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Do Video Games Have to Be Fun?

This is a huge question brought to our attention thanks to a Ninja tweet from 2020. Do games have to be fun? Will Heath breaks down the question to help us understand.

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LucasRuinedChildhood53d ago (Edited 53d ago )

I don't really get why this is such a regularly debated topic. As long as a game has a strong hook that keeps you playing, it doesn't have to be fun in the traditional sense.

A horror game in the vein of Alien Isolation or Outlast is not necessarily "fun", and they can actually be very unpleasant, but the intensity of the experience keeps you playing.

Outlast isn't fun at all, really. You feel utterly powerless, and the music and sound design's main goal is to deeply unnerve you. That doesn't mean that it's not compelling though.

You can apply this concept to pretty much anything, e.g. leaning into realism or a narrative. It just needs to be a worthwhile experience.

Exari53d ago

I think its a debate because the word "fun" in games means different things to different ppl. Like for me, if I'm having a good time, then it's fun.

Others may consider games with darker themes or sad stories not fun, maybe since the character in game is going through tough times so saying "fun" sounds weird?

To each their own definition I guess

bouzebbal53d ago

I won't call Resident Evil 7 VR a fun game tbh... There is a lot more to it than fun factor.

CS752d ago

I think the bigger conversation to be had was should ‘video games’ be called ‘games’...

And I know this is radical. But hear me out...

So interactive entertainment started with limited pixel based graphics. Think “Pong”/“Mario”
With limited resolution the only thing compelling that could have been made with 8-bit graphics is more advanced toys - called video games.

Nowadays we have 4K, near photo realistic graphics. Which can be used for much, much more!

“Games” are out growing the title games.

Anything interactive is now called a “game”. The problem with calling everything “interactive” a “video game” creates a problem. Because a “game” has to be fun. A “game” that isn’t fun isn’t a good game.

But let’s hypothetically create a “video game documentary”, basically a interactive documentary that explores “Elephants in the Safari” It releases in 4K on PS5. This “documentary experience” has the power to be miles ahead of what is offered on film, but it would never be a good “game” unless “fun” elements are shoe horned in.

If this documentary is the greatest elephant documentary in the world, game sites would review it as a poor game, though it is engaging, educational and everything a good documentary should be!

Take for simple recent example: Death Stranding.
It is an engaging experience? Yes!
Is it a good game? I’m not too sure, because it is built to be engaging, not “fun”.

“Walking simulators” are in a similar situation.

Games limit interactive experiences to the shackle of “fun” that ultimately holds the medium back.

Books generally aren’t fun.
Films doesn’t necessarily mean fun.

Both CAN BE fun if the creator wants them to be.

Yet we have an interactive medium that has the potential to far eclipse the experiences of both books and movies and it is called “games”.

So am I saying “games” should become dreary and boring? Hell no.

Fun games should always exist for those who want it.

But it would be sad if every film HAD to have comedy elements in it.

The interactive medium of “video games” are capable of so much more and I think its kinda sad that it is tied to a name that implies that it has to be fun.

Neonridr54d ago

I mean I'd say that's the primary factor. Lots of really good looking games have turned out to be duds, just like lots of graphically inferior games have turned out to be stars.

What's the point of playing a game if it isn't fun first?

franwex53d ago (Edited 53d ago )

Even The Last of Us Part 2 is actually a lot of fun. The story is meh, but the gameplay is good.

It’s an entertainment medium-so it could try to explore a bunch themes-but ultimately it’s a medium that has to rely on being more fun than others to be captivating.

roadkillers53d ago

I was wondering if aomeone would mention Last of Us. Never played the 2nd, but the first could be equal parts fun and other parts work.

Jeriphro53d ago

It's a good question. Something like What Remains of Edith Finch is not a "fun" great, although it is a brilliant game. And sure, fun depends on the individual as well, as it is a subjective feeling. One person can kind Fortnite super-fun while the next person finds it infuriating, but it is still a question to wonder as you branch out and think of titles that challenge the player in unique ways.

GamingSinceForever53d ago

No one is going to willingly sit through anything that they do not find entertaining unless they are forced to such as work, doctor's orders, or saving the marriage/family. Lol!

Not all games are fun to everyone. However the game has to be fun to those that actually sit through and play them otherwise its a major time and life.

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