Gaming: The future of comedy?
So games like LA Noire have taken gaming to the next level of video game realism have they? They're convincing. No question about that...
... but we'll bet that you can't tell the difference between pixels and people in these cut scenes from this new video game Nemesis of Doom.
More people than ever love computer games these days - worldwide, we spend three billion hours a week playing online - but that doesn't mean we can't laugh about them. Our comedy sketch Nemesis Of Doom is set in an online role-playing game that we've created in real life, with performers from London's cabaret and burlesque scene. It's a work-in-progress, made by game-lovers, to explore what's funny about the gaming world. We want this to be the first of a series of sketches, with a companion game, so you can play Nemesis Of Doom yourself too.
Comedy in games is nothing new – from Pac-Man (yellow ball eats pills while fleeing technicolour ghosts) through Earthworm Jim (worm in robotic suit battles evil), and Hogs of War (pun-based porcine tactical combat), to controversial anti-hero send-up Duke Nukem.
Charlie Brooker in his one-off special on the games industry, Gameswipe, claims Infocom's Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, written by Douglas Adams, is possibly the funniest game ever made, and its noble tongue-in-cheek tradition continues. Global giant role-playing game World of Warcraft (known affectionately as WoW) send up their own game with cod metal band, the Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftans.
When it comes to comedy about games, the passion players invest in a game doesn't stop them joking about ridiculous in-game mechanics, or the foibles of fellow gamers. A host of WoW parodies have been lovingly created with the in-game machinima 3D animation engine.
And gaming community comedy isn't limited to WoW players. Spoof videos explore what would happen if real life were like a game, so you can blast opponents on the go-kart track, rocket jump enemies, or mess with a portal gun in the office, according to US gaming champion and filmmaker Freddie Wong.
Gaming has changed status in the years since it first started to laugh at itself. World of Warcraft has over twelve million players - that's more than the population of Greece. Everybody knows about games now: even if you never played Prince of Persia, you couldn't miss the posters from the movie spin-off. A bunch of off-duty computer game characters even have their own show on children's TV: CBBC's Pixelface.
The conventions of gaming are now familiar to so many that with Nemesis Of Doom we can come full circle, and evoke the foibles of computer games in live-action, knowing there are enough people out there to share the joke with us. We hope you like it - let us know, and tell us what you'd like to see in future missions of Nemesis of Doom.
What do you think?
Game over for movies? Is gaming the future of sketch comedy?