Fun and Games

This isn’t a recent post by Yehuda but it’s one I hadn’t read before. I had been meaning to pop over there are start reading through the posts and as I was sitting here thinking about getting my paperwork done I realized this was a perfect time to do just that!

Primarily I find the post interesting because I’m not certain exactly what to think about it. The point seems to be that games as a concept do not need to be fun but that any game that would be played for fun would of course need to be fun and thus goes into games as an “art form”.

Slightly diverging from this for me is the idea that some games intrigue me because of their concepts but then don’t get played again for the exact reason we are discussing: they weren’t fun. Still, this could be likened to seeing a non-enjoyable movie. There are some movies I walk out of thinking “Well, I’m glad I saw it but I’m glad it’s over”. This goes for some books I read as well. The journey wasn’t really enjoyable but that doesn’t mean I regret the time investment.

On the other hand, no matter how cool the concept is, if I buy a game and only play it once I’m probably going to regret the price I payed for it.

I just wanted to link to this post. I think people should check it out and think about it for themselves. Even if they didn’t find this post “fun”.


    Yehuda makes a case for games as art, which he clarifies further down the page, that “games”, like movies and other mediums, should be a viable medium for artistic expression. And that artistic expression may exist alongside commercial appeal but in fact one has nothing to do with the other.

    He also goes on to explain that games for sale must be fun to succeed.

    I absorbed this information by thinking, “Interesting point, though personally if I want to express myself artistically I’ll draw or do something in 3d, possibly write.”

    I agree that games should be a valid medium for artistic expression (Roger Ebert is spinning his wheels). This despite the fact that I like games primarily for their entertainment value, and certainly any game I design is one which succeeds, by my internal barometer, when I enjoy playing it.


    The other point here I find of interest is whether entertainment has intrinsic value, and whether games should aspire to “build character.” I have wavered on this idea in the past but recently felt that life just wouldn’t be very worthwhile if it didn’t contain fun. There can be many ways to have fun but the entertainment I get from playing a game is one which works very well for me, and it’s hard to beat the relaxation, stress reduction, happiness, and other benefits derived from it. Entertainment? Not a waste of time, and possibly just as lofty a goal as “building character.”

    If building character gets in the way of having fun it probably means I won’t like the game… which is different, for me anyway, than certain other media like movies. I may be in the minority but I can appreciate, and even enjoy, movies which aren’t strictly fun. Appreciate, sure, but enjoy? Yes. I could probably list examples, but this may also beg the question of how I define “enjoy” and “fun,” where essentially what I’m talking about is whether the experience produces in me a sense of happiness. A few horror movies I’ve enjoyed produced a genuine sense of fright, fear, or dread, and I enjoyed them for that reason. Perhaps it’s the challenge to overcome those negative feelings, and in doing so I’m producing my own happiness as a result? Not sure, but enjoyment occurred. Similarly, some movies I’ve found intensely sad, yet produced and filmed in a way which ultimately resulted in my enjoyment.

    Back to games, it’s never worked the same way for me, I just don’t enjoy them if they’re not any fun. Is that a reflection of games lacking artistic merit? Certainly not the potential for it. I think it just has more to do with why I play games: to have fun.