The Ultimate Heresy - "Games don't need to be fun, and neither should they be!" with Tom Cole
"Where's the fun?" "Find the fun!" "But is it fun?" "10/10 would fun again!"
A long-standing games design maxim amongst practitioners is that games must be fun. It is often the first and last question asked at every phase of the games development and release.
But what is fun? Moreover, do games need to be fun at all?
What if we were to say they need to be engaging? Is this just foolish semantics or is this a paradigm shift in thinking?
In this short talk I will look at this often-unquestioned maxim of games design and games industry and put forward several points for why this 'Fetish with Fun' is neither useful or helpful to games either as an industry or an art form, and that this is holding the industry back - both commercially and artistically.
I will also explore how we can design for more than just fun. Drawing on some elements of my research, I will discuss how designing for just fun is not taking into account the full range of motivations for play, and illustrate some potential strategies, conceptual tools and vocabulary which will enable and equip designers to think about designing games that are more than just time-wasters and casual entertainment.