Games Only Make Fun Possible

Image captured by Hatm0nster

After getting so excited for Destiny back in August, it’s less-than-stellar launch and developments have left me more than a little disappointed. I spent a great amount of the time I’ve spent playing it complaining, but the fact is that I’ve put in almost 80 hours of time into the game at this point. The obvious question then, is: “If I dislike it so much, why have I spent so much time in it?” Finding an an answer wasn’t difficult, but facing that answer was. It’s simple really: “I’ve been playing it because, in spite of itself, it’s been fun.” This should not be true!

Destiny is a game that’s made me feel anywhere from angry, to insulted, to just plain disappointed depending on whats happening or being announced. Yet, thanks entirely to the people I’ve been playing it with, it’s been fun. I’d chalk this up to simple investment because I’ve gotten to play with my friends, but there’s more to it. We’ve all talked at length about all the reasons to stop playing Destiny: no story, frustrating RNG, annoying PVP, currency caps, etc.; but non of us have stopped. Simply playing together isn’t what’s keeping us in Destiny though, instead it’s something more. We’ve made something out of this game; it’s not just a game to play together, it’s our game to play together. Every aspect of the experience, from shooting the mobs to raging at Bungie’s latest update, has become something we all enjoy sharing. It’s led to a bit of a gaming realization on my part, that being that the game (even the best games) is only ever half of the equation.

I used to think it was the game’s job to be fun and to enjoy it was my job as the player. However, that doesn’t account for Destiny, or really any game actually being fun though. No game game can be objectively fun, because fun is an entirely subjective concept. It’s impossible for a game to actually be fun, so it can’t fulfill it’s old role in the relationship. Rather, I’ve come to the conclusion that a game’s job is simply to make fun possible, and it’s up to us as the players to actually make something out of it.

Destiny is fun for myself and my friends because we’ve forged an experience out of it that we enjoy. It wasn’t intentional. We didn’t contrive it; yet it happened anyway. So despite all it’s problems, I can call Destiny a successful game, at least for myself and those I play with. And thinking on this new relationship further, I’ve found that it explains the why behind even nearly universally loved games like Ocarina of Time. The game has its critics, so it’s not objectively fun either, yet many of us were able to dive in and build a fun  and memorable experience out of it.

The burden of enjoyment is not entirely on the player though. Like I said before, the game is still half of the equation. It has to provide some sort of reason to enjoy it, otherwise no amount of patience, understanding, or even mocking on the players’ part is going to make it fun. It’s why we have games that are almost universally hated like Ride To Hell: Retribution, or Superman 64. Both of these games have absolutely nothing to offer a player, no reason like them, and so have rightfully gone down in gaming history as the worst-of-the-worst.

All a good game doesn’t have to be fun. All it has to do is make it possible for us players to find some fun in it.

What makes a game good to you? What does it have to do? If you’ve played Destiny, did you wind up enjoying it or hating every minute of it?

2 Comments Add yours

  1. duckofindeed says:

    What makes a game good is, in simple terms, good characters, a good story, and good gameplay. But, what really makes a game good, as you said, is the experience. Good characters may add to that experience and make it better, but what really matters is the experience as a whole. I had tons of fun playing Sonic Adventure 2: Battle with a friend. Yes, it is a good game, but what I really remember is playing that game in her basement years ago and watching the cut scenes together and getting to enjoy the experience of watching the story unfold. Together. Even alone, that game is good, but it also has memories that will always be a part of it, that make that game a different experience for me than it is for someone else.

    Or Hunter: The Reckoning. These games are terrible. But, I had so much fun playing through it with two friends, that I had a great time with it and actually own the whole trilogy. I remember the day they told me they were playing this game they wanted me to try, and we looked through the manual and decided who would play as who. We tried different characters before we each settled into our favorite, and then we just spent hours killing zombies and having a blast.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      True, a game doesn’t have to have a good story to be enjoyable. Some games definitely need it to carry the player forward though.

      Like

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