having fun playing games
Gaming, Gaming Thoughts

What Makes a Video Game Fun?

Hello everyone and welcome to our place! πŸ˜€

Today I bring to you a little of a more broad theme to our place πŸ™‚

The question is – What makes a video game fun? – I mean, I know all of us have our own preferences. Some prefer to play solo, others prefer to play games with multiplayer. Some prefer casual games, others prefer hardcore ones. And the list continues! However, that is not the point of this post.

Do you want more fun that listening to Navi? Impossibruuu!Β Image byΒ CmOrigins

What I want for us to discuss and think about is what are the main pillars which make a game fun. They can be casual or not. They can be a RPG, FPS, simulator, anything you want. There are some basic foundations that need to be in all of them to make the game fun and enjoyable.

Remember, gaming has been here for a long time and in the beginning we didn’t have the complex videogames we had back then. However, those games ended up being famous and really fun! I mean, who never played Pacman or Tetris? The games are simple, but we end up enjoying them nevertheless.

For me there are 3 pillars that a game has to have to make a game enjoyable:

– Learning Curve –

Something like this! Image found here

Did you ever played a game where you start the game and they explain so many features in such a short time that you don’t even understand half of it? And let’s not forget those games who just think that having a tutorial is not needed at all.

Afterwords, before you notice, you are already playing a difficult part and dying over and over AND OVER agai just because you don’t really understand what you are supposed to do in the first place?

Games, to be fun, must be easy to play, hard to master. To get this you must have a good learning curve. The game should make you learn more features in a steady pace so it gives your brain the time to assimilate what has just learnt and ready to learn a new feature.

Yeah… That’s not supposed to happen!

This, of course, has to be hand in hand with a good difficulty increase curve. Meaning that the game should be challenging all the time, but not too much. This is not easy to do, but having a game that always test your boundaries is a lot of fun (without going to the point of making you to rip our hair out, of course!).

I know that there are games that are just plaint difficult because that’s how they market themselves and they are targeting true hardcore games. However, this not the point of this post πŸ˜›

So, if you ever wondered why League of Legends is so popular, or Candy Crush for that matter, that’s because the game is really easy to play, but it’s hard to master. If you feel you are improving, getting better and being able to complete more difficult challenges all the time the game ends up being pretty fun and enjoyable.

Dota is also a good example and way less toxic xD

For me, personally, I always go with the highest difficulty in almost games. However, that’s a choice and not a basic foundation. Nevertheless, it always bugs me a little when games end up being really difficult in the beginning but way too easy at the end of it.

– Gameplay | Bugs –

I must go. My people need me!

Let’s face it! A game, to be fun, can’t have major bugs! In the past, developers knew that putting a buggy game in the market would just kill it. Nowadays however, developers have an easier time with this because of Internet. I mean, who doesn’t know a game that had a tremendous amount of patches and updates to correct bugs after its release?

It makes me mad to play games from big developers which, for the first month, are buggy as hell! I mean, half of my Final Fantasy XV gameplay was done with incorrect size because my TV didn’t had the “right” resolution. It took them at least one moth to create an update to correct that. Sims 4 also came out with a lot of bugs, Dragon Age: Inquisition… Don’t make me get started on that one again.

When Sims 4 goes from a Simulation Game to a Horror Game!

However, it’s true that nowadays developers will correct the bugs and make the game more enjoyable throughout the time! But, think about Tetris for example. What would have happened if the moment you did your tenth line, Tetris would just have a bug that would bring you to the main menu? The game would never had the amount of popularity that it got.

In conclusion, I can play a game with messy commands. True that it will take more time for me to adjust to it and be able to play the game. But, my brain will be able to, sooner or later, catch the grip of it. The same cannot be said by bugs.

– Music –

Pic byΒ KNKL from devianArt

Let’s be honest, most of the games will feature repetitive gameplay. In RPGs you will have to level up and do a lot of fighting. In casual games like Tetris you are basically doing the same thing over and over again.

We all know what our brains think of repetitive actions. They just lose interest after a while! However, the thing that really makes our brain to be able to continue enjoying it and be focused is the music.

Who does not know the epic music from Tetris? In fact, I would be able to listen that music in loop for hours. Being able to do that and play the game is just even better. In fact, music for me is the most important part of a game. It can be the thing that will make the game fun and enjoyable or a pain in the butt and just a clear NO to me.

How was I able to give 100+ hours of my life to Final Fantasy 12? Music! I mean, if the music was not good do you really think that I would have the patience to be grinning for hours non-stop?

And yes, I also gave a lot of my time to the Zodiac Age

This way, good music/OST has to be there for those more repetitive moments in gaming. It’s what makes the game to continue to be enjoyable. I mean, even if the game is not fun, at least I’m enjoying some nice music, right?

– Final Thoughs –

Those are the 3 most important things to have in a game to make it fun in general. At least, in my opinion.

Of course there are other factors that I take into account. I’m mostly a RPG player so I give a lot of weight to characterization, world building and storyline. However, that’s not the most important thing when we look to the bigger picture!

And you, what are the major features a games just HAS to have to be fun to play? Not in a genre specific, (I may come back to that later in another post), but in general πŸ™‚ Comment down below!

See You Soon! πŸ˜€

40 thoughts on “What Makes a Video Game Fun?”

  1. Ugh in my gaming days I seriously hated games that spent hours and hours of explaining what to do. I just wanted to get started but instead I got loads of instructions and stuff like that…so annoying. But bugs though were even worse. I got stuck once on a game that I had spent hours and hours of time in, but then could not complete because of a stupid bug. Talk about frustrating!
    For me the most important thing was having a good balance between fun and challenge. I like a challenge but I also don’t want to be challenged so hard that I have broken two controllers and 3 consoles out of sheer anger. If a game can find that balance, that for me was just the best game!
    Fun post! 😊😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah! The learning curve can’t be too quick, but also can’t be too slow xD It has to be just right and it’s one the most difficult things to do πŸ˜›

      2 controllers and 3 consoles? My sweet money!!!! However, I can relate though xD But, I can stop before actually destroyng the hardware ahah

      Thank you~! ^^

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Haha…I don’t think I ever destroyed a controller, but I did destroy a few gameboxes lol. Pretty much one of the reasons I quit gaming: I turned into a maniac at times πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi. Nice post! I agree that there should be balance when it comes to the learning curve. This is one of the reasons why video games are fun. There are also games that really test your patience and sometimes make you rage quit. (Yeah, I’m talking about you Dark Souls!)

        Liked by 1 person

      3. hahaha Great Souls is such a treat! XD But, besieds the rage quit I also have a problem when the games just become way too easy… It’s not like you feel you have mastered the game… It’s just… Easy bah


  2. For me I need a goal. In Skyrim I set myself the goal of maxing out every stat and that devoured hours of my life, and then I scrapped the character because they were OP and started again deciding only to max out five specific skills and to use all others as sparingly as possible. I think I could replay Skyrim over and over again just changing my own goals. I think sometimes I forget there’s actually a story and a game goal that I’m supposed to be achieving.
    But even games like Invisible Inc and the like. Clear the level. Do it on a harder level. Do it on a time trial. Unlock all the characters. As long as there is some goal still to be achieved for me it honestly doesn’t matter how repetitive the whole thing is. I have a target and I plan to hit it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To be honest, I quit Skyrim first because I was addicted… Second, because there was so much to do that I just completely lost the track of the main quest ahah

      Completely agree with you, having a goal also makes a difference! πŸ˜€ I can relate with what you say! πŸ˜› If I have a goal in my head I can just do the same thing over and over until I’m able to achieve that goal πŸ˜›

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think that is why tetris and the like become so addicting. People want to get one level higher, get that slightly higher score. The action itself doesn’t change (might get faster) but getting better at it feels really good and meeting whatever artificial target you set yourself can be really rewarding.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Music, fun and challenge. I love challenges. I play Pokemon Reborn and its the hardest game everr, but beating those leaders is so satistfying in the end. Like Karandi and Raistlin said, I love when a game has good balance between its challenges and fun and of course giving you a goal to pursue. and also when it keeps you with a very engaging story line and new stuff/pokemon to discover as you move on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahahah, yeah I also love challenge! To be honest, sometimes when I pick a game in the hardest level I get annoyed and irritated sometimes throughout the game. But after I end it, as you said, is just so rewarding and makes me feel happy with myself! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It has to have a difficulty level that doesn’t arbitrarily punish the player for anything more than the right to say it has done so. A good game slowly builds that difficulty, increasing the player’s skill over time. When you die, it is because you made a mistake, not because of some cheap tactic or pitfall.

    Celeste is a recent masterclass in how to do difficulty right.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for just saying the learning/difficult curve in a way simpler way than me ahah I completely agree with you! πŸ˜€

      It is? Well, I have to play Celeste now so I can experience that ahah thank you for that XD

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What makes a game fun? That is a very good question to ask indeed and one I could sit and talk about for hours on end as the sun goes from dusk till dawn.

    Let me ask again, what makes a game fun? Well that will depend on what you are looking after when it comes to specific games you enjoy playing. Now you Arthifis chose Learning Curve, Gameplay | Bugs and Music, which I enjoyed reading on how you believed games should do/have with them before it becomes something along the lines of a fun game to you.

    Personally for myself there’s going to be more in it and often also what I’m looking for. Are we talking about a newly released game? Then Gameplay is a definite point in which either make it fun or break it to annoyance. Though there’s the chance that it’s a sequel/prequel being released for a previous game that now becomes a series in which I really enjoyed the previous title (an example here could be Red Dead Redemption 2) and so I would be also looking towards it with what new things it brings to the formula but how it as well evolves what the previous title brought to the table.

    Then there’s genre, you won’t really find me playing horror as often I will be more irritated than having a good time, though there can be exceptions.

    So, to not ramble on any longer and have you all fall asleep, let me boil it down. What makes a game fun? That is up for you to decide as we will not know what you are looking after in a game.

    Really enjoyed reading this and would love to delve more into a lengthier discussion with you about this topic (potential Gaming Gripe? :P).

    Stay Cozy and have a nice day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the awesome comment! πŸ˜€

      Yeah, I’m completely with you! Fun will depend on what you are looking for. However, that’s why I tried to go for the basic pillars where it needs to present in any type of game to be fun πŸ˜›

      I also think gameplay is important. However, I’ve played games with not that good gameplay/controls which I ended up having fun nonetheless πŸ˜› Unless the gameplay is just plain horrible, your brain ends up being able to sooner or later to adjust to more difficult gameplay πŸ˜›

      Yeah, genre also makes part of one of the reasons of course πŸ˜› I’m a huge RPG addict, so I’ll play more of those than any other genre. However, as I said, was looking into something that should be present in any kind of game eheh

      Ahah, go for it! I would read it eheh πŸ˜‰

      Thank you 2! Have a nice day πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I definitely agree with you on the learning curve point. I always have more fun when I play games that are challenging. It’s so much more gratifying to get through a tough game after failing over and over and being forced to approach things in a different way.

    I would say that gameplay variety is key in making a game fun. Nobody likes to do the same shit over and over again. I always appreciate when games throw new challenges in your direction to keep them interesting.

    Also, I’m a big fan of dialogue choices that actually impact storylines. When I know the decision I’m about to make will greatly impact the progression of the storyline, it makes the experience much more tense. It also makes me think way harder about the choices I’m making.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Completely agree with you! I love to have to strategize and things like that so I can beat a difficult boss πŸ˜›

      That’s true. However, if we think more about the casual gamers, we can see they have fun doing that. Games like tetris or Candy Crush are really popular. So, yeah, gameplay is important, but I don’t think if the repetitive part is a general asset to have to make a game fun. It will depend in what you like.

      That’s my thing! I love Dragon Age because of that and I always prefer games who have that option! πŸ˜› I think you immerse yourself in the game way much more since you are the one pulling the triggers.

      Thank you for the awesome comment! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No problem. Thanks for the awesome post :). You’re absolutely right about more casual players. I never think about that. A lot of people are plenty entertained doing the same thing over and over again. Just not me I suppose.


  7. Since when was DOTA less toxic than league, have you even played it? They kick you for being new to the game. Plus you got it the wrong way round league is hard to learn easy to master.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I did Terry. Not as much as League of Legends that’s true and it’s been some years ago. So, yeah, maybe the time I played it the community was better :/

      I don’t believe that’s the case. Champions from League of Legends are really easy to understand how to play. How to get the objectives, buy things and so on are also really easy to understood.

      The difficult part comes when you try to learn how to last hit, taking into account the strategy of not pushing too farway, getting objetives, master the champions and so on πŸ™‚

      So, I don’t know if I got it the wrong way or you were the one doing that. I think, in the end, all of us have different points of view and experience things differently πŸ˜›


      1. The thing you’re forgetting about is Item Builds, if you don’t know the item builds in DOTA, you get kicked immediately the moment someone discovers that you have the wrong item, as such, if you don’t know all the item builds, the game is literally unplayable as you are not allowed to play without the correct item builds, no experimentation allowed. As such the game requires a ton of research in order to actually start playing properly, you have to know all of the builds, playstyles etc off by heart before you can even qualify to play the game, this is exactly what I meant by hard to learn but you are right, it is easy to play the hero once you know all of the inherent complexities…. it’s learning all the inherent complexities that is a pain in the ass. Oh and as for the DOTA community, you also get kicked if you are -5 in a match because that is considered feeding… even if you are just terrible at the game, the community are very contemptful towards new players, if you’re new, you will be kicked within seconds.

        As for League, there aren’t bots designed to automatically kick people like in DOTA. Considering the fact that the image you used in that caption was for DOTA 2 and not DOTA, I’m not so sure if you’ve actually played DOTA because DOTA is a mod for Warcraft 3.

        If you’re still unconvinced that the DOTA community is more toxic than League Of Legends, here’s a video that will prove otherwise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTR_BHuvYzA&t=3s

        Of course, the League Of Legends community is bad as well, that’s because they all came from DOTA, but DOTA spawned all the toxicity, possibly because Warcraft 3 Battle.net was toxic to begin with because it’s a Blizzard community and Blizzard couldn’t give a shit about cleaning up their communities, especially Warcraft 3’s.

        All I can say is that DOTA is my most hated game ever, it represents everything in gaming that I despise.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hmmm from what you are writing, probably it’s like I said in the previous comment. I got lucky since I didn’t have that problem. And let me tell you, I played poorly.

        But maybe I found it easier because I tried it after League of Legends? I dunno. To be honest, I ended up prefering League. Although, I don’t play either at this point.

        But, well I understand your point of view regarding the hard to play and easy to master…

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I think nowadays (besides playing with your friends) its having an engaging story. If the story captivated you, you’re more eager to finish the game and explore, but the difficult also plays a part it that too

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think a wide variety of factors play into a fun game. Gameplay, difficulty, music, replay value, and theme are all huge factors. I find the games that I keep coming back to are the ones that are immersive, challenging, and give me a lasting impression (good or bad!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I agree with you! There are many factors, but I tried to go to the foundations of it ahah

      For example, I think replay value is more of a personal thing since I don’t think that as a huge factor. There are games I had a lot of fun playing but did not replay for various reasons πŸ˜›

      Although I have to give it to you! A lasting impression is really important when it comes to replay games πŸ˜›


  10. For sure games have to let me in easily, I don’t want to be bombarded with tons of information I have to remember. Otherwise it feels like a text book! (yuk). Nowadays it’s more about the story, and setting which makes games fun for me. Sure easy games like Candy Crush are fun for a while, but I get bored easily with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah! Games that explain everything right in the beginning end up being a freaking mess! It’s way better if you get the info from time to time while playing the game.
      I’m not a casual gamer, at all… So I never enjoyed games like Candy Crush. For me, the story and the music is what the most important part is πŸ™‚


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