This week I worked on adding a cooperative play mode to Monumental Failure. If you have 2, 3, or 4 local players, you can play through any level together, working on a single monument. Fun! I've mentioned before that I've been borrowing from local multiplayer game design, I thought today I'd take a moment to discuss why.
There's a game interview podcast I listen to where the host routinely asks the guest "what game has made you laugh?" I think there's a lot of insight into the state of comedy and games contained within this question. Asking it to myself, I'm immediately tempted to list the comedic games I've played. Games with good writing, absurd premises, and silly designs. Games like Just Cause, Octodad, or Jazzpunk. Funny games. While I have huge respect for design and achievements of those games, I feel that if I'm being honest with my answer, I can't really say these games made me laugh. Maybe a chortle here, a snicker there, and plenty of wry smiles, but never the full gut busting laugh.
For me, the games that make me laugh most are the games I play with my friends. With my friends, in the same room, specifically. Certainly there are the games designed to elicit comedy, something like Gang Beasts or a Jackbox game. But beyond the explicitly comedic, there is so much comedy to be found in the stories a game tells. Think of the comeback earned by a bullshit weapon pick up, the assured mutual loss ("I can't win and so you won't either"), getting hilariously screwed out of sheep in Catan, or whatever other story the game might tell. In the right context, with the the right friends, you have the potential not just to laugh, but create lasting memories.
Monumental Failure is supposed to be funny. From my experience, the way I can guarantee the humour resonates is to encourage playing it with friends. Be it competitive, cooperative, or maybe even asynchronously via a stream or video. Accounting for all the local multiplayer options guarantees more work for me, but I'm confident it will pay off.
Thanks for reading,