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[PATV] Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - Extra Credits Season 5, Ep. 8: Beyond Fun

2

Posts

  • IronSaviorIronSavior Registered User regular
    Final Fantasy X was pretty sad for most of the game. You're always knowingly moving toward Yuna's demise.

  • eusolaceeusolace Game Designer and IP Developer VancouverRegistered User
    So...You'll be having follow up episodes examining the many possible ways the industry can approach doing this I take it? Sounds cool.

  • nascginascgi Registered User
    I disagree. There was nothing fun about Duke Nukem Forever.

    grigjd3Lintire
  • KerjackKerjack Registered User
    'To the Moon' by Kan Gao and Freebird Games. Great example of a game being engaging while not being fun.

    RatherDashing89
  • chamberlainchamberlain Registered User regular
    @Falx

    I certainly did. The episode's point was that games were pigeon holing themselves by trying to always be fun. It then gives several examples of games that were enjoyable in spite of not being fun to play.

    So... there are games being made specifically to their specifications. What is their point again?

  • FalxFalx Registered User regular
    @Falx

    I certainly did. The episode's point was that games were pigeon holing themselves by trying to always be fun. It then gives several examples of games that were enjoyable in spite of not being fun to play.

    So... there are games being made specifically to their specifications. What is their point again?

    No you certainly didn't, the episode's point was that games HAVE changed, are still trying to change, but are facing major pressure to change back. Those games mentioned were outliers, the vast majority of games being made are still being made with "fun" as the main theme, when other forms of mass entertainment are so far beyond that limitation. We are the ones that pigeonhole our experiences by trying to find the "fun" when there doesn't have to be any. And publishers know we do this, and try and pressure developers to put some "fun" in. And more often that not they have no choice but to cave.

    Boiling it down to "This episode says games should do this but then they did so it was pointless" means you missed the point to such an extant you might as have not watched it at all.

  • chamberlainchamberlain Registered User regular
    @Falx

    Games whose focus is not to entertain but to frighten/intrigue/illicit an emotional response are a rare breed.

    Here are a few of these rare games.

    Again, I do not understand what they are looking for. Such games will never be the norm because, to be blunt, they don't make enough money. They are niche games for a niche market, and they already exist. Perhaps they should have spent more time highlighting them instead of complaining that there aren't more of them.

    By the way, how to you quote previous comments?

  • bSoupbSoup Registered User
    @chamberlain

    I think they're more focused on communicating this issue to those within the industry, including publishers and reviewers, who as they pointed out, constantly try to find the "fun" factor in games that simply shouldn't have it or never needed it to begin with. It's obvious that this is already slowly happening, but if publishers continue to look at already engaging experiences and asking, "Yeah, but how do we make it fun?" that will only result in hampering the growth of the medium. Not to mention, your statement about those games never having a chance at being the norm is pretty flawed; part of what makes such titles a niche market at this moment is the fact that so many people look at games as something that's solely meant to be a fun experience, as opposed to something possibly more engaging, meaning that there's a vast audience with no interest in gaming whatsoever. That's an untapped market that more "serious" games could potentially attract to gaming. Just look at a non-gamer's reaction to a title like Heavy Rain and you're likely to see someone who never really expressed interest in gaming at all suddenly paying very close attention to what's going on in a video game, to the point where they want to play the game themselves. Such games, which focus on something other than "fun," have the potential to not only sell as well as current AAA titles, but possibly even better, by appealing to an even broader audience. Of course, it's up to the publishers to take the risk, and the developers to create those engaging games, but yeah, with the right marketing, I believe there's certainly plenty of potential for such titles to become financial successes.

  • HarbingerOfDuhHarbingerOfDuh Registered User
    If you want a good example of a game that's GREAT but that is also NOT FUN AT ALL, look up the Russian game "Pathologic." My friend and I played through it together, with each of us choosing a different character; and while I wouldn't say that we had "fun," the experience was unforgettable. I'm not exaggerating when I say that that game honestly changed me in some small, fundamental way.

    Diggers1917
  • Punk RexPunk Rex Registered User regular
    Congrats LeeLee, sock it to erm gurl!!!

  • iab19iab19 Registered User regular
    edited October 2012
    I freakin' LOVE LeeLee, she is SO fun (zoing!), but seriously, where on earth did Alison go?

    iab19 on
  • CSDragonCSDragon Registered User regular
    I hate to be "that guy" but I have to point this out.

    A game not about fun is missing the point of what games are. Now when you read that sentence you probably read the word "game" and each time thought I meant Video Games. No, I meant games. So often we throw out this term when talking about video games as a medium, but we forget that what we're talking about video GAMES.

    Games. Schoolyard Games. Board Games. Sports Games. Card Games. Imagination Games. Toy-based Games. Gambling Games. Those are all games and Video Games are a member of THIS family, NOT film and literature.

    If you want an engaging interactive audio/visual experience, that's totally cool, and it's a medium that should be explored. But to call such a thing a game is to devalue the word game.

    Blackthorne11Lintire
  • grigjd3grigjd3 Registered User regular
    Kind of torn between thinking this was an unnecessary episode and also realizing that fun is the only characterization that game reviews ever seem to focus on.

    Lintire
  • iab19iab19 Registered User regular
    I can't believe people still are against this notion, just look at the comments here. But I totally agree. Flash animations and "games" (seriously, we have to find a name that avoid this one's connotations) have gone a very good way towards aknowladging the possibilities of the medium.

    Mygaffer
  • MygafferMygaffer Registered User regular
    The problem with using the word fun is that it does not, in the context, really mean anything. That is to say it means anything depending on who you are talking to. What is "fun" for one person is extremely monotonous for another.
    I think EC is on the right track when they talk about "engagement". Engagement you can define in simple terms that everyone understands. The definition that fits in this context is as follows:
    4. To attract and hold the attention of; engross
    So as long as a game is able to attract and hold my attention does it matter if it is "fun"? Certainly it has to be rewarding personally in some way or I would not be engaged. But I don't have to feel like a bad ass and I don't have to be smiling the whole I play a game. There are already plenty of games that deliver that experience.
    I would love to see the game equivalent to a Schindler's List. Something heavy and morose but deeply engaging on a personal level that kept me in the game. I think far too many people get caught up in this idea of fun without really being able to define what they mean. They think an argument against fun is an argument for games that are not rewarding to play when that does not have to be the case. I think they confuse fun and engaging.
    We are at a really neat time in the history of electronic games, the technology has matured to the point where very complex, engaging and visceral games can be made and with new distribution and funding methods we are seeing a wider variety of games than we have at any point prior. So the games EC is talking about are coming, don't worry.

  • BBlackthorn11BBlackthorn11 Registered User
    I think this is the worst video Extra Credits has ever done. The word "fun" is so ambiguous that their message gets really lost. In order for games (or anything else) to be engaging they must be "entertaining or enjoyable" which is one of the definitions for "fun" that they give in this very video.

    I really don't know what the actual point of this video was. If it's some sort of statement against more and more developers playing it safe with family friendly titles, casual games, or straight up copies of previously successful games, then count me in.

    But if you are trying to say that games should be more artistic then by all means count me out. I've seen what happens when you go that route. Titles like "The Graveyard" and "Dear Esther" made for horrible games.

    NecroxWUABeetLintiremetroidkillah
  • ShadowrenamonShadowrenamon Registered User
    This episode was timed so perfectly for me I had to sign up just to comment on it. I'm a college senior at a state university in California working on finishing my BA in Game Development, and one of my classes this quarter is, well, Game Development. Being an avid fan of both this show and Errant Signal, along with following Gamasutra, the thing that has frustrated me most about this course is how little the professor really understands game design. I mean, he understands it on a very surface, business level seen through the eyes of a long time programmer, the problem is is that he does only understand it on that surface level, and so a good chunk of his lectures the last two weeks have been about what "fun" is and how to make a game "fun," and the whole time I just want to say that that's not all a video game can be, that they can cover a massive range of topics and emotions and that one person's boring is another's fun. If I could get him to go for it I'd love to show this to my class, but that's highly unlikely. Thankfully this'll only last another 7 weeks, and then I can continue to work on the proper version of the game I've been helping code since January.

    WUALintire
  • SecComSecCom Registered User regular
    I'm not sure if I understand the point of the video as I've played so many games that were designed far more on other emotional levels than just fun. I was once scoffed at for believing League of Legends was fun (it is) from friends who would rather take the game more seriously. I've played countless horror games that are "fun" in the same way a scary movie is fun. I've played many an RPG for engaging story alone.

    Hell, I'm playing The Walking Dead right now. Its not fun at all from a gameplay perspective. In fact, its kind bad in terms of gameplay. But the story is what keeps me so engaged by it. And its extremely tragic.

    No, I can't say I'm on board with this video simply because I see too many examples to the contrary. I was under the impression we already climbed this hurdle years ago.

    Lead Editor of http://fullnovazero.com We like to write about video games.
    NecroxWUALintiremetroidkillah
  • mattvonbmattvonb Registered User
    I'm confused. This episode made no sense to me whatsoever. You say all game developers focus exclusively on "fun" at the expense of "engagement" and then proceed to point out the existence of games that are counterexamples to your thesis. (Silent Hill, Bioshock, etc…)

    My perspective: You guys are attacking a straw man. It's false that most currently believe games exist only to provide light-hearted enjoyment. When it comes to games, most people are seeking engagement, and "engaging" is what they mean when they say a game is "fun".

    I would be surprised to find out I'm wrong. What would have made this episode interesting would have been to explain what it is that caused you to believe that there is some effort by the industry to force "light-hearted pleasure" on all games. (And it would help your credibility to acknowledge that this is not true in all cases.)

    NecroxWUALintiremetroidkillahBeet
  • MygafferMygaffer Registered User regular
    I think the only problem with this video is that it does not attempt to define its terms. Fun is a very subjective quality that is hard to define and is different for everyone. That is why "fun" is such a loaded word in game criticism, if a reviewer says a game was "fun" he is effectively saying nothing. Unless they describe WHY it was fun, i.e. "this game rewards player exploration" or "the combat mechanics are easy to pick up and allow for impressive depth", etc., then I, the reader, won't know if I will find it fun.
    I think if people would look at EC's core argument they wouldn't find much to disagree with. Player engagement can be maintained in a lot of ways and that is all most gamers want, a game that will engage them and reward them for their time and effort. That reward can be the feeling of mastery obtained by becoming proficient at a challenging task, it can be an emotional impact of the art, story, and music, there are many ways for a game to reward a player for their attention.
    That is all any of us wants in return for our time and our money. An engaging and rewarding experience.

    Lintire
  • Sonny_69Sonny_69 Registered User regular
    the resolution of gta4 or the microwave hallway in mgs4. both good examples of engagement over fun. gta4 depressed me, and mgs4 physically exhausted me. yet those are two of the mroe memorable moments in my last 6 yrs of gaming. (also journey made me cry, but i was also having fun soo....)

  • FalxFalx Registered User regular
    @Falx

    Games whose focus is not to entertain but to frighten/intrigue/illicit an emotional response are a rare breed.

    Here are a few of these rare games.

    Again, I do not understand what they are looking for. Such games will never be the norm because, to be blunt, they don't make enough money. They are niche games for a niche market, and they already exist. Perhaps they should have spent more time highlighting them instead of complaining that there aren't more of them.

    By the way, how to you quote previous comments?

    You're still not getting it, It's not about whether or not these games exist, they do. They were commenting on whether our perception is holding back gaming as a whole, and in their opinion it is. That's it.

    If you use the comment box on the video itself you don't get a quote button, or you'll have to enter quote tags manually or use the forum.

  • ZombieDragoonZombieDragoon Registered User regular
    I think Extra Credits should do another episode on the same subject just to hammer home this point (perhaps with a little more attention to the definition of terms.) In the case of the evolution of game design, this is where the line will be drawn. Will a large alternative gaming market rise or will the industry crumble into the same state of pathetic pandering to the LCD trash the movie industry has? We'll be the generation to find out.

    I appreciate that EC is fighting the good fight.

    (And to the guy who said he doesn't think games can or should have any artistic merit: I pity you.)

    OldSchoolChickenWUALintireBeet
  • biggyshwartzbiggyshwartz Registered User
    They are thinking about this the wrong way. They are looking at the similarities between video games and movies or books and saying that video games do not need to be fun in the same way that those other mediums do not need to. But they are ignoring the interactive nature of a game. They do not look at the similarities between video games and board games or a card game. A game needs to be "fun" (engaging or challenging) in order to be playable. Since the player needs to progress gameplay or the story, unlike a movie or a book where the audience can passively absorb the material, the actions the player takes in the game needs to be fun.

    There are counter examples to this like the Walking Dead but I would argue that that "game" is more like an interactive story than a video game. It has some game-like elements but the real meat of that experience is the story. If Extra Credits is trying to argue for an expansion of forms of interactive storytelling then what they are arguing makes complete sense, but otherwise a game needs to be fun because it is a game. Things like Silent Hill are still fun (like other people in the comments have pointed out) in the same way a scary movie is fun. The adrenaline rush from fear is a fun experience. The Ayn Rand influence in Bioshock is part of the story and the first person shooter "game" is the fun part. If the creators did not want Bioshock to be fun they would have made it a book or a movie.

  • Subject HORNETSubject HORNET Registered User
    I'm having a fantastic time with The Walking Dead...
    In episode 3, there's a point where a character dies that has upset just about every player who takes on the game. I personally went through the same steps everyone else seems to have:
    First, I didn't want to believe what had just happened, in spite of it staring me in the face.
    Second, I paused the game and scoured the interwebs in search of any sign that the event in question could be avoided...
    Third, I got upset, maybe even angry that the event had transpired.
    Fourth, I was saddened by the fact that it had happened, and there wasn't a thing I could do about it.
    Fifth... I went back to playing the game... I moved on.

    For those not familiar with human psychology, those are the five stages of coping with a tragic or painful event. I didn't even realize it at the time, but as I later found whole forum posts devoted to people being upset and crying out against the event (as well as all of the lengths they went to in the hopes of averting it), it just suddenly hit me.

    So yeah, there are definitely some majorly "un-fun" games out there (pardon the term, it's late and my brain isn't fully functioning), video games that evoke powerful emotions that hurt. To put it simply, THOSE are the games that stick with you the longest. Sure, you might remember a particularly hilarious go at Castle Crashers of Mario Party 10K, but most of the time those games aren't memorable or more than just a distraction.

    I think that as more and more "un-fun" games catch on (again, pardon the term) and the 3A companies take note of their success, we will start seeing this sort of thing more. Change isn't an overnight process, but we seem to already be heading in the right direction.

  • RatherDashing89RatherDashing89 Registered User regular
    CSDragon wrote: »
    I hate to be "that guy" but I have to point this out.

    A game not about fun is missing the point of what games are. Now when you read that sentence you probably read the word "game" and each time thought I meant Video Games. No, I meant games. So often we throw out this term when talking about video games as a medium, but we forget that what we're talking about video GAMES.

    Games. Schoolyard Games. Board Games. Sports Games. Card Games. Imagination Games. Toy-based Games. Gambling Games. Those are all games and Video Games are a member of THIS family, NOT film and literature.

    If you want an engaging interactive audio/visual experience, that's totally cool, and it's a medium that should be explored. But to call such a thing a game is to devalue the word game.

    Does anyone else remember EC's video on why "video games" is a misnomer? I'm having a hard time finding it, and it may have even been from during their Escapist run. Anyway, the point is, video games implies that they're a toy, and they're not. It's an entire medium, not a genre. Just like filmmakers are realizing animation is a tool, not a genre, and are starting to make movies that explore the full capability of animation instead of just kids' movies.
    They are thinking about this the wrong way. They are looking at the similarities between video games and movies or books and saying that video games do not need to be fun in the same way that those other mediums do not need to. But they are ignoring the interactive nature of a game. They do not look at the similarities between video games and board games or a card game. A game needs to be "fun" (engaging or challenging) in order to be playable. Since the player needs to progress gameplay or the story, unlike a movie or a book where the audience can passively absorb the material, the actions the player takes in the game needs to be fun.

    There are counter examples to this like the Walking Dead but I would argue that that "game" is more like an interactive story than a video game. It has some game-like elements but the real meat of that experience is the story. If Extra Credits is trying to argue for an expansion of forms of interactive storytelling then what they are arguing makes complete sense, but otherwise a game needs to be fun because it is a game. Things like Silent Hill are still fun (like other people in the comments have pointed out) in the same way a scary movie is fun. The adrenaline rush from fear is a fun experience. The Ayn Rand influence in Bioshock is part of the story and the first person shooter "game" is the fun part. If the creators did not want Bioshock to be fun they would have made it a book or a movie.

    Interactivity provides potential for way more than just fun. And if there is one point EC has been trying to drive home in many videos, is that we shouldn't look at the "story part" of a game and the "game part" as separate. If that's the case the writers may as well go make movies and the developers may as well stop hiring writers. The story in Bioshock would not have worked at all as a movie or book. It would miss out on the entire punch of the story.

  • SnakeEyeJJSnakeEyeJJ Registered User
    Knowing that so many people do believe that this medium has to be fun is such a crutch on the way we think about them.
    Look, I love fun games as much as the next guy, Skyrim, CoD, whatever, but I also love the idea that gaming can become something different from fun. Look, it's a natural evolution of mediums as a whole, and trying to limit ourselves soley to old ideas of what it means to make a game would be like Ian MacEwen writing in 16th century verse. I'm not saying there's no place for it, but we need to evolve.
    Oh and btw, I'm pretty sure this was spurred by the plays of Spec Ops: The Line, which was not a fun game, and was still one of the best games, imo, out there.

  • garyklineccgaryklinecc Registered User regular
    Perhaps video games are set to outgrow their name? RatherDashing and CSDragon make some good points. A game is usually about fun, but what do we call a 'video game' that is tragic? A game where the payoff at the end is a catharsis the player experiences, not a victory. To call it a 'game' is misleading for some.

    The ending to ME 3 is one example of this type of misunderstanding. Players who thought they were playing a 'fun' game were unhappy about the 'not fun' ending.

    Can we call them 'dramatic RPGs' (yes, the G is for games, but at least its hidden)? Would calling Spec Ops: The Line a 'dramatic FPS' have been more accurate? And would it have sold enough copies?

  • Titanium DragonTitanium Dragon Registered User regular
    As a kid, I played a large number of educational games, and that was a bit less than 25 years ago now, so...

    I'm not sure who exactly you're talking to here. I think its pretty obvious already that games already do this. Yeah, there are probably developers (and reviewers) who have the idea that fun = engagement, but let's face it - the gaming review industry is a corrupt joke full of non-journalists, so its hardly surprising that they don't "get it" seeing as they're, well, idiots.

    So, while you're probably ranting at people you know in the industry, we aren't them. Yeah, there are more things than fun to games - I think we figured that out when we made Dungeons & Dragons in the 1970s.

  • SecComSecCom Registered User regular
    @garyklinecc, That's a whole can of worms you're opening on that ME3 thing, I'll summarize by saying that's not the reason why people didn't like it and we'll leave it at that. (For the love of god please don't start an ME3 ending discussion)

    Its not defeat in games that makes it "not fun", indeed I think the possibility of defeat makes games much more fun and rewarding. I believe EC on this video was talking more about games that, in the moment of gameplay, not necessarily storyline, are typically trying to be fun and enjoyable.

    But the problem is that even if we were to call some of these titles by their real name, "interactive stories", you still need to focus on keeping the moment-to-moment experience enjoyable. I mentioned earlier that The Walking Dead wasn't very enjoyable from gameplay, but incredibly enjoyable from story. TWD puts out just enough of a tolerable experience that I'm able to put up with it and enjoy an engaging and admittedly depressing storyline.

    But here's another example: I played a "game" called The Path once. It was a really artsy-type of indie game. If you want to try something that isn't fun, but still provocative in what its doing, you need to try this, because it is almost impossible to enjoy. Movement is dead slow, there is no direction of what to do and it is difficult at best to tell when you are moving ahead in the story.

    Indeed, this is what happens when a developer thinks of making the moment-to-moment experience "not fun" and the end result is that it sucks. I hated The Path, not because it was dark and eerie, but because the moment-to-moment experience was awful and frustrating. The interactive part of any game should always be enjoyable and the story can still be depressing as hell. As many have mentioned, Silent Hill is a prime example of this where the controls are fine and the experience is arguably enjoyable, but talk about scary and downright dreadful.

    So I'll circle back to my point from earlier, which is that I don't see what EC's point is. There are numerous examples of when the story isn't fun, but the game still is. But examples of the reverse, where the gameplay isn't fun, are awful experiences that nobody would ever recommend, even for artistic value.

    Lead Editor of http://fullnovazero.com We like to write about video games.
  • StarWallaceStarWallace Registered User regular
    I hate how these videos keep leading me to wanting to use Mass Effect as an example... But in my case the ME series really does apply here... the ME series really is incredibly flawed and easily exploitable. It's easy as hell to get the best out come, simply by knowing the patterns of the system, and that's a big flaw. However, flaw or not, this doesn't change how incredibly engaging the story is. Not to mention the hundreds of variations that can change how the story plays out. There's so much potential variation and ever potential is so well written that it just compels you to play the series multiple times simply for sake of experiencing different events.

    Asking me when the last time a game made me cry... well that'd be never, but I've never cried in a movie or while reading a book either. I'm rather stone faced. However the last time a game elicited an emotionally distressed reaction from me was while playing ME3. I was going for the "honest" play through and I screwed up and caused Tali's death scene... now up until this point I knew I liked Tali, she's a great character, but it was then that I found out how much I liked Tali. I've never freaked out that much at a game in my life; it felt like I had actually watched one of my best friends fall off a cliff and I was genuinely powerless to stop it. I've lost people in my life and this drudged up some long since buried emotions...

  • DudelyDudely Registered User
    edited October 2012
    You got close when you mentioned games "like The Sims or Civ 4". Virtually all open-ended games are, at their core, not about fun. They are about working towards a goal that you want. Working is the opposite of fun but nonetheless I will spend hours figuring out mundane details in the code and installing plugins for Sim City 4. This is not because I find the tedious process of building a city out of a heavily modded city simulation that came out almost a decade ago FUN, but because I feel good after having made a realistic cityscape.

    No, there are a lot of games like this- whole genres, really. The key takeaway here is not that a game "shouldn't be all about fun" but that a game should just make you feel better as a person. Maybe you have fun and are made happy. Maybe you are challenged and made to think about some uncomfortable aspect of human nature (like the Ayn Rand example you gave), which makes you consider yourself a more well-rounded, intelligent human being. The possibilities are endless, and reducing it to a key point like "games aren't all about fun" oversimplifies it just a _wee_ bit.

    Dudely on
  • OdysseyHomeOdysseyHome Registered User regular
    I'm not really keen on the term 'non-fun games' as this suggests a negative connotation. It also makes the subject confusing because a thought process would be 'if a game is not fun why play it'. It'd use 'discursive' or 'discussive' games as that's what these 'non-fun' games are attempting to do. They seek to discuss a philosophy, a theme, a topic, by asking the players to read into their mechanics and understand what these mechanics say about the topic discussed. The name 'non-fun' is misleading because these games are fun but rather they offer a different type of fun. Dissussive games are fun AFTER they have been played due to reflection upon the meaning of play. A 'fun' game is IMMEDIATELY fun during play and is not fun upon reflection.

    An additional layer woud be that disscussive games actually encourage players to examine the game's mechanics and learn a meaning behind them. (i.e. a health bar that constantly depletes, cannot be restored, and all your actions expend health is intepreted as a compeling depiction of mortality). A fun game seeks to do the opposite and hid the mechanics from player cognition, because the mechanics are inherently designed to create an illusion of 'fun' and once dispelled the game losses some of its 'funness'.

    An analogy would be a magic trick. Magic tricks are fun because they rely on an illusion to make fantasy reality. If people become aware of the ‘magic’ behind a certain ‘trick’ it loses some of its ‘funness’ because the illusion no longer hold. Despite this, some tricks are more engaging when you know how the trick works, and that knowledge in itself is indeed a source of fun.

    This isn't to say that these catagories are concrete, rather its a spectrum between the intent to discuss from 'not at all' (i.e. angry birds) to 'a little bit' (i.e. Bioshock) to "everything is meaningful" (i.e. isolation [see the 'mechanics as metaphor' episode). Because 'fun' games are immediately engaging people will be more likely to play the entire game, while discussive games run the risk of audience attrition: that the audience will either not understand the meaning of the mechanics, or will quit before the mechanics are revealed to them. Consequently, most games try to limit discussive elements to particular game sections or story acts. The game is fun before contradicting itself in its mechanics, enforcing a moment of reflection, before returning to typical fun. This is the most preverlant form but some times this 'return to fun' can undermine the discussive content, like it did in FarCry 2 for me (which is similar to Spec Ops: the line mention in this series).

  • RatherDashing89RatherDashing89 Registered User regular
    Dudely wrote: »
    You got close when you mentioned games "like The Sims or Civ 4". Virtually all open-ended games are, at their core, not about fun. They are about working towards a goal that you want. Working is the opposite of fun but nonetheless I will spend hours figuring out mundane details in the code and installing plugins for Sim City 4. This is not because I find the tedious process of building a city out of a heavily modded city simulation that came out almost a decade ago FUN, but because I feel good after having made a realistic cityscape.

    No, there are a lot of games like this- whole genres, really. The key takeaway here is not that a game "shouldn't be all about fun" but that a game should just make you feel better as a person. Maybe you have fun and are made happy. Maybe you are challenged and made to think about some uncomfortable aspect of human nature (like the Ayn Rand example you gave), which makes you consider yourself a more well-rounded, intelligent human being. The possibilities are endless, and reducing it to a key point like "games aren't all about fun" oversimplifies it just a _wee_ bit.

    This is a good angle. So far this discussion has mostly been on fun games vs. artsy or meaningful games. But there's also more "hobbyist" games. I used to play WoW a lot, not so much any more but I'm not going to join the WoW-hater crowd just yet. It was a good game, but not always fun. Farming herbs was not fun. But it was relaxing. I enjoyed knowing I was making money and progressing, and I liked riding around pretty landscapes and listening to nice music. People who garden don't garden because it's "fun". They do it because it's relaxing, and they get a sense of accomplishment when they have a nice garden and they know they worked for it. People who play Warhammer 40k tend to refer to themselves not as gamers but as hobbyists. Maybe that would be a better term for our medium too.

  • ran88dom99ran88dom99 Registered User regular
    I think yor abusin the term 'enjoyable'.

    Beet
  • remeranAuthorremeranAuthor Registered User regular
    Couldn't agree more with the video. I'd like to add this to the table:



    A lot of people erroneously believe that games shouldn't even be COMPETITIVE because competition draws away from fun. Nintendo was unhappy when Super Smash Bros Melee got so popular for what they considered to be the wrong reasons, where people were playing with items turned off and only on final destination, to make the game more balanced and fair for the sake of competitive play, they added systems like "Tripping" to Brawl to avoid it ever having that same competitive scene.

    But competitive games can be beautiful in the same way that *sports* can be.

    More people watched the most recent League of Legends tournament matches than watched The World Series on ESPN.

  • ArcaneTheWoofArcaneTheWoof Registered User regular
    When will a game make me cry? Assassin's Creed 2: The gorgeous soundtrack swelled as I watched a sunrise over Venice; I wasn't doing anything but watching beauty unfold, and I did weep. Mass Effect 3: I reset the game because I couldn't bear to cope with the results of a decision I'd made, and I lost a loved one—a character I'd become invested in over 5 years of playing that game. Games are definitely starting to transcend that idea of "fun and only fun", and I hope that the new insurgence of indie games continues this trend.

  • dracoslayer16dracoslayer16 Registered User regular
    Games that made me cry? Journey, there I said it, Journey made me cry, one more than one occasion.

    Anthan
  • rrhrrh Registered User regular
    There are plenty of games like Farmville which have a priority other than "fun" but that's probably not what you had in mind. :)

    And yes, if you compare video games to books and movies, it seems unique in this regard, but I expect board games emphasize fun to the same extent. Something about it being an interactive thing, something you "play" rather than watch or read, is what brings out the emphasis on fun.

    I think fun is serving a purpose, and to make games that aren't fun, you need other ways to serve that purpose.

  • SewblonSewblon Registered User regular
    I think that the real reason that people are afraid to move past games being all about fun, is not that they are afraid of taking responsibility. Rather, people both on the production and the consumption side think that any concerted effort to make games engaging in deeper ways than fun, making them philosophical, terrifying, tragic or what have you, would make people lose sight of the things in games that are already good. The argument is that if games move too far from their cultural and mechanical roots, they will lose the properties that make them special.

    Beet
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