Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Free Point-and-Click Adventure Review: Host Master and the Conquest of Humor


Host Master and the Conquest of Humor is a free point-and-click adventure game that was created in Flash by the former webmaster of Double Fine, Klint Honeychurch.

The player character is the Double Fine founder himself, Tim Schafer. The year it was released, 2009, was one of the years Tim Schafer hosted the Game Developer's Choice Awards at the Game Developer Conference. Schafer is backstage waiting for the awards ceremony to begin. The problem is that he has no jokes to tell. In order to go onstage appearing as if he were prepared, Tim searches around the room for jokes.

Collecting jokes was accomplished by doing classic adventure game staples such as collecting random things into an inventory, using inventory items together, and, of course, using inventory items on different things in the room. The game is designed with a verb bar akin to Shaefer's classic games Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge and the VGA CD version of The Secret of Monkey Island. The art style was designed like an early 1990s adventure game.

This being a Double Fine adventure game, Host Master and the Conquest of Humor is filled with funny dialog as well as fun references to LucasArts and Double Fine games on which Tim Schafer had worked up to that point. The jokes that Tim Schafer collects, though, are purposefully old-fashioned dad jokes. This is funny in itself, as these are the jokes Tim will use onstage, to the delight of the fans. Well, the delight is based on how many jokes Tim is able to collect. There are three endings to the game depending on how many jokes Tim has when he gets on stage.

The music, by Bert Chang, isn't memorable but works well for this escape-the-room-style game. The fun thing about the music, however, is that the music changes based on a prompt before the game starts where the player is asked if their computer has a sound card. If no is chosen, the music will resemble the boops and beeps of the PC speaker commonly installed in IBM-compatible computers.

Host Master and the Conquest of Humor is a fun, free throwback to classic LucasArts adventure games. It is enjoyable and funny with graphics and music that resemble classic early 1990s computer games. It is made in Flash, so it's no longer playable online until the Flash replacement Ruffle becomes more fully featured. However, it can still be played just fine on Windows computers by using the Flash executable.

Final Verdict:
4 out of 5

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