Comments on: Braid Preview Wed, 10 Sep 2014 18:53:13 +0000 hourly 1 By: Gillian Wed, 28 Feb 2007 02:07:00 +0000 Ian — That would be a good plan. If I had an emulator, or knew how to use one.

By: Ian Schreiber Tue, 27 Feb 2007 01:22:00 +0000 “I think Bubble Bobble would approach pure, unadulterated fun if you could save your progress rather than start over at level one each time you play/die.”

You could always play it on an emulator, making liberal use of saving the game state, and test the theory…

Purely for academic value, of course.

By: Bradley Momberger Mon, 26 Feb 2007 22:43:00 +0000 Actually, I find Nethack fun because I have no expectation of ever ascending in my natural lifetime. Along with that, though, I feel that reading through the available online guides which tell you everything about the game is not cheating. Rather, it’s arming yourself with knowledge without any guarantee that it will help. But having a dead troll spring back to life while you’re eating it, that’s comedy gold.

Also, in response to the etymology of fun, while there isn’t any evidence supporting me, it makes sense that “fun” comes from the same line as fundamental or foundation. The middle French “fond” probably became “fon” in middle english, both meaning “butt [of jokes].” Considering how jesters and fools were the primary amusement in courts, it’s probably that the word came to mean “amusement” as a direct result.

By: Darius Kazemi Mon, 26 Feb 2007 20:00:00 +0000 The Middle English word actually meant something closer to “foolery,” as in the behavior of jesters, than what we would consider fun. (I believe “fonne” is the old word.)

And you’re absolutely right about Bubble Bobble and the saving mechanism. This ties into something very important, that I may just have to write a new post about…

By: Gillian Mon, 26 Feb 2007 19:55:00 +0000 Thank goodness your baseline included a game I’ve played, and if Katamari Damacy constitutes “pure, unadulterated fun,” then I begin to understand your definition. I also think you’re correct when you say “joy” might be the more accurate descriptor.

It’s odd to connect Middle English with a more contemporary conception of fun, since I imagine that period in history contained little or no “fun” for much of the population. Although they probably had a goodly amount of sword battles and jesters and quests and such, so perhaps I am wrong.

Thanks to you and Ian for the reading suggestions. I intend to locate both the book and the essay tout de suite.

I think Bubble Bobble would approach pure, unadulterated fun if you could save your progress rather than start over at level one each time you play/die.

By: Ian Schreiber Mon, 26 Feb 2007 16:37:00 +0000 I’m surprised you don’t mention the essay “8 Kinds of Fun” by LeBlanc et al — basic idea, that the word “fun” is a generic term that combines many other emotions, and as game designers it’s better to study those components; some people find certain components more fun than others.

This is why Bradley finds Nethack to be fun, for example, while I find it esoteric and frustrating and prefer the more straightforward Angband :)

All that said, I notice no one is debating the point that Braid roxorz.

By: Bradley Momberger Mon, 26 Feb 2007 04:55:00 +0000 Pure unadulterated fun can be found (at least in my opinion) in the following games and their ilk:

Sonic the Hedgehog
Torus Trooper

There are certainly more games which can be fun and pure, unadulterated fun. But one thing that separates these from many others is that you get all your fun upfront (except for Nethack, but it gets a pass because you’re sufficently enabled to start the game). You get all the tools you need to succeed at the beginning, and success is mostly defined by your ability to master the dynamics of the game (though with pinball and Sonic, you also need to master the mechanics). Plus they’re fabulous adrenaline rushes, even the often-glacially-paced Nethack.

Adulteration of fun, incidentally, does certain things for the game both positive and negative. Story injection, need for RPG levels, weapons, points, levels, etc. are all adulterants which help the game align with the creator’s vision. In many cases the replay value and length of play are both increased. But it can also cause boredom and frustration (at least if poorly implemented; poor implementation is, unfortunately, too often the case). Good adulterants of fun make for a more memorable game, and often a more played game.

Torus Trooper is probably one of the best examples of pure fun that I’ve seen. You don’t get better weapons, ever. The game mechanics are light (go faster, slide right, slide left, autofire). All you want to do is not get hit, blow up stuff if you can’t zip by it, go as fast as you can, and stay ahead of the clock. Mr. Do! is a close second, for the same reasons.

By: Darius Kazemi Sun, 25 Feb 2007 20:00:00 +0000 Did you know that the word “fun” is unique to the English language? In other languages, the word they use in similar circumstances translates to “diversion,” “amusement,” or something similar, but there is no word meaning exactly “fun.” (The etymology of the word goes back to Middle English, where we lose the trail.)

We don’t really precisely know what fun is: it seems to be a chimera consisting of many different emotions. So it’s disingenuous to say that a game is or isn’t some degree of fun. That said, fun still exists as a concept, whether we like it or not (1). The best recommendations that I can give for games that are pure, unadulterated fun are Katamari Damacy and Wii Sports. Although in both of these circumstances, I am thinking that “joy” is probably a more accurate word to describe what I feel when playing those games than “fun.”

For further discussion of fun, I refer you to Raph Koster’s A Theory of Fun, available from Paraglyph Press.

I have also determined that, while writing about fun is sometimes fun, the product of the writing never actually reads particularly fun.

(1) And some do not. I have run across several papers and development methodologies where people have thrown “fun” out the window in favor of one or several more precise variables, such as “challenge” or “agency.”

By: Gillian Sun, 25 Feb 2007 19:45:00 +0000 Can you give me an example of a game that is pure, unadulterated fun? I’d like to understand your scale. I’d also like you to establish a definitive fun scale, because, you know, that would be fun.