Building Emotional Response by Rethinking Fun?

Jane over at GameGirl Advance is thinking about games as emotionally disturbing experiences. Her conclusion is that perhaps we need games that do not endeavor to be “fun” in the usual sense of the word.

If games are to be taken as art, the next step has to be for some game developers to abandon the concept of “fun” – or at least, to rework it and to challenge it.

An interesting thought. I am of the firm belief that video games cannot progress into the mainstream as a legitimate form of art until they can be emotionally relevant to players, but I hadn’t considered the idea that emotional relevancy might come at the expense of fun. Perhaps that’s a trade off we should be willing to make.

8 thoughts on “Building Emotional Response by Rethinking Fun?

  1. I thought art was about expressing ideas
    and concepts in our lives. Making games
    more grim will not make them better art.
    Making games more distorted and complex will
    not them better art either. They will
    just be different art than the lighter and
    brighter games available.
    What critics don’t realize is that games are
    already art. Take a still-photo of a Pong screen.
    It is a game but it is also an expression of
    a game. It has a field with simple but clearly
    depicted objects to allow the game to be played.
    The story is logged by the score numbers.
    Is it great art? Perhaps not but it meets the
    standard. The crude cat drawings I did when I
    was a child were art. The water-color landscapes
    I did in my later years were art too. It is up
    to the consumer or audience to decide how they
    will value it.

  2. I’m always of the belief that if games want to be taken seriously, developers seriously have to reconsider their narratives. They’ve got to stop borrowing used ideas and hope that the mix with their own gameplay structures. Yes, even Hideo Kojima.

    Basically there needs to be a better intergration of narrative and mechanics. If this can be achieved by more than one game in 2 years, only then we can concentrate on the idea of accessiblity for non-gaming communities. You can’t just jump onto latest problem if you haven’t fixed a factor early on in the process. You’re basically going to end up overall with a broken art form. Which is how I see games as now.

    I think the death of the point-and-click didn’t help at all too. Bloody LucasArts…

  3. Why do videogames need to do the “big crossover”? Is validation from non-gaming communities so important? Jazz,ballet,Noh theatre
    and opera are niche arts but they are still “serious” art.
    As for the simple and recycled narratives consider comic books- hardly War and Peace but
    they fill the human need for the familiar.
    People crave mythology and games provide it.
    When people demand their games provide them
    with something else the games will change.

  4. I don’t demand for games to be art. I’d like it to happen, but to be honest it’s not. But the only way I’m going to get quality from my games is if developers buck up their ideas and aim for these ideals.

    It’s not going to happen large scale EVER, I’m sure. But seriously, there has to be people out there who have the potential to slowly, but surely, re-evaluate what they’re doing and make something that pushes their potential. I don’t think developers went into the industry to churn out crap, but I do think the industry has kind of led them to believe that they’re restricted in what they’re allowed to achieve. It doesn’t help that the audience isn’t out there or have grown up and just faded away with time (al a the point-and-click masses of old).

    It’s exactly the same with film. And I guess this is where I’m coming from as I have a better understanding of it.

    Listen to me, all fricking retro, maaaaaan.

  5. Games are products but a lot of art is.
    Fine dining,woodwork,music and even films.
    16bitman laws of art-
    1-Art does not have to be good to be art.
    2-Art is like wine or scotch. It can get
    better with age. Sometimes art takes a long
    time to find an audience that appreciates it. Composer Franz Schubert died penniless but fans of classical music sure consider him an
    artist genius now. Future generations will determine the value of our games.

    You are concerned that too many games are poor
    and lack lustre but isn’t that just the real
    world? For every hundred cars made how many
    are good? Would a hundred people agree
    completely on what the good and bad cars

  6. I think it’s possible for a work to be enjoyable without being fun. For example, a few of my favorite movies are very sad affairs indeed, but I still derive great enjoyment from watching them even though I wouldn’t really say that they’re fun. I think that’s the sort of thing that she was talking about.

    Silent Hill 2 is one of my favorite games. I’m not sure that I would say that I think it’s a fun game. I still enjoying the experience of playing it and having played it.

  7. sounds like shes talking about games like indigo prophecy to me.

    and carrier but that wasnt fun for different reasons…

    it sucks.

  8. Another videogames as art thread. I thought I was posting at insertcredit for a moment…

    What someone considers art is 99.99% subjective.

    Take Mozart, Bach, Bathoveen, their “art” was considered populist entertainment for their time.

    It’s funny you guys bring up “point and click” adventures. Most of those games were designed because of hardware limitations of the early 80s. The adventure genre died out because it really didn’t know how to deal with 3d.

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