Hello everybody,

While recently searching GameFAQs for a list of RPGs that don't take themselves seriously in order to find more games to play, I was shocked to discover that no such list existed. I figured I would therefore need to make the list, as this is a genre full of thoroughly enjoyable games. I did some pretty exhaustive research in order to find some opinions on the matter, and I combined games that I beat in preparing the list with classics I have enjoyed through the years in order to bring you what I feel are the top 10 in this category. I hope that as you read this list you notice a game that either brings back good memories or that sounds interesting enough to pick up and play.

“What does it mean to be a real man?”
“A: To… have lots of girls?
B: To take over the world!”

Thousand Arms follow the story of a noble who has fallen from nobility and must learn the trade of his father on his own. He comes from a line of spirit blacksmiths, and if he hopes to regain his dignity (and save the world) he must buckle down and become the greatest there is.

Sounds serious, but the way he becomes a better blacksmith is by hitting on women and building his bonds with them. The game is half RPG and half dating sim; the RPG tends to be more serious with the occasional hilarious scene while the dating sim is nothing but hilarious. The dates provide you with questions to answer, and sometimes the options are so funny you just can’t help but choose them even though you know they’re the wrong answers.

“Don’t look, now! I’m not going to stick my butt out or anything like that, though.”

This game is the sequel to the well-loved EarthBound, and is only available in English through fan translation (hats off to the translators, by the way). Without spoiling anything for those who have not played this masterpiece, the main character must face loss in several forms and face problems which no one else is willing to face although said problems are present before their eyes.

The gameplay, characters, and dialogue, however, are often just hilarious. Some of the funniest quotes come from the battles (try using items that wouldn’t appear to have any battle use). While not as overall funny as some of the other games here, some of the funny parts really stick with you.

"Heh, heh...I've got a bomb..! Never leave home without 'em."

Super Mario RPG puts you in the role of Mario, who, while on a routine visit to Bowser’s castle to save the princess is flung from the castle, along with the princess and Bowser, by a new enemy who has set his sights on taking over Mario’s world.

Although there are serious (as opposed to funny) ramifications that come with taking over Bowser’s castle, the majority of the game is light hearted. You will meet a cloud convinced he is a frog and witness probably the funniest wedding in an RPG. One of the bosses in particular lampoons a kid’s TV show we’re all familiar with, and to great effect.

“No eating in bed, though. Drives the rodents into a frenzy…”

Let’s face it. This game is nothing special (in fact, according to some people it’s one of the worst RPGs ever made), but perhaps of any game on this list, this is the one which has the greatest contrast. The story is full of tragedy, blood, and people losing their minds. The towns largely have a feel suited to a survival horror game, and the story in general is rather dark.

Apart from that, though, the dialogue is really clever and often very witty. The characters speak sarcastically, joking and occasionally fighting as they work toward the goal of eventually saving the world. The NPCs are even given more than one line and small, funny dialogues ensue upon speaking to them.

“Just to be clear, by mess I mean garbage and stuff. I'm a sweeper, not a killer.”

Let me start off by saying that I think this may be the most underappreciated game of all time.

Opoona is marooned on the planet of Landroll when his parents’ ship is shot down. While his parents are recovering from injuries, Opoona and his siblings are placed in Landroll vocational training in various fields. Opoona receives the position of ranger (basically monster killer), and has to complete tasks in this capacity while being able to take on odd jobs such as a sweeper (see quote above).

The dialogue is again where this game shines. The writing makes you laugh because people are really just living their lives. They mostly do not care that you are fighting the encroaching legions of the dark side of Landroll, but they are happy to tell you about how much they want to retire. Also, the game features a Landroll TV station, which contains some hilarious programs.

”Under NO circumstances is ANYONE allowed to kidnap her without MY say–so!!! I will NOT stand for this! I'm going to Rogueport, NOW! I've got to kidnap her back!“

The Paper Mario franchise is known for not taking itself seriously, and I feel like this installment is not only the best, but the funniest.
Mario is invited by Peach to a grungy town called Rogueport in search of a hidden treasure. Of course, soon Peach is kidnapped, and the quest begins for Mario to collect stars and save the princess.

The writing, as with most of these other games, is where this one shines. Take for example the “curse” you receive from a possessed black treasure box which will allow you to become a paper airplane for future puzzle solving needs (“You dopes fell right into my absolutely brilliant trap!”). The scenarios are also hilarious, including an unlikely pro wrestling tournament.

“What? Sounds too good to be true? You’re a sharp one! Well… I love money<3”

It is Goddess Era 100 (that’s the year), and an unknown evil lord has discovered a spell that can destroy the world. The time it takes to cast the spell is thirty seconds, and that’s all the time our hero gets to stop it. Once he stops the spell from being cast, the evil lord begins spreading the spell to other evil lords who will also need to be stopped in 30 seconds!

In order to be able to accomplish your missions, you are aided by the Time Goddess, who just happens to love money. Each time you need the time reset, she charges more, and if you can’t pay, she’ll take your equipment instead. The missions are frantic, with caves to be explored, bridges to be fixed, and mountains to climb, all in 30 seconds. Besides the writing (which is downright hysterical at times), the graphical appearance of the game lends itself to the humor. You see an anime still of the time goddess only to spend the rest of the game seeing her in giant pixel form (a la NES).

"Gaze into my horrifying visage and fear it! Cry! Pee your pants!"

You play the role of Ari, an unassuming boy who, through his family’s attempt to rid his sister of the Pig-Latin curse is chosen by the evil king Stanley Hihat Trinidad XIV. He must live with said evil lord inhabiting his shadow and essentially be his pawn.

Although Stan (the Evil King) claims to be the true evil king, no one believes him. The game is spent trying to bring back his power, which involves lots of hilarity as Stan attempts to convince people to follow him. Just funny stuff.

"Hey! You! Down there in the ship's belly! Mario and... what's-yer-name! Green guy!"

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga is the first in a series of rather funny games, but I chose the first to represent the series because it had the most serious plot…which is that Princess Peach receives ambassadors of the Beanbean Kingdom, only to discover that she has been duped, and her voice has been stolen and replaced with explosives! Mario (with an unwitting Luigi) set off to the Beanbean Kingdom to retrieve her lost voice.

Although the game stars both Mario and Luigi, no one seems to know who Luigi is, and people constantly refer to the duo as Mario and that Mr. Green (see quote above). The tone of the game is hilarious throughout, including such things as a lead henchman who has serious problems with English (“I HAVE FURY!”) and constant mustache references.

"Last night there was a solitaire tournament...I lost my shirt..."

Now before you go thinking this is some sort of fanboy placement, let me explain why EarthBound deserves the number one spot on this list. Within the first two hours of the game, you will encounter abusive parents, a street gang, a corrupt politician, a corrupt police force, some serious debt, an insane cult full of brainwashed minions, and a legitimate kidnapping (like a locked-behind-jail-bars-in-a-cabin-in-the-middle-of-nowhere kind of kidnapping).

The funny thing is that I never realized how truly serious and heavy most of these things were (as several are 90s pop culture references) until years and years later as I revisited the game as an older person. The game is just so fun, and the things said by the NPCs are just so entertaining (not to mention the battle script) that the weight of Ness’s task is largely overshadowed. From the kinds of enemies you fight (unassuming local guy, manly fish) to the village of Saturn Valley (where the Mr. Saturn dwell), this game is memorable throughout and the perfect example of a game that doesn’t take itself seriously.

Well there’s my list. I tried my best to accurately describe why these games fit on the list without providing too much of a review, so if there's one that sounded interesting, go read more! If you enjoyed the list, I’m glad I could provide it to you. If you feel like there were games missing, by all means state your case. I would love to have an excuse to pick up a game I missed.

List by toastwithjam (08/17/2012)

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