What makes a video game funny?
For as long as they have existed, video games have been exploring humor in countless forms. Whether it be an outlandish premise, witty dialogue, off-kilter characters, or the very nature of playing a video game, comedy is at the very heart of the medium. Wherever the laughs come from, the soundtracks underscoring these games are as diverse as they come, whether they help tell the joke in their own way or they create contrast with seriously grandiose themes and orchestrations.
Trover Saves the Universefrom the mind of Rick and Morty co-creator and lead actor Justin Roiland, is a game that delights in absurdity. Its vibrant and colorful world is inhabited by aliens permanently stuck to their armchairs, commanding sidekicks with game controllers while trying to save their dogs from apocalyptic beings. Between electronic textures and synthpop influenced songs, composer Asy Saavedra lays down earnest piano pieces and dreamy vocal melodies for different moments in your adventure.
jazz punk, on the other hand, presents an entirely different world, plagued with “corporate espionage, cybercrime, and sentient martinis”. Its design is inspired by everything from 1950s cinema to cyberpunk literature, while its humor mirrors that of spoof comedy films like Naked Gun† Airplaneand Hot Shots Part Deux† The score, by composer and co-creator Luis Hernandez, leans more on its design influence, echoing the electronic techniques of spy, science fiction, and noir films from the 1950s and the 1960s.
Then there is the interactive sitcom that is Negative Nancy, a game where your retail working protagonist can only ever say “no” or say nothing. That limited set of responses create situations ranging from minor annoyances by entitled customers to police interrogations for a murder investigation. As the game draws on some 1990s aesthetics, Australian composer Angus MV Arnold finds inspiration in TV shows like Twin Peaksas well as a wide smattering of styles and cultural influences to backdrop the ever-evolving hijinks.
Alongside classics like portal† undertale† The Secret of Monkey Islandand many more, these soundtracks should have you smiling on today’s episode of the Game Show.