Monday, February 23, 2009

Factor of Fun: Role Playing Games (RPGs)

For the next topic, we'll take a game genre and discuss what is the unique factor of fun that separates it from other genres.

I'll start with the RPG. Why do people play them? Why is walking around continuously, fighting the same monster over and over fun? When people would watch me play WoW, they would always say, "Why do you walk around so much? That doesn't seem fun."

The unique factor of RPGs is a sense of accomplishment. You invest time into a character that grows and improves over time. The core mechanics of RPGs are usually not entertaining. In fact, I had a great discussion with a coworker that argued most RPGs are not good games because they rely on the sense of accomplishment so much that the game, stripped of this, is a chore that could be seen as a second job.

MMORPGs are especially guilty of this. To keep interest, as the player has to pay a monthly fee, the developer has to continue to create content. Therefore an infinite sense of accomplishment is established. It is amazing that a person can happily constantly play a game 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, and still enjoy it. But what can I say? I've been there.

The sense of accomplishment that is necessary and unique in the RPG genre needs to be created responsibly by the developer.

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