When does a game stop being fun?


#1

Both Rob’s article on pursuing pointless achievements in games and Gil Lawson’s on procedurally generated elements have me thinking about the way game systems work and how players interact with them. I feel like there’s a point where any game, no matter how fun initially, can become boring as its systems are laid bare to the player.

I play a lot of JRPGs and I recently got back into Bravely Default. While I appreciate the ability to eliminate random encounters and otherwise manipulate the game world, the classic Final Fantasy problem of useless status effects has revealed the short of shallowness behind the game. Status effects typically don’t work on bosses, but regular enemies are too weak to merit their use, so I just never use them. As a result my playstyle has begun to lack variety, again despite elements of the game that I love.

As a counterpoint, I’ve been playing Pokémon games for years, I’m incredibly comfortable with the systems and very little surprises me during the course of a main series storyline. However, despite knowing the systems back to front I’ve never felt the loss of interest that I have with Bravely Default and other games. It may just be a case of some systems being designed better than others, it may be a case of nostalgia biasing my views, but I can’t shake the feeling that regardless of genre or system there comes a time when all game systems might be revealed so fully as to make the player lose interest.

What do you think?