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Goat Needs A Home: Aprils Fools Day Games Bring Comedy

By Darragh McNicholl
On April 1, 2014

This April Fools' Day gave us the release of the game "Goat Simulator," the gameplay of which involves the player controlling a goat as it runs, jumps and wreaks havoc. There is no story and the mechanics are purposefully not polished. In fact, there is no point to this game at all, that is except for the sake of comedy. For too long now, video games have existed without a comedy genre, but every year new games are released, deserving to be called "comedy gold." Steam, the PC content delivery service, has no section for comedy games leaving all of them trapped in the purgatory genre of casual gaming. "Goat Simulator" has no home, nor do the tens of games that have brought uncontrollable laughter to thousands.
Most people have played through "Portal 2," and most laughed the entire time. Valve's puzzle-shooter was praised for the genius humor that was deeply intertwined with its mechanics and narrative. "Portal 2" is so funny that it is near impossible to think about any part of it without remembering the humor that came with it. What makes "Portal 2" great is not just its insanely fun mechanics, but also the insanely comical world it produced. "Portal 2" has no home.
In 2010, the indie game "Octodad" was released. This year saw its sequel "Octodad: Dadliest Catch." The player controls an octopus pretending to be your everyday human father: you individually move his arms and legs (rather his tentacles) in order to do everyday human tasks. In the process, everything gets knocked over or broken as Octodad ragdolls in whatever direction he is bid. "Dadliest Catch" throws another mechanic into the mix: the more abnormally you act, the more people notice. Stress becomes salient as you realize you are just one slippery tentacle away from blowing your cover and losing your family. "Octodad" would be stressful and depressing without humor as a driving force. "Octodad" has no home.
"Borderlands" is a bizarre series about a brutal world where you shoot down any enemy in your path, but it expresses every moment it can as some sick joke. Laden with popular references, humorously insane characters and just straight up potty humor, "Borderlands" inverts the generally straight-laced, serious shooter genre into a cooky comedy. "Borderlands" has no home.
"Katamari Damacy" involves you collecting everything on earth into a ball. "No Brakes Valet" is an ouya exclusive where you park cars at breakneck speeds in a tiny lot. "Gex," "Conker's Bad Fur Day," and any game about "The Simpsons" are all nothing without their quirky comedy and hilarious mechanics. Comedy games need a home, and they need us to give it to them.
 


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