No Fooling: Humor in Games

We’re going to talk about interjecting humor in gaming, but first there is an obligatory preface.

Today is April Fool’s Day, so let’s just get that out of the way up front. I enjoy jokes as much as the next guy, but doing it on April Fool’s Day? C’mon, everyone’s expecting┬áshenanigans. You gotta strike them when they’re not looking, so if you’re looking for trickery here, I’d suggest you just mosey along to any of the bazillion sites floating around wanting to trick you and break your heart.

As I’ve mentioned in various places, I’m continuing to work on materials we’re wanting to get out the door, but I shan’t mention anything in particular because, as one buddy of mine tweeted, “Oh, today’s the day where the Internet is useless” and he’s right. Everyone has reverted to the prepubescent boy (or, ewww, girl) for the day and are trying to fool the bejeezus out of you. Announcing anything of import here today is tantamount to screaming in the middle of a cacophony of chain saws. You might see my mouth moving, but you won’t hear me, and you’ll sure as shootin’ be distracted by those chain saws.

I did see a few interesting sites, but major props to Hulu for going all retro with their GUI. I felt I was back in the early days of web surfing, so it got a chuckle. Youtube did a nifty little 1911 logo which was nice, but not nearly as entertaining as the other one, but they get plenty of traffic, so why bother, right?

I can talk for a moment about humor and its place in gaming. See, a topic emerged after all? I just needed to clear the decks, but don’t worry, this won’t take long as I’m sure you’re off to a festive weekend, and I’ve got things I have to do as well.

Fun and humor are not necessarily┬ásynonymous, though they are often confused. Humor is found most frequently in old-school RPGs, as much for the emergent nostalgia factor as anything else. In horror, humor is used to release tension, but the game master should try to stay beyond the fray (if at all possible). In superheroes, it depends upon the style of the game as it can run a broad spectrum from tongue-in-check 4-color humans (ala Megamind or The Incredibles) all the way to the grim and gritty worlds (of The Watchmen or Sin City). In any case, try to keep the humor in character, or save it for asides or breaks, so you don’t disrupt the flow of your game, or even have a brief bull session pre-game to get the socializing taken care of before you get “in character”.

Until next time, I bid you, dear reader, adieu!



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