Schafer: Demoing games is like stand-up

Testing gags on gamers is key.

He's responsible for some of the funniest games ever made, and Tim Schafer has admitted that trying out gags on audiences is a vital part of the development process.

Schafer, whose credits include the Monkey Island, Grim Fandango and EG favourite Psychonauts, told us: "You write material, you test material, you improve your material, so it is a little bit like stand-up."

The Double Fine Productions boss was speaking in London while showing off his latest project, heavy metal romp Brütal Legend, and explained that first and foremost, he had to make himself laugh.

"Entertaining yourself is actually a really important way to approach writing for something that's supposed to be funny," he said. "There are some things that are just so embarrassing - it could be a fart joke or something - that you can't help but laugh when you do it. And you think, if I'm laughing, someone else out there might.

"But every once in a while that's wrong, and you really just have to test it; and that's why it's been great showing Brütal Legend in these demo environments."

He went on to say that the lack of genuine comedy games could be due to this need for testing material, which is "kinda scary". But, he noted, there's no reason why games have to be like watching re-runs of Hale and Pace. "What's better than laughing, and why can't that happen interactively?"

Brütal Legend is due on PS3 and Xbox 360 on 16th October. Our full interview with Schafer is also available on Eurogamer today.

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