One of the things Marc and I always try to avoid is what we call a “Linear Joke.”  It’s usually something that’s hilarious, but only if you’ve gone down a particular path, and have that whole path in mind when the punch line is delivered.  If you got there by different means, you look at the punch line and say “huh?”

The Pros had a significant number of linear and specific reference jokes.  Most of them on purpose.  As a contest, NC Soft specifically wanted the entries to have references to their game and setting.  Page 1 opened with a reference to Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends (now on Boomerang), but most of the short was grounded in the nuance of Paragon City (City of Heroes’ primary setting).

There were references to cell phones in some in game content, but there was no way for a hero to actually be seen using one.  Every hero over level 10 got issued a police radio (complete with holographic interface), from which they could receive missions to thwart crimes.

The inability show Lil’ Pro whip out her Nokia 1100, led to this awkward little bit with the police radio.

Of course, the patch released right after the contest included an emote “cellphone” for player characters to be seen doing just that.