Noir humor: Dark, pointed, and sometimes a little too clever to actually be funny. A brief exchange:
Manuel Calavera: So what did you think of my poem?
Slisko: I liked it. It was sad and beautiful, like my mother.
Alexi: I despised it. It was too short and said nothing to me, like my father.
Gunnar: I had no feelings about it. It was aloof and licked itself too much, like my cat, Mr. Trotsky.
See what I mean? By the way, all four of those characters are talking skeletons. Dunno if that makes it any funnier.
Anyway, let’s get to the point here. Grim Fandango is a noir video game, done completely in art deco style (don’t think Bioshock came up with that one), and set in the Mexican Land of the Dead. Oh, and you’re the Grim Reaper.
Sounds wild? It is wild. Here’s the trailer:
That’s Manny Calavera: Grim Reaper, travel agent, poet, nightclub owner, revolutionary. Not to give too much away, but he’s a suave motherfucker who realizes he’s getting screwed and decides to do something about it. He’s kinda like a Hispanic Humphrey Bogart. Well, the skeleton of a Hispanic Humphrey Bogart, anyway.
Like most adventure games, Grim Fandango is built on the quality of its script – clever dialogue, interesting characters, puns galore, but what really sets it apart is the mood of the thing. I think this captures it pretty well. Its a death scene. To avoid ruining the story, it’s from the Spanish language version of the game. Personally, I think the Spanish adds something anyway. Oh and in case you were wondering, yes, the skeletons can die.
You can pick it up on Amazon.com here. I recommend getting one of the used ones. Unless you REALLY want to pay $100 for a 12-year old computer game.
By the way, did I mention that most of the coolest stuff involves proletarian revolution, love triangles, and beatnik poetry? Yeah. You’re welcome.