Beyond Xbox #3: Can or should videogames only be "fun"?

Drawing on this post from Garnet Lee on Twitter:

GarnettLee Played some R6Vegas2 with the thought of maybe finishing it but put it down when I realized it felt more like work than fun

What is the value of fun with a videogame versus the so-called “fun” with every other medium? Can videogames only be fun or is there something else that can be garnered from them instead of classifying them as only being able to be fun? For one thing, every great videogame does not only bring fun. As with many things in life, it isn’t fair to pigeon hold videogames into only being able to or should only give you one type of satisfaction.

Something has to give, but funny enough, it already has with most gamers failing to realize. Games like Bioshock, Ninja Gaiden 1 & 2, Condemned 1 & 2, and just about every horror game there is aren’t exactly exuding an abundance of fun yet we still love to play them for other reasons. Just as a great deal of movies and television shows are praised for being thought provoking, intense, dramatic, or what have you. Isn’t it only natural that videogames pursue the same values when called for. The old adage that videogames automatically equal fun should be on the chopping block and for good reason.

On first thought, whenever someone describes a videogame inevitably the first thing to ask is about is how fun is it? Now, surely that’s not all the attachment we get from videogames. Is it so trivial that we look beyond the immediate “fun factor”? While playing a game like Ninja Gaiden, it isn’t any fun to have your ass handed to you time after time, but the accomplishment you feel when you do make it passed that certain enemy, challenge, or situation is something that all other mediums will never have. So, why is it that we are so quick to over look that? Boiling all things gaming down to “fun” is a disgraceful act that none of us should stand for unless we continue to only want to be lazy.

[image source]

-William “thewilleffect” Bell-

6 Responses

  1. one game that truly comes to mind when i read this is when i ploayed through the half life series. sure it was pretty fun, but what truly brought me back to the game was the story line and how compelling it was…so i agree with you, you want fun….go to an arcade…..

  2. Eh, you don’t play a game if you aren’t having fun in *some* way. Horror games you somehow enjoy and somehow have fun playing, just like watching horror movies.

  3. When you think of fun, you don’t immediately think of horror though, do you? Yeah, there’s an adrenaline rush from it for sure, but no one would call it “fun”. What the hell is “fun” anyway?

    Like many I’ve been playing Ninja Gaiden 2 and I’ve been enjoying it, but I can’t say I’ve been having allot of “fun” getting my ass kicked consistently. The term fun needs to be banished I feel. Mainly, because normally if you try to describe a game to someone and you don’t use the word fun, it somehow immediately is a turn off or means the game isn’t good.

  4. Honestly, if your enjoying yourself, your having fun. Thing is, everyones version of “fun” is different.

  5. Ninja Gaiden II isn’t fun to me, it’s a dedication to overcoming adversity. What drives me isn’t enjoyment but my pride. I gave up on Ninja Gaiden 1, I ran away because it beat me. I won’t let that be repeated. DMC 4 fell, and so will Ninja Gaiden II.

    On the subject of Horror Games, Being Scared is fun because of the rush of adrenaline. Facing you Fears is one of life’s greatest enjoyments.

  6. […] there. The game is fun! That’s right, it’s fun. And that’s coming from someone who hates the word fun, because it’s usually a cop out word used when no real opinion is going to be offered up or […]

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