Types of Games of the Scene
This game is based on a character's unusual behavior, character trait, belief, opinion, way of looking at the world, wildly inappropriate reaction to a situation.
Examples of games and justifications:
- A character can't help but turn everything into a competition. - They grew up in a large competitive family where they had to fight for everything
- A character is unable to comprehend basic technology - They have lived in a secluded, off-the-grid community until very recently.
This type of game is derived from the unusual dynamic between two characters.
- Two best friends always try to one-up each other - They are childhood friends and their competitiveness has become a bonding ritual.
- A parent treats their adult child as if they're still a baby - The parent is struggling to cope with their child growing up and leaving home.
- Co-workers avoid work by inventing increasingly ridiculous distractions - The job is boring and the distractions are their only source of fun.
The game is based on an unusual situation or event.
- Characters try to conduct a serious meeting while stuck in a broken elevator - They work in a startup where every minute counts, so they decide to hold the meeting despite the circumstances.
- A wedding ceremony goes awry due to an untrained pet ring bearer - The couple is extremely animal-loving and insisted on including a dangerous pet in the ceremony despite its lack of training.
- Characters must complete an argument while on a sinking ship - They are a couple and they care about winning the argument more than the danger they're in.
- Characters at a dinner party must pretend everything is normal while the house is being robbed - The hostess really cares about making this party a social success.
This game derives humor from a reality that operates on unusual rules.
- Everyone in the town speaks in advertising slogans - The town was built by a marketing guru.
- Everyone in the city is a wannabe superhero - The city is the filming location for a popular superhero TV show, which inspired everyone to become a superhero.
- An evil wizard comes to a village but nobody fears him - Because when he demonstrates his powers, everyone thinks he's just doing regular magic tricks.
Fish Out of Water
This game involves a character who is completely out of their element.
- An outdoorsy lumberjack struggles with navigating urban life - He moved to the city to follow a romantic interest.
- An alien trying to fit into a corporate office setting - Their planet's economy collapsed, so they came to Earth for work.
- A caveman is suddenly brought to the present day - A scientist's experiment goes awry, causing the caveman to time travel.
- A robot struggles to understand human emotions - an empathy robot is built to provide humans emotional support.
This game relies on two characters who are polar opposites in a particular way.
- A serious detective is paired with a goofy, whimsical partner - Their captain believes the whimsical partner will humanize the too-serious detective.
- A tidy minimalist is a roommate with a hoarder - They are siblings who had to move in together after a financial crisis.
- An always late person married to an obsessively punctual person - They fell in love before discovering this difference.
- A wizard who is bored with magic lives with a muggle who's obsessed with it - They are in a witness protection program and must live together for safety.
Pattern interruption. What do I expect to see in the scene, and what's wildly different?
- A hardened mafia boss is extremely sensitive about his poetry - He had always wanted to be a poet, but fell into the family business.
- A superhero is terrible at hiding their superpowers - They underestimate the intelligence of regular people.
- A grim reaper is overly cheerful and tries to lighten up the mood - After centuries of sullenness, he decided to embrace a more positive outlook on his job.
- A professional clown who takes everything extremely seriously - He believes that clowning is a noble profession that requires discipline and solemnity.
Heighten a pattern, continue a pattern to absurdity.
- A character has a slight cold, but acts as if it's a life-threatening illness - They once read an article about how colds can sometimes be serious and took it to heart.
- A character's love for their favorite TV show leads them to live entirely by its plotlines - They believe the show represents the pinnacle of human wisdom.
- A minor disagreement about a parking spot escalates into a full-blown neighborhood war - The neighborhood has been tense due to a recent parking shortage.
- A battle-hardened warrior is tasked with organizing a royal tea party - He's the only one available, and the princess insists on having her tea party.
Juxtaposition of incongruous ideas
Clash of context, combine incompatible things that don't belong together. Take two completely unrelated concepts or categories and bring them together in a way that is justified. Place things where they do not belong or describe them as having qualities they cannot possess.
- Vampires trying to run a blood donation clinic. - that's a great way for them to access blood.
- A no-nonsense FBI agent is forced to work undercover as a kindergarten teacher - The kindergarten is suspected of harboring a secret criminal mastermind
Associate some aspect or an element of the scene to something wildly different, and then map one thing onto another, apply one pattern to another one.
- A character starts behaving like a cat after being scratched by one. - Being scratched by a cat is associated to being bitten by a radioactive spider that gives you superpowers.
Fictional (magic, science fiction, action movie) or supernatural premise leads to absurd consequences.
- An AI car goes to extreme lengths to keep the passenger safe - That is a part of their programming.
- An alien civilization built around hating a regular guy - The alien time flows much faster, when the regular guy visited civilization for the first time he has made an innocent mistake that escalated.
- The witch's spell always backfires - he spell book was altered as a prank.
- A time-traveler accidentally makes pigeons the dominant species - He left behind a piece of advanced technology that the pigeons used to evolve.