The Secret of Monkey Island
Ever since the early days of gaming, there's been a rich seam of comedy running through video games.
From text adventures like The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, to the student-bedsit psychedelic humour of Llamatron, to the sophisticated satire of the Grand Theft Auto series, games have picked up the funny ball and run with it. We've picked out five of the best examples.
Surgeon Simulator (PC, 2013)
Didn't get into medical school? A limited understanding of anatomy is no barrier to success as a transplant surgeon in this game – as, indeed, is an inability to control your own limbs.
QWOP in an operating theatre, Surgeon Simulator lets you make an absolute mess of unsuspecting 'patients' as your near-impossible-to-control arms rip lungs, ribs and more from their bodies. It's messy, silly and counts the blood as it seeps away.
Space Quest 3 (Amiga, 1989)
A primary coloured comedy sci-fi adventure, in which you type things like "push button" and "use pole" for fun while exploring smashed alien worlds. As ever with these old curios, it's all about the dialogue, with the verbose narrator rambling on like a 16-bit Russell Brand.
Grand Theft Auto V (Xbox 360/PS3, 2013)
Yes, you can torture people, but GTA V's smarter side is in the dialogue, posters, graffiti, joke products and… everything. The vapid metropolis of San Andreas is the perfect canvas for Rockstar's scathing satire of the American dream, while writers Dan Houser and Rupert Humphries mine their characters for comedy, from neurotic, flabby ex-hoodlum Michael to the unhinged Trevor. Michael's hilarious deconstruction of Trevor as a grade-A hipster is worth the purchase price alone.
The Secret of Monkey Island (Amiga, 1990)
Guybrush Threepwood starred in this hilarious piracy romp from LucasArts, master of the point-and-click genre. Packed with gags and self-deprecating game references, it was a hoot.
Ron Gilbert and Tim Schafer's swashbuckling adventure was about wordplay as much as swordplay, with young Guybrush's duels – fought by out-insulting your opponent – a particular highlight.
Saints Row: The Third (Xbox 360/PS3, 2011)
The Saints Row series started off as a straightforward Grand Theft Auto clone, but soon struck out on its own path through the daisies. Where GTA's humour tends towards acid satire, Saints Row embraced chaos with unhinged glee.
Anarchy is the name of the game in Saint's Row: The Third – whether that means piloting an 8-bit wireframe tank while naked, turning people into human cannonballs or (infamously) setting about you with a giant purple dildo.
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