Unchallenging Games

For the Stencyl project, my group mates and I decided to make a game based on accessibility. The game has the player play as a bee traversing through different environments until it finally reaches its hive at the end. The game contains no enemies and it is impossible to die. The only thing the player has to worry about is maneuvering to the end point that takes them to the next level. Also, there are coins in each level that the player can collect for fun and a counter in the corner of the screen that keeps track of how many coins the player has collected. As the player goes along they will see pretty flowers as well as cute critters. Our controller of choice was a stuffed flower whose stem you could wrap around your arm for easy comfort. Overall, regardless of one’s gaming experience, it is pretty easy to traverse and beat. This, plus other comments made in class about the accessibility of games, made me wonder what truly made a game enjoyable.

The biggest pro is obviously that a wide range of people can play the game. No matter what system one is on, or whether or not they have ever used that system and its controller before, they can still enjoy a game that is beginner friendly. This way, a game can be relaxing and fun without being frustrating. However, I believe that this aspect of making a game accessible can also be a major con. What has always made a game enjoyable to me was the sense of satisfaction granted after I completed a particularly difficult challenge or boss. Those hours of frustration were more than made up for by the pure happiness I felt when I finally accomplished my goal. What makes a game that doesn’t challenge its players, and rewards them for completing those challenges, a game? What makes it enjoyable? The fact that it is relaxing and enjoyable? If so, would scrolling through Tumblr or shopping online also be considered “games”? I think what I appreciate most about my Stencyl group and project are the questions they brought to my mind.

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3 thoughts on “Unchallenging Games

  1. I think what separates unchallenging games from scrolling through Tumblr is the separation from reality. A game has a setting, controls, and a narrative (even if minimal). It is a fiction. Tumblr, online shopping, and similar online adventures are based in reality.

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  2. Accessibility and games is something that this class has got me thinking about a lot. I’m someone who came from very little gaming experience (actually none at all) so playing games like Assassin’s Creed was really difficult. Like you said though, I was quite proud of myself for getting through certain challenges. These challenges took so long though that I often got bored or just too frustrated to go on, which made me think that videogames just weren’t for me. From the place that I’m coming from right now, I don’t want a game that’s too easy, but I don’t want one that’s too challenging either. I often wonder which sorts of games I should play as a beginner, games that aren’t too hard to figure out but offer a good (fast-ish) challenge. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  3. The thing is, what makes a game enjoyable to you is not necessarily what makes it enjoyable for others. Some, like you, appreciate challenges. Others may not– maybe all they want out of a game is a chance to get to pretend to be something they are not, to win a couple of coins, to reach the end goal. Maybe all they find in frustration is… frustration. Because everyone has conflicting definitions of “fun,” things whose status as a game you may question might undoubtedly be games to others.

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