Towards Videogame Aesthetics III: Against Interpretation
A Toy Chest for Game Design

What is Endured Always Enhances Enjoyment

It is one of the strangest aspects of play that whatever can be endured will ultimately serve to enhance the enjoyment of the player who perseveres. Tolerating repetition adds satisfaction to the completing task. Tolerating difficulty in challenges turns mere success into glowing victory. Tolerating frustratingly obscure puzzles leads to smug triumph when they are eventually cracked.

Of course, each of these ordeals to be endured will also exclude certain players from reaching their eventual rewards. Not everyone is willing to endure tedium, difficulty or obscurity. But it is striking to note that the same things which cause certain players to give up a game are the very things which make it worth playing for others. This is more than just ‘different strokes for different folks’ – it seems as if whatever a player will endure ultimately ends up enhancing the reward they experience.


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Yes it is curious. If I think about my history of playing since I was a kid, being frustrated is so much part of the experience. Now since you mention it, it would be interesting to see if this applies to other disciplines.
DIY maybe? At a very amateur level, I see a lot of frustration in it, and some eventual reward (at least the possibility of it) that is enhanced by the difficulty of the task.

I'm postulating this is a general property of experience, and the neurobiology backs up my claim. Of course, my principle interest is in respect of games, but I think this is an inescapable part of the experience of being a mammal.

Best wishes!

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