Down with “humour”. Up with “mood”.

Posted by
September 27th, 2011 12:49 am

Seriously, let’s retire the “humour” category. There’s some games that try to be funny, but there’s even more games striving for a certain kind of mood – dark, scary, relaxing, whatever.

15 Responses to “Down with “humour”. Up with “mood”.”

  1. digital_sorceress says:

    I agree that not all games strive to be humorous, and we shouldn’t feel pressured to make them humorous.

    Mood is created by graphics and sound more than anything else. These factors just have to be aligned with the mood intention. (Intention being part of design)

    I’d rather we simply retire the humor category.

    I’d support creating a new Exposition category. This can measure the technical achievement as well as how coherent the project feels (which in turn can include measuring whether the mood works or not, or whether the game fits the theme).

    I’d support merging innovation into a new Design category, which is slightly broader. Innovation pressures us to invent new game mechanics.

    I’d support relabelling Fun as Enjoyment, as everyone’s idea of enjoyment is different. ‘Enjoyment’ is a more subjective word than ‘Fun’. Fun tends to be used to describe things that are exciting/exhilarating. A text based management game can be enjoyable (mentally stimulating & rewarding), but is not much fun (not exciting nor exhilarating).


    • Andrew says:

      I agree with removing humor for the stated reasons, I however do not agree with the design category, because “Innovation pressures us to invent new game mechanics” or reinvent uses for existing game mechanics. Which is a good thing.

      • digital_sorceress says:

        To make my point another way: We shouldn’t judge things against false ideals.

        “Humorous” is one person’s ideal of what a game should be. But not everybody feels that it is an ideal, so it should not be present in the scoring.

        You are arguing in favour of inventing new game mechanics, but that is your own personal ideal, and is not universally shared. There are some people who enjoy classic games, who would enjoy seeing remakes of them. Having innovation as an ideal dismisses this subsection of gamers as being irrelevant. :)

        • Andrew says:

          Not at all! all the time and energy spent in reinventing the wheel can be rerouted to flesh out sounds or graphics or gameplay or content etc.

          Innovation isn’t only about new mechanics, it’s about thinking outside the box and creativity. Imagine if all we’d have in the last 33 years were re-skinned versions of space invaders. Or if all game storylines involved rescuing a princess from a gorilla, if all graphics still used 8 bits, or if sounds consisted of 3 effects and a 4 note looping jingle.

          Remakes of games are fine within some limits(I’d love to play some of my old spectrum games but I’d have to go dig up and dust off the device), but I don’t think they belong in a 48 hour competition.

          • digital_sorceress says:

            You’re arguing pro-innovation vs anti-innovation, which is not what this discussion is about.

            I’m suggesting that innovation should be a non-factor. So if a person wants to use classic formulae, then let them do so without being penalised. If a person wants to innovate and think outside the box, then let them do so without being penalised.

            If you personally dislike classic games then you can rate them down in your scoring. If others love classic games, then they can rate them up in their scoring.

            While innovation is an explicit category in the scoring, people who love classic games will feel as if they’re being told to score those games down… which is a bias that should not be present.

  2. invaderJim says:

    I like to think that the categories are there for the entrants, and not the judges. I, for one, would rather place in the Humor category than any of the others. I strive to make humorous games, because they motivate me the most. Is the category subjective? Hell yeah it is, but they all are, if you think about it. Having this variety of categories gives people like me, who don’t have a chance at placing in Overall, something to shoot for.

  3. Jacic says:

    I think replacing Humor with Mood is a good idea. Humor is one kind of mood, whereas mysterious or sorrowful are different moods that might be chosen for a game. This would let us be more diverse in mood, and still be able to get rated for it.

  4. mes says:


    i can think of so many games that are memorable to me not because they are fun, have interesting gameplay, or look beautiful, but because they made me feel a certain way while playing. evoking emotion is what art of any medium is about. and as jacic said, humor fits under the mood umbrella, so i don’t see any downside to making this change.

  5. Rudy says:

    “Mood” is a much better alternative to the humor category. Simply because few games fall under the “humorous” banner and forcing developers to include humor does not generally improve their games.

  6. SusanTheCat says:

    I also like “Mood” instead of “Humour”. I was unpleasantly surprised to find out that humour was one of the categories. There are not many places for humour in a survival game and my game scored poorly in that area. In turn, this also affects my overall score.


    • digital_sorceress says:

      According to the scatter diagrams I made last time, there was only a weak correlation between “Humour” and “Overall”.

      “Fun” was by far the most influential factor, with “Graphics” in a distance second place.

  7. Kharza says:

    I like mood over humour, as mood can encompass a broader range of stuff as has been said.

  8. jonbro says:

    yeah, I can see the reason why humor is on there, things that are done in haste can generally fall into that category more readily than other emotions. That said, I have seen people trying to capture other moods with just as much success as humor, and it is probably time to get rid of it.

  9. wally2069 says:

    I also agree with removing the Humor category. Mood or Exposition would be a much better standard to judge by.

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