After writing the post "Books for independent game developers" I ended up taking the Theory of Fun -book from the shelf and read it again after a very long break. It sure was not a bad decision, since it brought a lot of thoughts of the core, of making games.
[WARNING: Rant ahead!]
This made me think again, what really makes games "fun". Because in my opinion, if being super honest here I think that modern mobile games have gotten far away from the "fun" what I've used to find from playing games.
Rather than offering fun, diverse and challenging experiences I keep stumbling upon "time hook" -games which are designed to keep me doing the same thing all over again, in order to grasp the carrot at the stick, just to notice the next one.
"Games are not only about finding the best psychological hook to get the necessary endorphin boost for the player..."
Of course, this is most likely just me fighting the "modern gaming" which is taking place. Games are evolving and offer products which the "masses" find most interesting because that's where the money is. It's totally understandable to create these type of games, but we should never forget the roots of "fun" in games. This can be easy for some of the people in the game industry to forget when trying to figure out the best "business hooks" and top "trending game mechanics."
Games are not only about finding the best psychological hook to get the necessary endorphin boost for the player to increase the "retention" and "LTV" -rates and other "KPI's". Games are more than that. Games offer meaningful experiences, which may affect the way we think, the way we interact with other people, how we deal with everyday lives and even how we socially interact with other people. Games can teach, help and empower people like legendary stories.
Luckily, we still have a lot of developers creating these valuable experiences rather than following the "biggest cash" opportunities. I personally think that we should always remember to embrace them since most of us got into the game industry because of these, meaningful creations. Not because of a casual mobile game, we got so hooked into.
"Can you be proud of your work?"
I can still remember from the Mobile Game Awards 2018 at London when Kristian Segerstrale said at his winning speech, which went something like this: "Can you be proud of your work? Is this something you're honored to pass to the next generations and see them follow your footsteps?"
Please, be honest with yourself.
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