让我们想想硬核玩家是如何将共享记忆与相互关系附加于特定的平台和角色之上。就像如果我说“The Cake is a Lie”（在《传送门》中，游戏主角将在人工智能Gladous指引下完成一串谜题，而Gladous称完成所有难关后会有cake奖励），那么玩过《传送门》的人应该都知道我想表达什么，他们肯定对此印象深刻。
在1958年发表的《Definition of Play》中，Roger Caillois进一步延伸了Huizinga对于游戏的描述，并表明了怀疑也是游戏过程中一个重要元素。如果游戏中不存在不确定性，那么玩家就没有继续游戏的必要了。
‘So what exactly is ‘fun’ anyway?’ asks Applifier’s Oscar Clark
by Guest Author
Okay, I know this is a cliché but while we always talk about the importance of fun, we rarely take the time to understand what terms like ‘fun’ & ‘play’ actually mean.
It’s one of those things I always skip over, perhaps quoting Rafe Koster’s inspiring ‘A Theory of Fun’ in passing. However, I fear we try too hard to simplify what fun is, and in the end miss out on the nuances that can help us design better.
I often apply semi-scientific language to describe Fun as the dopamine or serotonin release from the successful resolution of a pattern or the successful overcoming of a challenge. But is that really enough to work with?
As far back as 1938, Johan Huizinga talked about play as “A Freestanding Activity quite outside ordinary life [...] absorbing the Player intensely and utterly”. Think about that for a minute.
There is a freedom that comes when we suspend our disbelief and allow ourselves to dwell in the world created by a game experience; whether that is just for a few brief delightful moments of casual play or for the hours we set aside for our favourite hardcore console game.
The profit prophet
The definition continues by saying that Play is an activity with “no material interest or profit gained.”
Whether you agree with that statement or not, it does provoke some interesting questions, such as where does gambling fit in with this concept of play? Does the phenomenon of gold-farming in MMO games break the fun? Is the creation User Generated Content part of play?
And if I have to spend money in the game does this break the illusion?
This last question is particularly pertinent in our new freemium era, because it asks whether the need to spend money might be detracting from the fun. It a common accusation raised by many F2P detractors and I’m often guilty of assuming that they don’t understand the model. However, we should take this seriously.
Constant reminders to buy things can undoubtedly stop us from “absorbing the Player intensely and utterly.” But when we look at the raw data we see that these kind of push promotions are really effective.
We have to find the balance between the need inform players that it’s worth investing their money in the game without breaking the illusion of the game experience.
Huizinga went on to say that play “promotes the formation of social groupings that tend to surround themselves with secrecy and to stress their differences from the common world by disguise or other means.”
I find this perspective fascinating not least because this predates Facebook and computer games in general, but it even predates games like Dungeons & Dragons by decades. I also think that this explains much of the evolution of games over the last few years.
Think about the way hardcore gamers attach their own shared memories and affinity to specific platforms and characters. For example if I say “The Cake is a Lie,” most of you reading this will know exactly what I’m talking about and may even have strong memories of a particular song.
There are a lot of people however, who won’t have a clue what I’m talking about. This kind of inside knowledge is an important aspect of the fun we gain when we play and it’s a factor we easily overlook in social game design.
Of course the audience for gaming changed when Zynga and Playfish came along to show people who weren’t hardcore gamers that they could join in too.
Games on Facebook very nearly became mainstream by allowing us to access a relevant social experience for us all.
There are lots of issues that have come about since that time and I’m not going to rehash them all here – but the one relevant to this topic is that Facebook doesn’t allow us to easily differentiate between our playful selves and our everyday selves.
We have lost a little of the pleasure from ‘belonging to our own niche’ that comes from fun; even if we have gained the ability to have many more playing friends than ever before.
Land of make believe
In the 1958 work ‘Definition of Play’, Roger Caillois, expands on Huizinga’s description of play and suggests that doubt is a vital part of the process of play. If there is no uncertainty, then play simply stops.
This applies to games of skill as well as luck, because if the players aren’t sufficiently balanced, there is no pleasure in the game; as much as if there is no chance of failure or success.
Although it is possible that some fun can be achieved through the process of play if there is room for personal impact on the outcome. For example, the fun of playing Farmville is not found in the creation of your farm, but in the journey of making it your own.
Caillois asserts that ‘Make Believe’ is also an important aspect of the process of play, whether that is the adoption of a role or avatar in play, or simply the acceptance of the rules of play of a puzzle game.
To achieve this in any game we have to create reasons for the player to suspend their disbelief or cynicism about the game rules. Only once the player does that can they let go and really enjoy themselves.
Remains the same
I guess my point in all of this is that fun is a basic human emotional response to play and the principles of our behaviour have only superficially changed over time.
We may have handheld devices and cloud computing, but in the end we still play as a free activity, with no care for material profit.
Fun is not something that can be forced. It requires a separation from our normal world to exist, usually framed in some commonly agreed rules with some level of uncertainty to its outcome and it’s something we want to share with other players.
Understanding this and allowing us to consider the implications this raises as well as the harder questions of business models and marketing is what makes our job as designers so much fun.(source:pocketgamer)