I get a huge kick out of fiction within fiction. I particularly love it when fake games are included to further flesh out a world.
We see this in video games a fair bit — particularly card games that players can use to make bank. Gwent is a strong example, being so popular that it's being released as a standalone. And let's not forget the likes of Pazaak and Wicked Grace.
This story originally appeared in January 2017.
You can find less serious fake games in TV shows, some of which are just plain dumb and funny, and others you really wish were real.
Here are 10 of the best. Let us know some of your favourite faux games in the comments!
Hockey Dad — The Simpsons
Hockey Dad is great because it's simultaneously ridiculous and vaguely believable.
Sports parents are hilarious and you can imagine this actually happening. Also, who wouldn't want to play this game?
The Simpsons made this list tough, because it has a long history of inventing games. There are far too many mention, but this video from College Humour claims to show all of them.
A few other favourites of mine include:
- Billy Graham's Bible Blaster
- Kevin Kostner's Water World
- My Dinner With Andre
- Satan's Path
- Cereal Killer
- Yard Work Simulator (made all the funnier by the current popularity of Job Simulator)
- Tandem Bike Ride With Your Mom
And of course...
Lee Carvallo's Putting Challenge — The Simpsons
All he wanted for Christmas was Bonestorm. What he got instead was possible the worst golf game in history. I love this so much that I bought Lee Carvallo shirt from Red Bubble.
The awkward and mechanical voice over is the best.
You have selected Power Drive.
First Person Shooter — The X-Files
This episode from 2000 depicts a VR shooter where people can be killed in-game. It has aged horribly and mixes futuristic weapons with the wild west and medieval weaponry. And that's where the fun lies.
Considering the real-world rise of VR, this is fun to look back on and may be a taste of what hopefully isn't to come.
Tiger Wood's PGA Tour 11 — South Park
This game actually does exist, so this is more of a reimagining!
Sports and fighting combine in this parody of Tiger Wood's love affair and tumultuous relationship with his wife.
I think the best thing about this is just how long it takes for the show to reveal that it's a game.
Cones of Dunshire — Parks and Recreation
A board game created by Ben Wyatt, Cones of Dunshire combines an elaborate array of tabletop tropes, complicated rules and playable characters.
The game was seemingly a throwaway joke, but it became an inadvertent underground success and reappeared during the series.
As a cool bit of trivia, Mayfair Games (Settlers of Catan) helped design the game for the show. A playable version was also created for GenCon 2014.
Slap Bet — How I Met Your Mother
Fans of How I Met Your Mother will be familiar with Slap Bet. It's as simple as it sounds — two people make a bet and the loser gets slapped in the face.
A running joke throughout the show, it eventually became the inspiration for a board game created by Lily's dad.
Honourable Mention - Tijuana Slumlord
Chardee Macdennis — It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia
This is possibly my favourite game of all time.
A self professed rip off a variety of board games, Chardee Macdennis pits two teams against each other in a battle of the mind, body and spirit.
Players are challenged with everything from weirdly specific and opinionated trivia, to suffering through personal berating without crying, to eating the ingredients of a cake.
It's twisted and glorious. Plus, the winners get the break the loser's game pieces.
Euthanasia — Robot Chicken
A parody of The Game of Life but with pet death. It's dark as hell and I feel bad every time I laugh at it.
I guess I'm just a bad person.
Burgerboss — Bob's Burgers
What's great about Burgerboss is that it's a retro style side scroller that you would actually want to play.
Someone also made a browser based fan game which you can check out here.
Double Cranko — M*A*S*H
We're kicking it old school with this one.
A combination of Poker, Checkers, Gin Rummy and Chess, this game doesn't have any rules and the sole purpose seems to be getting hammered. I can get behind that.