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The (un)funniest games of March

Entries by Mikel Reparaz, Chris Antista and Henry Gilbert

When it comes to comedy, no other medium is quite as hit-or-miss as videogames. It’s rare to see a game that’s genuinely funny (on purpose, at least), and most of the games that try range from passably entertaining to insultingly awful. Chalk it up to games and humor being subjective art forms, one man’s culture being another man’s trash, et cetera. Whatever the case, it hasn’t stopped the game industry from trying – maybe a little too desperately – to be funny, and every month it seems like a handful of ideas that were probably hilarious on paper wind up clogging bargain bins (or at least deserving to).


Above: Hey, remember this? Bad Day L.A. is a perfect example 

March 2009 was unusually fruitful for comedy gaming, with at least five major releases reaching for the brass ring of hilarity. Some got closer than others, but none of them quite got it right. Is it the games’ fault for sucking, or are we just being uptight comedy snobs? Take a look at the best and worst bits from each and decide for yourself.



• Allows crude ‘tude to take center stage over one of the most unique gameplay experiences on any console.
• Contains one of the most potentially racist characters of the year.
• Turns the joy of cursing into something cliched and almost corporate.
• Uses 85 percent of its Mature rating for unparalleled immaturity.



The effing commentators
We should preface this by saying we love Greg Proops as a comic, as well as John Dimaggio’s voice work (Futurama’s Bender and Marcus Fenix!). And we love cursing! But imagine for a second if you got Navi and Roman Bellic to do a running, John Madden-esque play-by-play and only let them use F-bombs and blowjob puns. That’s the MadWorld commentary in a nutshell.

 

They treat their M-rating the way an irresponsible teenager abuses a vacated house to throw a big old “let’s see what we can get away with” foul-mouthed kegger when the parents aren’t looking. Not only is it equal parts homoerotic and homophobic, it’s as hackneyed as it is unnecessary to the events taking place onscreen.

Gay jokes, fart jokes, dick jokes... hell, they even threw in an oh-so-tasteful Hurricane Katrina joke! And if it’s true that comedy comes in threes, someone should tell PlatinumGames; if the looped music weren’t grating enough, even the handful of amusing quips from Howard "Buckshot" Holmes and Kreese Kreeley will get repeated several hundred degrees beyond tiresome during the course of a single play-through.


The Black Baron
If you’ve ever needed more proof that the mainstream media doesn’t play the games it condemns, MadWorld is a point of controversy solely for not being Wii Sports. For all the allegations of racism levied at Resident Evil 5, it’s a shock no one’s pointed a finger toward MadWorld’s atrociously depicted Black Baron.


Above: Al Jolson (inset) is not a role model 

As the bedazzled overseer of Varrigan City’s minigames, The Black Baron is an unbelievably brazen stereotype that would have the NAACP’s head spinning if they ever decide to pick up a game console. Morning radio DJs have been fired for far less.

Your white friend who does the horrifically offensive impression of black people, despite never having met one? That’s the Black Baron. Thanks to the art style, there’s even a debate over whether or not he’s a white guy in blackface. But since he certainly conjures the taboo and long-retired minstrel shows of yesteryear, we decided to go ahead and give him a little Al Jolson music to complete the developers’ vision.



The violence
Earmuffs, parents. The creative lengths gone to just to “end a guy” are quite simply some of the most chuckle-worthy and commendable acts we’ve ever seen. In most games, heads and limbs don’t so much explode as they disappear and get replaced by crimson confetti. In MadWorld, punk rock cadavers split, peel and crumble, while body parts bounce around like they’re trying to help you through a sing-a-long.

Anyone mistaking the cruelty exhibited by Jack Cayman and his methods of slaughter for anything other than mirthful, over-the-top fun has no business playing games, much less commenting on them. If Platinum games wants to stand atop its M-rating and vomit blood upon the masses, you won’t hear us not applauding.

 

The Black Baron’s death!
 

Hands down, The Black Baron is both one of the most obnoxious characters of the year and one of the most insensitive stereotypes we’ve ever seen. Promising challenges “fo’ that ass” and threatening to “pimp smack” his trusty “bitch,” we were dead certain this cliched asshole would break into dated Izzle-speak at any moment. The only piecemeal silver lining you get with his appearances is watching the moron die, quite gruesomely, over and over again. Thanks?

Credits commentary
Perhaps it’s hypocritical to cite the same entry in both funny and unfunny categories, but it can’t be helped: MadWorld’s play-by-play commentators aren’t funny… except when they are. Rumor has it that both voice actors were allowed to improv, so when they’re not regurgitating dismemberment puns or mining the human anus for comedy coal, some genuinely amusing quips occasionally emerge. One of their more inspired applications has to be taking the esoteric piss out off the people involved in the actual game during the immensely watchable credits sequence.


Above: Spoiler FREE!

32 comments

  • BusterG - July 8, 2009 5:26 a.m.

    You guys are morons (the haters). The game is specifically tailored to a crowd which reasonably would enjoy the George Carlin type of humor the game has. I mean really, what kind of person is interested in a guy chainsawing people relentlessly (where in the hell does that chainsaw retract to?) in a game in which the goal is to get points off of the variety of ways you can kill people and is then offended by cursing? I found the humor to be incredibly hilarious just because of how outrageous the commentators were, and I believe the excessively f**ked up humor matchs the excessively f**ked up premise of the game. For those who haven't played the game If you are easily squeamish or offended, the game has an M rating for f**ks sakes anyways and you shouldn't pick it up. If you aren't a fan of George Carlin type humor stay away There are about 12 levels and every level has the same schematic: rack enough kills for a bloodbath event where in which you kill several people in a humorous fashion. Then, you kill even more people until you fight a boss. Although the scheme can be tired and monotonous, it was actually the hilarious commentators their outright disrespect for all things and racism (the black baron was intentionally made to be outright racist, its obvious, and as I stated earlier if you have any qualms with this you aren't the type of person the game was made for in the first place) and the upbeat gangster rap that kept me playing. I just wanted to write the rebuttal for people who liked the game, because frankly all I have been reading is comments from people who should have never played the game or even commented on it in the first place. And what the hell is up with all the security on this site?!?! lol
  • Romination - April 14, 2009 10:38 p.m.

    I agree with RaidEn or however it's capitalized... they're just so extremely outrageous and over the top. just like the game! GIZZL-ZAP! (that's gasp)
  • jballboy88 - April 12, 2009 5:29 p.m.

    HEY CHRIS ANTISTA!!!!!! I HAVENT GOTTEN MY ROCK BAND BASS GUITAR YET...... YOU SAID 8 TO 12 WEEKS..... AND THAT WAS IN THE END OF JANUARY...... SO, WATS THE HOLD-UP!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
  • MagicArmadillo - April 11, 2009 3:44 p.m.

    What is the song for the first funniest parts Madworld video?
  • foarthelulz - April 11, 2009 11:36 a.m.

    the NIMF has NO idea wahtsoever about what they're talking about. Oh we're sorry that Madworld is gory whhy don't you just go of and play the 100,000,000 casual baby and wedding designer games b4 u start saying that Nintendos losing its casual audience
  • TedDidlio - April 11, 2009 1:36 a.m.

    most of this shi*t wasn't funny, but fuck anyone who doesn't think that "hobo chode" is the funniest thing they've heard in a long f*cking time.
  • ssj4raditz - April 10, 2009 4:47 a.m.

    For the record, I really liked Eat Lead. Despite its flaws, the humor was pretty good, at least for me. Maybe I'm just easily entertained...
  • RaIdEn - April 10, 2009 12:52 a.m.

    i think the mad world commentators are funny for the sole reason of them being completely ridiculous
  • Cwf2008 - April 9, 2009 10:32 p.m.

    @Halokiller: Just like your mom
  • noobeater - April 9, 2009 8:28 p.m.

    @peefree i laughed my head of at tht statement where the F**k do people get off saying that. i hate ignorance of people such asthe so called 'national institute on media and the family' try playing the nes snes n64 gameboy etc.. then you'll see what real games are also great article!
  • bioshocker - April 9, 2009 7:49 p.m.

    I was really looking forward to Eat Lead it had tons of potential (and Will Arnett) and was forgetable.
  • Peefree - April 9, 2009 7:43 p.m.

    Did anyone else read the linked article on MadWorld? Here's a little excerpt. "The National Institute on Media and the Family hopes that Nintendo does not lose sight of its initial audience and continues to offer quality, family-friendly games." Funny, I never knew that Nintendo's initial audience was the baby sim crowd.
  • c03n3nj0 - April 9, 2009 4:13 p.m.

    Some parts in MadWorld and Eat Lead are pretty funny... Too bad the latter wasn't good though.
  • Levy - April 9, 2009 2:35 p.m.

    Yeah Halo Killer, like its okay to like Halo, but you need to respect other people's gaming needs Seriously man, It's people like you (Rabid Fanboys) that give Halo and Killzone such a bad name in the gaming community and read the article, or even just the headline and put it together
  • Samael - April 9, 2009 2:19 p.m.

    @Halo Yeah because that's totally what the article was saying...
  • LinkSceptile333 - April 9, 2009 2:16 p.m.

    Madworld was a very good game, HaloKiller. I think you're just a fanboy.
  • Unoriginal - April 9, 2009 1:02 p.m.

    That R2RR is the saddest excuse for a ending I have ever seen. The fanfare music sounds like someone in the recording studio accidentally forgot to record the first 2/3 of it.
  • ZombiePirate215 - April 9, 2009 4:44 a.m.

    Gawd, that Lewis Cannon guy is an ass. I haven't even played the game and I already want to shove an ice pick through his skull. Nice article
  • Levy - April 9, 2009 4:12 a.m.

    but really don't hate me..... second means nothing to me...... if it did I would have said third to.....
  • Levy - April 9, 2009 4:11 a.m.

    2nd and yeah blackface........ nothing above GR just kidding love you guys!

Showing 1-20 of 32 comments

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