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I Can't Let This Blow Over
by Richard Terrell on 04/18/12 09:37:00 am   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

Jonathan Blow and I have a history (see here and here and here). He makes a suggestion, video game, speech, or offhanded comment, and I respond at length. If you haven't heard of the controversy surrounding Phil Fish at the screening of Indie Game the movie at GDC, basically Fish said that modern Japanese games "just suck." His opinion? Sure. Wrong way to express it? Yes. Apologies to follow. Indeed. But like I said in my GDC Reflections, the fact that someone voiced an opinion isn't what upsets me. It's that the opinions many do have and the way they express them reflects some deep, damaging, and disturbing realities about our industry and the gamers that populate it.

There are few as eloquent and intelligent as Blow in the games industry. In a video interview, he had this to say. Watch the video first here, then continue reading for my response. 

 

 

It's a common thing among game designers especially these days to get into discussions about fun, right? And they're difficult discussions to have because fun is a very amorphous word... What it means to you may not even be the same thing that it means to me.

Again, we know that Blow is smart. But what's not obvious is exactly what's being said here. And as I've claimed, a big part of the issue language. Fun is not an elusory far-reaching abstract concept. A big mistake people often make is thinking because people find different things fun that fun is an "amorphous" constantly shifting concept. I've already straightened out this language and concept issue in my series The Zero-Sum Funomaly. One of the big takeaways from part 1 of the series is a revised notion or definition of "fun" that I developed. Fun is whatever a person willingly puts their time and attention to unforced.

With this simple yet powerful definition, we can easily tell when a person is having fun playing a game. As long as they keep playing it, they're having fun. As soon as they stop playing it, they don't find it fun (perhaps because they have something else they'd rather pursue that's more attractive). This definition also avoids using one's biased or personal view of fun to judge others. 

 

I used to play counter strike quite a lot. I might offhandedly say, 'that's a really fun game, and that's why I play it.' But it is not a fun game. It is a grueling, grueling, punishing, brutal game.

With my definition of fun, we don't have to make weak distinctions like Blow does here. Of course Counter Strike is fun for those who play it. Even when players are upset, angry, and on the verse of throwing their keyboards, they're still having fun. The fact that games allow us to experience a range of emotions within a safe context where there are practically no real-life penalties, allows us to have fun being angry or experiencing other "less desirable" emotions. It's the same way that fiction works. It's the same reason why people go to scary movies. Yes, it's unsettling. Yes, it's uncomfortable at times. Yes, it can be frightening. But it's all safe, all voluntary participation, and all fun. 

 

I don't like to use the word fun too much to describe what I try to do.   

Obviously Blow has issues with the basic concept or definition of fun. And though he probably hasn't heard of my particular definition of the term, the basic dictionary definition still applies to the games and experiences Blow seeks to create. So I can only imagine that Blow's aversion of the basic use of a simple word is the product of the prolonged exposure to the discourse of gamers who have failed to use English to communicate effectively. 

I understand what Blow is saying here. He's saying that he tries to create games that create a range of experiences that aren't all "fun" in the sense of pleasurable, mindless, happy, entertainment. However, I'm pushing back on this notion that fun is limited to these types of experiences. Quite simply, fun can encompass all of kinds of experiences because people can find anything entertaining, attractive, and pleasurable. By respecting what others find fun/pleasurable/entertaining/etc., we simultaneously broaden our view and understanding of what fun is. 

 

I appreciate it if players find a game that I make enjoyable right, and hopefully it is...but it's usually not the point. Like I said, Braid is not really a fun game for many people, probably most people.

Braid is a fun game for everyone who plays it. And for those who find the game no longer interesting, worth their time, or if the game is too frustrating, the game is no longer fun. Trying to defend this idea that Braid is not fun only weakens Blow's already myopic position. It's one thing to state that most people who play Braid don't complete it. It's one thing to say that when most players stop playing Braid it's because of a period of frustration with not being able to progress through a puzzle. But these realities still can't prove that Braid isn't fun for these gamers as they played it.

The word fun has a clear definition which I have made easier to grasp with my version. If Blow is trying to say something that doesn't fit the definition of fun, then he needs additional statements to make his thoughts clear. I don't think Blow is trying to say something very meaningful here. I think his understanding of game design and fun clash as evident from examples I'll explain below. 

 

And [Braid is] not designed to be fun.

In this context, this statement does more harm than good. Here at Critical-Gaming we do not consider authorial intent in our analysis. It doesn't matter how Blow thinks about Braid or how he intended to design Braid. I don't think Blow intended for this statement to be a valid premise of his argument. Rather he's trying to make a distinction between different notions, or definitions, of "fun" though there is only one. 

 

[Braid is] designed to be interesting and designed to provide the player with difficult mental challenges. To me that's the meat of that game and what' makes it different. You can call that fun in the same way that we might call Counter Strike fun, but that leads to discussions that are hard to have I think. 

Blow unknowingly contradicts himself here. At the top of the conversation, Blow essentially states that people find different things fun (assuming for different reasons). We all know this to be true from general life experience. But what he says here doesn't match up. Take me for an example. As an aspiring puzzle master (see list of puzzle games I've played here) I can state with absolute confidence that I love interesting mental challenges of all kinds. I think about them, design them, solve them, and seek them in the games that I play. Therefore, it's clear that being puzzled and puzzling solving are fun to me. 

I also find competitive multiplayer games like Counter Strike fun, but for different reasons. Yes, both Braid and Counter Strike are fun to me. I have no problem calling both fun. It's not the classification of "fun" that makes the discussion hard here. It's that without a critical-language and an understanding ofgame design 101 (genre, skill, emergence, etc.), one would have a hard time comparing the design of both games. But the issue here is not identifying if there are parts of Braid's design that is analogous to the design of Counter Strike (for the purpose of finding the "fun" that both games share). Because different things can be fun for different reasons, such an investigation tends to be less fruitful. The real issue here is one of pride and perspective, which, at its heart, is about accepting that other people find different things fun.  

 

------------------------------------------

In movies we have all these different genre of movie. And when you go to a different genre of movie you have different emotional expectations, right?  They are still these commercial experiences in that you feel that I paid to go to this comedy so it better be funny... but that is not the expectation that you would have going to see a drama or going to see a documentary or whatever, right? In games we don't seem to have that, right? Everybody expects to have this fun thing out of all genre of games.

When I pick up a new Professor Layton game I expect to participate in an experience that will be mysterious, puzzling, and light-hearted, yet with some more somber emotional notes. This is analogous to my expectations going to see a mystery movie/play. When I played some of Heavy Rain, I expected a more gritty, dramatic experience similar to the ones that populate film and TV. When I bought Rhythm Heaven, I expected a whimsical, musical experience with a wacky synergy ala Seuss. And yes, I expect all of these experiences to be fun. But being fun doesn't say much in itself. All it means is that I expect these experiences to be interesting enough to hold my attention. And because I find a wide range of experiences interesting, there's a good chance that they will. Maybe not through to the whole game, but that's another issue. So when Blow makes the generalization that all gamers expect their gaming experiences to be fun, he's not saying much either. And if Blow means that all gamers expect their games to be highly simulating and pleasurable in a limited set of ways, he's generalizing to a fault. And he certainly glosses over the fact that games already provide a wide range of experiences and emotional experiences already. 

 

Like right now our genres are more along mechanical lines rather than emotional likes. We have an RTS versus a FPS. Like maybe we ought to have a different categorization. Like fun game versus ... we would have to invent these category names...like I feel happy while I'm playing this. Or I feel like I'm confronted with grueling choices while playing this.  I feel powerful while playing this versus I feel helpless and I'm always trying to scrabble along. 

I think Blow complicates his thinking by conflating "fun" as a narrow emotional-experiential category. Fun is more than feeling happy. Again, because people can find may things fun (especially in a safe environment), feeling "happy," "confronted," "powerful," and "helpless" all can be fun experiences. If Blow is suggesting that video games should push past the safety zones and actually threaten players so that they're actually confronted are actually helpless to prevent real-life consequences, then these kinds of experiences wouldn't be fun. Remember, play is an important part of fun and play must be unforced. And some would argue that a game ceases to be a game when the stakes are serious or grave. I don't think this is what Blow is suggestion, but I do think his notion of fun is too narrow and conflated. 

 

Those are very different emotional places to play. We're only just really getting started exploring those as game designers. And I think that there is a lot of interesting work to be done there building these interesting things and seeing how people feel when they play them.

I really don't like it when people say that video games are only starting to appeal to a wide array of emotional experiences. Video games have been doing these this for years and years now. Blow may have a point with mainstream games, but such is the nature of anything mainstream. There will always be this balancing act between what appeals to people in general versus what appeals to smaller groups of people with special and selective tastes. The niche will never be mainstream. And if it does grow to such levels of popularity, then it will no longer be niche. There's a diametric opposition between these sides. 

 

------------------------------------

So I don't play very many Japanese games anymore and ... but the reason is that I've concluded that I don't like modern Japanese games.

This is a strong statement to open up a discussion with. And whether you're for or against the design trends of modern Japanese games, in cases like this you should demand clarity and specificity. Before I say anything more, understanding that I'm quoting Blow from a gamespot interview and that I'm not blaming him for any lacking support to his claims. However, I will point out that without this support and clarity, Blow say little that is meaningful therefore. Because Blow is vague my responses will be somewhat general.

It would be ideal if Blow backed himself up with a list of all the games he's played Japanese and otherwise. It would be great if he could point out Japanese games that he liked and pinpoint approximately when the design of Japanese games changed to the point of him losing interest. We just don't have enough to go on to even understand Blows position let alone respond to it in detail.

 

What i strive to do with my own games which you can see in Braid and is carried over in the Whitness ... is to respect the player as an intelligent person who can figure things out and who wants to discover things or come to understand more things that they knew at the start of the game.

First, I'll say that as a game designer I respect the player too. Though I've only made a few small games so far (download here), I see myself becoming the kind of game designer who will put the player first in hopes that the player will give me a bit of time and patience to deliver a truly unique and interesting experience. With that said I think that all players are dumb. We're about as equally dumb or equally smart if that's how you'd rather phrase it. Giving hints, tutorials, and other ways of scaffolding the player's learning process doesn't disrespect the player's time or intelligence. I'm working on a grand thesis/model for learning that should prove this. So, for now I want to focus on the two elements of being a player that Blow respects; 1) players can figure things out; 2) players can discover/understand new things.

Of course the player can figure things out. From blind trial-and-error to problem solving methods that take much more cognitive ability, players bring a variety of learning abilities to the table. And in a goal oriented challenge, being able to figure out how to reach the goal without much help can be very important experience. Also, players are bound to discover and understand new things about the game as they progress through it. This is how humans work. We remember and eventually memorize experiences from our lives. While these elements of being a player are natural, Blow did not explain in the video how he goes about respecting these elements. Instead of the Do's we go immediately into some Don'ts. 

 

I want to respect my player's time. I don't want to give the player like a lot of filler just because I feel like gameplay ought to be 60 hours long.

I am currently writing an article called Infinite Undiscovery. In it I debunk all objective definitions of grinding and filler gameplay challenges. I also go on to talk about design spaces, meaningful variation, and how understanding human learning limitations can give us the framework with which to evaluate pacing in video games as well as excessive content. As you may have gleaned, it takes quite a sophisticated argument to get around the highly subjective components of terms like "filler" and "grinding." Basically, as it's used now, filler is just an opinion. To see beyond one's own biases it's important to understand what it means to Embrace the Abstraction, a concept I explain in my article. And because Blow doesn't give any specific examples here, which are necessary to focus the discussion and support his claims, we're left to draw connections between what Blow says and the video games video clips that are paired with his words. 

 

Most modern Japanese games that I play take the opposite stance completely. They take the stance that the player is afraid of your game and if you're not very careful holding the player's hand through everything, then he player will run away or just won't be able to handle it.

Again I find it hard to take anything meaningful from this statement because Blow has not offered any specific examples. We all know that all Japanese games aren't the same. We know that though there are trends, there are many examples that buck the trend. So without having a specific game to talk about here, we can't get any more insight than we can from Blow's previous generalities. 

I find it hard to accept Blow's exaggeration here. To claim that there's even a small trend in Japanese games where they explicitly teach and guide the player through "everything" is ridiculous. Tutorials typically make up such a small part of a game's overall content. However the player is taught, the point is that they take those lessons and skills and apply them to progress through many challenges. A game with more tutorial than non-tutorial content would be more of a satire than a game. To say that modern Japanese games push the balance so far as to become satires is just ignorant. I also find it hard to accept anything that Blow says here when he stated up front that he doesn't play many modern Japanese games.

 

I don't think that's an actual cultural difference, right? I think it's just ... sometimes industries get an idea about the right way to make game and they sort of get the wrong idea. There are lots of things that western... industrial scale game designer like EA or Activision ... that they've concluded are the right way to design game that I think are totally wrong. So this is like the Japanese version of that.  

Often there is a fine line between what is a cultural influence and what is not. And though Blow doesn't explicitly detail the design decisions he speaks about, I think I may have some idea. I'm certainly not going to put words in his mouth then argue against them. What I will say is that I've been keeping track of western (American) and Japanese design trends and have devised different cultural explanations for their popularity. Soon I'll present part of my research. Until then, I can only say that I find it unlikely that what EA/Activision are doing is "totally wrong." That's a bit of a strong stance. 

 

[Japanese games] don't just give you a simple situation and let you work it out, they explicitly tell you what to do and then says it's not hard, don't be worried, go ahead you try now, you know. And then you try and you do it, and half way where you're in the middle of doing it, it stops you and it says now remember during the next part, you know, rotate the block to the right. Once you've done that  it eliminates the joy of discovery which, like I said,  I really value. I really value that click that happens in your head between  you see something that you don't quite understand and suddenly you do understand it. That is a fundamental part of human existence in the world, is that kind mental growth; that kind of expanding my mental sphere of of the world.

Perhaps some of you have been waiting for me to talk about Zelda. Though Blow didn't give any specific examples, the video shows clips of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword while blow makes the statement above. In response, first I want to state that I think Zelda is the hardest game to review, critique, and talk about. I've explained why under the Zelda section in my 2012 GOTY article

Blow's bias for puzzle games is obvious. And his inability to talk about, I assume, Zelda and other Japanese games is clear. In nearly all Zelda games there is a gradual acclimation or tutorial process. At the beginning of the game players are lead to learn about the world, story, their role, the controls, and the general Zelda style experience. As the game progresses, the challenge increases as well as the openness of the gameplay. By mid to late game players have access to many areas and side quests and story quests that can be done and layered together in different orders and combinations. This kind of overall game progression meshes nicely with how stories typically develop, player skill develops, and the particular style/themes of coming of age stories or adventure stories where the hero leaves home. Home, in this case, is a more structured, simpler, and instructive environment while the dangerous world beyond is more open, challenging, complex, and with no instruction. 

In some ways it is foolish to think that Braid is any different from Zelda in this way. Braid has mandatory challenges that, after some point, can be done somewhat in different orders. Braid has tutorial like challenges that help the player learn very core concepts through very linear challenges. Braid has explicit tutorial information like on screen button prompts and some text/images to help the player along. And despite these things, Braid also lets the player experiment, discover, and solve things on their own. 

But the biggest mistake Blow makes here is thinking that all games should be like puzzle games. It's clear that Blow likes puzzle games, has a puzzling mind, and seeks to make experiences that reflect these two facts. As I've explained thoroughly on this blog, puzzle game stress knowledge skills almost exclusively. And deep puzzle games, that are built around understanding concepts, putting them together in new ways, reading, and possibly double reading, in particular suffer from what we call the spoiler effect. Once someone tells you the answer to a puzzle like this, it becomes nearly impossible to unlearn the solution and solve it on your own. The puzzle is effectively ruined. So for all such puzzle game experiences, explicitly telling the player everything would detract from the experience.

In general, Zelda games do not spoil puzzles by forcing the players to read or watch the solutions. Though there are hints, they are almost all optional. And certainly, Japanese games in general don't explicitly tell the player what to do throughout the entire game. It would be much wiser for Blow to compare Braid, a puzzle game, to a Japanese puzzle game of the same ilk like... Pushmo, one of my GOTY of 2012. 

Also, Zelda is a massive game that's made up of 3 main gameplay types, adventuring/exploring, puzzle solving, and combat. Basically, Zelda games run the gamut of play experiences with puzzle challenges that mainly focus on knowledge skills, exploration that relies on a bit of knowledge and the other real-time DKART skills, and combat that relies mostly on the action skills. It's clear that for a gameplay challenge that relies only on knowledge and figuring things out, telling the player is a bad idea. However, real-time challenges (which make up a very large part of the Zelda experience) stress the entire DKART skill spectrum. Sometimes you have to figure out how to win in combat. But even in these situations, execution is where the player experiences the most diversity of skill and engagement.

So, to focus the real-time combat gameplay on execution, which is a legitimate type of experience to focus gameplay around, it helps to inform the player of certain things. Yes, players can use trial-and-error  to figure out how to get through any gameplay challenge eventually. But, it's more important to consider how easy the game makes figuring things out (scaffolding) and what kind of experience the game focuses on with its design. 

That click or what I call the Eureka moment, is a fundamental part of problem solving. But problem solving isn't a fundamental part of gameplay experiences or all human experiences. 

 

When you build that kind of game where ok I'm going to tell you what to do and then you do it... you're not going to lose the player, but you've prevented that player from having any joy of discovery at all. I don't play games that are like that. As I said during IndieGame the movie panel not all Japanese games are like that. You can certainly find exceptions. There are some notable exceptions that came out recently. But when I think Japanese games that's what I think.

In a game such as Zelda Skyward Sword there are many different types of experiences and gameplay challenges that the player can explore. Being told about one aspect of a challenge or experience doesn't prevent the player from discovering something great in a related aspect. Like I explained above, getting help with your knowledge skills might make the discovery of the dexterity skills happen more quickly or more effectively or more memorably. 

It seems that many gamers don't realize that though the skill floor for many games may be easier with modern games, the skill ceilings and the diversity of experiences is still very high. There's a lot of room in many games for the player to adjust the difficulty up.

Blow claims that the kinds of Japanese game he likes are the exception, but I think it's the opposite. My gaming history is public, so you can judge for yourself how many modern games I have direct experience with. I'm always looking to expand my list and my tastes. But based on my experience, I can't help but walk away from this discussion thinking that Blow isn't trying very hard.  

 

I feel like it's important to have these conversation if our cultures have value to each other, part of that value is communicating what we perceive in other cultures. It's easy to be too afraid of that. I don't know if the controversy ought to be the focus, I think that there is actually an interesting design discussion to be had there, and I would like for that to be the focus. 

Before we can "perceive...other cultures" we must first understand our own perspective. I'm not impressed with some of the things I heard at GDC or in this video. Yes, there are deep and interesting discussion to have here about design, learning, and culture, but I don't think Blow is making any meaningful steps toward that goal besides stating that we should have these discussion and being a thoughtful guy in general. If Blow or anyone else wants to have a real conversation, then feel free to contact me. I've been working on the understanding and language to talk about game design for years. My blog is an open book of my thoughts (literally it's two 800 page books sitting on my table). You can see all the places where I've been wrong and have grown over the years. All of the specifics and support are here. 


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Comments


Aleksander Adamkiewicz
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And people on this site constantly tell me that we do not have a problem with communication in the industry...

Richard Terrell
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That depends, of course, on how deeply/clearly we want to communicate. If we want to keep things vague and surface level, we're doing great.

If we want to dig in and really communicate, then that will always take work. Patience. Listening. Research. Work. And the crazy part is, we can always go deeper by drawing more connections between specific cases.

Richard Terrell
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oops. put the post in the wrong place.

E McNeill
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You present a very comprehensive, clear definition of fun: "fun is whatever you are willing to do or subject yourself to free of coercion".

The problem is that nobody else uses this definition of fun, so you can't really solve the problems that Blow mentions. To use the cliched example, I would never call Schindler's List "fun". If I did, people would sooner see me as a sociopath than assume I'm using such a broad definition. From this perspective, your definition is not very useful, no matter how clean it is.

Richard Terrell
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Thanks.

I don't see that as a problem at all. Schindler's list fits. Someone else had commented that we don't think of going to a funeral as being "fun." But I think we do in many ways. The key is not to think of fun as just pleasurable, sensory, "saccharine" experiences. Yes, those are obviously liked by most people, but they don't cover the entire range.

And the core of the matter is, though you may think it's twisted/backwards, some people do find sad/repulsive/painful experiences pleasurable. And in many ways, the test to reveal your own feelings is whether or not you'll watch Schindler's list without coercion. If you do, some part of you feels that you'll be better off having watched that movie. Whether you take history more seriously, movies more seriously, or you just enjoy feeling such emotions from the safety of your couch, all of these are plausible reasons to find Schindler's list fun.

So my definition is exactly useful especially when it reveals that we all seek experiences outside of the obvious pleasures. It shows us that we're more complex than commercials and media paints us to be.

E McNeill
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Your definition can be useful once it has been accepted by all parties in a conversation. However, it isn't. You can propose a formal definition for a word (essentially asking people to use it in a certain way), but if they use it in another way, you can't fault them for it. Most people use fun more narrowly than you do, and so Blow's point (that the word, as normally used, only describes a too-narrow range of experiences) remains true.

I could just as easily pick another word, like "sweet", and apply an equally broad definition. "Something is 'sweet' if people would rather have/do it than not". I could then claim that, under my definition, funerals and Schindler's List are "sweet". But as long as my definition remains out of wide use, I'm still just confusing most of the people I could converse with.

Edit: Thanks, Jacob; I agree. I didn't see your post until I had submitted mine.

Richard Terrell
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I don't know if you've read my other article series (The Zero-Sum Funomaly) where I specifically talk about fun. But in it, I use the common dictionary.com definition and derive my refined definition. So I don't see it as a new version, just a more refined, less biased way of expressing the same idea.

You say that people don't understand my version of the word. It's the opposite. People easily understand it, they just may not know what to make of the statement itself. This is not a problem with the word or my definition, but of the limitations of simple sentences/statements.

The problem isn't my definition but the narrow views and personal biases we try to fit others into.

For example, I really like spicy food. Even when it burns my mouth and my stomach, I enjoy eating it. Even when there are tears streaming down my face and I'm writhing in pain. Eating spicy food is fun for me by my definition and the common understanding of the word. You may not understand why I like being in pain or what pleasure I get out of it, but when I say "eating spicy food and all the pain that comes with it is fun" you understand exactly what I mean. I may be strange to you, but you still understand.

Even if I have to explain why I think something is fun with additional statements, the word and the way I think we should use it stands.

Whether my version of fun is accepted by all parties in a conversation isn't the problem. After all, I derived it from the common, every day, dictionary definition. Your "sweet" example doesn't apply because you broadened and extended your version of the word.

I know it sounds like I'm being a bit dodgy. But I've looked very closely at the language involved here. And in general, I don't let the uninformed and misusers of a word hold me back. It's up to people who take the time and care about the words to set things straight for everyone. I don't expect "most people" to understand "most things" without some explanation. Being explicit and thorough isn't a bad thing either.

Richard Terrell
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@ Jacob

"All things which contradict having fun at a funeral."
Yes, words have different meanings/definitions. We usually use context to sort out the difference between making fun of someone and having fun with something. Having these different meanings isn't a unique issue to the word "fun" nor is it a problem forsorting out the meaning of the word.

"But that doesn't really prove that it's a valid metric to use when judging/explaining the quality of a game."
Of course not. I never argued for this.

"You're discarding his ideas unfairly, I guess is what I'm saying. "
I'm glad you're bringing the discussion back to something concrete/specific. I feel that I gave J.Blow a lot of leeway with my response. But the biggest problem I have with it is that he suffers from glaring biases in how he understands what fun is. Like many, when he hears fun he thinks of super happy, surgery, pleasurable kinds of experiences. It's obvious why he has this reaction and it's easy to imagine the kind of discourse that he frequents to give him this bias. But I have a problem with the very idea of trying to narrow down what "fun" means to be more specific because that will invariably expose one's bias and rudely dismiss what someone else legitimately feels is fun.

" It just doesn't seem like a useful description when -- by your own definition -- it can describe literally any activity, even those that cause physical or emotional pain. "
Just because can "can be anything" doesn't make the word useless. After all, when people make games they design them with a specific audience in mind with specific similarities in what they like. You try to make the game fun for that audience so that they'll want to play it unforced and spend their money on it. If there are elements that such an audience will/might find un-fun, that's important to know. For when a player finds a game unfun, they'll simply walk away.

"I think it would be great to use more specific terminology, which is what Jon was suggesting when he talked about movies being called a "comedy" or a "drama". It indicates the TYPE of fun that's inside, which I can't see as a bad thing."
Yes, more specific language is always needed to communicate about more specific things. The fairly wide word "fun" isn't a very specific word as we know. We already have a whole language filled with descriptors to help us make more specific statements. There's no need to find fault with the word fun for being relatively simple in its descriptive power. That's what I was trying to say.

Richard Terrell
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@Jacob

I'm just responding to your responses.

If you want to talk about J.Blow content, then quote him. I'm having a hard time figuring out what exactly you're trying to talk about without the quotes. I need to know exactly what lines you want to discuss both of what Blow says and what I say in response.

And I think we're agreeing on most things, but it's hard to tell. Like I said, I gave Blow a lot of leeway, yet I still focused on the direction I interpreted he was going.

Richard Terrell
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@ Jacob

Thanks for sticking with the conversation. I know getting on the same page in a conversation can be a bumpy ride especially asynchronously over the internet. I think I can clear up things on my end. I'll be quoting you a lot just to keep things organized.

______________________

"The point I wanted to direct you to in my reply (didn't realize I should have quoted it) was that "everybody expects to have this fun thing out of all genre of games." .....Average people also don't know what tone to expect from a game, not like they do when going to see a movie, so I thought his concept of categorizing these things was a good one."

In general I think that any kind of grouping and categorization people create is a good thing. I think the problem here stems from the use of generalities. I know that some people don't think highly of video games. I know that some people don't realize that they can carry all kinds of meaning and aren't juvenile wastes of time. But I also know a lot of people who think otherwise. I don't think Blow or you are wrong for potentially being exposed to people who think of games one way versus the other. I just have a really hard time accepting such strong general statements when most of my experiences are to the contrary. I could be living a life filled with exceptions. And I understand that there exists a mass/general/public perception. But I'm not convinced that it's as negative as some say.

Another reason why I push back on the idea that games aren't know for presenting profound ideas is because I think even the most "juvenile" stereotypical gaming examples DO present profound ideas. If you think games are art and you value human expression of all types, then I don't think you can make a distinction between the kind of negatively viewed "power fantasies" that many games seem to represent and the kind of expression that a poem typically has (just an example). In the same way that I think both are legitimate, I don't have a bias for what I label as being "fun." In the same way that people value different types of experiences in art, I think people value different kinds of experience in what they think is fun. I think it's a subtle but grave slipper slope when one starts to talk about "good" expression and "typical" fun.

_____________________

"The main point, though, is that he's advocating experiences which are not just happy, bubblegum experiences (which is what he meant when he used the word "fun", but I'm sure you knew that).You kind of wrote all of this off, again referring to the fact that "fun" could include all of these different emotions. I hoped that by clarifying what Blow meant by "fun", I could hear why you thought he was wrong beyond that. Or even if you DID think he was wrong, because I sincerely couldn't tell. It sounded like you disagreed, but semantics, to me, don't provide good reason to denounce an entire concept. "

I agree that is what Blow is advocating. And yes, I believe I know exactly what Blow means here. I agree that games can evoke all kinds of emotional experiences. I agree that they should (if people want to make those kinds of games (which I'm sure they do, because I do)). I think that I may have glossed over this point because it's something I talk about frequently on my blog. I assume that my readers already knew my strong stance for the same kinds of things Blow advocates. I also think that the entire topic of language, categories, and genre creation is a tricky field to navigate. Language is always changing and as people find the need for new categories they're created. And it's not whether or not there is an actually need but whether a group of people feel there's a need that these groups are created. So, as long as Blow feels like he/we should have new categories, then (at least in some communities/circles) there's a need for them. I think this happens so effortlessly there's no need to call it to action or to dwell on it too much.

_______________________


"Blow also said that "we're only just really getting started exploring those as game designers," and you called this incorrect, but without citing examples. How many games more than 5 years old have really explored a vast array of emotions (successfully)? Rez, maybe? I don't know, but I'd love to hear about them."

I think this is another case where my typical readers know all of the writing I've done over the last 4+ years in support of my stance. Before I give any examples, I want to try to get a better idea of your expectations. Yes, human emotions cover a wide range. Do you think this range is continuous? What I mean by this is that there are the big clear types like happy, glad, sad, angry, and then there's an infinite gray area in between as these emotions are mixed, right? And then there are the emotions and experiences which we can't easily describe or categorize. Do you agree with this view of the aesthetic and emotional potential of art?

If so, I don't see how you can throw in the word "successfully." Some art communicates some ideas to some people better than others. But in many ways the expression of the work itself is inherently successful. I think I know what you're saying here. How many games present clear, focused, and tight (design wise) emotional experiences, right? Well, I think if you're view of the emotional/experiential potential is as I described above, your answer would be all good video games. From Super Mario Bros on the NES to Tetris to sudoku to picross to halo to everything really. They all communicate ideas, emotions, and experiences that are very unique. Most gameplay focused games communicate ideas different than passive mediums because they are interactive. As a piano player, violinist, artist, and writer, I see how these mediums and abstractions are alike in ways that most people don't. Video games can be as abstract and concrete as many aspects of these other art forms. So if you think a simple piece of classical music is art that evokes a specific emotion out of the vast potential range, then it can't be hard to see that a "simple" game like pong/tetris/sudoku can do the same. There's much more to it than this, but I think that gets my point across.

Because my response is basically 'all games' I thought I'd just link you to a post I wrote on one particular aspect of the Zelda: Phantom Hourglass.

http://www.critical-gaming.com/blog/2008/4/2/link-he-speaks-like-
no-child.html

__________________

"All I can say is that, in the future, please be careful about presenting which thing(s) you are arguing against, because that is where the confusion arises. I'm trying to defend some of his points, because I think they have value if you just forgive the slight misuse/misunderstanding of certain words -- which is guaranteed to arise, on this website especially. "

I will keep this in mind. Do let me know anything else you think in response to this response.

Jacob Pederson
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I agree entirely with Jake and McNeill and Blow. The world "fun" is associated quite heavily and specifically with happy emotions. We don't say, "Lone Survivor is fun!" We say, "Lone Survivor is Scary!" I don't think co-opting the word fun to mean, "anything we do willingly" is a good idea. How about you take the word "enjoy" or "appreciate" or "compelling" instead?

Art wants to invoke emotions, therefore it is helpful to describe art by describe the emotions it invokes. If you say you had fun doing something under your definition, there is going to be follow up questions. What did it feel like?

Richard Terrell
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@ Jacob P.

Fun is heavily associated with happy, pleasurable, and enjoyable experiences. I'm not sure your Lone Survivor example works. Where I'm from people talk about going to scary movies and haunted houses all the time. They say "come one. it'll be fun." just as much as they say "it's supposed to be really good and scary."

Especially when talking about books, movies, tv shows, and video games which are all types of art that are typically consumed safely without any direct threat to the user, it's hard not to think of the experiences these works evoke as being fun. If you look at the definitions of fun you'll see that "enjoyable experiences" are part of the basic definition. There is a lot of overlap with the words fun, enjoyable, and satisfactory.

"Art wants to invoke emotions, therefore it is helpful to describe art by describe the emotions it invokes. If you say you had fun doing something under your definition, there is going to be follow up questions. What did it feel like?"

Art also "wants" to convey ideas and experiences (emotional or otherwise). I think you want the word "fun" to mean more than it does. Of course it should be followed up with more questions. Fun is a pretty general term. It always has been.

Joel Bitar
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Richard, there's just too many cases where your new definition of fun is so far removed from the way "fun" is actually used today it's not even funny.
If you start describing things like "waiting by the bedside of your dying mother for her to take her final breath" or something along those lines as "fun" then what you've done is just offloaded the complexity of the word into what "free of coercion" actually means.

If someone has their income secured, they would never need to work again and have paid a person to prepare and supply them with food, then by this new definition they must always have fun, no matter what happens it's all described as fun?

What use is this word now?

Richard Terrell
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Well... if you don't consider the waning life of a loved one as coercion or a strong external influence, then I think we need to look at the situation a bit more clearly. Watching a movie like Schindler's List is not the same as actual death of an actual person in your life.

I don't understand your next example. A rich man with a good butler still has many external forces that act on his life. Honestly, if you're going to use that scenario I'll add to it. A man with a gun breaks into this rick man's home and forces him to play video games. Such an experience would not count as fun even if the rich man loves video games. Or this rich man is summoned for Jury duty. He must attend. Jury duty would not be fun for him because he's forced. The rich man's wife gives him an ultimatum. This would not be fun either.

I don't know why people get so upset that the word fun isn't very specific. It's a word that tells you that someone enjoys an experience, not why or what about it. This has always been the case. I find that the people who get the most upset with my definition of fun want it to do more descriptive work that it can.

james sadler
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There are a lot of problems I find here, as much as I hate jumping on the band wagon. The idea of "fun" has been talked about a lot, so I'll try to limit my thoughts on it, but I just want to say that even with your derived definition of "fun" Blow's comments still hold true. Fun for one is not fun for another. The experience that one person gets from a game is not the same as the person next to them, and the time they are willing to devote to a game will differ depending on the person and what they themselves want to get from the game. The more people that devote this time to a game become the meter of how "fun" a game is. Games are subjective and I'm not sure why people keep debating this.

Moving on. What Blow said about the film genres and game genres seems to have kind of passed you. At least by my interpretation of his comments he was saying that in film we have expectation of content by the basis of other films of that genre that we have seen before. In games it is a bit of a difference. In games we have genres like FPS, RPG, etc, but our expectations of titles in those genres differ greatly from title to title. There are some generalities we get from them in the way of game mechanics, but not in regards to the experience. You can say that one could gather these expectation by looking at other games from the game maker, or other games in that series, which one could do in regards to film, but these aren't genres.

Statements given about how industries, both Western and Japanese, are doing things wrong are pretty much generalities spoken as a large segment of the content delivered. Yes there are games on both sides that are exceptions to the rule, and others that are clear examples of the rule. Its more of an issue with the large scale mainstream titles than those lesser ones. I don't think anyone thought of these comments, or those said by other developers, as a statement against the whole region's industry. I don't need examples. If I wanted them I would go looking as a way to prove or disprove his comments. This is also an interview that lasted something like 7.5 minutes (I'm sure cut down from a much larger segment) when clear examples were never asked to be given, or may have even been cut from the final version.

Think I'll end it here since I am too tired to really debate every point made. It is really unfair to spend this much space going over almost every word Blow said given that the interview was at best a trimmed piece of footage given in response to an interviewer's questions, whereas this is a written document that probably had a lot of areas rewritten and time taken to make certain points. It comes off less educated a response and more reactionary. In other areas it comes off more preachy and as a selling point for your own writings, games and ego. I agree with some of the things you've said, and not others, as well as agree with some things Blow said and not others. I'm really not sure what he did to piss you off so intensely that you felt the need to rant about this interview and others so profusely, but to each their own. I should say that I don't know Blow, nor have I played any of his games.

Richard Terrell
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@James

You basically agree with much of what I already said, and then try to gracefully bow out using the same approach that I did.

" Blow's comments still hold true." Quote it or else I can't figure out which comment you refer to.

"Fun for one is not fun for another. " Yes, I made this statement already.

" Games are subjective and I'm not sure why people keep debating this." This is obvious and not being argued.

"In games it is a bit of a difference. In games we have genres like FPS, RPG, etc, but our expectations of titles in those genres differ greatly from title to title." Sure, but genres are a makeshift messy classification system in the first place. Yes some genre are named and defined by their mechanics. Others are by their story/experiential content. It's the same for movies too. My argument is that the film-game genre distinction isn't a strong one.

"Statements given about how industries, both Western and Japanese, are doing things wrong are pretty much generalities spoken as a large segment of the content delivered. " Sounds more like your ideas than Blow's. I know you're trying to present his side, but this only goes so far. Part of my response specifically said we can't do much with Blows general statements BECAUSE he didn't give specifics. I specifically acknowledged that being a video interview and a short one probably prevented Blow from making a stronger case. But we have to take it for at face value.

"It is really unfair to spend this much space going over almost every word Blow said given that the interview was at best a trimmed piece of footage " It's not unfair at all. Who knows how long blow has been thinking about this ideas before hand? Who knows how much was edited for the interview? We don't know. But the point is the ideas were put out there and ideas are worth responding to at length.

"I agree with some of the things you've said, and not others, as well as agree with some things Blow said and not others. I'm really not sure what he did to piss you off so intensely that you felt the need to rant about this interview and others so profusely, but to each their own.

"I could say the same of your response, right? Responding at length about something and expressing your ideas can be deemed as "preachy" and "less educated" right? Well, you've clearly said what you had to say. I think you said it well too. I like reading long responses and responding at length. You have some odd notions of what is fair, but I can live with that.

The biggest let down for me is that you couldn't quote enough of the source material to make your case. If you don't quote, it's hard for me to understand your interpretations and summaries as well as I'd like.Take care.

james sadler
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Hi Richard. I wont dive into each thing since I hate those threads where two+ people just continue ranting over the same issues. I don't generally use quotes because it narrows the comments to specific lines instead of the statement as a whole, so forgive me for not being specific enough.

When I said "Blow's comments still hold true" I was referring to his initial comments on fun games. I believe he was really discussing at the beginning of the interview how it is impractical to discuss fun as a characteristic defining games when the defining of fun from one game to the next can vary so drastically.

I still think you missed the whole point of the genre difference in games and movies. He was talking about how the defining of expectations in games is ruled by game's mechanics and not content like it is in movies (although that could be a whole philosophical conversation in itself). Of course there are titles that will challenge this idea, but for the most part it rings true. Yes its messy, but that's really what I think Blow was getting at. I can't think of any games off hand that are defined by their story/experiential content, but would like to hear your thoughts on those.

I don't really have an opinion one way or the other as to the state of Japanese and Western games. I can see the logic in some points that Blow made, as well as you. My statement was really just trying to clarify what I believed Blow was saying.

Having been an audio engineer and videographer for as long as I have been (15 some odd years) I have conducted and witnessed my fair share of interviews. This is why I said it isn't fair to attack his statements as much as you have. Interviewees often flounder when trying to vocalize the thoughts they have in their heads, even if they have been thinking about the topic for some time. Hell, even if they have it written down in front of them. My statement saying "it comes off more preachy" and "less educated" is in reaction to how often I saw you referring to your own writings as evidence, or promoting your own games (as an indie dev I understand the pushing of your own games, but it just felt cheap in the writing). The beginning of the article came off to me as "Blow's comments don't fall into my derived definition so he's wrong." Take a look again at your post and you will see that all links are to your own writing and not to external sources, aside from the youtube video, that could back up your points. The article came off as a one sided complaint and not a persuasion to sell a point.

Sorry if I had some w's missing here. My keyboard seems to be dying and I may have missed a few.

Richard Terrell
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@ james

"Hi Richard. I wont dive into each thing since I hate those threads where two+ people just continue ranting over the same issues. I don't generally use quotes because it narrows the comments to specific lines instead of the statement as a whole, so forgive me for not being specific enough."

No worries. Just respond how you like. Don't worry about hogging the conversation. I think we're pretty close to a resolution.

___________

"When I said "Blow's comments still hold true" I was referring to his initial comments on fun games. I believe he was really discussing at the beginning of the interview how it is impractical to discuss fun as a characteristic defining games when the defining of fun from one game to the next can vary so drastically. "

Oh. I see your point clearly now. I also agree. Like other kinds of options and subjective statements, I think the conversation is better served if they're used as a jumping off point to dive into more specific more objective explanation.

_____________________

"I still think you missed the whole point of the genre difference in games and movies. He was talking about how the defining of expectations in games is ruled by game's mechanics and not content like it is in movies (although that could be a whole philosophical conversation in itself). Of course there are titles that will challenge this idea, but for the most part it rings true. Yes its messy, but that's really what I think Blow was getting at. I can't think of any games off hand that are defined by their story/experiential content, but would like to hear your thoughts on those. "

I made a few comments about what I think of genre/categorization in my latest response to Jacob. So I won't repeat that again. I understand what Blow is saying. As for examples of video game genres that describe the non-mechanic-gameplay content/experience we have...

Survival horror. How will you survive? Who knows. Is it turn-based? Resident Evil style? More of an action game? Who knows. All you know if prepare for some thrills and a foreboding sense of continual survival.

Puzzle games. What will the mechanics be like? Who knows? Braid uses platforming conventions to create a puzzle game. It looks like a platformer, but definitely puzzles the whole way through.

Adventure game. Professor Layton has all kinds of brain teasers, yet they're all bound together into an adventure with a wonderful story (IMO). This kind of adventure game is very different from Zelda or point and click adventure games, yet the general idea of what it is to adventure is a common thread.

Art games (if you accept this as a genre).

Party games. These games are usually a collection of mini games or simpler games that are great for people of varying experience to jump in and have fun competing. No mention of mechanics are in the title, but you know what to expect from the experience.

News games (I don't know much about Bogost's work but I think the title itself is pretty self explanatory). Throw in "Serious games" and "educational games" as well.

I could go on. But I think it's clear that the above examples contrast sharply with genres like Shmup, runNgun, FPS, Thrid person shooter, racing, fighting, etc.

________________

"I don't really have an opinion one way or the other as to the state of Japanese and Western games. I can see the logic in some points that Blow made, as well as you. My statement was really just trying to clarify what I believed Blow was saying."

Noted. Thanks for the clarity.

_____________________

"Having been an audio engineer and videographer for as long as I have been (15 some odd years) I have conducted and witnessed my fair share of interviews. This is why I said it isn't fair to attack his statements as much as you have. Interviewees often flounder when trying to vocalize the thoughts they have in their heads, even if they have been thinking about the topic for some time. Hell, even if they have it written down in front of them."

I will say that Blow is still one of my favorite games people. Though I was critical, I wasn't trying to harp on him unfairly. I wouldn't necessarily hold Blow to any of these statements if he wanted to correct them or update them in the future. But I still felt like it was important to take his words completely seriously. Because even if Blow didn't fully mean them, someone else might. And I wanted to respond to the ideas presented. I'm not trying to win or keep score or anything of the like. I' just wanted to explain my thoughts in reaction to some of the ideas presented in the video.

____________

"My statement saying "it comes off more preachy" and "less educated" is in reaction to how often I saw you referring to your own writings as evidence, or promoting your own games (as an indie dev I understand the pushing of your own games, but it just felt cheap in the writing). The beginning of the article came off to me as "Blow's comments don't fall into my derived definition so he's wrong." Take a look again at your post and you will see that all links are to your own writing and not to external sources, aside from the youtube video, that could back up your points. The article came off as a one sided complaint and not a persuasion to sell a point."

That's just my style. I've been writing for my blog for a long time. I work hard to explain ideas so that others can at least see where I'm coming from. As the blog grew, I felt like it was important to refer to things I've written so people can dig deeply into what I'm saying. Otherwise, I'd be explaining everything over and over. I guess it seems odd and self promoting to someone who isn't used to what I do. But I'd rather err on the side of giving too much explanation via links than to leave a concept hanging that I've explained elsewhere.

In my mind I'm not pushing my own games on anyone. I was just trying to be transparent to show that I don't have an impressive portfolio of games compared to Blow so people can take the necessarily grain of salt with my statements.




Thanks for sticking around. I think we straightened out most of the bumps?

Sean Lander
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Sorry, I have to reply to this:
" He was talking about how the defining of expectations in games is ruled by game's mechanics and not content like it is in movies (although that could be a whole philosophical conversation in itself)."

Boy meets girl. Boy falls for girl. Girl likes popular guy. Hyjinks ensue as boy gets girl to notice him.
- Every high school romance comedy ever

Claiming that movie genres are based on content and not mechanics is far fetched. There are always traditional mechanics in place for almost every movie genre, and those movies which "break the mold" of the mechanics are the ones that have the most success. "Tragic Comedy" is one which is funny until everyone dies at the end in a hilarious fashion. "Horror" is almost always a shadowy or unseen figure killing everyone until either the main character kills him or is killed (in which case you find out the bad guy wasn't killed so as to leave room for a sequel). Games suffer from this as well, and those games which "break the mold" are the popular ones, just as in movies. Bioshock and Skyrim are both RPGs due to leveling mechanics just as Ten Things I Hate About You and Along Came Polly are both Romantic Comedies due to basic plot mechanics. All have unique content, but in both cases their mechanics are what defined them. Games have game mechanics, movies have plot mechanics, both define the genre in most cases.

Richard Terrell
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@Sean

"Games suffer from this as well, and those games which "break the mold" are the popular ones, just as in movies. Bioshock and Skyrim are both RPGs due to leveling mechanics..."

I'm not sure what you mean by popular, and I'm not sure if you're exactly saying that these games are popular because they break the mold. I think a conversation about how and why these games are popular far exceeds the scope of the ideas in this thread.

I don't think Bioshock is an RPG. I think it's a shooter with RPG elements. Your comment reminds me of an article I wrote called Bioshock: An RPG in Disguise http://www.critical-gaming.com/blog/2008/1/8/bioshock-an-rpg-in-d
isguise.html

I'd love to have a conversation with you about the mechanics and conventions that are genre defining, but that should probably be done via email or something.
__________________

"All have unique content, but in both cases their mechanics are what defined them. Games have game mechanics, movies have plot mechanics, both define the genre in most cases."

I will say, I think it's a bit conflicting that you seem to strongly think there's a set criteria for genre assignment. Some genres are defined by mechanics and others by content. I listed some examples above in one of my responses to James Sadler. As far as I have been able to tell, there are no rules. Some are named for the core gameplay mechanics. Some are assigned by the experiential level or content. Others evolve to be more specific as the industry grows. It's all the result of the free-for-all that is etymology.

Michael Joseph
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Commenting on Gamasutra articles and blogs is fun. :P

Cody Kostiuk
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Richard wrote: "Obviously Blow has issues with the basic concept or definition of fun. And though he probably hasn't heard of my particular definition of the term, the basic dictionary definition still applies to the games and experiences Blow seeks to create."

As much as you say it, Richard, I just can't tie the word "fun" to your all-encompassing definition. The word "fun" has too many distracting jovial connotations. So, no... the basic dictionary definition does not apply.

However, what you describe as fun is closer to "enjoyment". (Enjoyment is basically "fun without the laughter", but I encourage you to look up the definition, compare, and see the difference for yourself.)

For example, I enjoy watching depressing movies occasionally. I think everyone can agree that is an acceptable statement. I cannot commit to saying that depressing movies are fun or that I have fun watching them, and obviously others agree.

Food for thought.

Richard Terrell
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I originally had traced the definition this way... http://www.critical-gaming.com/blog/2011/10/24/the-zero-sum-funom
aly-pt1.html

But you can easily see how the word "enjoyment" is mostly equivalent to "fun." The definition I used puts it pretty clearly:FUN –noun 1. something that provides mirth or amusement. 2. enjoyment or playfulness.

So while I acknowledge there is a lot of mirth and laughter commonly associated with the word fun, the simple concept of "enjoyment" is also a strong part of its basic meaning. And once you understand that people can enjoy different things for different reasons, the whole door is open.

As far as the depressing movies goes, isn't the case you described the same scenario as when I talked about scary movies. Yes, the smaller experiences watching these films may be of less desirable emotions, but overall, because these movies can be viewed from a safe position, the whole experience is enjoyable/fun. This is why people go to scary movies, because they can experiences fear and fright without being in actual danger. This is why people see depressing movies too.

Cody Kostiuk
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Richard wrote: "So while I acknowledge there is a lot of mirth and laughter commonly associated with the word fun, the simple concept of "enjoyment" is also a strong part of its basic meaning..."

What does the word "fun" add to your required definition that isn't covered by "enjoyment"?

Richard wrote: "...And once you understand that people can enjoy different things for different reasons, the whole door is open."

Also, why did you use the word "enjoy" in that sentence?

Richard Terrell
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@Cody

"What does the word "fun" add to your required definition that isn't covered by "enjoyment"?"

Fun has a connotations of mirth and laughter as well. But for the most part it doesn't add much. And it doesn't have to. There are many redundant or nearly redundant words in English. The point is, I derived my definition from the common definition that already exists just by looking at things squarely (ie. without projecting a bias).

"Also, why did you use the word "enjoy" in that sentence?"

I used the word "enjoy" because I had just made a statement claiming that enjoyment is a strong part of the basic definition of fun. Therefore, it builds a logical structure. If enjoyment = X. And fun = enjoyment. Then Fun = X.

Cody Kostiuk
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If enjoyment is the primary meaning of the word fun and fun doesn't add anything of importance to the crux of your definition, then why use fun? Just use enjoyment because, as Jonathan Blow touched upon, the enjoyable aspects of games don't have to be married to "mirth and laughter".

The connection of mirth with the word fun is way too strong. So strong that it contradicts so many other possibilities of enjoyment. (For example, if a game brings you to tears, are you honestly feeling jovial about the experience? No. Yet being moved to tears can be an enjoyable experience.) It's that contradiction that has most people arguing with you.

Richard wrote: "If enjoyment = X. And fun = enjoyment. Then Fun = X."

FUN = ENJOYMENT + MIRTH. Your formula is wrong.

Richard Terrell
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"FUN = ENJOYMENT + MIRTH. Your formula is wrong."

I don't know who you're trying to argue against. I didn't make up the dictionary definitions for any of these words. If you have a problem with their overlapping meanings, that's not my problem. I'm just looking at what the definitions say.

Getting my English degree I've learned to live inside of additional, alternate, and less stressed definitions of words.

The word has many layers and several meanings. You're interpretation of the definitions is too narrow.

Fun: 1. something that provides mirth OR amusement: A picnic would be fun. 2.enjoyment or playfulness: She's full of fun.

Notice how this doesn't say... something that MUST provide mirth.

The words "or" "amusement" and "enjoyment" are very important parts of this basic/core/simple definition that you're ignoring.

Cody Kostiuk
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So... you're in a situation where you just watched Schindler's List. Let's say, for argument's sake, you liked the movie a lot. You're telling me that you'd honestly say that you had so much "fun" watching that movie? "Oh my God! That was a fun movie to watch!"

People would look at you weird. Honestly, they would. Most of us are wondering why you're using the word fun so loosely. A large majority of the different meanings of the word fun have jovial or child-like connotations.

Games are maturing. As games tackle more serious or mature subject matter, the word "fun" just seems goofy to use. That's all I'm getting at.

Richard Terrell
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@Cody

"So... you're in a situation where you just watched Schindler's List. Let's say, for argument's sake, you liked the movie a lot. You're telling me that you'd honestly say that you had so much "fun" watching that movie? "Oh my God! That was a fun movie to watch!"

I might not say that watching Schindler's list is fun, but I acknowledge that it is fun according to the definition. I've been sticking pretty closely to how the word is defined. If you want to use common usage in everyday speech as evidence, then the analysis becomes complicated with regional trends/dialects/and other colloquial nuances. In other words, it may be normal to call a wider range of experiences fun in one place versus another. I think it's important to use words as they're defined to get around some of these complications.
__________________

"People would look at you weird. Honestly, they would. Most of us are wondering why you're using the word fun so loosely."

Sure. People look at people weirdly for lots of reasons. This is especially the case when trying to communicate because of there are a lot of different ways people are used to communicating that vary with race, community, and region.

_________

"A large majority of the different meanings of the word fun have jovial or child-like connotations"

Are you sure about that? Depends on the dictionary right? Which one are you using (please quote/link to it). What about this one? http://www.websters-online-dictionary.org/definitions/fun

________________

"Games are maturing. As games tackle more serious or mature subject matter, the word "fun" just seems goofy to use. That's all I'm getting at."

I know what you're getting at. Of course it seems goofy to you now. Change has a way of making new things feel out of place and awkward. I don't know why you think it's goofy when video games are almost entirely used for entertainment purposes. And being entertainment that we can enjoy in a safe way at our leisure, I don't know why you would these playing games would not be fun by the dictionary definition (the top ones that carry more weight).

It can be rough adjusting to language tweaks when you've built up such a strong association for a word and a particular meaning. This is why I frequently use the dictionary so I can learn the actual meaning and the varied uses of a word. Seems like you'll adjust one way or another eventually.

Cody Kostiuk
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Richard wrote: "Which one are you using (please quote/link to it)."

Sure. I use dictionary.com...

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fun

noun
1. something that provides mirth or amusement: A picnic would be fun.
2. enjoyment or playfulness: She's full of fun.

adverb (used without object), verb (used with object), funned, fun·ning
3. Informal . joke; kid.adjective, fun·ner, fun·nest.
4. Informal . of or pertaining to fun, especially to social fun: a fun thing to do; really a fun person; the funnest game.
5. Informal . whimsical; flamboyant: The fashions this year are definitely on the fun side.

idioms
6. for / in fun, as a joke; not seriously; playfully: His insults were only in fun.
7. like fun, Informal . certainly not; of doubtful truth: He told us that he finished the exam in an hour. Like fun he did!
8. make fun of, to make the object of ridicule; deride: The youngsters made fun of their teacher.

origin: 1675–85; dialectal variant of obsolete fon to befool.

synonyms 1, 2. merriment, pleasure, play, gaiety.

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With definition "2. enjoyment or playfulness", it's not enjoyment OR playfulness. It's a definition that fits well into either word or else we'd see "2. enjoyment 3. playfulness". So playfulness is still an important component to the enjoyment aspect of definition #2.

Out of the synonyms listed, only 1 out of the 4 (pleasure) are not completely linked to frivolity, but even "pleasure" can hint towards that in certain context.

I really don't see how you can ignore the mirth and frivolous connotations of the word fun.

Richard Terrell
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@ Cody

This is getting circular. Are you not reading all the comments I've been making in this thread. I know you're probably most focused on our back-and-forth, but I'm making many important statements and clarifications all over the place.

____________

"With definition "2. enjoyment or playfulness", it's not enjoyment OR playfulness. It's a definition that fits well into either word or else we'd see "2. enjoyment 3. playfulness". So playfulness is still an important component to the enjoyment aspect of definition #2."

Yes, I've already stated this many places.

_______________

"Out of the synonyms listed, only 1 out of the 4 (pleasure) are not completely linked to frivolity, but even "pleasure" can hint towards that in certain context."

Here's the definition of frivolous from dictionary.com:
1. characterized by lack of seriousness or sense: frivolous conduct.
2.self-indulgently carefree; unconcerned about or lacking any serious purpose.
3.(of a person) given to trifling or undue levity: a frivolous, empty-headed person.
4.of little or no weight, worth, or importance; not worthy of serious notice: a frivolous suggestion.

The synonyms of fun do NOT match these definitions of frivolity. Play does not inherently lack sense or seriousness. Play is a serious activity that both adults and kids use in their positive mental and physical health. Therefore play is important and has weight.

When you say "not completely linked" I have no idea what you mean. If you look at the definition of merriment, there's no mention of frivolity. If you look up the definition of pleasure, it's mentioned in the 3rd definition only. If you look up the definition of play, frivolity is mentioned in the 64th definition! And there's no mention of it in gaiety. You are not making a strong case for yourself.

The bottom line is there's a huge difference between denotation and connotation. There's a huge difference between individual highly ranked definitions of words and possible other definitions that are much lower rank. You don't seem to be able to understand the different. Fun has very weak associations with frivolity.

______________________

"I really don't see how you can ignore the mirth and frivolous connotations of the word fun."

I haven't been ignoring the mirth DENOTATION of the word. But the frivolous connotation is a weak connection. Do the reading yourself. I mentioned that fun has strong denotations of play and pleasure multiple times in these comments.

Cody Kostiuk
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Richard wrote: "This is getting circular."

Hey, we both agree on something! ;-)

Jon Brown
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I would use the word "rewarding" rather than "fun": Speaking at my father's funeral was in no way fun, but it was rewarding. Although Marc LeBlanc would agree with your definition of fun ( http://8kindsoffun.com/ ), but only in the context of playing a game, which I think is the only context in which you were applying it in the first place (correct me if I'm wrong).

Richard Terrell
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Rewarding: affording satisfaction, valuable experience, or the like; worthwhile.

I think rewarding and fun have a lot of overlap. To satisfy means to fulfill desires and needs. Fun inherently involves the things that you are drawn to, curious about, intrinsically motivated by. Such is the overlap. I can see how you would use rewarding to avoid any playful/jovial connotations.

I want to stay within the context of video games and other art forms for the time being. I would still like to tweak my definitions, but that will come later when I've given it more thought.

Joel Bitar
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Edit: this is in reply to Richards "Well... if you don't consider the waning life..." response to my comment above, it seems like the "Reply" button doesn't really work in opera.

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But now you are using "free of coercion" and "without strong external influence" interchangeably, which doesn't really work unless you redefine coercion to actually mean "any strong external influence".

So you've just moved the complexity of "fun" and loaded it into "coercion", which to be silly we can illustrate in your example about being legally obliged to do jury duty; What if guy's been wanting all his life to go to jury duty and is super excited about finally being "coerced" into going.

We can keep adding ridiculous useless points to examples like I did, to highlight that what counts as coercion for one person is not the same as for another in the same way we previously would talk about what's fun for one person is not fun for another.

So we're back at the original problem, unless of course you come up with a new definition of coercion that is "any strong external force", but then we've just offloaded complexity again over to what counts as "external force".

I have love and care for a dying relative, is my being at their side caused by them actually dying, so the force is by the event because the love is taken for granted, thus it's external. Or is it my free "rational" choice to be loving and caring and thus it's not external because it's decided in my head what I need to do.

I'm playing a game with boring uninteresting grind mechanics but an incredibly well-designed reward system, this reward-system force that's acting upon my brain chemicals making me perform actions I don't particularly care for.

So the rewards system make you keep playing the game by compulsion, and what is that if not a strong force, if it is external or not would then depend on the person, IE compare "play wow casually to be a little excited about new loot and chat with online friends" with "play wow 16 hours a day as escapism because you're suffering from serious depression".

It all comes back around to the same subjective argument in the end no matter how you re-define words because we're talking about the where the drive to do various things comes from.

Richard Terrell
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@Joel

I know that there's a gray area and a more extreme/techincal way of looking at my definition. I don't think we need to go there. But I do understand that it's a weakness of the definition (or any definition) if you want to take it to that level.

Just because there's a gray area and some parts are subjective doesn't mean we can't get close enough to make words distinct and useful.

I agree with a lot of what you're saying here. And I consider it seriously as I seek to tweak my definition. That's all I can say about that for now.

Thanks.

Trevor Johnson
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@Richard I think the mere fact that this thread of discussion is as long as it is, is a very good example of how amorphous "fun" is. By trying to prove your point you have proven Blow's. Well written article.

Richard Terrell
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@Trevor

I hear what you're saying, but I don't think it makes sense. If you're saying that this conversation thread is long because the word "fun" is so amorphous, that goes against what Blow is saying because he has a more narrow view of the definition, which mostly includes happy, pleasurable, "surgary" experiences. My definition embraces the very wide, somewhat amorphous meaning of the word.

And I wouldn't try to draw any conclusions from the length of this discussion to the two notions of fun being discussed. Seems like too much of a stretch.

Lex Allen
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I watched the video, and then read your response. Am I the only one that got what he was saying?

It seemed hypercritical. It's easy to pick apart what people say. The guy had a seven-minute interview. Generalized statements have their place because we simply don't have enough time to support and cite every sentence that we say. John could elaborate on some of the things that he said. Maybe he didn't make the best word choices at every point.

At no point did I think that John was saying, "This is how it is. Listen to me and eat this up." In fact, he went out of his way to frame a position at the beginning of the interview by saying that people viewed certain things differently. (Specifically, that "fun is an amorphous word".)

I admit, "amorphous" is not the best verbiage because I would guess most people define this primarily as "without a specific shape". The term "ambiguous" would have been better. However, this is being hypercritical. He wasn't reading from a teleprompter!

I don't think that he said anything that was wrong, but I didn't really get the thing about Japanese games. It's true that the current industry, in hardcore and casual, are guiding the player by the hand and changing their diapers as they go. This has really spoiled the player, but it has become a necessary evil with the increasingly excessive amount of available games. However, this isn't only happening in Japanese games, so I wasn't really sure why he was picking up on this.

So, give the guy a break. He was obviously stating his position and opinions and reflecting on the state of the industry. He's entitled to those, isn't he?

I got the feeling that you thought he was lecturing, when he was in fact reflecting.

Also, it seemed kind of personal. You don't have anything against John, do you?

One more thing. Obviously, all people find different things fun. This is why you can't wrap up "fun" and shove it into your game. That's why John isn't really desigining for fun. It's not the same for everyone!

He is designing for something else. If people find it fun... great! If they don't... maybe they'll play for some other reason. Not everyone plays games for fun. (My friend is obsessed with dominating those stupid level up facebook games because he wants to be the best one out of all of his friends or something. He doesn't have fun doing the grinding. He actually hates doing it! I watch him. There's something else going on there besides "fun".

Richard Terrell
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@ Lex

Thanks for taking the time to write out a thoughtful response.

I think we all got what Blow was saying. His statements were pretty clear and fairly simple (some say general). If you'll note @james comment made above, he also wanted to make clear that there's only so much that can be done when being interviewed. In the original article I acknowledge that Blow may have wanted to say more or elaborate in different ways, but we can't assume things we don't know. I think it's perfectly fine to take everything he said at face value and then take the grain of salt.

Again, Blow is still one of my favorite games people. It's by taking what he says, does, and makes seriously that I have developed my appreciation for his ideas/work.

Yes, he was reflecting on his own ideas and view. And so was I. But the ideas were still presented. And the ideas still mean something even if they're not fully expressed or polished.

The interview and my response have a lot of ideas in it. And commenters here have found different points to focus on. Talking about the word "fun" seemed to have caught most's attentions.

I argue that your friend playing the facebook games IS having fun. He may scream, get angry, complain, or whatever. But it's pretty clear that if he keeps going back unforced he's either having fun or he's addicted (or something else is seriously out of balance). This is not meant to be an insult. I simply think that people find enjoyment and satisfaction in many more experiences than people typically consider. And therefore people have fun in more experiences than people typically consider.

Thanks again.

Sean Kiley
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I know fun when I'm having it.

Rasmus Gunnarsson
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"As long as they keep playing it, they're having fun."

Haha, I don't think I agree here. Sometimes it takes a lot of frustration to get a player out of a game. Did you know there are many who suddenly looked at their daily playings of WoW and realised they wheren't having fun for the last month or so?

Furthermore I agree with blow that games doesn't have to be "fun". As you enjoy puzzles there are people like me when get no enjoyment from that, I think puzzles usually are just annoying obstacles with no interesting reward and this meaningless combined with the mental hurdle just annoys me. Braid was great though as it feelt like the game was trying to speak through the puzzles and that I found entertaining.

I think blow argues for to broaden the definition or to not use it at all to evolve what we may expect of games and in that way perhaps get more rewarding and different experiences. Personally I agree with the whole mainstream this and japanese that comments, but that is because of personal taste. I think we all know that developers are aiming for the biggest market they can and simplification and hand-holding are two useful tools.

Richard Terrell
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edit: another oops trying to get the "reply" buttons to do what I want.

Richard Terrell
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@ Rasmus

"Haha, I don't think I agree here. Sometimes it takes a lot of frustration to get a player out of a game. Did you know there are many who suddenly looked at their daily playings of WoW and realised they wheren't having fun for the last month or so?"

That's not how it works. You can't retroactively redefine what you THOUGHT was fun in the past. If you're playing the game of your own free will, clearly you find some part of that activity enjoyable, satisfying, or potentially enjoyable/satisfying. The evidence is clear in you actions. Though the consequences may ripple forward in time, and though you may look back on it and determine that your time would have been better spent doing something else, any new revelation only reflects your current state/ideas. They do not reflect your state of mind back when you were having fun playing WoW.

Your example tells me that you think fun is some kind of persistent, mutable, value that we can change at any time referring to any point in time. This is not the case. What one finds fun is simply based on their current mood, understanding, and circumstances. Thinking about it this way, no one can look back on their past when they played a game that now seems "terrible" and claim that they weren't having fun. At the time, you were most certainly having fun.

________________

"Furthermore I agree with blow that games doesn't have to be "fun". As you enjoy puzzles there are people like me when get no enjoyment from that, I think puzzles usually are just annoying obstacles with no interesting reward and this meaningless combined with the mental hurdle just annoys me. Braid was great though as it feelt like the game was trying to speak through the puzzles and that I found entertaining."

All you're saying is that people find different things fun. But instead of acknowledging that fact, you're trying to say that games don't have to be fun because people don't have to like it. That's the backwards way of thinking about it. The only fact here is that some games are fun for some and not others. I've already explained this.

While I think that Blow was saying that all games don't have to be designed for laughter and mirth types of fun, this is obvious. My argument is that his reasoning ignores the common definition of fun in favor of a more narrow version. But using the common definition it's clear that all kinds of experiences can be fun for people because..... people find different things fun. Blow is trying to make the word fun mean more than it does by arbitrarily limiting it to light hearted, mirth, and laughter filled experiences.

____________________

"I think blow argues for to broaden the definition or to not use it at all to evolve what we may expect of games and in that way perhaps get more rewarding and different experiences. Personally I agree with the whole mainstream this and japanese that comments, but that is because of personal taste. I think we all know that developers are aiming for the biggest market they can and simplification and hand-holding are two useful tools."

You make the same mistake I called Blow out on. What CAN be fun is already extremely broad. The word is a very general/broad word by common definition. There's no need to broaden it. And there's no need to get rid of it. The lack of clarity I think we all identify when talking about games has nothing to do with the word fun or its meaning. It's simply because gamers don't have a bigger game design vocabulary. This or they're just lazy. Clearly this isn't the case with everyone. I've never been satisfied not being able to express and explain myself. This is probably why I'm the kind of person who has written so much and studied many different arts.

Rasmus Gunnarsson
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There are more states that stimulates other than fun and using fun as a kind of end all answer if something was good and appealing to you is just unnecessary and when talking design even destructive.

For an example, if you are making a scary game, why not just talk about how to make it scary and if you are trying to do this by frightening the reptile brain and playing with pathos do so.

And people are hardly judgemental all the time and make constant concious decisions to continue with an activity as it is valued fun. And you say that one can't change its value when looking back? You CAN. If you play something and don't expect much and just keep playing because there are always things to do and nothing gets frustrating, is that fun? If you compare that experience to something much more engaging and rewarding that stimulates more won't that attain a higher value?

Oh and Blow likes Dear Esther, that's not a puzzle game and nowhere in the video did I get the vibe that he wants everthing to be puzzle games.

Richard Terrell
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@ Ramus

You keep commenting, but you're not staying on topic. I insist that if you want to have a cogent discussion that you directly quote the lines you want to discuss.

"here are more states that stimulates other than fun and using fun as a kind of end all answer if something was good and appealing to you is just unnecessary and when talking design even destructive."

Yes there are experiences other than fun. This is obvious.
Fun as an end all answer? Who's doing that?
Clearly I'm not arguing that we should use fun as a way of talking about design in a constructive way. As I explained plenty of times, fun is a general word best used when speaking about generalities. If you want more specific language, I wrote an entire game design dictionary and text books worth of articles to talk about that.

______________

"For an example, if you are making a scary game, why not just talk about how to make it scary and if you are trying to do this by frightening the reptile brain and playing with pathos do so."

Like I already explained multiple times, fun is a general word. If you want to talk about anything more specific, then you would, of course, have to use more specific language and additional statements.

________________

"And people are hardly judgemental all the time and make constant concious decisions to continue with an activity as it is valued fun. And you say that one can't change its value when looking back? You CAN."

People may not be conscious of all of their motivations and actions, but that's beside the point. Read my comment more closely. I said you cannot change THAT you found an experience fun from a future perspective. At the time we make decisions and experience experiences, we have certain beliefs and attitudes about them. New information in the future can only put those events into a different perspective, but they can't change the way you felt and thought about them at the time that they first happened.

___________

"If you play something and don't expect much and just keep playing because there are always things to do and nothing gets frustrating, is that fun? If you compare that experience to something much more engaging and rewarding that stimulates more won't that attain a higher value?"

Yes, that is fun for that person. We're always making comparative and evaluative assessments of the world around us. I'm not sure what you're trying to say with the second sentence here.
_______________

"Oh and Blow likes Dear Esther, that's not a puzzle game and nowhere in the video did I get the vibe that he wants everthing to be puzzle games."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but did I ever say that Blow want's every game that exists to be a puzzle game? Did I say that Blow only likes puzzle games? If not, then I don't understand why you're saying this.

Rasmus Gunnarsson
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Sorry for not quoting and derailing, but I'm not up for the word sallad and sorry for kind of straying from the point, but I don't really get your point, just that you get riled up by something blow said, that you seem to understand but still get all rambling because of the semantics around fun. But I'm not sure I understand and you wall of text certainly is not fun to read. But that's just my opinion :)

"But the biggest mistake Blow makes here is thinking that all games should be like puzzle games. " - You

Richard Terrell
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@ Rasmus

Correction:
"But the biggest mistake Blow makes here is thinking that all games should be LIKE puzzle games. " And the comment was made in specific context of explicitly telling the player information. Like I said, while this is bad for games that can be spoiled, it's quite the opposite for games where execution is the main attraction. It's pretty obvious that for action games it's important to know what the controls are and how the game plays so you can then focus on playing the game. So, for Blow to paint explicit instruction in a negative light reflects a point of view of someone who sees games as puzzles rather than the other varieties. And because Blow makes puzzle games exclusively (so far at least) it's not a stretch to presume that he see game design with a puzzle-bias.

Thanks for trying anyway.

David Roberts
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"Fun is whatever a person willingly puts their time and attention to unforced."If you use this (immensely broad/ambiguous) definition, what's the point of using the word at all? Exactly the same definition could be said of the word 'entertainment'

Otherwise this whole article seems to me just to be "I have personally decided X is whatever and Jon Blow interprets this differently, therefore he is wrong". Almost nothing you've stated here is based in quantitive fact - its opinion and interpretation. Stating you disagree with his opinions and stating your own is obviously fine , but the way you 'cite' your own articles as if your own opinion is a concrete source of definite knowledge is, to put it lightly, irritating.

Richard Terrell
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@ David

As I've already explained, if you have a problem with the word fun and how it has been defined by the actual people that build dictionaries, I'm not the person you should be talking to. I don't care if fun has a lot of overlap with enjoyment or entertainment. I use words as they're defined.

I don't know what else to say but read more closely or quote the specific lines in the article that you have a problem with. Clearly there is a specific bias in Blows understanding and use of the word fun that manifest in various statements he makes. I highlighted those biases and examples, and I also explained why these biases are so troubling. It's not simply having a different version of the definition that's the problem, it's how one uses the word, how that shapes their thoughts, and how that affects what is said and done afterwards.

I'm sorry that you're irritated. As I have already explained in these comments, I link to my own articles so people can find out more of what I think and dig as deeply as they want. This is my style that I've been running with for over four years.

Henrik Namark
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Richard, I read your article and comments and I get a feeling that you're taking things too seriously while intellectualizing your emotions.

Richard Terrell
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@Henrik

Ok. There's not much I can say about your feelings besides... thanks for sharing.

David Roberts
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@Richard Terrell

"I don't care if fun has a lot of overlap with enjoyment or entertainment. I use words as they're defined."

If you look in the dictionary, you'll find you've contradicted yourself - specifically:

"fun [4] - behaviour or an activity that is intended purely for amusement and should not be interpreted as having serious purposes"

One of Jon Blow's primary motivations is to convey a serious or meaningful point/consequence in his games. He has stated this on many occasions. So by the logic of 'going by the definition', Blow was certainly correct as describing Braid as 'not fun', since counter to the definition (which you purport to use) the game contains a serious purpose/meaning. It may be concealed to some players but it is a serious purpose. "Using the words as they are defined", Braid is not fun.

Unless of course, you know, you can admit that fun is not as rigidly defined as you seem to believe it is? (There are 4 contrasting definitions in my dictionary alone, some with huge implications/limitations to what games can be/are)

Richard Terrell
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@ David

Like I said above, words have different definitions. We already know this. I typically use dictionary.com out of convenience, but this time, I'll use ... http://www.websters-online-dictionary.org/definitions/fun

Keep in mind that the order of the definitions are by most popular/frequent/common use.

Part of Speech Definition
Noun 1. Activities that are enjoyable or amusing; "I do it for the fun of it"; "he is fun to have around".[Wordnet]
2. Verbal wit or mockery (often at another's expense but not to be taken seriously); "he became a figure of fun".[Wordnet]
3. Violent and excited activity; "she asked for money and then the fun began"; "they began to fight like fun".[Wordnet]
4. Verbal wit (often at another's expense but not to be taken seriously); "he became a figure of fun".[Wordnet]
5. A disposition to find (or make) causes for amusement; "her playfulness surprised me"; "he was fun to be with".[Wordnet]
6. Sport; merriment; frolicsome amusement.[Websters].

Adjective 1. Providing enjoyment; pleasantly entertaining; "an amusing speaker"; "a diverting story"; "a fun thing to do".[Wordnet]
2. Being amusing, entertaining, funny, humorous or droll. [Eve - graph theoretic]
3. Being pleasant, enjoyable, nice, sympathetic or lovely. [Eve - graph theoretic]
4. Being jolly, merry, cheerful, jovial or gay. [Eve - graph theoretic]
5. Being comic, comical, laughable or ridiculous. [Eve - graph theoretic]
6. Being sporting. [Eve - graph theoretic]
7. Being charming or attractive. [Eve - graph theoretic]
8. Being delighted, happy, joyous or joyful. [Eve - graph theoretic]
9. Being playful, sportive or frolicsome. [Eve - graph theoretic]
10. Adjective base of the adverb funly.[Eve - graph theoretic]


I don't know which dictionary you're pulling from, but it doesn't matter. You're using definition #4 from the looks of things. I'm using definition #1 in both the noun and adjective forms. And like I've said, the word fun has different meanings according to the context.

I don't think Blow's fun even aligns with the definition you posted.
When Blow says "[Braid is] designed to be interesting and designed to provide the player with difficult mental challenges. " I don't detect that he's contrasting fun with seriousness. He's contrasting fun with words like... "enjoyable" "interesting" and "mental challenges." So context is still on my side.

benn rice
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"fun is whatever you are willing to do or subject yourself to free of coercion"

basically then, every thing that you consciously do in life is "fun". if you successfully change the world so everybody started using it how YOU use it, the word will have lost all meaning, and usefulness in communicating with people.

let me give one example your kind of "fun". you got yourself in debt. fun. at your job you are able to make your own hours. fun. you start going to work to grind out an 18 hour day, for 7 days a week so you can get caught up on your bills...... fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun fun.


like Henrik said, this does come across as you "intellectualizing your emotions".
it seems to be negative emotions. something akin to "sour grapes".
it has a poisonous feel to it. an unnecessarily condescending feel to it. a feeling like you get a sense of power from trying to appear intellectually superior to a well known industry luminary who you feel is powerful, and who you are seemingly jealous of.

benn rice
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i say "seems" a number of times. just wanted to emphasize that word.

it also seems similar in many of your responses to most of the NONfamous comment participants here too.

it just seems to be your argumentative, "win-the-internets", know-it-all style of interacting with people in general. i have come across that way enough myself. its something i'm working on. 8)

but, there is no "one truth to rule them all" here.

Richard Terrell
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@been rice

Wait... so being under pressure of the government (debt) does not count as being pressured or coerced in this scenario? Everything you described would not count as fun.

Fun already has a definition. Yes, it's broad. You're trying to make more of it than it is because you have an obvious bias.

I already understand a lot about how language works and evolves. And it's thinking like yours that I feel is part of the problem.

If you want to get rid of all those "seems" just do some more digging or read a bit more carefully next time.

benn rice
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what exactly is my obvious bias?


typical response from you. every response you makes, makes it more and more clear the type of annoying person you are in real life, and thus why you have so much of an overbearing online presence.

like other people mentioned several times, now you are offloading the confusion into what the definition of what coercion means.

its clear to me that somebody choosing where to work and how long to work isn't being coerced by anything. if i wanted to act like you about things i'd point out you could call NOTHING fun, because the desire to have fun in the first place is part our natural coercive instincts. you are getting nowhere with your "logic". your extremely naive way of thinking will never get an objective general consensus via human language.



you completely misunderstood the "seems" part. its obvious that DON'T know how language works and evolves. you're misunderstanding a TON of stuff you are responding to.

if you wanna get rid of your terrible logic, try getting your own life instead of trying to make one out of weakly attempting to tear down people who are smarter and more successful than you.


none
 
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