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question on genre

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I am having trouble describing the genre of a story/setting. What is the genre of a story where: - animals may talk - containers may carry objects larger than itself - distances, times, and laws of physics may not be observed or be consistent - physical or visual "puns" exist - the weather, setting, or background may change in an instance depending on the flow of the dialogue - the characters in the story may make meta references (e.g. that they are just characters) I associate this style with these styles: Cartoon, Parody, Jokes, and perhaps Musical or stage drama. There are some similarities between this genre and a musical. Is there a label in terms genre or style that represents this ? - Thanks

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I think you're asking the wrong question here. A genre has nothing to do with how the game is presented, but rather how the game is played:

if you run around in a semi-non linear story line collecting items and getting stronger, it's probably an RPG

If you run around with a gun (or anything that shoots) it's an FPS

If you have to solve puzzles, it's a puzzle game

(ect.)

Maybe you're asking the wrong question or maybe you're putting the wrong details down, but what you posted doesn't have anything to do with the game genre. Show some examples of how the game is played.


EDIT: oooooooohhhhhhhh... ok. Ummm you mean the genre for the story line. Jeeze, I've never seen anyone actually classify a game by the story, nor do I think you can. But anyway, f your story has talking animals, I think it might be classified as a fable or a fary tale. Beyond that, I'm really not sure.

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I was thinking surreal too. Fable and folktale have similar elements (mainly talking animals) but those have their own specific structure and register, and would probably not include the weather changing in response to dialogue.

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The word "Surreal" often give me a connotation of being a piece of boring ego-centric exposition. But I guess what I have described is Surreal.

I suppose it was quite similar to Alice in Wonderland. I think that is considered Surreal too (?) The simpler term would be just "Fantasy". For me the term "Fantasy" has a slight implication of a developed backstory.

What adjective could I use to stress that there is no backstory, or that it is a genre where the backstory is not of importance ?

How would you label the genre of the story of Super Mario Brothers ? Where the story and presentations are amusement-driven as opposed to character- or plot-driven stories.

What is the most matching term ?

whimsica ?

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I think of the word surreal as simply meaning "dreamlike", so if you don't like the word surreal perhaps dreamlike would do instead. And yes Alice in Wonderland is considered surreal. Wikipedia also refers to it as belonging to the genre of "literary nonsense".

The story of Super Mario Brothers is structured like a folktale or fairytale, with some modern tropes substituted. So I guess you could call it a modern fairlytale. It is also a quest story, a hero monomyth, and an adventure (in the Indiana Jones sense of the word). Amusement-driven as opposed to plot or character driven... slapstick, light entertainment, caper, frolic, and light-hearted romp are related terms, and whimsical as you mention. I think anything along these lines would also serve as a clue that there is no significant backstory.

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Classic Warner Bros. cartoons are a prominent humorous example of surrealistic fantasy, featuring all the bullet points of the OP (with an emphasis on puns and metafiction rather than inconsistencies).

How can this kind of attitude be preserved in a computer game?
Cartoons have the animators entertaining the public, much like puppet theatre; the Toon RPG (Steve Jackson Games), a rather successful recreation, has the players and GM entertaining each other with their cartoon proxies; but in a game there are fixed rules, not actual people making jokes, so what could be a very funny surrealistic discourse in another medium is likely to become a traditional adventure or action game with a "skin" of strange stuff.
For example, Day of the Tentacle and other Lucas masterpieces have only very sparse self-referential jokes (e.g. using the computer to play Maniac Mansion), and the hilariously weird things that can be found and done by the player are a sequence of fundamentally passive discoveries, not the fruit of the player's creativity.

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I've heard genre described as a contract between the creator and the user. Essentially, if you sit down to play a First Person Shooter you have certain expectations: most notably that it's going to be from the first-person perspective and that you'll be shooting things.

Similarly, if I sit down to watch a 1950s creature feature I expect certain things: namely a dude in a suit, stop-motion animation and shoddy acting.

So as far as your idea is concerned I would say it most closely resembles the expectations of the fantasy genre. Talking animals, magic purses, extraordinary flow of time etc.

Of course, if you wanted to most accurately describe your genre you wouldn't use a pre-existing genre at all. You'd simply put something like, "A fantastic vision of a reality where animals talk, a bag may hold a world and the very cloth of time flaps in the wind," on the back of the box.

If you really want a name, though, I think everyone else is right: surreal.

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