Which Depends on the Other? Game or Fun?
The question at hand is whether or not the game I played for the past two weeks, “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood,” (http://www.glu.com/games/view/kim-kardashian-hollywood) can be classified as a game? Which then leads to the next question of whether fun must be felt while playing this thing in order to classify it as a game? Let’s cut to the chase, YES, “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” is a game. It does sound weird for me to say first of all that yes, I did decide to play Kim Kardashian for two weeks and second of all, it may have been fun. I want to start by getting the boring definition part out of the way in this blog. Stay with me, it will be over soon. Jesper Juul defines a game as “… a rule-based formal system with a variable and quantifiable outcome, where different outcomes are assigned different values, the player exerts effort in order to influence the outcome, and the consequences of the activity are optional and negotiable.” (Juul 2003) The game has clearly defined rules because you cannot simply walk around and do whatever you want. Also, the game has variable outcomes because you can choose how to respond to conversations that you have with the A.I. characters. These response options have different values such as some responses give you more fans than others. If you exert no effort, the game simply does not work. If you want to become a successful Hollywood star you must do certain things. Because of this, the consequences of not becoming a star in Hollywood is optional and certainly negotiable. For these reasons, “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” is by definition, a game.
Although the game itself may not be fun to a lot of people, the game is still a game. Nowhere in Juul’s definition does a game need to be fun for it to be classified as a game. I agree with this because fun is a personal feeling and opinion. If fun was a requirement in order for something to be classified as a game, games would almost never exist, or at least there would never be an agreement on whether or not it was a game. What I find fun might never be fun for anyone else. Does this mean whatever game I am playing should not be classified as a game? I find fun being a requirement for any game to be classified as a game ridiculous. The word fun itself does not have a clear definition and for many it has different meanings and is felt in entirely different contexts. You cannot say “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” or any other game that meets Juul’s requirements is not a game because it simply is not fun. If “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” is not a game, then what is it? Imagination? No, it is a game and neither fun nor game depend on each other. They both exist on their own and do not need one another. Games are games whether or not you have fun. Fun is fun whether or not you are playing a game or not.