clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Why isn't there more comedy in video games?

New, 84 comments
Portal GLaDOS
Portal GLaDOS

The question of whether or not video games are "art" is a long-standing one, and it often centers around whether the medium can accurately convey dramatic emotion in the same way that film and literature can. Writing for Splitsider, writer (and Verge contributor) Noah Davis takes a different approach, wondering whether or not video games can ever be a medium for true comedy. Looking through the lens of the darkly humorous Portal franchise, Davis notes that "comedy comes as an afterthought or accidentally" in the vast majority of video games.

Speaking to a variety of game designers, journalists, and comedians, Davis finds that the most popular games are nearly always melodramatic romps with high stakes and no room for levity, though some suspect that'll be changing soon. "I'm more and more convinced that these dumb, melodramatic stories are going to fade more and more into the backdrop," journalist and writer Tom Bissell tells Davis. While the history of comedy in video games may be a rocky one, Davis outlines a lot of reasons we have to be hopeful despite the genre's checkered history.