Pie in the Face

Pie in the Face
Where the Funny Things Are

Veng Xiong | 22 Sep 2009 13:03
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Characters like Leon S. Kennedy and the four citizens in Left 4 Dead are perfect heroes for "serious" zombie games, but you won't be playing a hero in Zombie Hooker Nightmare. Instead, you play as a hooker and no, you're not saving the world. The enemies are fellow undead streetwalkers, and it's your job to hit them hard and fast with shotguns, flamethrowers and other weapons while on the lookout for johns to take back to your trailer. At the end of each level, you and the johns take care of "business" so you can earn enough cash to go on to the next level. For zombie fans, it's a unique experience.


And then there's the aforementioned HRmageddon, which is like a videogame version of the movie, Glengarry Glenn Ross, only in the game the office employees are trying to kill each other. HRmageddon is a cartoonish, silly and funny game where you can fire staples at your opponents, stab them in the eye with a golden pen and smash them over the head with a giant presentation board. In order to win, each team must either must kill every member from the opposing side or take over a certain amount of cubicles. As the game's tagline says, "These layoffs are permanent." Coffee provides energy for special moves, pay raises provide healing and enraged managers provide motivational stat buffs, granting employees movement bonuses and damage increases.

Ginsberg thinks the humor of HRmageddon is ultimately rooted in the character art and animation, while Nichols is proud of "how the different types of humor mesh." "The overall conceit is a dry, satirical take on the underlying viciousness found in the daily grind of corporate cubicle farms," he says.

Games like HRmageddon and Amateur Surgeon are hard to find on store shelves, but on the web, where indie developers have the freedom to be unconventional, personal and original, AdultSwim.com is giving game developers the opportunity to take themselves - and their games - less seriously. While the content and graphics in these flash games are certainly not as deep or high tech as those on the Xbox 360, Wii, and PS3, their developers may have pulled off an even harder technical challenge: resurrecting the spirit of fun.

Veng Xiong is a freelance writer who plays Team Fortress 2 under the username Flip Flop Favre. He can be reached at veng[dot]xiong[at]gmail[dot]com.

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