Clownerstrike is a multiplayer game which investigates the power of performance and physics as next generation game concepts. It is built on the Unreal Tournament 2004’s foundation, pulling original and imitative elements out of this heavily modified, first person environment.

Each player is assigned to a team of clowns who must win the audience’s affections by making them laugh. In return, clowns and their respective teams receive laugh points.


The point system for Clownerstrike is determined by four gags: pie throwing, building player towers, making clowns cry, and bopping clowns across the arena with a boxing glove. Items used are boxing gloves, bubble blowers and banana cream pies.

There is a group goal for the two teams to achieve and that’s to build the tallest tower of junk. This is where the game begins to step into the realm of emergent play properties.

The physics system implemented inside the game allows the players to create oddly behaving structures that adhere to the principles of gravity. Using one of the handheld items found within the game, players can manipulate these laws to build up towers.

Group performances arise out of the “clown stacking” where players climb on top of one another to form their own towers, here the players create a raw form of improvisation to get reward. For example, players from the same team will give the laugh points to the person on the bottom of the pile. Clowns from different teams will be given points to whoever is on top. This miniature form of competition and collaboration fuels an interesting bit of improv for the players and the audience. Deciding who will be rewarded points and who will have them taken away is left solely up to the teams to encourage or discourage.

The game is available for download.

Author: Mike Brinker.

Clownerstrike is part of PASS THROUGH, the thesis exhibition of the Interactive Media Division USC School of Cinema-Television.
At the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts, May 7-12, 2005.