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Totilo gives Leah some props

i think we really affected Stephen, he started going down a strange road that we have been thinking about for a while, Fun and Games. Here is the post-


One Comment

  1. frank wrote:

    Heh, very nice. The thing is that “fun” is just a weak word to try to capture all of the different kinds of pleasures that games can, and do, produce.

    That’s why stuff like Daniel Cook’s attempt to notate games by recording players’ immediate emotional reaction is so weak. Here is how Cook, in another article (about how games are addiction machines):

    “It is these pre-existing systems of psychological triggers that all games use to generate ‘fun’, the pleasant buzz that encourages us to keep playing.”

    To which I responded in a recent email discussion on this topic:

    “Simple Skinnerian conditioning cannot account for all the various complex and differentiated pleasures that games are capable of producing. To name a few: social fellowship; narrative involvement; improvisational problem-solving; ecstatic, self-destructive submission; discipline-directed self-improvement; formal contemplation; advanced connoisseurship; long-term system exploration; kinesthetic sensation; challenge-mastery; empathy; catharsis; and creative self-expression.

    Does he really think that the WoW players who are reverse-engineering weapon damage models and negotiating inter-guild rivalries and the Nethack player who is chuckling over the discovery of his own ghost, and the Hannah Montana fan who is unlocking a cute skirt, and the Counterstrike expert who is running drills with his clan are all feeling the same “pleasant buzz”?

    The idea that videogames are, underneath it all, best understood as fancy pleasure-dispensing appliances is far too wide-spread, far too lazy, and, I think, far too harmful to genuine understanding, to be entertained, even as a cynical joke.”

    It will be interesting to see what the general reaction to Stephen’s article will be. I think its a pretty subtle issue and a lot of people might misunderstand it to be anti-fun, when in fact its not about less fun, it’s about recognizing a larger, more complex universe of pleasures.

    Friday, April 13, 2007 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

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