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"Why Can't Games Just Be Fun?"

I'm a dev, and here's my take on "fun", more specifically this video (penguinz0 's Why Can't Games Just Be Fun) which echoes what I've been hearing a lot lately from players which seems to have wildly mixed reactions in developer crowds.



TLDR: Our messages aren't shoved down your throats when you hold the spoon.

All games tell a story, even the ones that don't have a clear plot. All games are inherantly political because someone made it... People have biases whether they know it or not, it's their unconscious perspective - that's okay... but you'd have to really be projecting to dissect a deeper meaning from something like Tetris. Designers don't like the word "fun", not because we think all games must be "serious games", but because the word "fun" is super subjective... we like using more specific words when tackling design problems. It's not like there isn't any shortage of fun games that could care less about context or narrative to set up the good times to be had. You can't please everyone. I make meaningful first person walking-sims and satisfyingly brutal bullet hell shooters: there's a place for both. It's the devs choice to put whatever they want in a game, and it's on the players to endow it with some meaning (if they want). There's something for everyone. Some enjoy the mechanics of games, others enjoy the set dressing. Neither is more or less valid than the other.  

Additionally, yes Extra Credits is not without its issues. I used to be a big fan of their channel when I was starting off my gamedev career. Some of their videos are really good for building a design vocabulary. However, as time went on I realized their design philosophy was perscriptive, stale, and condescending. After EC's incident, I stopped watching their channel completely.

I am one of those designers, the ones that sometimes make "un-fun, artsy-fartsy, snowflake" games. If people don't understand nor like my work, that's valid; I often make surreal work. Most of the time, I don't appreciate my own work too. Games are made for a myriad of reasons and for specific audiences. Just because someone doesn't have a taste for independent personal work doesn't make them any less of a sophisticated person. Same goes for movies: if someone's favorite movie is Escape from LA and not Un Chien Andalou, that doesn't mean they're more cultured.


 The only time I will get snappy online towards my audience is when people make flatout rude judgements or insults onto me as a person based on minimal exposure to my work (it's free; I only wasted like an hour of your life, don't you have better things to do than to write elaborite hate mail?). At the end of the day, the games as an artform movement isn't a bad thing or the enemy of fun. It's just the devs way of trying to legitimize games in the eyes of non-gamers... we want a bigger audience and more money, so we can make better, more fun, games. It's that simple. Games shouldn't gatekeep, games shouldn't judge, games are for everyone. Games can be partisan and have a message; games can just have rock solid mechanics and be addictive escapes. It doesn't matter.


 Everyone is entitled to an opinion, just don't be assholes to one another. Don't attribute everything as an attack on something else. Marketing people pander, it's their job. Game developers develop. We're all trying our best, and it's a fuckin' miracle games ever get finished. 

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