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Fun vs. Entertainment in Gaming

"In virtually every other medium, "entertaining" is very broadly construed, and covers a wide emotional spectrum," says Celia Pearce in the IndieCade blog.

Serious games are part of the movement to broaden the genres of gameplay. By addressing subjects more pertinent to everyday life than shooter themes, serious games can address learning through "play"...through simulations, through imaginative engagement in virtual worlds.

"The tyranny of fun has prevented us from exploring more serious and complex emotions. Six Days in Fallujah appears to be the first attempt in the mainstream industry to create a documentary game that does that. Created by a group of Iraq war vets, who, significantly, chose to make a game instead of a film, it attempts to be realistic, rather than hyper-real, and although I’ve not played it yet, the images would indicate that it’s done a pretty good job. Part of what is intriguing to me about this game is that it is autobiographical: the soldiers tell their own personal stories throughout, including the aftermath of war. This is an amazing innovation for video games, which seldom address the consequences of war and violence.

As Will Wright pointed out in the GDC panel “Stretching Beyond Entertainment: The Role of Games in Personal and Social Change,” shooter games should be 10% killing, and the other 90% spending the rest of your life in jail. One of the things I said to Alex in my interview is that war games never deal with the loss of a limb, or post-traumatic stress. Apparently this game does, or at least that’s its intention." Celia Pearce


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