Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Games are not supposed to be fun

6:51 PM on 08.03.2007 // Eliza Gauger

This comes from a tip dropped over on Ectomo: a post on gaming blog Yahuda that challenges the universally-held notion that the primary, and perhaps sole purpose of games is to be fun.

Games are not supposed to be anything. Games are a medium, like movies, books, and painting. The problem with games, and the game industry, and gamers, is that no one has ever thought about games as other than a) how fun they are, and b) how many people play them. Everyone believes that a better game is one that sells more or that more people play.


The author goes on to point out that paintings, books, movies, and other media have long since moved on from pure entertainment purposes, to a zone where they can serve alternative or additional purposes.  Paintings, the author points out, are no longer required to be purely decorative to be worthy of praise and appreciation. 

I've presented this hypothesis to several people and receive similar responses: if fun is no longer required in games, what's the point?


It's an intriguing question.  And my forays into "art games", and games whose driving purpose is not to be fun, but to teach or to be artful, have taught me that these games are boring, and that I immediately want to stop playing them.  I think one could argue that a painting could be high art, even if it compels you to stop looking at it, but I opine that the looking is as much a part of the experience of the painting as what the painting itself portrays.  If one is not looking at a painting, one is not experiencing it.  The same goes for games.  The minute I stop wanting to play a game, my experience with the art of it is crippled.

So I submit that instead of changing our expectations of games, and eliminating our expectations of fun from games, we elevate the experience of fun within a game to the level of art.  Fun is an element of games, just as color is an element of paintings.  I think the definition of "fun" can be expanded to mean a sense of gratification from interacting within elegant design.  

Roger Ebert infamously stated that games would never be art, as they require audience participation.  This argument is mindboggling to me, as any piece of art, once it actually departs the skull of the artist, requires audience participation for validation.  Even if the only audience is the artist himself, his gaze and consideration completes the art object.

I'm interested in the opinion of the Dtoid public: how would the definitions of "art", "fun", and/or "gaming" have to shift in order for games to be regarded with the same respect as paintings, movies, and music? 

Games Are Not Supposed to Be Fun [Yehuda] 

Eliza Gauger,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
I don't think it will happen, but if the NX is turns out to be a VR device, I will be the saddest boy in the milky way.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
There's something so fucking delicious about a toasted Hawaiian roll, smoked ham, Swiss, some spinach and a dollop of mustard. #FatKidPosts
Still in work clothes.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Welp, wrote up a blog for that there bloggers wanted. Its me bitching about Bioshock Infinite! Again! Yay!!!!!!
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
Just finished watching The Phantom Menace. Yeah, Jar Jar is as bad as people say. Baby Vader is so cute and also kicks some serious ass. One of the best lightsaber battles of the series, if not the best one. It was pretty neat!
Roxas1359 avatarRoxas1359
Can't decide where I should upload my latest project. Either on my YouTube Channel or on Game Anyone. On the one hand YouTube gets more exposure, but Game Anyone is where some of my more popular walkthroughs are. The game is 3D Land if anyone is wondering
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
Thanksgiving dinner for days!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Anyone know if the Bethesda games on sale on Amazon for a certain amount of time, or through Monday?
TysonOfTime avatarTysonOfTime
In light of the fact that Xenoblade Chronicles X is fast approaching, I suggest we start planning out a Destructoid Squad! NNID is TysonOfTime. From what I've heard, it doesn't appear Squads are region locked (except for Japan), so everyone's welcome!
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Typing of the Dead > all other typing games.
Lawman avatarLawman
Listening to this on a Tall Oaks level of RE: Revelations 2's Raid Mode is entrancing, for some reason.
EdgyDude avatarEdgyDude
Need a reason to support Indivisible? Shantae is in it!. Back it or spread the word, every bit of help counts.
KeithTheGeek avatarKeithTheGeek
Sometimes I miss how hilariously janky Brawl was, and I still have a lot of fun playing it. Not sure if I could ever take it seriously as a competitive game, but I want to enter at least one Brawl tournament in the future. You know, if I can find one.
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
I love how on a slow news day I can always turn to Qposts for something else to read and think about. Keep up the mojo fellas!
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
I finally caved in to those sweet deals, got Shantae and The Pirate's Curse, Downwell and Super House of Dead Ninjas :)
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I hope that Prototype runs better on my dad's old laptop than it does on my AMD gaming rig. Some badly coded games run like ass on AMD cards.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
Please spare me from issues in the process of publishing my blog! Especially since I modified CSS to unnecessarily pseudo-crop an image, and make it so some images float next to text, and make it look decent on mobile. I'm a frickin' nerd, love it.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
The night brims with defiled scum, and is permeated by their rotten stench. Just think, now you're all set to hunt and kill to your heart's content! #FashionBorne [img][/img]
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
Two more days to get in on the unofficial Christmas Card! [Url][/URL]
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django has got a mystery sale on T Shirts and Tank Tops atm, $5 for each. Only catch is they're random. But I've had some good luck, got a Captain Falcon one before, Zombies ate my Neighbors and a Persona 4 X Earthbound crossover.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -