Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Fun pt1


Cartoon strip by Rock Ray.
It gives you an idea of what the rest could be if he finished the whole thing.
The concept was also very nice. He spent time explaining it to me one day. Would be great to see the book published one day.

I promised I would talk about fun.
(Note that I haven't yet read the book ''A theory of Fun'')
I will soon hopefully.

In my opinion, fun is mainly knowledge. (Or if you will, experience)
One cannot have fun with no experience background.
(or rather, cannot yet in theory)
Why?
Well, fun is in part anticipation. Anticipation is not found where prior experience of the said enjoyable moment or thing doesn't exist.

One can find a thing fun the first time it is experienced, but then again, it is by comparing the thing with other similar experiences, and anticipating how it will be.
For instance, if you give a ball to a newborn dog for the first time, the dog will first sniff it, walk around and look at it. Later the dog will make the connection between the ball and fun, for having played with it.

Fun, everyone will agree, is enjoyable.
Thus, one will always seeks it. It is a fundamental law of nature. A need that comes right after the vital ones in priority.
That's why we, humans separate our lives into three parts essencially. The needs, the chores and the leisure.
Work, and then weekend or vacation.
Why isn't a chore fun?
Because it is not an activity humans recognize as pleasant, and because it is done against one's liking.
But why is it not pleasant?
Because the body might be hurt or might strain, because one loses his (or her) freedom temporarily while performing the activity.
Because the mind doesn't recognize that activity as one that provided pleasure in the past.

Anticipation. You anticipate going to work when the clock rings. Having to leave the comfort of the bed is a pain, and moving all the way to work one is as well.
The same way, you anticipate playing a game, because it was enjoyable last time and because you choose to do it.
The rarer the pleaasure, the more intense.
Because all that is rare, takes value.
I can't explain it, but it's the way. (it must be within our code as humans to give worth to the rare things)

But, how can fun be generated, or shut down?
We'll see that in Fun Part 2.
You have enough for now.

6 Comments:

Blogger sofy said...

Euuu,
dans la BD cest un travesti sur le lit?

9:21 AM  
Anonymous El mirando said...

Mais non mademoiselle c'est une femme.

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Gregory Belacel said...

Sorry, It's gonna be a long post, once again, but that's one of my favorite subject :)

About your theory of fun, well you proved that experiencing something fun will lead someone to recognize a similar activity or experience as fun in the future.

So, in the case of video games, after experiencing a kind of game that I found fun, I will want to play and find other game that are similar. Like your dog and ball example, the dog at first doesn't know that the ball is use to play. Eventually he learns that he can play with it, and will have fun playing. Then, if he sees the ball again, or see something that look like a ball, he will recognize it as something to play with, something fun. For a human, I found 2D fighter, like Street Fighter 2, a lot of fun, I will surely find similar games, games that have similar game design pattern, like Fatal Fury, King of Fighter, Samurai Showdown, fun, because in my mind, I have associate that kind of pattern with fun.

But you haven't necessarily explain what might make an experience, or a game in this case, fun the first time you encounter it. To take your dog and ball example, what is the reason why the dog found that playing with a ball is fun the first time?

In "A theory of fun" Raph Koster explain that fun come from learning new thing. Learning the rule of the game, then exploiting them to master the game is one of the reason that a game is fun. I know that what make a game fun for you Louis. You like to learn how to "abuse" the game, learning every way to beat the game. This theory explains many thing. For example, that means that, when you have seen, done and learned everything in the game, boredom appear and the game stop to be fun. It explains why multi-player or on-line game tend to be fun longer than single player game. Since your experience is different every time you play against other players in a multi-player game, you always have something new to learn. The game are different, the strategies are different, you can experience different approach, which keep the game fresh. A single player however, tend to propose the same experience again and again. The whole concept of replay value is also base on this principle. Usually, replay value mean that, after your first play through, you can use the experience you have of the game to beat it a higher difficulty or find thing you haven't found the first place. Many game let the player access new content, characters, weapon, levels, etc... so playing the game again allow you to see thing you haven't seen before. Usually game that doesn't have that kind of approach have almost no replay value and, in fact, most people won't play through them again before a long time, because they have nothing to learn. The game has become boring and is not as fun as it use to be.

Another thing, that is related to this, is that game produce emotion to the player. Similar to a movie or a book, when your playing a game (a good game at least) you want to be immerse in the game universe, forget that you are someone in front of a TV, playing a game. Usually, every games are basically generating emotion related to the concept Control and lost of control, basic Action/Reaction experience.

However, other games managed to bring stronger and more immersive emotion: Fear, Joy, Panic (Tetris-like game are a good example of Control/Lost Of Control that eventually create a panic emotion in the user), Sadness, Anger (although, if your angry against the game itself, it's not so good since it can lead to frustration), Excitement (especially in competitive game), etc... These emotions create a kind of greater than life experience that is ultimately entertaining, and though a source of fun.

Emotions also have an impact on how the game will be perceive in the future, similar to what you wrote Louis. That means that, if a game made me feel strong emotion, I will want to the game again, even if I have seen everything there is to see in this game (which, according to the fun = learning new thing, should mean that the game shouldn't be as fun as it use to be) because I will want to remember my experience. It's like watching your favorite movie several time or reading your favorite book again and again. In that case, the game will be fun mostly because of the player memories. It like looking at pictures and smiling because it brings back good memory. However, sometimes (and I speak from personal experience) our memories of the game are better that the actual game, which could lead to disappointment (I can believe I enjoy that game, it's so ugly, the combat system sucks and the story is crap). That the difference between good game and classics. A good game is good when your playing it. A classic will still be a good game 10 years or more after you played it.

10:32 AM  
Blogger sofy said...

Well kinda hard to make any comments on " Fun", now that Mr.Know it all wrote everything mostly...

Fun can be the same for many ppl.
Fun can be very different for one person to another. That's why the are suppose to have "Marketing" studies for games...
There's many factors and sometimes the tendency to generalize the 'fun' makes the game crappy.

EX: I like fishing fishies and FFXI Online. ( fishing in a MMO ) And most ppl find it boring. Why i liek fishing? Cuz I'm a nutcase and alsoo tend to like stuff that ppl won't like. And yeah I do like fishing fishies.

Katamari, I loved it! It was fun cuz it was new and addictive... You roll and roll and get the ball bigger & bigger. I must admit that the cows had lots to do with it. But i know some ppl who are like: 'WTF, you roll a freaking ball,that's the game???How boring!'...

So fun depends on sex,range of age,where from, how you grew up, where you living right now,How you experienced life in general,blablablabla~

There's also Replay value, there's some games that I'd play again and again and some that I won't do it twice.
EX: FF6 ( Espers and Magitek Armors) I will never get bored of it.
FFX-2 ( Charlie's Angel) No thank you, I did it once, I bought it for 10$ and it will stay on my shelves.

Greg said: 'So, in the case of video games, after experiencing a kind of game that I found fun, I will want to play and find other game that are similar'

Up to a certain point, I like series and stuff that 'follows' a certain story yeah... But what I'm looking for is new stuff,something Fresh! Something that will 'WOW-me!'.
EX: Phoenix Wright, I never played anything like it ( there was maybe something on the markey but I've never played). It's new for me and brillantly well done,it has sweet n clean graphics ( not high rez kick-ass) Only simple 2D. The story is pretty cool and the characters has charisma.

Talking about Louis's fun of 'Abusing the game to the core' finding all secrets and all strongest weapons in the game. That is what lots of ppl want from a game. Also in MMOS, they want to unlock all areas,all quests, have Epic armors and do stuff that is rare to do/find to mr/ms everyone.
As for myself I'm not into that much...

Emotions?
yeah You both mentioned it....
It's kind of the main factor to get 'fun'. And Greg talked about the subject enough,so myeah,make me laugh,piss me off,make me cry,make me want to play to sequel!

Did you left shadow to die on the floating island? Huh huh ? I didn't ! Cuz it would be too sad!! See! Emo-tions!


Nuff said,for now.
Until i find somethin else to say.
█D<(^.^<) Coffee !

11:02 AM  
Blogger Genotzarr said...

I love your long posts, feel free to write them as long as you like.
And don't apologize for writing here a lot.

8:16 AM  
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