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Tonight on GeekNights, we present the full audio of Rym's second PAX Australia lecture: Losing.
Winning is good, and losing is bad. We strive to win, and this is the basis for most of the games we play. Challenges are binary: we either overcome them, advancing the story, or fail, and must try again. But, what if we were to toss this conventional wisdom aside? Do we really only have fun when we win? Have you ever had that moment in a game where epic and total failure was the most memorable part? What kinds of games would arise if we strove to make losing, instead of winning, the point?
I have video of the rest: I just haven't had time to edit the slides in and render it out.
BUT, it's just me giving a solo version of this exact talk with mostly these exact slides:
Which itself is just a revamp of an even OLDER lecture on the same topic:
I may upload a few segments or clips from the Winning talk, but honestly, I didn't say anything new: I just said it all in a different way.
Do I poke here or here....
Kenshiro in the early years, when he would poke and they didn't die
*poke poke* "Omae wa mou shindei.. poo, JUST KEEDIN" ^___^
The camera died near the end, but I had the good audio for the whole thing at least.
At the very end Rym says the following:
"Games should be fun. Games should ALWAYS be fun. Games should NEVER NOT be fun."
I highly disagree. This statement might be true for orthogames, but definitely not for ideogames. Games as a narrative device should not always be fun because that limits what kinds of stories can be told. Similar not all movies or books should be fun because that would cut out genres like horror or tragedies. The same is true for ideogames. I don't think you would call Five Nights at Freddy's a fun game. There are very few examples of games so far that are attempting to not be fun on purpose outside the horror genre (I'd call Spec Ops: The Line an example here), but that is unexplored space that is inhibited by the notion that all games MUST be fun.
But lets just replace the word fun with enjoyment. You should never not enjoy a game you are playing.
Five Nights at Freddy's might cause you stress, or terror. But you enjoy those feelings even though they are not typically regarded as positive feelings. You watch a sad movie, it makes you feel sad. But you enjoy feeling sad. You liked having those feelings. It was a good movie, you would watch it again. Even though sad is not typically regarded as a positive feeling, it is quite easy to enjoy a work of art that conveys such a feeling.
Part of the real problem in this discussion, again, comes from our limited vocabulary. Let's say I am playing Super Meat Boy and I keep dying in a very hard level. You would say I feel anger. Now let's say I play Silver Surfer and keep dying, you would also say I feel anger. That's because we only have one word, anger/angry. They are actually two subtly different feelings. One is the anger of being mad at yourself for not improving, and not being able to accomplish your goal. The other is the anger at the game for being brutally unfair. The first is actually a positive feeling, the second is not.
Works of art, especially games, can bring about the entire range of human emotions. But if they are bringing about truly negative ones, or causing actual emotional pain, then you should avoid them.
The problem I have is that the "games should be fun" is a meme that has spread far and wide and I believe that it is false and in fact keeps games as a form of art back to a certain extend because people get this idea implanted in them and because of it refuse to explore the narrative power games can have for anything other than "fun". I was just a little annoyed that you guys were also perpetuating that meme despite examples earlier in the lecture of at least one game that is decidedly, and intentionally, not fun.
Dude, you really missed the point. People call haunted houses fun. They specifically seek those scary experiences out for enjoyment. The net experience of FNAF, which is identical to a haunted house, is fun. The "afterward" is a part of the game's experience: you don't get to just discount it. It is literally effected by the game itself.
For some people, haunted houses aren't fun. They get too scared. The net is a negative, not a positive, experience. Those people shouldn't play FNAF, and they shouldn't go to haunted houses. They won't have fun. Those things aren't FOR them.
Your personal definition of "fun" is ridiculously narrow and pedantic, and I stand by my assertion that people should only ever play games that are fun.
Why do people go to haunted houses? If you ask someone who just went to a haunted house if they had "fun," would they say yes?
I'd say games need to be engaging to be good. Fun is one form to engage the audience. It is by far not the only form nor should it be.
Which was the point of my talk.
Umm... Yes? Some games are fun for some people and not for others. All I said was that if you don't have fun with a game, either the game is bad or the game isn't a game for YOU. But I didn't say the converse. I said that individual people shouldn't play games that they don't find fun.
Similarly I had no fun reading The Great Gatsby. I hate all the characters in it and the story has no sense of relief or even ultimately a point to it, and all of this appears to be highly intentional. It's still a great novel despite me hating it and me not having any fun with it.
I also had no fun watching Sucker Punch. I found it despicable despite its overt attempts at creating "fun" action scenes. I turned the film off in the middle and only continued watching after I had the actual purpose of the movie and its context and pretty much its content, explained to me. Perhaps that is my personal failing for not getting it, but the movie basically also overtly condemns people who usually watch these kinds of films and those that would actually find this movie fun. Thus I chalk up my turning off the film as a natural reaction to someone who didn't get it and wasn't a despicable human being. I don't consider Sucker Punch a well made film, but I get what it is attempting to do. Now the question for you is, was Sucker Punch for dudebro dumbasses who usually watch these kinds of films, or for people who actually hate those kinds of "hot chicks kicking ass in pseudo-pornographic scenes" films? Was it for both? Does it make a difference whether you "get" the film?
I think there is a space within narratives and experiences which aren't fun but are still worthwhile to be created and experienced.