Sunday, December 7, 2014

It Doesn't Have to Be Fun but it Certainly Helps

Over the last few months I've been noticing an incredibly stupid trend developing where people are actively arguing that having fun isn't all that important in playing a game. Call me old if you want but I was under the impression that the whole reason why any of us have been expending our time on this hobby was because we were having fun. After all, I could spend the afternoon playing with my son instead of dragging my ass half way across the county to listen to your bullshit version of a 'game' where I'm supposed to play a role within the grand drama of your story. 

Look I'm not arguing that if you want to involve unpleasant things in your scenarios that you aren't running a fun game - far from it - but to act as though forcing me to live out your version of being a slave is a good time is bullshit. I play role-playing games to do the things that reality won't let me but my imagination will.

More later.

8 comments:

  1. I would like to play Devil's Advocate in this scenario.

    There maybe times when people want to play a game to explore an intellectual opportunity. In some cases, the end results may not be "fun" per se, but may serve to give a valuable experience or lesson that may actually have more value than in playing a different game that may have been more fun.

    As long as everyone goes into the game with the right expectation, I think these kinds of games can still be time well spent.

    I was extraordinarily intrigued about the following:
    http://www.shutupandsitdown.com/blog/post/review-dog-eat-dog/

    As the reviewer notes, this is not a "fun" game, but it does have a tremendous amount of value and as many comments noted, can be an excellent teaching tool.

    I think the key is the expectation going in.

    If you don't expect to take the role of a slave, and in the course of the game, the DM/Storyteller/whatnot forces you into a scenario that was unexpected and undesirable and forces the player into essentially a re-enacting "12 Years a Slave" without knowing that was the set up, yes... that is no fun.

    On the other hand, if the group at the table wants to explore something different, like with Dog Eat Dog, and everyone understands going into the game what that may involve, even if it is not "fun", it may still be a positive experience for the players.

    There are time when one might want to explore a scenario that is far afield of a typical role-playing experience involving discomfort and unpleasantness. As long as they people at the table agree, I think a "not fun" game can still be really, really good in terms of exploring the human condition.

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  2. You are thinking about it too hard. "I play a game to have fun," while true, is absolutely meaningless. It doesn't actually help anyone until you define "fun," then discuss how one goes about creating "fun." Then you realize "fun" isn't created, it is organic, but one CAN create an environment that allows people to have "fun." So then you wonder, what sort of environment allows people to have fun, and how do I go about creating it?

    "I play a game to have fun," while very nice sounding, helps no one actually have any more fun.

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