! Well maybe this will help then. Think of a plot idea, namely a funny one. Now think of something happening in this plot, what characters is it going to involve? What are their personalities, how are they going to react to the situation? Once done, carefully craft the scene together. After you are done read through it, does it sound like the characters are looking at audience trying to make them laugh by reading out of a joke book, or does it look like your characters are interacting in a humorous manner. That is the main key. And even though I have been rambling a lot, I come to the my last point.

Your main goal is to entertain using the tools of humor. If your game doesn’t have that “full of life” feeling, then you are probably not doing it right.

Well hope that helped, and no I don’t regard myself as some humor master, ask DrFunk or something. Well bye, and good luck!
-Erave-