Power of Laughter

Power of Laughter
How to Cheer Yourself Up

Colin Rowsell | 29 Apr 2008 12:04
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It does put a damper on the brain chemical surge. Think of that poor Star Wars kid, forgotten, abandoned and grotesque, just like Mark Hamill or MC Hammer.

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Enjoy a Laugh with Old Friends
These old friends being British comedy and Sierra adventure games. The Two Ronnies and Space Quest 3: Pirates of Pestulon. Do they hold up? Like a good cheese toastie with vodka they do.

Ronnie Barker was the round one. Ronnie Corbett was the midget. Every Friday night we'd all have fish and chips and watch two hours of Ronnie Barker dressed as a woman; Ronnie Corbett sitting in his little chair with his feet off the ground; both the Ronnies taking the piss out of cop shows or news broadcasts; and then the big musical number. Ronnie Barker'd do his dirty seaside postcard bit or his quick shots:

In a packed program tonight we will be talking to an out-of-work contortionist who says he can no longer make ends meet.

The toilets at a local police station have been stolen. Police say they have nothing to go on.

A new publishing venture was announced today. The Stock Breeders Gazette and Playboy magazine are to get together to produce the Farmer Sutra.

Arnold Crump, a 6 feet 9 inches, ham-fisted, hairy drunk with a short temper, bad breath, acne, dandruff and fleas, was named by Scotland Yard today as Britain's most unwanted man.

Dad used to laugh and Mum used to cackle. The Ronnies were a two-man waltz in which you knew every step. You knew Corbett would head off on a tangent about inflatable balloons or water slides. You knew Barker had something like "Don't just crit there siticizing" up his sleeve. And at the end of every show, so perfect and rhythmic you could shout along with it, they'd stare right at the camera and close:

Corbett: So it's "Goodnight" from me.
Barker: And it's "Goodnight" from him.
Both: Goodnight!

That same rhythm's there (for me, at least) in Space Quest 3, the 1989 adventure game from Sierra. You're Roger Wilco, hapless interstellar janitor, stranded on a garbage freighter after an encounter with evil galactic overlord Sludge Vohaul in Space Quest 2. You wander around, pick up ship parts, get off the freighter. Then you've got The Terminator, Arnold the Annihilator, after you. You hide out at a burger-shaped space station grease joint, play astro-chicken arcade games and break into the offices of ScumSoft software development, where a skinny young nerd is holding computer game inventors in slavery.

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