Do you enjoy playing games?

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HanClinto
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Do you enjoy playing games?

Postby HanClinto » Tue May 26, 2009 9:18 am

I think I've realized that, for most games, I don't generally enjoy playing games.


This of course begs the question -- then why do I play them if I don't enjoy playing the game?


I may be splitting a fine hair here, but I've learned that I don't enjoy playing the game, so much as I enjoy beating it. Whether it's completing the game, or just finishing a smaller goal within it, I enjoy that feeling of accomplishment. That's why I continue to play games, even when I don't enjoy the actual mechanics of the game.

I realized this when I ran across some games that advertised "infinite gameplay" as if it were a positive feature -- to me, that just means I get to slog through never-ending frustrations, and never be rewarded with ever finishing a task or reaching that final milestone. It feels morbid, like I'm playing a game that's just waiting for me to slip up and die, but it has infinitely more patience than I do -- it's like trying to win a staring contest with a brick wall -- you don't have a chance.


It's the rare game where I actually enjoy playing the game, even if there's nothing to accomplish. There's only one game that I can think of that I will still load up from time to time just to enjoy playing around, and that's Dolphin Olympics 2. Even though I've done just about everything in that game that can be done, sometimes I'll just load it up and enjoy the sea sounds as my dolphin swims and leaps into the air.


What about you? Do you enjoy playing games? Or is it more about winning for you too? What games do you enjoy playing, even if there is no chance (or opportunity) for winning or achieving accomplishments?


How important is it to make games that are enjoyable in and of themselves? Should we bother making games like that, or should we focus on making games that give people that feeling of accomplishment?

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Re: Do you enjoy playing games?

Postby Shakedown » Tue May 26, 2009 10:18 am

Interesting thought! I think I see it very much like you do Hanclinto! I would say the only difference might be that I do enjoy some games that are "infinite gameplay" type games.....But then they only keep me playing because there is an online scoreboard or something that I can still measure myself to!
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Re: Do you enjoy playing games?

Postby Mene-Mene » Tue May 26, 2009 10:50 am

Right, sometimes finishing the game can be reaching an achievement, beating all your friends for example...

I think you're pretty close on the dot Han... Games are all about simulating the euphoria gained upon an accomplishment, which in this case, is virtual, but you still get the euphoria. So, in order for an infinite game to work, there must be a way to achieve something without being required to finish it... Same thing with other games, they keep players in by feeding them with just a little euphoria until they get the big rush of truly finishing.
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Re: Do you enjoy playing games?

Postby samw3 » Tue May 26, 2009 11:06 am

I enjoy playing certain games for the story. Every now and then I'll load up Secret of Evermore or Earthbound in an SNES emulator and play through a few levels. It's kind of like watching an old movie you like but have seen a hundred times.
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Re: Do you enjoy playing games?

Postby muadib » Tue May 26, 2009 1:06 pm

HanClinto wrote:It's like trying to win a staring contest with a brick wall -- you don't have a chance.


Or Racing a Cheetah?


I think I agree with you. There is that sense of accomplishment that feels good after you beat the game.
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Re: Do you enjoy playing games?

Postby Calin » Tue May 26, 2009 11:42 pm

I'm the opposite. I'm a horrible player however I do like to explore the games/ test the imersivness, i.e I spend countless hours toying in Total Annihilation.
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Re: Do you enjoy playing games?

Postby Curry » Wed May 27, 2009 4:26 am

Han, that is a really interesting thought and it immediately raised this question in my mind: what kind of games did you grow up on?

Atari games, for example, were sometimes designed to be unbeatable--you could beat high scores, but the game kept on forever and eventually you lost or had to go do something else. I guess besides scores, you could have a sense of 'having done pretty well this time' or not, instead of winning/losing. Some of the arcade machines were like that too.

I grew up on Atari games back in the day, but I also like a game with an ending, something to commemorate a player's efforts. However, there are games I like enough to enjoy playing, no matter whether they are beatable or whether I win or lose, just to enjoy the game.
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Re: Do you enjoy playing games?

Postby HanClinto » Wed May 27, 2009 7:02 am

Curry wrote:Han, that is a really interesting thought and it immediately raised this question in my mind: what kind of games did you grow up on?

DOS and NES -- so definitely usually games that were (in theory) "beatable" (even though I don't think I ever got past world 8-2 in SMB). Even so, you knew you were marching forward towards a specific goal.

I'll play a game with "infinite gameplay" so long as there is still something (or someone) to beat -- my roommate and I played Tetris addictively during college, always working to top each others' high score. So I guess if it were a cluster of friends around an Atari, that might be different, but I don't know how much I would have played it just by myself.


Curry wrote:However, there are games I like enough to enjoy playing, no matter whether they are beatable or whether I win or lose, just to enjoy the game.

I'm intrigued by this kind of game -- do any examples come to mind? I'm interested in hearing more about these games that are enjoyable in-and-of themselves.

--clint
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Re: Do you enjoy playing games?

Postby Realm Master » Wed May 27, 2009 7:18 am

...It depends on the game. I enjoy some games, while others I agree with you, Han. I enjoy beating the game. For instance, I enjoyed Halo's story mode. There was enough fun packed into the single player levels (and the ability to play co-op and such) that I still to this day go back and play it again. Yet for multiplayer, most of the fun in is winning, or in doing good individually and avoiding getting a "bad" kill/death ratio. As I look back on it, I'm surprised to see that actaully, I don't really enjoy most of the games I play, as much as I strive to win, to beat them and feel accomplished.
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And now this brings up an ovbious game-design point: Are Our Games Really Fun?

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Re: Do you enjoy playing games?

Postby Mene-Mene » Wed May 27, 2009 8:18 am

Which brings up another point, do our games need to be fun?
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Re: Do you enjoy playing games?

Postby popsoftheyear » Wed May 27, 2009 9:00 am

Maybe it's not so black and white though. Yeah, usually the overriding goal is to have that sense of accomplishment, but there are some games that are certainly no fun at all, and you don't even have the desire to beat it and feel like you did good. So while accomplishment is usually the superceding thing driving you, there must be some kind of fun involved in the game... or perhaps the game must be bearable vs. annoying?
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Re: Do you enjoy playing games?

Postby SSquared » Wed May 27, 2009 9:10 am

> I spend countless hours toying in Total Annihilation

Heh heh. One of my all-time favorite games.

> even when I don't enjoy the actual mechanics of the game

I'm having a hard time getting my feelers around this topic. Are you saying the game play and mechanics are not playing a part in your enjoyment?

Sure, I think having a goal or achievement is part of the fun, but I find most of my enjoyment comes from the actual game play elements. It's fun deducing and figuring out puzzles, for example. I like the thought process and thinking things through. And sometimes, discussing things out with someone else (like talking things through as I play Lego Star Wars with my daughter).

I think of an RTS where game play is somewhat infinite. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. If I did not enjoy the actual game mechanics, though, I would not play. And...hahaha, actually, I don't really play them anymore as I have grown tired of the same style of game over the years.

A personal example for me is Mario Golf Advanced on the GBA. I will sometimes grab the game and just play a mini-game or a round of golf because it's just fun to play it. I've already beaten the courses (except one), but it's just fun to play. I'm not even trying to beat my previous score.

There is a Wii game called Endless Ocean with no goal. You swim around a large area of water and discover things, but you can just bob around, slowly meander, search for items, whatever. It's totally open-ended and you don't have to do anything but relax and watch. It seems to get positive remarks.

When I look over games I've enjoyed, I remember the mechanics and the process more than the actual achievements.
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Re: Do you enjoy playing games?

Postby Matt Langley » Wed May 27, 2009 9:52 am

For some games I feel the same, that accomplishment is my primary goal since the gameplay isn't that fun, many MMOs are like this actually since they are so repititious. You play to achieve things like levels, abilities, equipment, etc. I often find I actually enjoy quite a few multiplayer games since they add an extra gameplay element with people... The best multiplayer games allow the experience to be very dynamic based on it being multiplayer. The best game of this category in my opinion is Left 4 Dead. I absolutely love and enjoy playing that game. I do the same thing in it over and over simply with different people and even with the same people different things happened. The gameplay is very enjoyable to me and though I sometimes do play to "win" since I typically play the "VS" mode (4 players are survivors, 4 are zombies) one team has to win and one has to lose, so even if I use I really just enjoy playing.
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Re: Do you enjoy playing games?

Postby CPUFreak91 » Wed May 27, 2009 10:58 am

I enjoy playing games, but I only have fun when I achieve something. It might be defeating a boss, or taking out a grunt in a new way. If I'm not beating something, or trying out something new (with a few exceptions, such as really fun gameplay, like driving the warthog at the end of Halo 1 and 3 with the world blowing up beneath you as you race to your escape ship).

One of the reasons I've gotten bored with Perfect Dark Zero is there's nothing to achieve in it. Sure I can beat the game, but while I'm beating it, all I do is take out some guys who are pretty dumb. I love Half Life 2 for the myriad of ways you can kill an enemy, either with a variety of guns, or tons of different physical objects (like blowing up a bridge, or knocking the stilts out from underneath a house).

I need to have fun gameplay and I need to achieve some goal (personal, or set by the game) to enjoy playing games. It's not all about the achieving and it's not all about the playing, it's a mixture of both.
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Re: Do you enjoy playing games?

Postby SSquared » Wed May 27, 2009 11:08 am

> It's not all about the achieving and it's not all about the playing, it's a mixture of both.

Yes. Please don't take what I said earlier to mean achieving a goal is meaningless to me. I just did not focus on that side of things. I wanted to mention the importance of gameplay for me as that did not seem to get any attention in the thread and yet, it's very important to me. The gameplay needs to be fun for me to even think about continuing a game. This is why you can play a plethora of Match 3 games, Time Management games or any other saturated genre and some are exceptional while others fall flat. Each genre's goals are somewhat the same, but the gameplay and design are different and it's those gameplay differences that hold my attention in one and leave me bored with another.
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Re: Do you enjoy playing games?

Postby Calin » Wed May 27, 2009 1:20 pm

what kind of games did you grow up on?


the type of semi electronic games that were common in my childhood
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my favorite: ship shootdown.
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Re: Do you enjoy playing games?

Postby SSquared » Wed May 27, 2009 1:58 pm

Those have got to be some of the coolest images! Thanks Calin.

I thought of some more examples.

Flight Simulator
Zoo Tycoon
Roller Coaster Tycoon

The last two we often play in sandbox mode. Unlimited money. No restrictions. No goals or anything. Just play to play.

I'm also in the middle of a game called Kaloki Adventure. Although I am playing the mission-based story, I also have a sandbox game going where I am just playing and expanding my space station. To be honest, I thought the sandbox mode would be boring without a goal :) , but it's actually quite enjoyable. My space station components start breaking down so I need to manage the repairs. It still keeps me on my toes, even without any specific goals to achieve.
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Re: Do you enjoy playing games?

Postby Calin » Wed May 27, 2009 2:46 pm

In case someone is wandering what's happening in the second screenshot, it's based on a russian fable where it takes a whole family + pets to pluck a carrot of the ground.
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Re: Do you enjoy playing games?

Postby Calin » Thu May 28, 2009 2:47 am

Quake 2 (still) gives me thrills when I play it. It's like a movie though. You can watch it many times provided you leave some time between the watches. Same with Half Life, to some degree
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Re: Do you enjoy playing games?

Postby JoeJoeZ26 » Thu May 28, 2009 4:22 pm

Exactly. Sometimes the game play is better than the storyline and vice versa. But ocassionally you find the game you love thru and thru, gameplay and story.

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