Harold Ramis On Why It's Hard To Make Funny Video Games

Compared to the number of funny movies, the number of funny games is quite low. Good comedy is hard!

Harold Ramis is a funny guy, and he's writer and/or directed a bunch of funny movies: Caddyshack, Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day. Why does he think are the challenges of making games funny?

You would think comedy dies with repetition. Once you've heard a joke, you're not going to laugh the second time. And yet people keep revisiting their favourite funny films that they see over and over again. I hear this all the time, usually from unhappy wives who will tell me their husband has watched Caddyshack 100 times and they say it with a worried look on their face.Why do people keep watching Ghostbusters or any comedy film? It's not for the surprise. It's something that tickles them deep down and makes them feel good...

In video games, it seems like the attraction of playing any videogame is that it gives you control over a world that you have no other access to... Once you've mastered a game, you kind of lose interest. Repetition in a game, you're not only dealing with the repetition of the comedy, but you're dealing with the repetition of the gamers mastering the game, itself. To make a game so funny with so many comic alternatives, that would be like writing three hit movies. The scripts are impossibly long. That would be a considerable investment. And I was thinking if you wrote that much comedy, chances are you would put it in a feature film.

Yes, of course, there are funny video games. Really funny games that put smiles on our faces. Tim Schafer keeps churning out hilarious games, and Erik Wolpaw always makes us chuckle — among others.

Ghostbusters: the Harold Ramis interview [GamesRadar via GoNintendo]


    Conker's bad fur day is easily the funniest game I have ever played.

    well... the man is right about traditional, "intentional" forms of comedy - most game based comedy is about the surprise of freaky glitches happening ("and then all the NPCs chased the chopper over the edge of the building!"), or being startled by entirely new ways of doing things that just wouldnt have occured to you the first time through ("Forget melee and lockpicks, this GEP gun solves all my problems!").

    In some ways he's right, in others... let's just say it's a developing medium:D

    Conker seconded!

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