Pie in the Face

Pie in the Face
Where the Funny Things Are

Veng Xiong | 22 Sep 2009 13:03
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Peter Evan Ginsberg, a game designer at THUP Games, says the opportunity to make HRmageddon, a turned-based action game on Adult Swim about two teams of employees bashing each other for control of a cubicle farm, happened when the TV network was looking for a developer to make a game about office warfare. "Adult Swim got in touch with us based on a previous game we had made, Campaign Game, a game we created connected with the 2008 election," he says. "In that game, we had the candidates fighting for control of the country using campaign funds for their attacks."

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According to Ginsberg, other gaming portals can bring a mixed bag of games that range from great to awful because of the "free-for-alls populated by user uploads." He says, "Digging around through those sites, you'll get a real random assortment of games with wildly varying quality. With Adult Swim, all their games are hand selected, and so the experience is way more consistent."

"There are a lot of places you can find game content on the web, but Adult Swim does not seem to be content with putting up a running list of flavor-of-the-month-clones," says Jim Nichols, the art designer at THUP Games. He's right; many of Adult Swim's games have solid production values, with appropriate music, well drawn characters and deep gameplay that keep them from being just another collection of one-off jokes.

While people who enjoy watching the shows on Adult Swim will probably "get" the games on their website, they seem to be more directly aimed at a gamer-specific audience, especially the games that take jabs at familiar titles. Take Amateur Surgeon, for example, a dark and sinister parody on Nintendo Wii's Trauma Center. Here, you will always hear your patients scream when you accidentally puncture their skin with a sharp tool or pull out an object too fast. The game stars Alan Probe, a pizza delivery boy turned surgeon who, unlike the doctors in Trauma Center, doesn't rely on actual medical instruments. Instead, his medical kit consists of everyday tools like a pizza cutter for making incisions, a stapler for closing wounds, kitchen tongs for pulling out pieces of glass and a car battery that doubles as a defibrillator.

But animated blood and cartoon violence isn't all Adult Swim has to offer. There's also sex. Dungeons and Dungeons is a platformer in the same vein as Castlevania, but instead of being a whip-wielding hero, the game's two main characters are S&M enthusiasts who must make their way through six dungeons, fighting scantily-clad enemies, pleasure-bots and naked ladies who like to bend over to taunt you. Some of the more memorable weapons include a vibrator that can be tossed at foes, a nine-tailed whip for long-range attacks and a candle power up that enables your sidekick, a gimp named Max, to shoot balls of fire from his rear end.

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