I’m currently working on a couple of games, and trying to decide which to flesh out into a cometition entry. The first is a sci-fi comedy, and the second is a kind of post-apocalyptic horrorish affair.
I’m interested to know what people’s general opinion is of humorous IF. Do you avoid this type of game in favour of more serious subject matter? I know it’s a pretty broad question, but it doesn’t seem like there’s a huge amount of comedy stuff being written and I’m wondering if that’s because it has a smaller audience.
Humour, with a solid backbone of playability, is usually received well: Taco Fiction was funny and won the IFComp, same as Lost Pig. Andromeda Apocalypse was a fairly serious game (not humourless but not played for laughs) and that also won the comp.
Basically, strong writing and solid gameplay is the winning combo, whether or not it’s funny. A couple of my games have even received criticism for containing humour that wasn’t felt to be fitting with the tone of the rest of the work, so that’s something to bear in mind.
Violet. Treasures of a Slaver’s Kingdom. Counterfeit Monkey. Dinner Bell. Cryptozookeeper. Death off the Cuff. Broken Legs. Rogue of the Multiverse. Lock & Key. To Hell in a Hamper. Textfire Golf. Forever Always.
You could try searching for the ‘humor’ tag on IFDB. (Tags aren’t applied very consistently on IFDB, though, so you might miss a lot that way).
Yep, there are also humour and comedy tags … is there some way they can be merged, I wonder? Or would that violate the vaguely anarchic/wiki-ish nature of the IFDB?
I can see arguments for keeping “humor/humour” and “comedy” separate (though I’d personally merge them) and I would wholeheartedly endorse keeping “satire” a distinct tag from the rest … but it seems a very, very safe bet that merging “humor” and “humour” tags would be beneficial …
Ditto the varying “science fiction” “science-fiction” “sci-fi” “scifi” type tags …
Yeah, I’ve seen sites use the humor/humour distinction as an active reason not to merge tags (Brit-spelling humour being a somewhat different species than American-spelling humor, I think is the gist) but ifdb isn’t really a big enough ecosystem for that kind of fine distinction to be valuable. And the various SF ones, dang, that would be nice. But ifdb is kind of set up as a no-gatekeepers, low-curation-effort place, so I dunno. At the moment my best solution is to trawl the place and add more-popular tags as required, which is laborious but not extraordinarily so.
I think humo(u)r isn’t a genre, but something that can be found within works of many genres. If I wanted to talk about a genre, I’d talk about comedy. (Though of course this raises the question of sci-fi comedies like Hitchhiker’s Guide, and sci-fi mysteries like the Myothian Falcon, and others.)
Now I fully expect Victor to supplement blood magic with black bile magic, yellow bile magic, and phelgm magic, and then tag Kerkerkruip with “humour.”
Wikipedia solves this issue by running scripts which periodically trawl all pages for deprecated or malformed tags and the like and replacing them with their “proper” alternatives. This has the upside of being adjusted at any time, even reversed.
The genre field isn’t ideal for labeling works that sprawl across genre or contain layers of subgenre, though (especially if one follows the recommendations the site offers for using it - and for consistency’s sake I hope we all do). Most of the games I’ll ever write will rate (and have rated) a “science fiction” tag, but (likely) no game I’ll ever write will be in the “science fiction” genre as the IFDB prefers it be defined.
Within IF, I just do my best to follow the existing community guidelines … but outside of IF, I tend to use “genre” to mean “the thing that determines the props and costumes” and “mode” to mean “the thing that determines the tone and feel.” So, in my personal usage, Hitchhiker’s Guide is space opera in satiric mode, while Ridley Scott’s Alien is space opera in horror mode (and Cameron’s Aliens is space opera in action mode … etc).