Not Truckasaurus Rex. Just look at how sad they are! We cry for you.
The identification of archetypes in literature, movies, etc. has largely become a joke. Definitions of archetypes have grown so broad that even the greatest and most original characters can be called archetypes. However, when it comes to the faces that inhabit the world of Bad Company
, it’s hard to say that the people described above don’t fall under well-established archetypes.
However, they’re well-crafted archetypes, which makes all of the difference. The characters rise above the archetypes that they’re based on by offering unique things to say and by interacting in ways that both surprise the player and make him or her laugh. In fact, over time, it’s easy to forget about the basic foundation that makes up the character—they (Haggard especially) instead become defined by their humor. You won’t remember Sweetwater as the computer expert—you’ll remember him as the guy who has a creepy crush on the radio operator.
Really, this article is as much about strong character writing as it is about humor in games. When it comes down to it, they go hand in hand. There are a handful of other recent games that have done humor well, including Portal
, anything made by Tim Schafer, and (to an extent) the Ratchet and Clank series (it’s up and down). They all have one thing in common: interesting characterization and top-notch writing.
If there’s a lesson to be learned, it’s a simple one. Games need skilled writers, especially if they’re dabbling in humor. Even a mediocre gag in trained hands can turn into something memorable, and the humorous ideas of a developer can be explored fully by someone who is able to devote the necessary amount of time to make them good. A half-assed attempt at humor isn’t going to get us anywhere, and that sadly seems to be what most comedic games put out.
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