Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fun, Story and Other Troubles

'Games should be fun'. I heard and read this phrase a lot. In an interesting turn of events, we now have some gamers saying they are tired of games trying to tell stories and wanting games that are just fun. That games concentrate too much in 'being movies' and forgot about 'being games'. That games must be all about fun, above all else. And this made me question: why?

Why games must be all about having fun? Why can't I play a game who have a deep, moving story? And the only thing I can think is that people doesn't understand the difference between 'fun' and 'pleasure'. You don't go to see a horror movie or a drama to laugh. You go to see a horror movie to be scared. You go to see a drama to be moved by its story and characters.

You go to see a horror movie to be scared, while remaining safe. To feel the adrenaline rush of fear. If you go out of the theater laughing, you may had fun, but the movie failed as a horror movie. If you got all teary after seem a drama, the effect wanted both by the filmmakers and you have being achieved. And games can be like that.

Sillent Hill is a game who many consider great (specially the second) because it is disturbing and scaring. It is not a game people would call 'fun', if by fun you mean having a laugh. It is 'fun' in the sense that is 'pleasant' to play. Yes, you got shocked and scared, but that is what you want. Or at least should be when you buy an horror game.

A game can be a great game without being 'fun', As long as you can say you liked to play it, it don't need to left you with a smile in the face. Yes, I understand some people want the classic 'mindless fun' games and there is nothing wrong with it. But it doesn't mean games cannot be more than that.

Now about games having or not having stories. Ninja Gaiden 3 new trailer show us Ryu Hayabusa, the main character, questioning all the murders we have committed and wondering how that affects him. And many gamers start complaining that Ninja Gaiden shouldn't have any story. That it should be all about mindless killing and gameplay. And it is okay. Many games are like that and are great games.

But why games cannot try to tell stories? I understand that they still have a hard time trying to find the right way to blend story and gameplay, and that most stories is hardly worth praise. But games still have its ways to go to find how is the better way to make great story and compelling gameplay work together.

Sometimes I think gamers are either the most scared group I ever heard or the most close minded. Either they fear that any change will ruin games for them forever or they just are completely unwilling to even give a chance to change.

Games can be mindless fun. Games can be deep works with great stories to be told. As  long as we are willing to give them a chance to be what they can be.

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