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Video games, just like books and movies, can utilize comedy to become more appealing to wider audiences. Often a welcome distraction from the plethora of explosions, villains and violence that usually inhabit game worlds, good humor is something nearly everyone appreciates. However, implementing humor effectively within a game can be a daunting and perilous task for both experienced and inexperienced game designers. Special care must be taken to incorporate the right types of comedy at the right times. The type, the timing, and the implementation of humor are all things that must be thoroughly considered so that a game does not lose its appeal. However, if humor is added correctly, it can be a powerful attraction to any game.

What Humor Brings to a Game

Humor is radically unique from any other type of entertainment. Comedy is one of the few things that can make even the saddest or darkest of people smile. Basically everyone likes some type of humor, and there are very few people who can't be reached with a good joke. In books, movies, and music, humor has been exploited for generations. Weird Al Yankovic, Douglas Adams, and Jerry Seinfeld have all been made famous because of their effective use of humor in their respective fields of expertise.

Comedy movies are one of the most common types of movies. However, the same is not true for video games. Very few developers have used comedy as one of the major selling points in a game. Game franchises such as the Monkey Island series and the Space Quest series are few and far between. Most other games either completely neglect comedy or use it as a minor incentive to purchasing the game. It would seem that the gaming industry hasn't quite grasped the power of good humor.

It's time that changed. Humor has been the single selling point of various other types of media - it's odd that humor hasn't had a larger impact on the gaming community. Humor brings a great deal to whatever it graces. People talk about humor, mimic jokes they've heard, and idolize people that use comedy effectively. If a game can make good use of comedy, the game will reach wider audiences and be much more popular.

Types of Humor

A thorough understanding of the various types of comedy is essential to anyone hoping to incorporate humor. This next list is by no means exhaustive, but it presents many of the popular types of humor:

Satire - Making fun of idiosyncrasies within the world.

Irony - When something occurs opposite what was expected.

Situational - Unlikely events with a humorous twist.

Toilet - Crude jokes such as bodily functions.

Pun - A play on words.

Impersonation - Making fun of well-known people by imitating them in a ridiculous fashion.

Generic Jokes - Standard verbal jokes that generally involve a punch-line.

Over-emphasization - Expanding events such as exploding heads to ludicrous proportions.

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