I was hired not too long ago by a video game company to work on writing jokes for a brand new game that was coming out in the near future. It was a game that was designed as a traditional adventure game with plenty of puzzles to solve and some outlandish humor.
I knew that I was supposed to write some good jokes here and there for the game. I wanted to see that I could create something that was unique while at the same time having more than enough comedy to spare.
However, it seemed that the process of creating a good game was going to be much harder for me to bear with than what I had thought about so long ago. For instance, I came up with a few great jokes with regards to one situation in a game. The main character had to do something with a bunch of cats and dogs. In particular, he had to cross a short chasm over a large canyon. It was only ten feet long but it wasn’t something he could jump over on its own.
So, what better way to cross it than get the cats and dogs lying near the chasm and have them form a big chain? And after that the cats and dogs start to chase after him as he gets to the other side, thus creating a new challenge to try and shake off a crowd before they pound him and attack.
Needless to say, my boss was not all that fond of it. He felt that you shouldn’t be abusive to animals. This came from a guy who was eating Arby’s and therefore was offensive to both animals and food at large.
That’s when I came across another idea – let’s really create a darker mood by having the animals merge into one giant dog-cat hybrid that has big fangs but can be pacified by a bone made out of yarn. Still, the boss said nothing while using his elephant ivory pen.
The silly or absurd nature of the game was something that I wanted to maintain. I mean, this is a game about a guy who is trying to go hundreds of miles on foot to hand-deliver a message to someone. And I couldn’t wait to see the look on the player’s face when we find out that the message all along was a lottery ticket worth ten dollars.
I asked about the concept of delivering the message by mail or through an air carrier as well and even wanted to address the fallacy of the story within the game. Still, the boss seemed to have no interest. You wanted a comedian, right? Well, that is what I was trying to do but it still did not work.
The process of writing jokes can be a real challenge for anyone to bear with and I certainly learned that first-hand while working for a video game company. You would think that people would want to laugh a bit when playing a game. At least they didn’t get to my idea about catching the bad guy in a portable toilet and tipping it over a cliff.