Sitrep: The Tragic Comedy of Super-Serious FPS Games

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

By on May 22, 2013 at 5:15 pm

I like to laugh because life is a dynamic experience and it can’t rain all the time. Nor can a man or woman or transgender individual laugh constantly either, because you would edge closer and closer to insanity in the eyes of everyone around you, especially if you were, IDK, at the vet putting the family dog to sleep forever. While I favour giggling over glowering, there are times and places whence a lad such as I need court the grim of drawing breath (please forgive me, I’m reading A Song of Ice and Fire right now and I can’t stop talking like a halberd).

Most films, anime, and books I like are really serious and brutal, or really serious and foreign, or really serious and arthouse, and you get the picture: They’re really serious. I went to see the third Hangover movie last night and only laughed when I myself did a squeaky fart and the row of perfumed media professionals behind me chittered excitedly trying to work out if it had been what they knew in their hearts that it was. Subsequently, most games I like are also really serious.

It’s one of the reasons I enjoy shooters so much. There’s a po-faced sincerity to them that I can really grind on even though sometimes it’s so po-faced it is actually funny. That’s kind of the point: Humour in the face of incredible adversity – oft accidental or incidental – is a VIP. It is the only kind of laughter I will allow into the gamecave during kill time. The Duke Nukems have to wait outside, they’re trying too hard. Please bear witness to this personal highlight:

Now whether that is amusing or not is fairly subjective, I suppose, but it is the candid way in which Jensen articulates the way this woman’s beloved daughter has perished that has made me laugh for one, maybe two weeks. I wake up laughing about it. I know right, you don’t want this life. It is so insensitive and inappropriate it’s glorious.

It might well be the exact kind of thing that happens in that exact situation, were a weary detective answering the queries of a forlorn mother in reality. I absolutely would not laugh at that. No way in hell. I wouldn’t even feel the impulse. That’s horrible, I’m not a 100% monster unless you fail to deliver unto me the Seven Kingdoms that are rightfully mine, dear sister, and wake the drago-

But I’ve realised that these instances in my serious gaming time have shone somewhat of a light over just how ridiculous it can be to be alive. Free from the actuality of bad things going down, there is mirth there that would never be uncovered otherwise. The tragic comedies of Shakesy wished they had have been video games, for their hopeless mission is one now accomplished – tripped over, even – by video games every hour on the hour.

Were it that some might accuse me of cresting a fine lens too close to the sun that lights to entertain and little else, I would opine they have taught me something about myself and the art of coping.

14 comments (Leave your own)

That first paragraph bent my brain.

I do like humour in games, but it has to be surprising. I enjoy brief moments of it in a serious game than I do in a game that’s trying to be funny, because that wears out thin.

I usually find Geralt’s jokes in the witcher series funny, because he makes so few of them.


Yeah humour really can go one way or the other, definitely have to be careful with it.


I enjoyed the shit out of that Human Revolution clip. Made me laugh.

PS: talking like a Halberd – I even googled this because I wasn’t sure, but isn’t that just the big pike thing?

EDIT: I really hate to be that douchey nit-picking guy, but it just struck me as strange. I’M SORRY PLEASE DON’T HATE ME

Toby McCasker


Now imagine that big spiky thing talking and the things it would say! Yes I am an atrociously normal human being.





I certainly think there’s a place for tragic comedy, but I can’t say I have any preference to it over stupid comedy.

Darth Teddy Bear

Not as much humour or quality humour in games as there used to be because damn it Janet, 1 person might get offended.


Toby McCasker:

Now imagine that big spiky thing talking and the things it would say! Yes I am an atrociously normal human being.

Haha, I am sorry if it was a dick move to point that out. I wasn’t trying to be an ass. Half of it was me wondering if my knowledge of things was wrong. Anyway, great article!

Toby McCasker


Think *nothing* of it, hey. I’m an idiot delighting in esoteric turns of phrase. Luckily Tim has to hire at least one idiot. Entirely fictitious bleeding heart liberal employment clauses mean I’m never without a pot to wear as a hat and bang on.



Well, fiction is fiction and humour and offense usually march in the lock step, thankfully R18 means we are now considered adult enough to judge morality in our chosen form of entertainment..

I still can’t help getting squeamish during the live organ donation skit in ‘The Meaning of Life’ though.

Nasty Wet Smear

“Did she suffer, Professor Van Helsing?”

“Ja, Ja, she was in agony. Then we drove wood through her heart, cut off her head and burnt the body!” *Continues to shove beef into his mouth*


Is it weird that I wait all week just to read one of Toby’s articles? It’s definitely the highlight of my week.

Toby McCasker


Is it weird that I wait all week just to read one of Toby’s articles? It’s definitely the highlight of my week.


Toby McCasker,

People say otherwise? You’re starting read like Ben Pobjie over at the ABC site. He’s the best thing they have on the drum IMO. Don’t stop.

Toby McCasker


Youse guys are too nice. I actually haven’t read that dude before (I usually just check out Vice and Cracked and then become too happily despondent to read anything else). I’ll go check it out.

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