It can feel like a shot in the dark, bundling in crude humour and shockingly dire one-liners to pave the way for a video game. The fact is, many games that have often followed such a structure have spiralled at the first crossroad, without a compass to reroute them. But then, there are the others; the ones that have managed to land a surprisingly well-placed punch. Although a far cry from a knockout, many tales have managed to place rather well in the books — even with vulgarity being the flagship for the journey.
Crude games come and go, but only a few of them actually stick. Poorly executed jokes fall flat at the first hurdle and monologues often deviate from the witticisms altogether. And it’s because of this, that developing a genuinely likeable game that uses crude content for its focal point isn’t the easiest job in the world. But with that in mind, these five, in our opinion, definitely managed to pull off the absurdity.
5. Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball
What started off as a beat ’em up series eventually fused into an oversexualized volleyball free-for-all, where the characters somehow spiralled from brutes to beach models. Whether that was a good move for the series or not is sort of irrelevant, because, honestly — they got away with it regardless. Although we’ll admit, the volleyball side of things, despite being the core part of the game, definitely seemed to be an afterthought when next to the characters Tecmo tried so desperately hard to glow up.
Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball, with or without the ramped up personalities, still managed to deliver a genuinely likeable experience. Of course, looking past the elephant in the room, beach volleyball definitely proved to be a favourable chapter under the Dead or Alive banner, and one that would separate it from other rival sports factions. Although the truth is, Tecmo probably wouldn’t get away with such a concept in this day and age. 2004, on the other hand, was a rather strange year for gaming. Evidently.
4. Duke Nukem 3D
Duke Nukem might’ve strayed from his best-selling formula over the years, but wind the clock back to 1996, and the blonde-haired bad boy stood at the apex of first-person shooters, flowing in the same vein as Doom and Wolfenstein. Of course, that’s sort of hard to believe, what with Duke Nukem Forever tarnishing the brand in recent years. But the truth is, Duke Nukem 3D was, in fact, one of the most respected games of its time.
As expected from Duke and his frat-boy persona, the 3D chapter revolved heavily around bombastic weaponry and explosive dramatics, reinforced by a roster of characters and creatures strapped in questionable attire. However, even with the exaggerated ingredients, Duke Nukem 3D still went down as a marvel for its time, and even went on to become the staple for its banner, never to be replaced by later instalments.
3. Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude
Leisure Suit Larry, despite its blatant theme, has actually gone on to span some pretty favourable chapters in its relatively successful timeline. Of course, many of the entries have relied a little too heavily on explicit material to carry over the sales, and more often than not — that’s worked wonders for the devs. Because the truth is, we don’t always seek intricate story designs and challenging gameplay in order to feel somewhat satisfied in a video game. Sometimes, and I mean sometimes, you can obtain such emotion from a few crude mini-games and a roster of questionable characters. And that’s something Leisure Suit Larry has provided on almost every occasion.
Although the series as a whole has had a fair share of heavy hitters, we do have to give credit to the wacky spin-off, Magna Cum Laude, in which nephew Larry Lovage steals the spotlight. Once again taking to the college campus in search of love, Larry’s ultimate goal is to traverse the grounds and flirt his way to the podium on the local show “Swingles”. However, before hogging a spot on the show, players will have to help collect tokens of affection through spools of ludicrous mini-games, fast-paced button mashing, and a whole series of hilarious side quests.
2. Conker’s Bad Fur Day (Live & Reloaded)
At a first glance, you wouldn’t put such a lovable little squirrel in a dark frame of any sort, especially surrounded by adult-themed humour and exaggerated violence. After stepping into such shoes, however, you quickly realise exactly who you’re enrolling on a journey as, and that the previous observations were anything but innocent. But that’s Conker’s Bad Fur Day for you. It initially tricks you into thinking you’re embarking on this wondrous quest packed full of happy-go-lucky creatures with a child-friendly soundtrack to back it. That is until you realise you’re a drunken squirrel, of course.
Conker’s Bad Fur Day sends you on one of the most memorable journey’s you’ll ever witness, with chapters ranging from battling with raptors to breaking into a bank, fending off an enormous pile of faeces to waring against Nazi teddy bears. Plus, with movie influences that cover the likes of The Matrix, Gladiator and Alien, Conker envelopes enough unforgettable content to keep the nostalgia high, and the laughter flowing from beginning to end.
1. South Park: The Stick of Truth
After a rugged history of hit-and-miss games throughout the nineties, Parker and Stone looked to revamp the formula and find new ground in the role-playing department. As a result of the newfound platform, players were able to become one with the beloved mountain town and enrol in the daily madness, starting out as a citizen with just as many ludicrous traits as the remaining population. And that’s exactly where The Stick of Truth came in, with a refreshing journey that effectively resurrected the franchise’s bitter legacy.
Of course, being South Park, both The Stick of Truth and The Fractured but Whole revolved mainly around crude humour and coarse language, strengthened by all the familiar faces one would expect to find in South Park. However, being the first in the role-playing book, The Stick of Truth has to get our merit for creativity, as well as delivering a laugh per minute over its weirdly compelling story.
What do you think of our five? Do you have a specific crude game that sprouts to mind? Let us know over on our socials here.