Looney Tunes, by Charlie Kaufman.
Duck Amuck for the DS is the first game I've played that attempts to faithfully translate its source into a game without shoehorning the material into an established genre or style. The origin for this game is a fourth-wall-breaking cartoon starring Daffy Duck. The cartoon begins with Daffy making an idiot of himself in a medieval context, but soon the environment disappears and Daffy finds himself communicating with an unseen animator who is abusing his or her god-like power. The game follows a similar path, beginning with Daffy standing in front of a white screen, addressing you as the player of the game, and admitting that he is merely bits of code inside your Nintendo DS.
The game's goal is to irritate Daffy until his frustration meter fills up. Using the stylus, you can pick Daffy up, poke him in the eyes, or ignore him if you want. Each of these things has different consequences, and eventually Daffy will start to respond, usually leading to one of twenty mini-games. If you choose to ignore Daffy, he may start talking obsessively about himself, and a volume dial will show up which allows you to turn his voice off, leading to another game. Other times, Daffy may pull out pails of paint, and depending on which color you use and how you use it, you could find yourself in an entirely new context (outer space, a concert hall, and medieval England among them).
Interacting with Daffy is merely a ruse that leads to mini-games, but it is so true to the original cartoon, and just as fleshed out, that it ends up being more fun than the mini-games, which are on the whole pretty uninteresting. Most of the time, the games are funny more than they are fun, and that is Duck Amuck's saving grace. The best example is when Daffy demands he should be in a "stragety" game and is put into (his words) "a low-budget game from the 70s" that resembles something from the Atari era. Later, he demands to be made "next-gen," but the results look more like early PlayStation than anything else. Daffy's status as a piece of programming code is as strong here as his status as a drawing was in the original cartoon. This keeps the game's tone light and funny, yet subversively self-aware; Daffy will talk about the "programmers" of the game often, and if you lose a mini-game, he will taunt you in a way only gamers could understand. The humor of the game comes from Daffy's understanding of video games: he possesses more awareness than most game characters do, but he's still Daffy Duck, which means he makes assumptions that get him in trouble. The reward for playing the game is hearing Daffy quack jokes and watching him jump around like a fool. The animation and voice acting are understandably top-notch.
Since the game is controlled mostly by your stylus, the mini-games sometimes grow repetitive; the developer shows ingenuity even within this restriction and makes a few winners to plop next to the simple and unimaginative bulk, specifically one that you control by opening and closing the DS. On the other end of the spectrum are the typical "solve the puzzle" or "race to the finish" games that are only sometimes saved by Daffy's humor. Most of the games at least pose a reasonable challenge, but only because the developer has made each one several levels long with steadily rising difficulty, and this makes the game even more repetitive. Three mini-games are available in a two-person multiplayer mode that doesn't add to the experience. After you have "discovered" a mini-game by annoying Daffy, it is sorted into a handy list that can be accessed at any time. This makes replaying each one easier, but unfortunately, playing a game from this menu does not add to Daffy's frustration meter, which is the game's ultimate goal (please note, the manual infers that you can add to the meter from this menu, but in practice this simply isn't true).
Overall, Duck Amuck is a surprise that continues to be surprising as you play it. Though the game feels the need to fulfill certain gameplay obligations with multiple and unnecessary mini-games, it goes so much further than other licensed products by focusing on what exactly makes a cartoon good, and asking whether that can make a game good too. The game creates the impression that Daffy is living inside your DS; his character and personality dominate this game more than any other licensed product I can think of. As an innovative first try, Duck Amuck is a success.