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The beautifully simple secret of the success of the Game without the Geese



A Game Without a Goose is a hit. Since arriving a week ago, the House House comedy has made significant strides, including mostly positive reviews, along with coverage in the media. He also caused a rash of memes and was the subject of a tweet from Chrissy Teigen .

It's one of those rare treats; a real fun video game. Its main character is a sinister goose whose anarchic activities scandal the once quiet little town. The goose spends its time in deep mischief, which usually means that it creates a series of seizures.

A handsome gardener uses a hammer to hammer a nail into a sign. The goose crawls behind the gardener. At the crucial moment, the goose is strong. The man slams his finger and falls through the gate. We laugh.


The play of the game reminds me of early comedy films from the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy, which I adore. Today we tend to look at the slap as an inexperienced, immature comedy. But the movie's early stars worked on jokes already known to their audience through vaudeville. Their genius was to refine and redesign the gaffes so that they felt both new and somehow perfect.

When a goose pulls a chair from underneath a character to be seated, we see a joke we've seen many times before. Most of the time it's not a funny joke, partly because of the familiar and partly because the "comedian" (say, your annoying uncle) has no comedic skill.


But the goose does it funny at first. My question to two of the developers, Stuart Gillespie-Cook and Nico Dusseldorf, is … why?

"These are jokes that are told over and over again," Disseldorp replies. "We definitely knew we were following along with these kinds of jokes. But she's never been so specific, like, "Oh, let's watch a bunch of slow motion movies and analyze how they work." We tried to establish a shared memory of those jokes that come from many movies, from the silent era to today's children's films.

I ask him how the team makes their jokes.

"We don't start with 'how to make this funny,'" he says. "We assume that the player already knows how the joke works, and we are looking at ways to make the joke something that the player is actually doing . What interactions are needed? What are the best props? What are the best animations? "

Gillespie-Cook adds that" much of this makes the player believe that they have made up a joke. We show them humor and let them believe that they create a joke that makes her pay off. "

" We give you the ingredients, "says Dieselldorp." You see the parts of the joke and imagine it playing in your head. And then you pull the chair and you see them fall to their bottom. You won that joke. You did it. .


Games have the advantage of trial and error, so failure states can also be ridiculous. Players may turn to the gardener too soon or too late to produce alternative results.

we are sure that there are several ways in which the joke will not go right, "says Diesel "We don't want it to be so easy, so in a second you can see what the joke is, it's already over. If you have to try three times to make the joke work, then it's all the more ridiculous by the time you it really works. "

" Missed opportunities are often just as ridiculous as actual punctures, "Gillespie-Cook says. "In addition, we leave very few options up to the player. We watched hours and hours of people playing tests, and the slight changes made the jokes funny again. One player walks his fingers and flaps his wings, or another man stands before the victim and just stares at him. ”

Like the early directors, House House embraces familiar humor and reconstructs it to fit into a relatively new environment. Video games are rarely sequentially funny because of their storytelling and technical limitations and re-readability, but productions such as Game Without Goose, Stuffed and Watam continue their exploration of interactive comedy timing. It is perhaps no accident that all these games rely on children's worlds to convey universal humor.

Characters who do not play in A game without a goose are known archetypes. The gardener is a person who likes his surroundings to be just like that and arranges everything as he wishes. A homeowner viciously defends his goods. The cowardly boy is scared of being distracted by the goose.

"Our favorite type of comedy is related to these very archetypal, platonic ideas of characters and all kinds of situations," says Gillespie-Cook. "They are instantly known to humans."


Initially, the team wrote more than one hundred potential archetypal NPCs, destroying them to those who worked best with each other and with the goose, which is the clear star of the show.

"People seem to have this very special connection with the geese," Dusseldorf says. "They are afraid of them. Geese can be really aggressive. They are a very powerful animal that people have a lot of feelings for. But they are not perceived as evil or evil as a snake or a scorpion. "

" We really tried not to make the goose look too emotional, "says Gillespie Cook." It's empty enough for you to read whatever you want. You can project yourself on it. "

the way geese look at people as they get mad with annoyance is one of the most enjoyable qualities of the game. The goose spends a lot of time stealing objects and putting them in uncomfortable places. , or definitely wants to be monitored for their own

"We wanted the goose to look at the objects it interacts with so that the object would not have to be sparkling or underlined or whatever," says Düsseldorf. "So it was obvious that the goose also the second eye contact was there, we realized that we had hit that perfect interaction where it feels real. There is this moment of understanding between man and animal that overcomes their lack in a shared language.

After all, the goose is an agent of chaos and mischief in a world of rules and order. This is an uneducated child. That is why the game is appealing to both adults and children.

"The impulse we have is that players just love to make a big mess or whatever the situation is," Disseldorp says.

A Game Without a Goose Name was published by Panic and is now available on Nintendo Switch, Windows PC and Mac. If you play the game, check out our helpful Headless Goose Games guides.


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