When it comes to video games, several iconic sounds spring to mind. The “ba-ding!” of a coin from Mario. The “pchew” of a silenced pistol from Goldeneye. The “thwump, fizzz, Mikey!” of Mikey spilling your glass of Mountain Dew onto your wireless Gamecube controller. Is that last one just me? Anyway, one sound that’s not as associated with video games is laughter. Except, of course, for these genuinely hilarious games.
In the immortal words of Limp Bizkit, the point of this game is to keep rollin’, rollin’, rollin’, rollin’, WHAT?! Unlike that joke, the moments of hilarity in this game are organic, earned, and embedded in its DNA. From the goofy sound effects to the whimsical music, every facet of this game is designed to be both “ha-ha” funny and “that’s strange” funny.
You Don’t Know Jack
Remember Weakest Link? The early 2000s game show hosted by a mean British lady whose insults were as weak as the titular link? This video game show is what that TV game show wishes it could be. Jam-packed full of colorful, genuinely funny insults and smarter-than-thou high-and-low-culturally-fused questions, You Don’t Know Jack has spawned countless sequels, reboots, and yes, even a short-lived TV adaptation.
Saints Row IV
Ever play a game of Grand Theft Auto and think to yourself, “Gee, I wish this was less grounded? The makers of the Saints Row franchise have got your back, creating a world where over-the-topness takes precedence over everything else. The latest in the franchise, Saint’s Row 4, gets my vote for its send-ups of modern video game culture, including the deadly serious Mass Effect series.
The Secret Of Monkey Island
This stone-cold classic point-and-click Lucasarts adventure game features a series of sword fights driven by comedic insults. It regularly breaks the fourth wall to score a gag. Its main character is named “Guybrush Threepwood,” for Threepwood’s sake. Basically, it’s a Mel Brooks movie wrapped inside a swashbuckling adventure video game, and I am incredibly grateful for it.
When it comes to the Science Humor Hall Of Fame, there’s Bill Nye, that one goofy substitute you had in 5th grade who had dreadlocks and gave you gummy worms (just me again?), and Portal, the nifty puzzle video game. Portal differentiates itself from the other titles on this list by maintaining an undercurrent of darkness and emotional sensitivity among its comedic shenanigans. In other words, GLaDOS makes you feel as much as she makes you laugh. Cake, anyone?
Conker’s Bad Fur Day
I’m gonna be real: I haven’t played this game since it dropped in 2001. But man, to see the cute, up-until-this-point-family-friendly squirrel Conker drop all his pretenses and get R-rated was such a refreshingly funny and surprising change of pace. Highlights include lots of booze, Matrix jokes, and a singing piece of poop. Yes, that’s right, a singing piece of poop. A 2005 Xbox remake was released, but they censored some of it, so if you want the full package, dust off your N64 and get conkin’.
Gex: Enter The Gecko
The comedy pedigree behind this title is legit. Dana Gould, hilarious stand-up comedian and former Simpsons writer, both voiced Gex and worked with the writers on his one-liners. The result is a platformer that’s both entertaining to play and laugh along to. Bonus points for its various pop culture and genre spoofing levels.
Clay Fighter 63 1/3
If there’s a trope in the fighting game genre you’re familiar with, Clay Fighter is here to rip it a new one. From silly combo names (eh, Marvel Vs. Capcom?) to convoluted mythologies (eh, Mortal Kombat?), the series had lots of fun while still being a competent fighter in of itself. I give it to the Nintendo 64 version for introducing both 3D gameplay and hilarious voice acting.
Super Mario Bros. 3
I mean, come on! Look at that joke! Hilarious! Ha ha ha! Bye bye.
Which game is the funniest? Which ones did we miss? And if you want to check out my rejected Weakest Link writer’s packet, I’ll be repurposing lots of it on Twitter, so give me a follow!