Disco Bear is the heartfelt story of a bear being asked to dance again. Across this short, ten minute long “meme-like” experience, you play the role of Bear, an expert dancer, as shenanigans unfold around him - possibly with some heartache along the way, and all with photoshop cutouts of real polar bears photos too!
Parodying 80s Disco dance films, this alternative comedy game seeks to use gameplay to invoke humor in a new way. As opposed to the awkward physics genre that has established but monopolized the idea of comedy through interaction, Disco Bear instead seeks to create playful humor by simple interactions with entertaining, surprising, and delightful results. Use the arrow keys to make Bear dance in one scene, speak profound dialogue in another, or just command the different ways Bear can cry. Do all this and more in Disco Bear!
Inspirations include SUPER PRESS SPACE TO WIN RPG, OctoDad, SpongeBob, and that one episode of South Park where Butters keep murdering everyone with his tap dancing dilemma. We wanted to make a game for our friends and their sense of humor, along with discovering something new in what gameplay and interactions were capable of, to then flesh it out into something polished. We are happy that our results have been strongly positive then, and people continue to ask us if they can share it with their friends.
In response, we are actively working to port Disco Bear to WebGL so we can release it online soon. Our fellow USC classmates have been the most supportive of this (especially the undergrads) and continue to be our biggest reason to push forwards.
Will Disco Bear dance again? Can Tiny Bear save the roller rink? Did we really include the url for every single creative commons image in our credits? Find out all this and more, in Disco Bear!
Brian Handy - Designer
Katie Pustolski - Designer
Bill Piyatut H. - Music
Eileen Mary O'Connell - Comedic Consultant
Richard Lemarchand - Production Consultant
Disco Bear is an appeal to both a particular type of humor, as well as an effort to expand the capability of games as a unique medium. Its interactive comedy gameplay (if you can call it that) does not have an objective or goal, but more like a toy than a game, it provides an outlet for fun digital interactions. These interactions are specifically meant to invoke ridiculous and delightful comedy rather than sarcastic, dark humor, satire, or anything else. By combining these two elements, Disco Bear hopes to bring gamers and game players who enjoy this type of humor something new and exciting.
The humor is specific to our tastes - brainstorm sessions included Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, SpongeBob references, talk of South Park’s Butters tap dancing episode, and a general entertainment by the idea of dancing bears. Collin’s Bear is actually the strongest influence, a 16 second YouTube 3d animation of a terrible dancing bear that got three million views across a decade. We saw it as the type of humor we wished to capture.
The interactive comedy elements then come from more of a rebellion against the idea that only one type of comedic gameplay currently existed - the awkward physics game. It is incredible that QWOP, Octodad, and Surgeon Simulator all evoke procedural comedy through interaction, but we believed interaction could provide more unique forms of comedy. A series of prototypes and recalling Super PSTW RPG led to the decision to make a series of simple but delightful and ridiculous responses to users’ interactions. It is almost enough to be performative, but primarily it is there to entertain in response to the user’s continued willingness to participate. Each interaction rewards and routinely delights the player, giving humor as a reward for being active.
With these elements combined, Disco Bear delights through interaction to invoke a new type of comedy through gameplay, or at the least, expand on and formalize the ideas of Super PSTW into a scope and range that has never been seen before.