jokes in play mechanics

can any of you think of a game that has a surprising twist emerging from its play mechanics such that it‘ll make you laugh? specifically not visual gags, but it’s the rules that are a joke.

i can think of pranks, like when your controls get reversed. the flash game [september 12th]( kind of has a punchline, but it isn't funny. i'm drawing a blank.

Baba Is You kind of feels entirely like jokes with the mechanics, from the very first level where you can form the sentence “wall is you” and suddenly you’re moving the entire level geometry around.

I love this moment in Undertale. Context: Blue objects can‘t hurt you if you’re standing still and Papyrus has been hyping up his blue attack the entire fight.

@saddleblasters#27645 Great answer, I think puzzle games have a lot of gameplay jokes in them. In Baba is You specifically there are many incomplete sentences that are one push away from being complete, urging you to try them, but will make you fail the level.

I could pick an example from Earthbound or Paper Mario or any of a number of parody simulators from the early to mid 2010s, but those would all feel too easy. So instead, I‘m going to pick that time in TearRing Saga when I managed to get a 100% critical hit rate against the enemy. For those who don’t know, getting a critical hit (in pre-GBA Fire Emblem games like this one) means doubling your attack power before the damage calculation, something that isn't supposed to happen all that often. Most of the time it peters out at around 33; the highest critical hit rate I remember getting in another Fire Emblem game was 60-70% with Mia once in Path of Radiance; and you pretty much have to game the system to get any higher than that.

And here I was having accidentally stumbled into a guaranteed critical hit. What's more, I was guaranteed to get _two_ of them, because I knew I had enough speed to get another attack off on the enemy, and my character's skill may have been high enough that I would have been guaranteed to get off another or even more powerful attack. The reason I say "may have" is because the same thing happened later with Vega, an even more ridiculously broken character who _absolutely_ would have activated his skill against the enemy.

The thing you have to understand about _TearRing Saga_ is that it's totally fucking batshit by vanilla _Fire Emblem_ standards.

This is more of a prank than a joke - There‘s an enemy in Final Fantasy IV towards the end, I think in the final dungeon or at least somewhere on the Moon, called Li’l Murderer. He just looks like a normal goblin palette swap, he‘s very weak, and the only thing he does is cast Scan/Libra on himself, revealing that he is weak against Lightning. This is a fucking lie. If you cast any Lightning magic on him, he retaliates with powerful lightning spells that will devastate your party. This is the only point in the game where this ever happens. It’s like, you KNOW it‘s probably a trap, but also it’s the end of the game, and Libra has never been able to just lie to you before…

@saddleblasters#27645 maybe this points to a good general form for a gameplay joke. establish the rules -> surprise the player when the rules apply exactly as stated -> induce the player to exhale through their nose.

Hm…how about in FFVII when Yuffie tricks you into opening the menu and upon closing it you find that she has run away

I mean there’s this:

Or like... most MGS boss fights for that matter!

I suppose this involves a little bit of a broad interpretation of “jokes” but I think that MGS fights often have a bit of a dark sense of humor.

@CidNight#27829 Like in MGS 3 if you quit during The End boss fight and come back two weeks later, he's died of old age.

I really enjoyed playing through This is the Only Level back in the Flash days and then going back to it once I forgot the twists. I definitely laughed more than a few times. The animation on that silly elephant was just the right amount of janky.

I definitely agree with Baba, especially because it encourages and expects some tom foolery

i just recalled, i think it was a card game i played once in elementary school, called thermonuclear war. players play as world powers and, iirc, the “joke” was that if you launched a nuke ot wouldn‘t land until a full go round, so if anyone goes nuclear than everyone loses. problem is, it isn’t actually funny.

maybe for real laughs the surprise turn in the mechanics has to coincide with a visual gag.

Don‘t know if this really counts but this thread about Wario Ware DIY’s UI design has a bunch of pretty clever ones. The one for deleting your save is pretty cute imo.

@donrumata#27863 oh, warioware! no idea why i didn't think of that from the start.

portal 2 opens with kind of a visual gag but a gameplay mechanic is the punchline

maybe You Have To Burn The Rope fits the criteria

@donrumata#27863 i bought my kid a gba so i could play warioware on it