Is it possible to play games "wrong"?


I would say if you’re attempting to do something but not able to achieve your goal, then you’re doing it wrong.

But you can set whatever goals you want for yourself. Just do whatever brings you joy. Or like others have said already, if you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.


I think there’s a wrong spirit to approaching certain games, like I would with any artform. There’s a kind of spiteful attitude or a sense of superiority that certain people will bring to the table when approaching a game, like when “hardcore” gamers will tackle “casual” titles and I think that’s playing the game wrong.

To truly understand a work, you have to take it on its terms, not on the terms you think all games should be. For instance, I personally dislike Mass Effect 2, but I don’t deny the quality of what it is doing. I approached the game knowing that Bioware was taking the RPG in a different direction and while I recognized it wasn’t for me, I wasn’t arrogant enough to call it garbage because it didn’t cater to my tastes. For what it wanted to do, Mass Effect 2 was a tight, well-made game.

I think we start playing games wrong when we try to make them bend to our tastes and ideas of what games should be instead of realizing the title is made with an intention to be something that may not be for us, but we can still find ways to appreciate and understand those games.

I think that’s where I part ways with the whole “this isn’t a game” school of thought certain “hardcore” gamers level at games with little interactivity. It may not be challenging, but just because you think every game should have a challenge doesn’t mean it’s not a game or it’s bad because you don’t find it challenging.

I guess that’s how I’d say people play games wrong. There’s plenty of nuance with that as far as when a game achieves something that is mediocre or a game has aspirations it doesn’t meet, but that’s a whole other discussion.


I guess it’s possible, but in most examples I can think of it’s the game itself that’s at fault. Quantum Break was frustrating and boring when it was played like a standard third-person shooter and it’s tempting to say that a lot of people played it the “wrong” way, but the problem was that the game itself didn’t do a good enough job of pushing players to use the powers available to them; pretty much every situation could be tackled with the “default” TPS behavior. The game never seemed to be doing much to actively encourage you to use your powers or experiment with the ways they could interact with each other.


There are people on this planet that puts a bunch of HM moves on their pokemons and use them to battle.
That definitely means you can play a game wrong!


The only instance where I thought someone was playing a game wrong was a friend I was trying to show PT to. I told him it was a really cool horror game and one of the few that really freaked me out. When he want to play it, he went out of his way to mess around and ignore what was happening. Horror has always been a genre that requires the viewer to let themselves be immersed to be effective, so it was very frustrating to watch as my friend wouldn’t play along at all and eventually just declare that he didn’t understand what I was talking about at that the game was bad.

Refusing to play along when a game asks the player to come into a game with a certain mindset is the only way I can say someone is playing a game “wrong.” For any other instance, I can’t really say there is a wrong way to play. Even taking advantage of exploits I wouldn’t consider wrong. I would argue that by using exploits the player might not be getting as fulfilling of an experience, but it certainly is a valid way to play.


One could also argue that using weak Pokémon that you never battle with to dump all of your HMs on, instead of spreading them out across your team, is a wrong way to play. The Pokémon games aren’t very clear on how many Pokémon you should use, so either way to play seems like it may be right.


I think every game is designed basically as a series of activities gameplay loops for the player to go through. Generally I think in a well designed game those loops will be fun and the player will be led through them in an enjoyable order. open world games obfuscate it but even there the player is ideally being subtly guided from one activity to another in an enjoyable way.
Some would say that just breaking out of that loop and subverting the game design in some way is “wrong” I know I tend to get a bit antsy if I feel I am not playing a game the “intended” way. others would say, and despite my hangups I tend to agree, that that is only really “wrong” if breaking the gameplay loop isn’t fun or is less fun. however you define wrong it is I think certainly possible to play a game wrong. though the best games are designed to keep you playing right, either by keeping you inside the loops or by making sure that if you leave the loops you are still having fun.


I would say yes. For example button-mashing in most fighting games is not how they are meant to be played. Players are meant to gain understanding of the gameplay system and master it.

That said - it’s not wrong to play games wrong. If you enjoy playing it that way, then by all means do so. Just be aware you may not get to experience the true vision that the creator is trying to communicate.


I would say this goal-focused approach is probably why this criticism often gets leveled at game reviewers. It all comes down to what you expect a review to offer you as a reader. If the reviewer’s playstyle is unconventional, then the advice and conclusions of their review may be less applicable to the readership at large as a result. It’s related to why reviewers often feel compelled to play on default difficulty settings and using the standard control schemes.


I think that you can play a game wrong, and i also think playing a game wrong has its value. What i don’t think is that it should be thought of as the adding or subtracting of experiential value. It’s useful to have the construct of “wrong play” principally because i think that’s how you would define contrarian play, or put perhaps more simply, it’s useful to be able to distinguish whether you’re playing to the design of the game (i.e. participating in the intent of the creator), or deciding that the experience you want (or are having) with the game does not fall within the designed window of intended experiences. To that end, i think all experiences of play (positive or not, wrong or not) have value and should be thought of as inescapable aspects of our being an actor in a game.

That said, i think it i should add that in my opinion we should generally stop saying “having fun”, or codifying fun as the core experiential metric. Fun should really be just one of equally important values in games. Bad experiences are valid and important too, and deserve their scrutiny and relevance. Like everything in life really.


Sure can, if it takes out your own enjoyment of the game, or ruins the fun of the game for others in unfair ways) e.g. In multiplayer games. Then I think it’s wrong.

Otherwise play the games the way you enjoy the most.


Yes, absolutely.

If you’re playing League of Legends by feeding every other game, both because you enjoy annoying your teammates and because you want to keep your rating low so you can stomp newbies, you’re playing the game in a very wrong way, no matter how much fun you’re having.

But even when it comes to single-player games, yes, there are wrong ways to play them. Sometimes playing a game the wrong way is fun (either on its own merits or as an interesting variation), but also sometimes people can get sucked into playing a game the wrong way purely by mistake (which, yes, can in part be blamed on the game design) and their enjoyment of it suffers.


Of course. 99% of the people who ever played Gunvalkyrie were playing it wrong.


Well yeah one could argue about it.
My post wasn’t very serious, but I just think that even the game itself is aware that these moves are pretty crappy when used in battle, so dumping all of them to a weak multi-learner just to make story progression isn’t a bad idea.
Either way, they become irrelevant when you start playing competitive(in-game or online)


You’re doing it wrong if you try to walk left instead of right in Super Mario Bros…


I guess there’s a reason they put Pokémon like Zigzagoon and Bidoof on early routes. Still, it would’ve been nice in the older games if teaching HM moves was always a good thing, instead of a possible player trap. I guess that’s a problem they fixed by removing them in favor of ride Pokémon.


As long as you’re having fun, and you’re not setting out to ruin anyone else’s fun, then I’d say that you’re not playing it “wrong”.


Pretty much this.

I think that the only games you play “wrong” would be competitive multiplayer games. And then it’s because you can do things that literally wreck the match for your team and your opponents.

Outside of that I think people should be able to enjoy games however they want.


For single player, do what you want. For multiplayer, don’t be a dick.

That said, if you discover an exploit or strategy that allows you to win, go for it. Changing the meta is legit and kind of cool, and it’s on the devs to fix it, if necessary.


Personally I say that only applies to MP games. Those you can definitely play wrong by griefing others, not playing the objective in objective team-based modes etc.

Single player? Who cares? They/I bought the game and can play however they like. The developer/publisher have their money and thus no reason to care whether they experience exactly the way they intended or not IMO.