The key word for me here is not ‘Fun’. The concept of fun is well understood, I should think, after many years of games and many hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of releases. There are theories of fun, analyses of fun, examinations of the fun of one aspect of a game or another, and whole schema devoted to separating out different kinds of fun.
No, the key word for me here is ‘meant’. Meaning is an interesting concept, in both positive and negative, because it suggests purpose or exclusion. Saying that a product is meant to be a certain way can implicitly imply that it is not meant to be another way. Big Macs are meant to be tasty pleasures, they are not meant to be nutrition supplements, for example. They are designed with that intent.
What I’m driving at here is a kind of pre-judgment, and video games are unique as a medium (that I’m aware of) in that the greater majority of its creators, designers and producers otherwise actively pre-judge themselves and their work according to a ‘fun’ standard not as a key trait of enablement, but as the end goal in and of itself. —Tadhg Kelly —”Video games are meant to be just one thing: Fun.” (Particle Blog)
Via Grand Text Auto.
I liked this author’s argument that in video games, “fun” is a means, not an end. Still, this passive-verb-heavy passage prompted me to post a bit about the intentional fallacy:
Novels need to be readable. Their basic craft requires that readers are invited to keep turning the pages until they get to the end. But what are novels ‘meant’ to be? Nothing. They’re meant to be whatever the author intends for them to be. Ditto music, ditto poetry, ditto television, sculpture, comics and so on. In all these forms, the basis of aesthetics or pace or whatever are regarded as the core necessity.