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A game being enjoyable does not entail that it is good

Gamingtodaynews1g - A game being enjoyable does not entail that it is good

Let me preface this by saying that if a game is not fun, that is definitely a point against it, but it doesn't make it bad. With TGA noms being announced, a lot of people are criticizing TLOU2 in comparison with Animal Crossing. These people say that Animal Crossing is enjoyable, but TLOU2 is not. Therefore, Animal Crossing is a better game than TLOU2. I think this is a mistake.

First: a game, or any work of art, being enjoyable does not automatically mean that it's good. Plenty of freemium iPhone games are enjoyable, and I think most people agree those are bad games. I don't find 2001: A Space Odyssey particularly enjoyable, but I think that movie is very very good. If you want to say that a work of art being "enjoyable" is a purely subjective notion, I think that's false. We can generalize and say that what statistically most people who appreciate games, and games of a certain category, find enjoyable, then that is the objective standard that makes a game enjoyable. All this is to say that the defense "Animal Crossing is more enjoyable than TLOU2" does not mean that Animal Crossing is better than TLOU2.

So I'd like to propose an alternate way to account for how enjoyability can make a game worthwhile: that it is enjoyable for the right reasons. Of course, I don't know what ALL the right reasons are, or what they could be, but here are two examples:


Freemium games are enjoyable because they trick you into believing you care about logging in tomorrow to do your daily tasks. Once most people stop playing a freemium game for longer than a few days, they realize that they have no interest whatsoever in playing the game ever again. I think this is also true of Animal Crossing–I have a lot of friends who played it every day for months, but then they stopped, and told me they didn't realize until they stopped that it was a waste of time.

On the positive side, FromSoftware games are enjoyable (for one reason among many others) because they involve overcoming some huge challenge that involves skill. This is a good reason because it provides (1) a sense of accomplishment, and (2) developing a skillset, things that might be inherently valuable.

So: is this convincing, or can someone provide another argument/objections to mine that show that enjoyability (in its unqualified sense) does always determine a game as good/bad?

tl;dr – there are games that are enjoyable that are bad, and there are games that are not enjoyable that are good. Therefore, we shouldn't say that a game being enjoyable instantly makes it good, or that a game being not enjoyable instantly makes it bad. It depends on if the game is enjoyable for the right reasons.

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