Articles

Tim Schafer, Sean Vanaman discuss Comedy in Games, inspire unfunny news headlines 15 Mar, 2010, 01:54 / 8 comments

On the last day of the Game Developer's Conference Sean Vanaman (Telltale games writer), Rhianna Pratchett (daughter of Terry and writer of the Overlord games), and Tim Schafer (oh, you know him and not Sean Vanaman? Shame on you) chaired a panel on Comedy In Games. 1Up has a nice sum-up, along with some nice quotes. Of course Tim gets all the best ones.
Moderator: Either within the games world or outside it, what informs your comic sensibility when you're putting together a script or a game?

Tim: [long pause] Where are we stealing our ideas from?
Comments: 8 / Source: 1UP

Comments

  • syntheticgerbil on 15 Mar, 2010, 23:27…
    I just like how belligerent Tim comes off.
  • Kroms on 15 Mar, 2010, 17:03…
    Sean: "I don't think any of you set out to make a comedy game, or else you're just going to sit around telling fart jokes. You're just going to keep going to the same comedy well, when you should really be trying to tell a story about something. And then weave the comedy in as naturally as possible. But it has to be honest. If you try. If you say, "Oh, we're going to be funny. We're going to be funny." It's going to come across as insincere."

    Tim: "Unless you're funny."

    I think Tim was joking with that one. I mean, it's true: try and force a joke, it'll fall on its face (maybe with some exceptions). Good humor writes itself, I think. It almost seems like he agrees, as he then says:

    "When we started on Monkey Island, I don't know about Dave [Grossman], but I thought we were writing the temporary dialogue for that game. Cause we were really new, and there was a big company there with Lucasarts and George Lucas and everyone. So I was sure they'd have professionals come and write the dialogue. So we were just kind of goofing around and writing really silly dialogue. And it took the pressure off us cause we didn't sit there and wonder, "Is this good enough?" We were just making each other laugh in the office. And then, as it went on, Ron said, "No, no, no. This is the dialogue for the game." And I was like, "Oh, god."

    "And we never wrote anything funny after that."

    I think that's what Vanaman was trying to get across. I've found it to be true: being all jokey is probably not a great idea.
  • Kroms on 15 Mar, 2010, 17:06…
    Or maybe that's just my sense of humor? Withnail & I and The Big Lebowski are both very funny, but I think it works because the characters don't know they're funny. 3 of the 4 Seinfeld characters are like that, Fawlty Towers...I guess Monty Python is the occasional exception to that rule.

    Hmm, I'll have to muse that over.
  • Kroms on 15 Mar, 2010, 17:08…
    Same with Portal...I mean, that game is hilarious, but GLaDOS doesn't know she's funny.

    Sorry for spamming by the way :D
  • elTee on 15 Mar, 2010, 20:26…
    I think Tim is possibly saying that analysing how or why something is funny misses the point.
  • Jayel on 15 Mar, 2010, 16:48…
    tim funny
  • Capn_Nacho on 15 Mar, 2010, 18:39…
    NAILED IT
  • Kroms on 15 Mar, 2010, 12:37…
    "Comedy in games not a joke"? :)