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Subject: Is this theme controversial or funny? rss

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Jon Vallerand
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So I'm working on a game where players are Ice Cream peddlers who go to extreme lengths to sell their products. One part of the game, which to me make the theme, is that you can hire Scientists to either send subliminal messages to the kids on the block to affect which flavors they want, or "warm globally" to increase the demand.

To me, this is funny, over-the-top cartoony satire. What do you guys think?
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Ken Lewis
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I don't think it is controversial.

The humor level will depend on the art, how the situation effects the game, and any additional text used to relate the situation. It has potential, if used appropriately.
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Bill Eldard
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JVallerand wrote:
So I'm working on a game where players are Ice Cream peddlers who go to extreme lengths to sell their products. One part of the game, which to me make the theme, is that you can hire Scientists to either send subliminal messages to the kids on the block to affect which flavors they want, or "warm globally" to increase the demand.

To me, this is funny, over-the-top cartoony satire. What do you guys think?


Is parody the primary focus of the game? The reason I ask is that good games tend to sell regardless of the theme, unless that theme is so socially toxic that no one will approach it. It sounds as though your theme is lighthearted fun, and I doubt any significant number of potential buyers would be put off by it.

Are you introducing any new mechanics in your design?
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If Van Halen can get away with it, so can you.
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Brian Pool
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CountDeMoney wrote:
If Van Halen can get away with it, so can you.


Cause all my flavors are guaranteed to satisfy ... whistle
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Mike Jones
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Don't think it's particularly controversial, but doesn't sound very funny either.
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Reed Dawley
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Rum Raisin good but only sells a quart a day. Meth Raisin sells a couple dozen gallons a day.
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Drew
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Doesn't sound controversial at all, but as said earlier the art would determine if it was funny.
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Jon Vallerand
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Eldard wrote:
Is parody the primary focus of the game? The reason I ask is that good games tend to sell regardless of the theme, unless that theme is so socially toxic that no one will approach it. It sounds as though your theme is lighthearted fun, and I doubt any significant number of potential buyers would be put off by it.

Are you introducing any new mechanics in your design?


It is not. The ideas I had was for a drug-dealing game, but as the game is a gateway/family level game, I thought that theme would turn off the target audience. Applying the same kind of high stake competition to something as childish as Ice cream struck me as funny, but it's just a theme, the game isn't meant as a parody.
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Metäl Warrior
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JVallerand wrote:
It is not. The ideas I had was for a drug-dealing game, but as the game is a gateway/family level game, I thought that theme would turn off the target audience. Applying the same kind of high stake competition to something as childish as Ice cream struck me as funny, but it's just a theme, the game isn't meant as a parody.


What's really funny that drug peddling and ice cream sales are so interchangeable as themes I'd run with that nugget and take it to the extreme, either a parody or an allegory.

I think the OP idea is funny.
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Geordie Young
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Your game will make or break on whether it's fun or not. Test, scrap, refine, polish, and test again!

That being said, here are my thoughts on theme:

Gateway games have their place among adults. Most of my friends don't want to sit down for 4 hours and wage an epic space battle for control of the Universe (the most Victory Points), but they're fine with building a railroad or destroying Tokyo. If you consider popular shows in recent years like Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy, the drug-dealing theme might actually be an attractive offering if you ever decide to refocus your target audience to adults. If you reinforce good humor with complementary art and flavor, I think you might be on to something.

Just my 2 cents. Good luck!
 
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Bob Zurunkel
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Jaffeli wrote:
JVallerand wrote:
It is not. The ideas I had was for a drug-dealing game, but as the game is a gateway/family level game, I thought that theme would turn off the target audience. Applying the same kind of high stake competition to something as childish as Ice cream struck me as funny, but it's just a theme, the game isn't meant as a parody.


What's really funny that drug peddling and ice cream sales are so interchangeable as themes I'd run with that nugget and take it to the extreme, either a parody or an allegory.

I think the OP idea is funny.


You could do both. There have been real life instances of drugs being sold out of ice cream trucks.
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Neil McIntyre
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Jaffeli wrote:
JVallerand wrote:
It is not. The ideas I had was for a drug-dealing game, but as the game is a gateway/family level game, I thought that theme would turn off the target audience. Applying the same kind of high stake competition to something as childish as Ice cream struck me as funny, but it's just a theme, the game isn't meant as a parody.


What's really funny that drug peddling and ice cream sales are so interchangeable as themes I'd run with that nugget and take it to the extreme, either a parody or an allegory.

I think the OP idea is funny.


Using Ice Cream vans as a front for drug sales is/was a thing in the UK.

http://www.scotsman.com/news/ice-cream-wars-verdicts-quashed...

I certainly recall the van that called to where I lived as a child sold 'looses' (single cigarettes) to kids without any qualms whatsoever.

Ice Cream Vans as fronts even made it into a pretty good film called "Going Off Big Time".
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Florian Woo
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I like the idea of doing an ice cream game which is actually a drug dealing game in disguise. You should emphasize on the secret messages behind your cards.

You DO a game about selling ice cream. But many cards should be metaphors for selling drugs.
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Jon Vallerand
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Jaffeli wrote:
JVallerand wrote:
It is not. The ideas I had was for a drug-dealing game, but as the game is a gateway/family level game, I thought that theme would turn off the target audience. Applying the same kind of high stake competition to something as childish as Ice cream struck me as funny, but it's just a theme, the game isn't meant as a parody.


What's really funny that drug peddling and ice cream sales are so interchangeable as themes I'd run with that nugget and take it to the extreme, either a parody or an allegory.

I think the OP idea is funny.


Thank you!

Wolle_Petterson wrote:
I like the idea of doing an ice cream game which is actually a drug dealing game in disguise. You should emphasize on the secret messages behind your cards.

You DO a game about selling ice cream. But many cards should be metaphors for selling drugs.


Hmmm, that would be interesting if it weren't so outside of my capabilities.

GeordieY wrote:
Your game will make or break on whether it's fun or not. Test, scrap, refine, polish, and test again!

That being said, here are my thoughts on theme:

Gateway games have their place among adults. Most of my friends don't want to sit down for 4 hours and wage an epic space battle for control of the Universe (the most Victory Points), but they're fine with building a railroad or destroying Tokyo. If you consider popular shows in recent years like Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy, the drug-dealing theme might actually be an attractive offering if you ever decide to refocus your target audience to adults. If you reinforce good humor with complementary art and flavor, I think you might be on to something.


Yeah, I know, I'm sort of struggling with that. I liked the idea of a theme that's "out there", while drug peddling/gangsterism is a much more common theme. Oh well, I guess that's something I can delay that choice until after more playtests.
 
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James Wahl
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liencam wrote:
Jaffeli wrote:
JVallerand wrote:
It is not. The ideas I had was for a drug-dealing game, but as the game is a gateway/family level game, I thought that theme would turn off the target audience. Applying the same kind of high stake competition to something as childish as Ice cream struck me as funny, but it's just a theme, the game isn't meant as a parody.


What's really funny that drug peddling and ice cream sales are so interchangeable as themes I'd run with that nugget and take it to the extreme, either a parody or an allegory.

I think the OP idea is funny.


Using Ice Cream vans as a front for drug sales is/was a thing in the UK.

http://www.scotsman.com/news/ice-cream-wars-verdicts-quashed...

I certainly recall the van that called to where I lived as a child sold 'looses' (single cigarettes) to kids without any qualms whatsoever.

Ice Cream Vans as fronts even made it into a pretty good film called "Going Off Big Time".


It was a thing in the U.S., at least in my neighborhood in the late 70s - early 80s. My ice cream dealer had a long coke nail, fronted me ice cream, and I would hide from him when I couldn't pay.
 
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Sturv Tafvherd
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Guantanamo wrote:
Don't think it's particularly controversial, but doesn't sound very funny either.


same reaction here.

I guess if the artwork made it funny, it could be...

Twenty years ago, there was a game called Lunch Money. I guess it was trying to be either controversial or funny. I admit I bought a copy, but then again, I bought plenty of card games back then... I was looking for the next great CCG.

 
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Bleicher
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That is perfectly fine to me. I guess the "golden rule" for themes would be: does it clearly offends someone? If not, then fine. Go ahead.
 
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Dimitri Sirenko
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JVallerand wrote:
So I'm working on a game where players are Ice Cream peddlers who go to extreme lengths to sell their products. One part of the game, which to me make the theme, is that you can hire Scientists to either send subliminal messages to the kids on the block to affect which flavors they want, or "warm globally" to increase the demand.

To me, this is funny, over-the-top cartoony satire. What do you guys think?


i would say its not necessarily "funny" but it's interesting idea. I personally love things like these which subliminally carry some type of real world issue or controversial topic. It is no secret that all these sweet foods especially for kids are designed to be addictive for example, which means they DO have science labs with full on scientists researching and coming up with ways to make the flavor and sugar content addicting. I personally think that is pretty evil, but thats the real world and while a lot of people do have this general knowledge, nobody ever thinks about that. I feel that your game can bring awareness to that in a slightly exaggerated satirical way which is good in my opinion. So that's why I wouldn't call it funny but I would definitely call it a satire on real world conspiracies
 
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Metäl Warrior
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3CreativeMinds wrote:
It is no secret that all these sweet foods especially for kids are designed to be addictive for example, which means they DO have science labs with full on scientists researching and coming up with ways to make the flavor and sugar content addicting.


They do, and they even have a term for it: bliss point.

That might be a good name for a game!
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Westie wrote:
There have been real life instances of drugs being sold out of ice cream trucks.


Yup.

http://www.villagevoice.com/news/there-is-a-long-and-storied...

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Carl Frodge
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JVallerand wrote:
So I'm working on a game where players are Ice Cream peddlers who go to extreme lengths to sell their products. One part of the game, which to me make the theme, is that you can hire Scientists to either send subliminal messages to the kids on the block to affect which flavors they want, or "warm globally" to increase the demand.

To me, this is funny, over-the-top cartoony satire. What do you guys think?

Honestly, I think it's too abstract. Why not just have advertisements (like posters for whatever flavor is hot, and then, kids are more likely to buy that flavor)? Or have like a "flavor of the month" or something like that.
 
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Brendan Riley
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DJ Wilde
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lbleicher wrote:
That is perfectly fine to me. I guess the "golden rule" for themes would be: does it clearly offends someone? If not, then fine. Go ahead.


There is a point where you just can't count on this. This is practically the age of being offended. Seems like everything is going to offend someone somehow. All you have to have is an opposing thought or differing opinion. Like mine
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JVallerand wrote:
So I'm working on a game where players are Ice Cream peddlers who go to extreme lengths to sell their products. One part of the game, which to me make the theme, is that you can hire Scientists to either send subliminal messages to the kids on the block to affect which flavors they want, or "warm globally" to increase the demand.

To me, this is funny, over-the-top cartoony satire. What do you guys think?


You need to keep it over-the-top cartoony satire for it to be funny:

Ice cream peddlers (just make them trucks and keep "peddler" out of the name) are a great theme, especially since it's not another drugs-and-murder sort of theme. Vibrant colors, animated characters, etc

Scientists are great but the art should be cartoony and tongue-in-cheek. Things like "Triple-Mega-Delicious 9000" flavors, or a global warming thing that's maybe a giant magnifying glass heating up the area around the truck. The scientists need crazy hair and weird chemicals in Erlenmeyer flasks and white lab coats/rubber gloves/goggles
 
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