On the topic of “Fun”

Of late, I’ve gotten a lot of comments from people on various forums, accusing me of ‘not having fun’. Or people construing my opinions on things as attack on how they have fun (or by saying I simply don’t get why it’s fun). So to make a few things clear.

I do not (usually) judge people on how they have fun. In fact I don’t usually judge people, I judge games

I might be a little sassy sometimes, but any serious criticism I lodge is toward games. Regardless of them being fun, the things a game do right or wrong can generally be quantified. Theres a bit of subjectiveness to this, but it is still relatively easy to make semi-objective quality statements.

Something being good does not necessarily make it fun and something being fun does not necessarily make it good

When was the last time you had fun watching Schindler’s List? or can you say that the Kung Fu movie you just watched is actually a “Good” movie? This is pretty typical of things. We have fun playing shitty, cheap flash games and somehow also don’t always enjoy greately crafted experiences like Shadow of the Colossus. Thats perfectly fine! We all have our little knobs and dials in our head that trigger disgust and enjoyment differently. Objectively judging things though, you try and figure out what is well designed about something and, in a way, whats worth replicating, while also figuring out what detracted from the experience. I still managed to enjoy Other M despite my harshing on it, because the controls of the game were enough for me to enjoy my self despite the rest of the crap that is in the game.

As such, I don’t care if you like a game I think is objectively bad. Not only can I possibly be wrong, even if I’m not, I’d be a HYPOCRITE for doing so. Though, when someone defends their game and does it poorly, I will also criticize their argument, but the argument of “I just find it fun” will almost always win, unless you like something ABSURDLY stupid.

Just because I am serious does not mean I don’t have Fun

I recently had an argument over the validity of 3v3 Starcraft 2. My position was that it’s degenerate and someone argued otherwise. The person I was arguing with was actually rather reasonable about it, but someone else came in and accused me of not having fun.

Excuse me?

3v3 being degenerate(regardless of whether it is or not, it feels that way to me) prevents me from having fun. Mashing buttons in some goofy game or playing some silly game type is not at all fun to me, though I can understand that these things might be to other people. I mean, people like things that are goofy and silly all the time, but when it comes to games, I don’t. I find the fun those types of games provide to be too shallow for me. Assuming they are as shallow as I’m implying, who cares? Theres nothing wrong with liking shallow things (it’s more important to just recognize them for what they are). In fact, if all you ever enjoy are deep and sophisticated things, you’re probably pretty boring! Even I’ll indulge a dumb game now and then.

In sort, do not EVER accuse someone of not having fun. Also please don’t accuse me of being too serious and judgmental on how people have fun (even though I haven’t) and then judge me for how I have fun. Because even if I were being judgmental, you’re then viewing fun as monolithically as I was. Also don’t get butthurt if I make an argument that your game of choice sucks. Defend it, if you wish and think I’m wrong — I welcome that — but never think I think LESS of you for enjoying it…. Unless it’s like some old CD Barbie adventure game or something. Then I will definitely judge you.

12 thoughts on “On the topic of “Fun”

  1. I can’t wait for ‘taking games seriously is dumb’ to no longer be in vogue. It is an absolutely retarded debate used, generally, by people either unequipped for a reason discussion, or cowards afraid of losing something they took seriously.

  2. I know, right? I was talking to Aintaer about this and he made a good point about how most people aren’t ‘literate’ in video games yet. You’d think gamers would be, but they aren’t necessarily. They can still see things as “some fun time waster” and don’t understand when people go hunting for the deeper experiences.

  3. I’m a little divided on this issue, myself.
    I do think that there are bad games that people enjoy at some level, and good games that are hard to appreciate.
    But, to extrapolate on the parallel with books or movies, I don’t think fondly of people who exalt these “great” works like Huck Finn or Citizen Kane.
    They’re interesting to appreciate if you are of the right background, but I think they are not strictly better than more accessible material.
    Though now I’m sort of wondering if people born in 2100 will get what anybody ever liked about our games.

  4. I’m pretty much right up there with you, Kayin.

    There is more than one way to have fun with video games. And just because it isn’t the way *I* would have fun with a video game doesn’t mean it’s not the way *YOU* would have fun with a video game, either.

    For example: I recognize that most Final Fantasy games are, on technical levels, “good” games. However, I do not ENJOY playing these games. The turn-based combat system, frankly, bores me. And if I wanted to read a bunch of menus, I’d go to various restaurants. If I wanted to read a bunch of dialogue, I’d buy a book or download a movie script. If I wanted watch stellar CGI animation with voice actors, I’d rent a Pixar movie. I do not find these elements to be fun when playing games.

    Inversely, I love playing Mortal Kombat Trilogy. MKT is incredibly unbalanced, just by the existence of the boss characters. Shang Tsung’s morphs literally FREEZE the game for a moment, while it loads up the next character, and the dial-a-combo system basically only requires memorization and basic hand-eye coordination motor skills. But, the game is FUN.

    However. very good friends of mine find the exact opposite true, of those exact two games.

    The same can be extended to movies, as well; If I never watch anything that is filed under Blockbuster’s “Drama” section, I think I could be perfectly okay with that. But I really enjoy goofy comedies and over-the-top action flicks. A movie doesn’t have to be serious to be enjoyable.

    So, Kayin, I say, good on you, sir. You have fun your way, I will have fun my way, and we can have fun together, when our fun-paths cross. A+.

  5. Well actually the post is more about not confusing fun and quality or criticism with not fun, but sure, that too.

  6. Ugh, thinking about how people abuse the word fun makes me rant.

    I really dislike the word fun. I like *having* fun, but I hate it when that penultimate word of subjectivity is thrown around as a standardized grading scale for the quality of a game. And then review sites score games with a sub-score of “fun factor.”

    ><

    Okay, rant about over-abuse of fun over. Sorry about that.

  7. For some reason part of my post got cut out between the >< and the "Okay, rant over".

    But yeah, some people think fun is to games like words are to books and visuals are to movies….

  8. Pingback: Links Roundup: 29th November 2010 « Jonathan Drain’s D20 Source: Dungeons & Dragons Blog

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