Tag Archives: fun

“Science isn’t always a great substitute for fun.”

Justin McElroy, in a short and sweet dual-review with Dave Tach at Polygon:

For example: New weapons and items unlock at what feels like a glacially slow pace, but that forced me to focus on becoming competent with the items I had on hand and genuinely improving. Compare that to Call of Duty, where I tend to flit between the shiny objects I seem to unlock after every round and never really live with one long enough to become deadly. For a casual fan like myself, that’s a big plus.

Admittedly, that slow pace (along with the lack of weapon customization) left me without the compulsive burning desire to play “just one more game” only to see what new trinket was right around the corner. It’s an impulse that games like Call of Duty and Destiny have down to a science, but science isn’t always a great substitute for fun.

I want to play more Battlefront because it’s just that: It’s fun.

I vividly recall spending hours with the original Star Wars: Battlefront for PS2. An hours more with Star Wars: Battlefront II. They were unlike any shooter I had ever played. And surprisingly for a licensed game, they were fun.

Back to the piece. Dave Tach:

With the notable exception of Boba Fett (and even he has a bizarre and unwieldy control scheme), I have much more fun as an anonymous Rebel or Stormtrooper. Their modes are much more interesting than the movie hero power trip.

I recall feeling initially jarred when diving into the original. I had come in with the expectation that I’d be questing as one of the franchises heroes, and it turned out to be my first experience of the Star Wars universe outside of the perspective of said heroes. I quickly became fond running missions in anonymity. I had an avatar in the Star Wars universe with no preconceived story arc. In turn, anonymity only amplified my desire to continue playing.

I’ve been looking forward to the Star Wars: Battlefront reboot for a long while now.

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Fun v. Experience

Justin McElroy on the Dying Light episode of Polygon’s Quality Control podcast, edited for clarity:

I think in our profession, our desire is to have an experience and then be able to move on to the next one. There is a pressure on us to be comprehensive in our knowledge and awareness of the medium. So, for a game that can reveal everything it has to say in three or four hours, there’s a real attraction because we can have the entire experience and move on to the next thing.

I think that people who are playing games for fun maybe don’t have the same sort of voracious compulsion to get to the end, which I would separate from rushing through a game. I think it’s more of a desire to have had the full experience and then be able to move on to the next thing.

This describes exactly the reason I play video games now. Unlike McElroy, I am not expected to have comprehensive knowledge and awareness of the medium, but for the sake of my blog and personal interests, I try to. I certainly love writing about video games and the industry at large, but actually playing video games has become more about connecting with the zeitgeist rather than enjoying and immersing myself in the experience.

In my gaming heyday, I could pour countless hours into Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Starcraft, and Heroes of Might & Magic III simply for pleasure and to perfect my strategies. I played Star Fox 64 over and over just for fun. I spent an obscene amount of time playing Final Fantasy X just to be swept away. Today, there are plenty of video games I enjoy (see my reviews of Monument Valley and Rocksmith 2014), but it has been a long while since one has repeatedly beckoned to me to spend hours playing for fun. Instead, I find myself dipping into a game for a few hours to understand it on a mechanical, design, and experience level just to be part of the conversation. Hell, I spent $60 on Super Smash Bros. for Wii U only to tap out after 2 hours. (Queue Nani McElroy.)

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