Fuck Quest and Magic Realism

I don’t normally go in for the weighty titles, but I enjoyed the contrast that this one afforded. I played Fuck Quest long ago when it was first put out there, I guess, and I was in my late teens. It’s not exactly a great game – you’re a dude who wants to get him some sex and you go through a Sierra style mini-adventure culminating in exactly that. It’s super crass, of course, and pretty gross in lots of ways. Despite that, it has some charm. The backgrounds of the areas in the game are hilariously human – a rug that it looks like the creator just totally gave up and scrawled in a pink squiggle, for instance. More importantly, though, Fuck Quest has a Brad Pitt mask.

You can get the Brad Pitt mask right at the start of the game, and it’s a truly lovely and perhaps important game moment. You go into your house, open the drawer in the desk, and find the Brad Pitt mask (which according to the description you have used to help you get the ladies in the past). Even the fact that your character owns a Brad Pitt mask is, frankly, hilarious and a great example of the kind of absurdity we don’t see enough in our games. But then you put it on…

The character animations to pull something over his head, and where he previous had an unusually wide head with bulging eyes, he now has a little, svelte, pixel-style Brad Pitt head (as in the screenshot above). So the mask totally impossibly replaces his head with Brad Pitt’s. And it’s just a fantastic thing. It’s a magical moment in a semi-realistic game, at least a game based in a universe you think you understand. The rest of the game doesn’t actually live up to it, but for that brief moment, Fuck Quest shines.

Perhaps far too much time is spent in games “living up to” the nature of the surrounding world. There’s a sci-fi/fantasy-related obsession with consistency, with total-immersion in a lovingly crafted world. In such a world, amazing things can happen, but it’s rare that unexpected or surprising things can happen. In Fallout 3 when you see a supermutant and it’s this big, yellow, muscular thing – you’re not really taken aback. You might be intimidated, but it’s still an entirely reasonable thing to be in that world.

But when you put on a Brad Pitt mask and it turns you into Brad Pitt, that’s a whole other thing. And it feels good.

27 April 2012
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