How often do people say things like this?
“Roleplaying should be fun.”
“Remember that the point is to have fun.”
“If it’s not fun, don’t play.”
“We’re all here to have fun.”
“Can we stop analyzing everything, and just have fun?”
Quite a bit, in my experience. I always bought it without questioning. Shame on me, I should know better than that by now…
In a forum thread about the question of valuing game experiences that aren’t fun, I finally realized that the question originated in the opposition between “fun” and “painful.” As long as fun is my goal, I can’t find value in games that are painful, because these things are opposites. Fun is not pain, and vice versa. But I found myself conflicted, because I think there is value in those sorts of experiences. There is simply no other way to explore that ground without screwing up my real life badly. So…fun can’t be where the value comes from. And if that’s the case, then fun isn’t really my goal, despite what others may tell me. So what is it, at the deepest level, that unites experiences with personal, subjective value?
Answering that question led directly to my new philosophy of roleplaying:
“Roleplaying should be fulfilling.”