Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Zone of Play

One thing I've been gnawing on for a few years now is how to dissect play - the subtle things that make a game fun or not fun. I've come up with a lot of different theories - and interacting theories, and all sorts of interesting blue-sky stuff that nobody cares about.

The reason I'm bringing it up is because of the Orisinal games that are being pimped through the various blogs I occasionally scan. I've gone and played them, just for kicks - took me about an hour to play all of them. Got first place on the balloon game, didn't bother to save it - only sheer willpower got me through.

Some of these games are fun. Some of those games are PAINFULLY DULL. And, the funny thing is, people seem to be pretty much agreed with me as to which ones are fun and which ones aren't. That indicates - VERY CLEARLY - that there is a basis for FUN.

Now, I know that FUN is a taboo word these days, so perhaps I should say something else, something more specific, like 'kinaestethic pattern enjoyment' or some crap. But the point is, when it comes to click-and-flick games, there are definite tendencies for certain things to be fun and certain things to NOT be fun - and these are not nearly as subjective as people like to think.

For example: did ANYONE enjoy the spider-mashing Orisinal game? I didn't. I don't see why anyone would. It's painful.

Each of his games uses one of about three basics style of play mechanics, varying only in the specifics of the implementation. So why are some fun and some incredibly, painfully dull?

Hee hee.

In the absurd long shot that someone might comment, I'll post MY theories on the matter some other day - tomorrow or Friday, perhaps.


Darius Kazemi said...

This looks like a job for... Raph Koster! Wait, maybe not.

Craig Perko said...

Very helpful, thanks. :P

Actually, I don't believe this topic has been covered anywhere before. I haven't seen it. :)