Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rambling on a theme

Before I start rambling in a jumble of half-formed thoughts, I would like to start by directing you to this latest post on the Flavor Text Lore blog, "Failure, Challenge, and the Decline of WoW" - while a lot of people might be quick to point and say it's a familiar argument made by people who play Warcraft at a much higher level than the average player, they do themselves the disservice of realizing Hamlet and Perculia give probably the most intelligent dissertation on "fun" and "engaging" gameplay short of David Sirlin's dissertations on Street Fighter 2.

There is a good counter point to be made here in regards to their article; I am not the writer to make that argument, nor do I have the complete thoughts to do the argument a shade of the justice it deserves.

Instead, I want to move down another train of thought; to talk about what is fun, because I do feel pretty confident in being able to illustrate what I think is fun, and hopefully, to tie back to the Flavor Text post, I can illustrate an idea that I've been rolling around for a few weeks:

 Being picky is okay, because being picky is knowing what you want. And if you know what you want from a video game (be it WoW or anything else), your gameplay experience changes based on your expectations.

Let's agree to a single conceit before we move any further on this point: Overcoming challenges is fun.

You play a video game because you want a challenge. Everything extra that you do in a video game is compulsory.

Now that you and I agree, "We like to be challenged" we can riff a little. We have an even ground. We don't care what the challenge is, we like to beat stuff. We play a game and like to be able to point to whatever we've done and say "I completed this. For me."