When 'graphics got better, games got less funny,' says stand-up comic Victor Varnado, who wrote and did voices for the game.
There aren't many comedy games these days. There used to be more, a slew of joke-filled adventures such as The Secret of Monkey Island and Grim Fandango. In Varnado's view, some of the very things that games have gotten better at - visuals and interactivity - have lessened the need for developers to keep players engaged with humor. Those adventure games were popular in their day, but technology improved. "As soon as they got to the point where graphics got better, games got less funny," he said. Better gameplay also removed any outright need for a game to be funny. "If you looked at early games, they had very few game mechanics. Look at [1983's interactive cartoon/game] 'Dragon's Lair.' Not many gameplay mechanics, but it's great to look at and the comedy is funny."
Rat Race is an attempt to solve all this, taking a somewhat different path from the last significant game comedy attempt, the revived "Sam & Max" series.