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Video Game / Jazzpunk

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Come in, Polyblank. Here, have a seat.

*sits down on whoopee cushion*

Now, we want you to take on the task of describing this electronic first-person game by the name of Jazzpunk. Intel describes it as a first-person comedy Environmental Narrative Game that came to Windows and OS X-enabled computer entertainment devices via Steam and GoG on February 7th 2014 by way of a two-man Canadian developer by the name of Necrophone Games. A Linux port followed, and in 2016 a "Director's Cut" featuring a greatly-expanded second level and the occasional extra gag here and there besides, was released for the PlayStation 4, appearing as a free update to the PC versions in 2017.

The game itself takes place in an alternate-history version of the Cold War, featuring an assortment of Cyberpunk tropes and bizarre references, all of which are Played for Laughs. I guess you could argue, Polyblank, that this game is built entirely around Rule of Funny.


The whole point of the game is that you're dropped into a certain area and given a simple mission to complete, but the player can wander around the level and find all the quirky references and various assorted bizarre things all over the level in their own time.

That's all we know. What we want you to do is venture into this game, and gather all examples of various tropes from within its electronic landscape. Here's your standard prescription of Missionoyl. If you need me, I'll be in the wine cellar.

*picks up prescription*



Starting examples in 5...4...3...2...1...

  • Advanced Tech 2000: The metal detector has the name "Exhumer 3000" printed on it.
  • All Just a Dream: The koi pond...although it's possible to end up somehow bringing one of the breadcrumbs you've been feeding the fish with back to reality, which you can then throw at the Director.
  • Aluminium Christmas Trees:
    • As ridiculous as the "Swing Wing" seems to be as a toy, it is a real product.
    • The Komrad Krunch whistle that lets Polyblank hack into the phone system is based on a real incident where a Cap'n Crunch whistle was used to fool AT&T's computerized phone system into granting access to outside lines. It was mostly used to make free calls.
  • Ambiguous Gender: The live-action trailer portrays Agent Polyblank as a young white male, and the cutout arms you use to manipulate objects in the game are distinctly masculine, but you can easily pass as a bombshell blonde, and can also participate in some activities with women.
  • Ambiguously Human: Pretty much everyone—the opening sequence shows Polyblank being the only individual to scan with human organs, yet he can also "download" a paper file into his body, and sees static when buzzed on alcohol, and various Non Player Characters display technological or biologically-impossible aspects for Rule of Funny. The Blade Runner parody added in the Director's Cut takes this further by implying that this makes him a "realplicant"—fitting given that that film is famously ambiguous as to its protagonist's humanity.
  • Americasia: The "United Prefectures of Japanada", to be exact.
  • Animated Credits Opening: There are no actual credits involved, but there is an opening sequence in two-tone that seems to be paying homage simultaneously to Saul Bass and Cowboy Bebop.
  • Apologetic Attacker: A street bartender gives you some truly horrid things to eat, then apologizes in shame after each one.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The Editor's business card claims that he deals in Kidnapping, Murder and Potpourri. (This could also mean "potpourri" in the Jeopardy! sense of "odds and ends.")
  • Art Shift: While characters in the player's view are depicted with the minimalist bathroom signage style, the player's own hands are depicted in a more detailed, semi-cartoony look. Justified in that these limbs are just cardboard cut outs on the end of sticks.
  • Asian Hooker Stereotype: One of the geishas on the streets of Japan implies this.
  • Augmented Reality: The game has elements of Cyberpunk, including an implication that Missionoyl does this, although since things like floating subtitles and instructions occur even before you take your first dose, it's not clear what exactly it does. Then there's the frog's hacking device, making it a case of augmented reality within augmented reality.
  • Banana Peel: Subverted in the Flavor Nexus DLC. You can eat a banana and you fall over after dropping the peel and walking away...but the peel has a shoe stuck out on one of its ends, indicating that, rather than you slipping, it tripped you.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: Parodied in the last level, when Polyblank is told to turn around, and the camera zooms in with a dramatic sting on...a random crab who appeared previously in the game. Then Polyblank is directed a little more so his gaze lands on the real antagonist.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: One of the services you can reach on the Soviet phone is the Barnyard Boudoir. It is implied that it's just a scam where they first charge exorbitant amounts of money for their "Steers and Studs package" on their marks' credit cards then exploit this trope to discourage their marks from getting chargebacks.
  • Behind a Stick: One of the mooks in the Soviet Consulate area does this behind various trees.
  • Big Bad: The Editor.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • "Pizza Cabin"
    • "Starbux"
    • "Komrad Krunch"
  • Bloodless Carnage: Wedding Qake is basically a twisted version of Quake III: Arena in which you shoot champagne and cake bits at other people to marry them.
  • Bloody Hilarious: Turning a Femme Fatale and her minions into a human smoothie, then giving it to one of her associates. "People are delicious!"
  • Bottomless Magazines: All three weapons in Wedding Qake have infinite ammo. The Champagne and Rose Launcher have long recharge times, though.
  • Bowled Over: One sequence which involves the player escaping from a band of mooks looking to reclaim the cybernetic kidney you just stole involves the player barging past said mooks, resulting in the sound of bowling pins being knocked over. Lampshaded twice when one mook utters, "Bowling joke", and when the last group of mooks before the level exit has a giant bowling pin in mook clothing amongst the other mooks.
  • Brain in a Jar: Some of the vases in the fly-infested vase shop contain brains in them...for some reason.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: When you fail the quest to "retire" three realplicants, Da Chief makes you Turn in Your Badge... and your gun... and your other gun... and your other badge... and your badge gun... and your gun badge.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: A few times. The player is referred to as such by newspaper headlines, the guy on the roof of the hotel tells you to smuggle a pigeon into "the next level"...
  • Brick Joke: Completing a sidequest in the Soviet Consulate level results in the player swallowing a pigeon under orders to smuggle it into the next level. When the Koi Pond scene occurs, the player belches up said pigeon, and it flies away.
  • But Thou Must!: A few examples. Once you enter the movie theater, the only way out is to annoy the other patrons and get thrown out. Later, even if you know the drink sent to you by one of the ladies at the resort is a trap, you still have to drink it and get drugged. Likewise at the end, pressing either of the buttons below the Director's tank results in the Director getting turned into a crocodile (or alligator) and you end up getting eaten.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Literally in the case of the Editor.
  • Cheek Copy: This is possible in the Soviet Consulate, and the resulting copy can even fool a facial-recognition camera.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: The paranoid bum that appears in two of the levels. See the below Look Behind You example.
  • Computer Equals Tape Drive: Appropriate for the setting, but even the Fem Bot in the first mission has one, in a rather fitting location.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: Inverted. If you go straight through each mission, you'll be stopped by NPCs telling you about one of the level's many sidequests, as going in a straight line is not the point of the game.
  • Credits Gag: They start getting weird around "Assistant Christmas Card Smuggler — Kemp Dockwood."
  • Cutting the Knot: In a tricky game of Virtual Boy tennis with The Editor, you can either play fairly, or run off of the side of the court, pick up a wireframe chair, and beat him into submission.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The Director. After he eats you, you find a tape recorder in his stomach giving you instructions on how to escape his body. The game ends before you can set off however.
  • Cyberpunk: The game in general has obvious shades of this, albeit run through a retro filter as well as several layers of irony. But then there's the new side quests in the second mission, a Blade Runner-inspired hunt for "realplicants" (actually real organic people, implied to be the only ones in a world of synthetics except you) and a virtual trip into a new setting where you help three actual cyber punks rob a bank.
  • Da Chief: Apparently Polyblank's former boss, who you meet hanging out on the sidewalk in the second mission area, desk and all. He tries to convince you to do one last job for him.
  • Dada: The humor here, outside of the references, is extremely surreal. Having to take pills to enter mission areas is a good indication.
  • Developers' Foresight: If you try to activate the dev console with ` (the tilde key), a joke dev console appears. Standard functions like godmode and noclip are available, both of which are pointless considering nothing in the game can actually kill you outside of Wedding Qake. There are other joke commands like "toggle french moustache".
    • One joke involving a fake error message tricking you into thinking your computer has crashed adjusts itself depending on whether you're playing the Windows or OS X version of the game. If the former, it's a blue screen of death, and if it's the latter, it's a power-switch kernel panic screen.
  • Disguised in Drag: Your plan to steal the Editor's briefcase involves putting on a blonde wig and lipstick and distracting him. It seems to fool all the men in the area except the Editor, who is just playing along.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Your boss is called the Director, and the villain calls himself the Editor. Hmm...
  • Drugs Are Good: You take a lot of pills throughout the game. Just don't combine them with a certain other drug, or the mission text might break. And Placebex isn't as ineffective as it sounds.
  • Eaten Alive: You by the Director when he's either Gatorized or Crocified. Don't worry though, he's a got a plan for this.
  • Electronic Eyes: Most of the hotel clerks in the Kai Tak Resort have one of these each. One claims to have lost his original eye in a great war in the past.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: PIZZA zombies, no less!
  • Expospeak Gag: One of these appears in the Steam description. It refers to "the human voice captured and preserved in CryoSonic Stasis, thawed before your very ears during NPC exchanges!". It's referring to voice acting.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Twice during the finale. Firstly, the only way to beat the Editor is to let him win, then shower him with prizes so his ego becomes overinflated. Secondly, both of the buttons below the tank the Director is being held in result in the player getting eaten by the Director as either an alligator or a crocodile.
  • Falling Damage: Subverted for comedy — every time the player falls a significant height, they land with a comedic "boing" sound.
  • Fantastic Drug: You have to take a drug to start each mission (Combining it with another drug causes a warning to pop up which then glitches up and breaks), it's implied that you take a drug to start your vacation, and you leave the simulation by taking a drug.
  • Fem Bot: The robot prostitute that appears in the Soviet Consulate area. "I'll calibrate your sensors for a dollar!"
  • Flying Car: The player travels to the different parts of the Big Bad's challenges in a flying golf cart, and flying cars can be seen outside the Editor's apartment.
  • Foreign Queasine: The Japanese chef near the start of one level serves up enough of this to invoke a Spit Take in the player three times.
  • Fun with Subtitles:
    • Most of the speech captions are cut down from the actual lines to save space, making them more like pop-up tips than subtitles. But then there's this:
      Theater patron: Jackass!
      Subtitle: JACKALOPE
    • And this one:
      Mook: The rooster is wearing sunglasses. I repeat, the rooster is wearing sunglasses.
    • One of the incomprehensible mumbles made by Hunter S. Thompson is subtitled, "I can speak 27 languages, I can't understand anything you're mumbling."
  • Gainax Ending: Deliberately invoked (unsurprisingly). You eat your boss' secretary out of her jell-o prison and, while trying to save your boss, turn him into an alligator/crocodile before he eats you. You then get to walk through his insides while a fake credits sequence rolls.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: For no particular reason, Polyblank gets challenged to the ultimate wrestling match by Randy Savage Expy Johnny Psychomaniac.
  • God Mode: This is possible by using the game's console. Subverted in that nothing can actually kill you in this game except in Wedding Qake, and parodied with the "Atheist Mode".
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: The Editor challenges you to a number of sporting events. And you have to let him win.
  • Hacking Minigame: By putting on a strange helmet, the player is able to grab bits of code floating in midair with a frog tongue.
  • Hula and Luaus: The manager of the Kai Tak Resort invokes this trope...but breaks the illusion with her Scottish accent.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: It's not the food from the Japanese sidewalk bar that causes you to Spit Take; it's being told what they were.
  • Interface Screw: Not only does taking most non-human-oriented alcohol cause the screen to briefly be filled with static, but taking a certain drug found in the Soviet Consulate level causes a warning to pop up warning you against doing that...before degrading into gibberish and then crashing to the ground.
  • Japan Takes Over the World: All the currency is stated to be in yen (even when written as dollars), the intro is full of Japanese text, etc. etc.
  • Jerkass: When the player isn't being needlessly cruel to everyone, there is still the option to be a total jerk, by way of:
    • Obnoxiously smoking and throwing popcorn at people in a movie theater (Since the popcorn lingers during a play session, players can trash the entire cinema with repeat visits).
    • Blinding mooks by bursting bubblegum in their face or throwing hot food in their face.
    • Stealing a coin from a busker just to use it in a newspaper stand. Or spend it on a robot hooker.
    • Helping a vase shop owner kill the flies in her shop...and then smashing up the vases anyway. The post-game credits sequence even keeps score of this.
    • Squirting pufferfish poison at everyone.
    • Knocking over an entire cinema queue.
    • Use a photocopier to make a pile of Cheek Copies while infiltrating a Soviet Consulate building.
    • Spit Take your unpleasant Eastern delicacies in the face of the man sitting next to you.
    • Causing people to glitch with the Reality Warper remote control.
  • Look Behind You:
    • Happens in two separate places with a random bum who spouts mindless rambling paranoid conspiracy theories at you. At one point, he says, "Ya gotta look behind you". Do this and he runs away.
    • Happens again when the player is going to rescue the Director. He tells you to look behind you, revealing...a crab. The Editor then spends 20 seconds trying to get Polyblank to look in the right place.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: An informant reveals to you that the entirety of the Kai Tak Resort is one of these.
  • Made of Iron: Polyblank. He arrives at the Director's office in a human shaped suitcase. He can jump off of the top floor of a four story hotel multiple times and survive. He can let a small Carmen Miranda lookalike throw all ten of her fruit at his face, as well as guzzle down drinks not meant to be served to humans. He is then drugged by a drink from the Editor, and has a listening device presumably painfully implanted into a tooth while unconscious. He then has said tooth forcibly yanked out, with a blood splatter on the floor. Finally, he presumably survives being swallowed whole by the Director, who has been transformed into an alligator/crocodile.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: The mook who gets the pie in his face reacts by flatly stating "I have fourth degree burns all over my entire face".
  • Maneki Neko: Well, instead of a cat, it's a squid.
  • Mind Screw: Some of the sequences, especially escaping from the resort.
  • Minimalism: The characters in the game are depicted as stick figures resembling those on public restroom signage, and they have no eyes, only accessories, facial hair, and for the women, lips to set them apart.
  • Multiple Endings: Subverted in the game's finale. See the But Thou Must! example above.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Johnny Psychomaniac is Randy Savage in all but name.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: The Editor is rather lenient with you, even when he has you in his grasp.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The below Scary Flashlight Face example — the clerk doing it doesn't even say a word.
  • Number of the Beast: The phone number, that is. Or at least his extension. Apparently Satan lives in the USSR.
  • Obviously Evil: The Editor — it even says so on a business card that he hands you.
  • One-Word Title: Also a compound word Portmantitle.
  • Pie in the Face: One sidequest in the Soviet Consulate area allows you to do this to an unsuspecting mook. Since the pie is fresh out of the oven, it burns his face.
  • Pulling Themselves Together: The boxy robot can do this after he falls apart, which he will do either as a prank when you "pull his finger" or when you attack him with the degausser.
  • Portmantitle: A compound word. It's also a One-Word Title.
  • Punk Punk: The game itself is named after a made-up subgenre of this. It's also a rare case of actual cyberpunk set in an earlier time period (or patterned after one, at least), as opposed to just retro-futurism.
  • Rapid-Fire Comedy: If you play through the game fast enough, the whole thing qualifies, but the Travel Montage sequence takes it to the next level, with every single dot on the map being some kind of terrible pun.
  • Record Scratch: These appear in several random sequences for comedy. There's also a DJ minigame.
  • Reference Overdosed
  • Retraux: One of the trailers for the game.
  • Retro Universe: It's a Cyberpunk spoof... set in what appears to be the 1950s, complete with references to old-timey computer technology.
  • Ridiculous Future Inflation: The Yen appears to have been devalued to about 1/100th of what it is presently.
  • Running Gag:
    • There's always a mook who can get hot food thrown on his face, thus giving him fourth-degree burns.
    • "I lost my eye in the great X war of [insert date here]"
    • The poorly-disguised surveillance van. It even has its own hotel room.
    • The pizza box laptop that takes you to the pizza zombies game appears in three of the game's areas.
  • Scary Flashlight Face: One of the Kai Tak Resort clerks does this at night while wearing a Tiki mask if the player faces near him.
  • Schmuck Bait: "Never take Placebex after taking Missionoyl". Inverted in that it comes up after the player has already done this...and the message collapses as a result.
  • Shout-Out: Has its' own page, as well as a Steam Guide attempting to catalogue all of them.
  • Slippery Skid: The floor near the exit to the Soviet Consulate level does this. Lampshaded by the wet floor sign saying it was covered in "floor lubricant".
  • Sore Loser: Even if you beat the Editor, he claims it is "reverse winning" and you're forced to give him accolades to continue. You still get the last laugh as he literally inflates the more you feed his ego until you can send him skyrocketing via a needle.
  • Spinning Paper: Happens whenever you acquire a newspaper in the first mission. Parodied when one of the headlines is about how the nation is gripped by an uneventful day. Another news story on the same page offhandedly mentions that the moon just blew up.
  • Spit Take: An Asian restaurant owner ends up invoking this in the player three times with really unappetising food ingredients.
  • Stealth Pun: The expanded version of the game is called the Director's Cut. What was the name of your boss, again?
  • Surfer Dude: Several of the patrons of the Kai Tak Resort. "I, like, call everything 'sick', 'cause it's awesome."
  • Surreal Humour: In spades.
  • Stock Scream: Knocking someone off a bridge triggers a Wilhelm Scream. The goat scream appears in the Wedding Qake minigame.
  • String Theory: The Conspiracy Theorist who figured out that The Kai Tak Resort is a computer simulation has one in his shelter.
  • Technobabble: See below Trade Snark example.
  • Too Dumb to Live: A random NPC as demonstrated in the Video Game Cruelty Potential example involving a fire hydrant.
  • The Tooth Hurts: The man who reveals that the resort is a simulation does this to the player in order to get rid of a tooth-implanted listening device.
  • Tinfoil Hat: The above character wears a colander on his head.
  • Totem Pole Trench: Your "realplicant" detector unmasks one of the trench-coated agents as two children.
  • Trade Snark: Frequently, throughout the trailers and the Steam page, acting as if the game is presented as a vintage film using all sorts of fantastic new technology like "Stereographic Polygony Soundeo™, NOW IN COLORVISION".
  • Transhuman Treachery: The director after the player turns him into a crocodile or alligator. He tells the player to just jump in his mouth and save him the trouble of chasing him down.
  • Travel Montage: When The Director sends you off on a vacation, the game suddenly cuts to a player-controlled variation on this trope, where passing the dotted line over various locations on the world map triggers a Hurricane Of Technology-Related Puns based on certain place names.
  • Turn in Your Badge: (Among other things; see Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs above.) What happens when you complete your side quest for Da Chief.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change:
    • A frog needs to find his password cracker so he can get onto the Wi-Fi at Starbux. And now, you're playing Frogger.
    • Look at a microscope, and now it's Space Invaders against a horde of bacteria.
    • Pop the hood of a car at the resort, and you're suddenly playing a first person version of the bonus stage from Street Fighter II, complete with an Ersatz-Guile theme.
    • Examine a wedding cake and you're suddenly playing a marital themed Quake III deathmatch.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: The player does this when he infiltrates the Soviet Consolate building, accompanied by a brass stab.
  • Valley Girl: The female patrons of the Kai Tak Resort all talk like this.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: One reason for the Wide-Open Sandbox structure:
    • You get to be obnoxious in a movie theater!
    • You can turn on a fire hydrant, causing it to spray water everywhere. A passer-by slips in the water, falls on his face and drowns in the shallow puddle.
    • Fire the degausser at one of the nondescript NPCs in the Soviet Consulate area, and they'll collapse. Or spray them with the pigeon pheromones and they'll be carried off by a flock of them. (The lucky ones get carried off in one piece.)
    • The owner of the vase shop gave you a fly swatter to deal with her infestation. You get to keep it afterwards, and yes it does work on people. And "people."
  • Visual Pun:
  • Why Did It Have To Be Spiders?: The guard at the sushi restaurant is afraid of spiders. For whatever reason, he is rather quick to point this out.
  • Wide-Open Sandbox: The main mission objectives in each area can be completed within a short space of time. The whole point of each area, however, is to get distracted by various Funny Background Events and find all the harder-to-find jokes. Lampshaded in one moment where the game congratulates you on being the 1032nd player to examine an ordinary pile of garbage.
  • World of Pun: Pretty much everything is retro-cyberized, and some of the jokes can get pretty nerdy. Also taken literally in the vacation travel minigame.
    Robotic Hooker: [giggles] ".rar~ Am I Turing you on?"
    Jazz Musician: "Got a couple of gigs coming up. Almost a terabyte. I like dat. I record on DAT."
    • Jokes also reference typography (A geisha tells you "It's impolite to ask a lady her font weight.") and game design (one target says he was "born on a render farm").


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