Blog #1-‘Fun’

Dusty Nunes                                                                                                                                                                             1/30/17

Blog #1: Pac-Man

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To answer whether playing Pac-Man was a ‘fun’ experience, I believe it is necessary to try and define ‘fun’ in games. When you search “definition of fun” on the Bing search bar, the Merriam-Webster dictionary website defines it as “amusement or enjoyment.” The website also says ‘fun’ is “a mood for finding or making amusement.” The “finding” part of the definition is where I believe true ‘fun’ comes from. Author Raph Koster highlights this concept of ‘fun’ in his article titled “Theory of Fun for Game Design” when he is discussing what games are, “… none of the definitions tend to assume that fun is a requirement: amusement or entertainment at best is required” (12). Koster wants to separate ‘fun’ from amusement or entertainment because he believes ‘fun’ has a more meaningful purpose. Koster believes ‘fun’ can help us learn. Koster goes on to say in his book, “That’s what games are, in the end. Teachers. Fun is just another word for learning” (46). When you are trying to find something, it is a challenge because you do not know where it is and you never know if you will ever find it. For me personally, I agree with Koster; I seem to find ‘fun’ in challenges because I believe challenging yourself is a great way to learn more interesting things. This is ‘fun’ to me. I want to point out that one concrete definition of ‘fun’ can and never will be agreed upon in my opinion because everyone feels, experiences, and perceives ‘fun’ differently.

While playing Pac-Man I was having fun at first. My anxiety level was running high because it was challenging to get every dot without being eaten by the four different colored ghosts. I kept dying at first so I felt the need to try and learn the best routes to take to get every dot. I started to develop strategies such as waiting as long as possible before eating any of the big four dots. This allowed me to “eat” the small dots thus clearing a lot of the game board and then use the big dots abilities to eat the four colored enemies As I started to play the game on a regular basis I became more confident. My gained confidence took away the anxiety that I was initially feelingpicture1 which I believe led to my boredom. I no longer felt I was learning on how to play the game anymore, instead I was just going through the same pattern repeatedly. Pac-Man teaches you a simple concept, be the top “monkey.” Koster believes that “Games almost always teach us tools for being the top monkey” (52). Once you collect all the dots you not only beat the game, but you beat the four colored ghosts who are trying to prevent you from collecting every dot on the game board. You have then become the “top monkey” and the most dominant player on the game board.

All in all, I enjoyed playing Pac-Man at first but grew bored fast. Although I must admit the boredom allowed me to focus on more than just the game itself. The Boredom allowed me to enjoy the design of the game and notice all the minor details, such as the dark background and intensifying music that only raises the player’s anxiety level. These details were beautifully thought out by the game designer and ultimately helped make the game a house hold name.

Source: Koster, Raph. 2005. A theory of fun for game design. Scottsdale, AZ: Paraglyph Press.

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7 thoughts on “Blog #1-‘Fun’

  1. This was a good read on your experience with Pacman. Just wondering, did you feel bored with the game because it was repetitive and didn’t call for more effort other than avoiding the ghosts and gathering the dots? If you could, what would you implement in the game to make it more challenging and fun for you?

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    • The game was boring to me because it stopped teaching me new things. I think if it were up to me I would change the shape of each level’s map to add a different twist to the game. I would maybe also add different powerups to the game allowing players to find which powerups they prefer. Some player customization would be a cool concept as well and I think better graphics would be nice as well. I know these all go away from the traditional Pac-Man game but for me they would make the game more ‘fun’ and I assume I am not alone.

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  2. Pacman is definitely one of the harder classic video games that developers made and put out for the general public to consume. But it became an American mainstay due to the fact that people saw the challenge and rose to occasion and tried to master the game. Some people have completed this task but they had many attempts where they had failed and had to try again.

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  3. The game was fun at first and grew boring as it progressed. Do you think the map changing at different levels would have made it more fun?

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  4. I do so love that this is the second time I’ve seen the stock image man with controller… Not sure it’s a good thing, but I definitely chuckled.

    Anyway, very clear take on how the game was fun, but then boring. Considering your take on being a “top monkey” and getting bored though, how would adding competition through the high score change the situation? Would competing make it fun again? Not just killing ghosts but beating people? Or is that only ‘fun’ to some?

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    • I believe adding a multiplayer concept to the game would add some extra ‘fun.’ Although I cannot speak for others because some people do not like competition as much as I do. I love being the “top monkey” especially when I am the “top monkey” against actual people and not just an A.I. character.

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  5. I love your visuals that you picked. I feel like they are the most perfect ideal ones you could’ve chosen. Honestly the guy holding the controller like that is really how I end up being when I’m getting really close to finishing the level of the game. I also did get bored relatively fast of playing Pac man since it is doing the same basic mechanic over and over again continuing to be repetitive.

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