I made a pretty rediculous claim the other day that Westerners, for the most part, wouldn't know what a fun game was if it smacked them right in the face. Then this person who clearly disagreed (as he should have) said in response, Fun depends on the person. Essentially, fun is subjective.
I really don't agree with this. I think it's an easy claim to make and easy to agree with because so many people like so many different types of things. Saying that fun is subjective would only make sense next to this point. But just because we like something doesn't make it fun. For instance, I think professional sports players like and LOVE the sports they play, but I also think most of them are actually not having fun playing them (except maybe when they win a big game, but this would get me on another tangent about winning vs. fun). Another example is my dad: He likes to renovate houses, he likes to fix everything, huge hobby of his, but I don't think he's having fun doing it.
Now wait a second buster...How do you know? How can you tell when someone is having fun or not? While I'm not trying to write a new definition for the word "fun," I will say that the act of having fun can be observed. It's something you can actually see. So If I was having fun and you were sitting next to me, you could tell I was having fun by just looking at me. This is why I feel professional sports players are not having fun. The game is now a job and everybody takes it way too seriously because of it. My favorite baseball player (and a lot of people my age) growing up was Ken Griffey Jr. Not because of his skills (although those helped) but because he actually looked like he was having fun playing the game.
Many of the most lauded video games of all time, I feel, are not even close to the most fun games of all time. I'm not saying one category is better or worse than the other. But there is a clear difference. World of Warcraft has already gone down in the record books as one of the greatest games ever made, for obvious reasons. Now. Have you ever seen somebody playing these game before? I've seen plenty. And there isn't much difference between the way they look and a someone who has a coma.
And it's not just WoW. Many of the greatest games have your brain fully obsorsbed into the gaming experience and your bodied glued to the controller. Exacerbating the situation is how serious games are taking themselves these days. Even Yahtzee was talking about this in his latest zero punctuation review of that Far Cry DLC. The more serious the game is the more serious we take them.
The Wii sold so well because it was fun. Not because it had excellent hardware, or the best reviewed games of all time. It sold because when you watched people playing it, you knew they were having fun. What attracts people to MS and Sony was something different. And I have no problem saying that what attracted gamers to the Xbox 360 and PS3 were good games.