Videogames just aren't funny any more, so says the creator of smutty '80s PC adventure Leisure Suit Larry, but the recent rise of Kickstarter could help gags return to games.
Writing in a guest blog post for Wired, Al Lowe lamented the lack of laughs in recent releases.
"For about a decade, computer games were funny," he mused.
"While Leisure Suit Larry was one the first humorous games, the late '80s and early '90s were filled with one hilarious release after another: Maniac Mansion, Monkey Island, Space Quest, Sam & Max, Day of the Tentacle, Sorcerer's Apprentice, and on and on.
"One day, it stopped. Within a year, humor disappeared from gaming. Why?"
He went on to suggest that the success of puzzle/adventure games was tied to the fact that early computers required a bit of technical nous to be able to use. Once they became more user-friendly, the landscape duly changed.
"When the majority finally had computers, they ran Windows. They didn't have to solve operating system puzzles, or couldn't. And they didn't want to solve game puzzles either," he wrote.
"Sadly, this was widely interpreted that new gamers preferred action and 3-D environments instead of contemplation and humor.
"Within a year, most major adventure-game development was shut down. And with it went humor. Since then, we've had 15 years of violence or detail manipulation or hacking and slashing. What we haven't had is smiles or chuckles or laughs."
However, Lowe then argued that the rise of fan-funding site Kickstarter offers the sub-genre a new dawn.
"It's time for a change, and I see one coming, thanks to the 'Kickstarter Spring'," he continued.
"Two of my favorite game designers, Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert, led the way, announcing they wanted to do a new humorous game. But, instead of begging publishers to fund their game's development, they turned to Kickstarter, asking their fans to pre-buy the game. They received a flood of pledges, vastly exceeding their original, modest goal. The result did not go unnoticed."
It certainly didn't. Lowe's own campaign to get a full Leisure Suit Larry remake funded is just one of countless retro-focused projects to use the site.
At the time of writing, he needs to raise around $20,000 in the next seven days to reach his $500,000 goal. See below for Lowe's pitch.