were lucky enough to visit Double Fine's offices to play Tim Schafer's latest
creation with none other than the man himself. We're glad he was there to guide
us too, because Happy Action Theater is different from any party game we've
Above: Tim Schafer understands the importance of psychedelic dance parties in
To say that Happy
Action Theater is a collection of 18 party-friendly minigames for Kinect would
be technically correct, but it doesn't capture its true nature. There's no
winning or losing in Happy Action Theater – it's more about just experimenting and interacting with your on-screen environment. Tim Schafer
says that he wanted a game with no pass/fail state – something that kids would
have fun just playing around with.
with some fairly straightforward activities, like popping a screen full of
balloons, waving sparklers around, and playing the classic "hot lava"
game where we could actually play around with the lava covering the floor and
see our feet turning red on contact. Moving on, we vanquished flocks of pigeons in a park scene by clapping our hands to make them explode in a puff of feathers. Stepping up the carnage even further, we stomped around destroying buildings in a King Kong-esque black-and-white city, which then displayed photos of us wreaking havoc plastered onto the front page of old-timey newspapers.
Then things started
to get a little weird. One game took a series of photos of the person on screen,
superimposing each photo on top of the last to make a tableau of doppelgangers
layered on top of each other. Tim Schafer showed us a few examples of how to
make the best use of this, including making out with himself, giving himself
high-fives, and locking arms to create a chain of Tim Schafers in joyous
merriment. As the night wore on we even spied some other editors creating some
rather naughty scenes together, so there's definitely a lot of room for
While it's primarily geared toward kids, we can
definitely see adults at parties getting into Happy Action Theater too – especially drunk ones (after
all, aren't kids just tiny drunk people?). We're generally skeptical of party games and minigame compilations, but this one is so obviously unique that we're eager to see more.
Oct 18, 2011