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Video Game / Dropsy

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Dropsy is that clown
That the folks around town
Are wrong about
And he cares for them all anyway
With his signature smile
And warm, damp loving embrace.

Dropsy is a surrealist Point And Click Adventure Game developed by Jay Tholen and A Jolly Corpse and published by Devolver Digital in 2015. In the game, players explore the surreal world as Dropsy, a terrifying-looking but lovable clown, who just wants to hug everyone and make them happy. Unfortunately, everyone he meets holds him accountable for the deadly circus fire that happened before the start of the game and rejects him and his warm damp hugs. Dropsy has to clear his name and uncovers secrets about his past on the way.

While inspired by classic adventure games like Monkey Island, Dropsy has some aspects that are unique to the genre, like the complete lack of text and an open world. Dialog is instead shown in little speech bubbles with icons above the characters' heads.

Dropsy provides examples of:

  • Actual Pacifist: Dropsy doesn't have a violent bone in his body, even when self-defense might be justified. Probably the worst it ever gets is trapping a giant, mutant rat-thing under a bathtub.
  • All-Loving Hero: Dropsy himself. There's a dedicated hug button for a reason: no matter how grumpy, weird, or intimidating someone is, Dropsy wants nothing more than to be their friend and make them happy.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: The game's art looks like it's for kids, but it gets very creepy at times.
  • Bad Job, Worse Uniform: In a Running Gag, one of the citizens of Dropsy's hometown seems to be unable to get a job that doesn't involve him having to wear a silly full-body costume.
  • The Beastmaster: The player can use Dropsy's animal companions to perform small tasks like retrieving a coin from under the fridge.
  • Broken Bridge: This being an open-world game, there are relatively few of them, though.
  • Cain and Abel: The S-Corporation CEO used to live with his and Dropsy's other brother and their stepfather. He lured them both to the basement of their home and killed them... on Christmas Day.
  • Clown Car: Dropsy gets one later in the game, which serves as fast-travel.
  • Clown Species: Dropsy, the titular clown, initially seems like a very grotesque and weird human, but the ending shows that he actually comes from a race of whitefaced humanoid aliens that live in a spaceship resembling a circus tent.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Subverted with the CEO of S-Corp. He seems all too happy to help Dropsy in getting his life back together by curing his father's sickness and building a new circus for him, and he doesn't seem to want any money in return. Becomes double-subverted when it turns out to be a ruse to win his trust so he can kill him easier and become the only heir to the throne of his species.
  • Creepy Circus Music: Especially at the very beginning of the game.
  • Cuddlebug: Dropsy can hug just about anyone and anything.
  • Cypher Language: The game uses an alien-looking cypher language for all written text (aside from numbers), due to Dropsy not being able to read.
  • Downer Beginning: Dropsy's circus burns down (and his mom dies in the fire), and everyone hates Dropsy because they think he's the cause.
  • Face of a Thug: Dropsy is large and creepy looking, but he's innocent, sweet and physically affectionate.
  • Fake-Out Opening: The game starts out inside one of Dropsy's trauma influenced dreams and is a result a lot more nightmareish than the game proper it ends up being.
  • For Happiness: Dropsy's main motivation throughout the game.
  • Foreshadowing: The S-Corporation CEO has a cigar box on his desk. A cigar was what used to start the fire that killed Dropsy's mother.
  • Friend to All Children: Subverted. Dropsy loves kids (one of the puzzles has him help a little girl whose flower has died), but they are afraid of him.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Dropsy isn't very popular with humans, but animals just love him.
  • Genius Ditz: An Adventure Game protagonist will, by definition, be solving a lot of puzzles and noticing a lot of overlooked things. Dropsy is no exception, managing to solve many townspeople's problems by just listening, being observant, thinking outside the box, and most of all, caring.
  • Gentle Giant: Dropsy is tall and rotund, and all he wants to do is hug people to make them feel better.
  • The Grotesque: Dropsy is obese, bald, and has only a handful of yellowed teeth remaining. Visually, one might mistake him for a Monster Clown at first... but only visually. People he meets along his way very quickly warm up to him.
  • Happily Adopted: Dropsy's father reveals to him near the end of the game that he and his wife found baby Dropsy in a capsule that crashed into Earth from space and raised him as their own child. Dropsy meets his real mother in the finale.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Dropsy's inability to do anything remotely mean may seem very limiting at first, but as the game progresses, you realize you can actually make a difference in other peoples' lives.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Dropsy starts off blamed for the deadly circus fire, and his ugly appearance doesn't help matters.
  • Human Head on the Wall: The S-Corporation CEO murdered his human stepfather and second brother on Christmas Day, mounting their heads on the wall of his hideout.
  • Long-Lost Relative:
    • It is implied that the Big Bad, the CEO of the "S" corporation, is in fact a long lost brother of Dropsy.
    • The hermit who lives on the little island off the coast of the red clay village is the long-lost brother of the foreman in the city. Reuniting them will grant you access to the inside of the mines.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: Dropsy's faithful dog, Eughh, and later, Birdy and Mousy. They'll always stick by Dropsy and perform small tasks for him, like fetching objects Dropsy can't reach.
  • Manchild: Despite apparently being an adult, Dropsy seems to have very little understanding of how the world works. He doesn't seem to fully comprehend language, he's illiterate, and he can't even dial a phone correctly. His understanding of social norms and boundaries is also a bit underdeveloped, though almost everyone seems to consider it endearing when they warm up to him, and his openness with others proves to be an asset.
  • Messianic Archetype: Dropsy is an All-Loving Hero, who heals people by laying hands on them, has a miraculous birth, a humble upbringing, is betrayed, publicity humiliated, murdered, raised from the dead, and ascends to heaven.
  • Missing Mom: Dropsy's mother was one of the victims of the circus tent fire. Dropsy is still haunted by her death.
  • Monster Clown: Defied. After being falsely blamed for burning down his circus, Dropsy is seen as this. He really isn't and is actually a Non-Ironic Clown through and through.
  • Nameless Narrative: Since everything is communicated in rebuses.
  • Nightmare Sequence: The fire that burned down Dropsy's circus left him with some serious trauma, something that is reflected by his dreams.
  • No Name Given: Due to the textless nature of the game, no characters have an official name, except for Dropsy himself.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Dropsy's dog, Eughh, is his first trusty sidekick. Later, he recruits a mouse and a bird.
  • Non-Ironic Clown: Dropsy is able to perform a surprising variety of tricks and eager to please. Most people don't see him this way at first, but he wins them over with time.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Dropsy just doesn't understand why anyone would reject his hugs. He does take no for an answer, though.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The S-Corp CEO chooses to find out why Dropsy would steal an experimental drug instead of immediately throwing Dropsy in jail. Upon discovering that Dropsy's father is sick, the CEO immediately gets the father a nurse and hires Dropsy to work at his amusement park. Harshly subverted when it turns out he only helped out Dropsy in order to attempt to kill him.
  • Rebus Bubble: The game has very little legible text and no coherent voice acting — everything is communicated this way. It can make things a bit hard to decipher at first, but then, it fits Dropsy's difficulties interacting with the world.
  • Rubber-Hose Limbs: Dropsy's arms are apparently boneless and very flaily. He whips them around in excitement whenever he hugs a new friend.
  • Scare Chord: One plays after you get the mouse, as Dropsy's father collapses from his illness.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Dropsy is unbeknownst to himself an alien, and the Big Bad is implied to be his brother.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: The preacher at the homeless shelter starts off spewing a lot of fire and brimstone in her sermons. Outside of the shelter, Dropsy finds her depressed and wondering why she has so few tenants at her shelter. When Dropsy opens the window during a cult session, she sees the homeless woman literally sleeping in her backyard, hitting her with the implication that her preaching is driving people away. In the next scene, the shelter is full and she's adjusted to a more 'peace and love' approach, to the happiness of all.
  • Wide-Open Sandbox: The game has elements of this, as Dropsy has the ability to explore pretty much the entire map and solve most puzzles in any order the player wishes right from the beginning of the game, though there are a few puzzles and areas that only open up as the plot progresses. Jay Tholen has cited Fallout: New Vegas as his main inspiration for these gameplay elements.
  • World Half Full: At first, not only is Dropsy universally hated, but nearly all characters seem unhappy in one way or another. Dropsy tries to help them solve their problems, and generally succeeds.