[MUD-Dev] Removing access to entertainment

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Tue Nov 25 13:26:00 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

Shannon writes:
> On Fri 14 Nov, John Buehler wrote:

>> This is an observation about some graphical games that I've
>> played through the years, and a pet peeve that has been building
>> all that while.  I don't know if text games have this manifested
>> in any way, but the graphical games sure do: they remove my
>> access to entertainment as part of the normal operation of the
>> game.

>>   Example 1: Nighttime and rainstorms.
>>   Example 2: Mesmerization.
>>   Example 3: Blindness.
>>   Example 4: Slow travel in large worlds.

> Honestly, I have to agree with the general point that John is trying
> to make here.  As others have stated, games are about fairly and
> equitably overcoming a challenge.  The above points can
> essentially be summed up as a collection of elements that prevent
> one from fairly and equitably overcoming a challenge.

While I appreciate the agreement, this really isn't about fairness.
It is more fundamental that that.

You make two statements about mesmerization:

  "It is distinctly and decidedly unfun."

"Having been on both ends of this scenario, the bottom line is that
it denies both sides the opportunity to fairly and equitably
overcome a challenge."

The second statement may follow from the first, but it isn't the
point I'm trying to make.  I think that the first statement is the
essential truth here, and what I infer from that is that it is
"unfun" because it removes access to the very form of entertainment
that the game is predicated on.  It's not about fairness.  It's
about just not being able to get to the game's mainstream
entertainment: operating a character to do stuff.  A player can't
even operate a character if it becomes mesmerized or stunned.  It is
inoperable if it is sitting on a boat, waiting for a destination to
arrive.  It's another kind of stun.  It is diminished in operation
if the player can't make the decision about where to go (can't see).

Imagine a game based on buying and selling securities.  People are
working up strategies and schemes for making money, manipulating the
market, whatever they're up for.  Every now and again, there is a
problem with the market and nobody can do any trading.  This mimicks
reality, but it removes the very form of entertainment that the game
is predicated on.

Some here will theorize that this equipment failure is simply
another form of entertainment (frustration and anticipation).  I say
that it is not entertaining for those who want to play that game.
Simply because players are reacting emotionally to the operations
within the game does not make those operations worthy entertainment.

Game designers are welcome to continue putting in these denial of
service features, but I think that they are ill-conceived attempts
at entertainment and that a game that lacks any such features will
do better than one which retains them.

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