Where’s the Fun In That?

Castlevania is one of my all time favorite games!

Before I got into tabletop RPG’s I played video games, and a lot of those games were of the ‘really difficult’ variety. In all my days of Castlevania, Resident Evil and “D” there were levels and bosses that had me thinking I’d sooner be breaking my television than actually defeating them or puzzles that took countless tries to decipher.

However, In the end when I eventually beat those bosses and solved the puzzles it was so rewarding and fun, though I’m not sure I could have said the same if it was all simple or someone held my hand through the entire experience.

What I don’t understand, are people that give up on a game because it’s too hard, or declare that it’s not fun because of the difficulty. Those are probably the same people that use strategy guides. I don’t understand it. What is the fun in playing when you have a book that tells you exactly what to do? How can you even say that you beat a game while using a strategy guide? You didn’t beat the game, your instruction manual did.

That is exactly how I feel about role playing games. Don’t get me wrong, I think a nice, easy game of Dungeons and Dragons can be fun too. However, I think that a big part of the fun is in the challenge. If there isn’t a challenge in your game then you might as well be playing Chutes and Ladders. If your DM holds your hand and you know he’s insuring the immortality of your character or constantly gives PC’s an out instead of death, capture or other nefarious fates then what are you actually gaining? Are you even playing a game at this point?

It's pretty much like that

Risk breeds excitement, if you know going into a game that your character is guaranteed to come out alive every single time – why play? I understand some people might like that because they are invested in their characters and enjoy easygoing game developing rich back story, slaying a few monsters and perhaps doing some persuading. What about games where this is the case every session though, seems like it would get really boring to me but hey… if that’s what you’re into.

I play games for fun and excitement and I don’t want to play it safe. I want to take chances and live dangerously through my character. I play it safe every day in real life, I raise my kids, go to work and attempt to do well in school all while maintaining a blatantly non-adventurous lifestyle.

But isn’t that one of the major attraction points of gaming for a lot of us? Escapism? When the rest of my party is afraid to go into a room I am always the person that wants to go investigate it. This is after all just a game. The worst that could happen is your character dies (or gets turned into a man) and although that is a very sad you can always make a new one, or attempt to get them brought back one way or another.

I know that this must seem like I’m coming off as “TPK Queen” or something but that’s not really the point here. Characters don’t have to die, but there has to be risk, and a serious sense of it. Losing a large chunk of your healing surges, having your defenses lowered or simply being caught off guard is often more moving than just winding up dead.

While at DDXP this year I got to experience Greg Bilsland’s “Nightmare Mode” while playtesting some upcoming products and it was rough! While my character didn’t die, I was almost certain she was going to wind up that as zombie food with every roll of the die. I should mention that it was also some of the most fun gaming I’ve ever done.

The difficult, clinch “do or die” moments in gaming are the ones we remember most, along with the hilarious, absurd and at times emotional – but that’s an article for another day.


Part idiot. Part old man. All geek. In between rolling for saves vs exhaustion, Momanatrix raises 2 minions, engages in scholastic training and ensures her scatterbrained bardic other half doesn't go to work without his pants on. She's been gaming for a long time, however tabletop RPG's are the most recent entry on her gaming resume as she just started a little over a year ago. You can get to know her on twitter as @momanatrix or stop by her blog at http://www.chaosbolt.net/


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About Momanatrix

In between rolling for saves vs exhaustion, Momanatrix raises 2 minions, engages in scholastic training and ensures her scatterbrained bardic other half doesn't go to work without his pants on. She's been gaming for a long time, however tabletop RPG's are the most recent entry on her gaming resume as she just started a little over a year ago. You can get to know her on twitter as @momanatrix or stop by her blog at http://www.chaosbolt.net/
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