(GIF original source: Yuyushiki episode 10)
Recently, I was thinking: what is fun? Rather, what is the point in fun? Is there such thing as an adequate amount? Is there such thing as too much?
The noun “fun” has a number of dictionary definitions:
- enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure: the children were having fun in the play area | anyone who turns up can join in the fun.
- a source of this: people-watching is great fun.
- playful behavior or good humor: she’s full of fun.
- behavior or an activity that is intended purely for amusement and should not be interpreted as having serious or malicious purposes: it was nothing serious; they just enjoyed having some harmless fun.
- [ attrib. ] (of a place or event) providing entertainment or leisure activities for children: a 33-acre movie-themed fun park.
Meanwhile, the adjective has one definition:
amusing, entertaining, or enjoyable: it was a fun evening.
The question “What is fun?” can be interpreted in one of two ways:
- What is the concept of fun? (defined above)
- What are some examples of fun?
Some examples of what I consider “fun” are playing video games, watching anime, surfing the Internet, and typing random documents (case in point). But, am I really having “fun” with these activities? Some video games (mainly RPGs and strategy games) drive me to the point of frustration. Anime can be any variety of entertaining or humorous, but there is no real form of engagement besides a story being told and/or information being relayed to the viewers (and some anime, Lucky Star for instance, don’t even have a real story). Surfing the Internet…well, there are some entertaining and humorous things on the Internet, but it is easy for me to get swallowed up in thoughts of, “What am I doing this for? Am I really having fun or am I trying to get noticed?” (Whoever is reading this, thank you for noticing me, heh.) Typing random documents is a good way to get thoughts off my mind but, in this case, I tend to leave things until the last minute, so I find it hard to think of a topic (like fun, really?).
More about video games: really, how much fun is a game if it becomes frustrating to the player? In the case of RPGs, there is always a factor of pseudorandom number generation which, in some cases, may make or break a particular interaction. There is a reason why Stone Edge (in Pokémon) is called Stone Miss. 80%, in practice, seems a much lower number than it does in theory. In platformers, there is not much luck; most of it is acting on instinct. One little misstep can spell doom, but sufficient platforming can bring out satisfaction. I suppose it is the “If there is a mountain, I will climb it” mentality that keeps a player engaged, even through frustrating moments.
Another way to have fun is with friends. If there is someone whom you can trust and with whom you can share experiences without any dire conflicts or sheer impurities, that can be considered fun on both ends. When I tell a joke, write a document, or produce any kind of material, the greatest satisfaction comes not from the nature of the joke or the completion of the document or other material—rather, it is the satisfaction from people who perceive it as humorous, acceptable, or good. The unfortunate truth, though, is that these types of things either satisfy or do not satisfy their audience.
At any rate, fun is good, but there is such a thing as too much fun. Too many times, I have been caught up in some form of entertainment (I just got a rental copy of Bravely Default recently and I am madly enjoying it) so much that I forget about the world around me, about my schoolwork, about the rest of my life. In fact, I wonder how or when I will break out of this shell of entertainment and start living in a more conventional way. Similarly, having too much fun with other people can be perceived as stupid or annoying (in the words of Twitch streamer CriticalCyd, “The difference between humour and stupidity is knowing when to hit the off switch”). But, is there an adequate amount of fun? That entirely depends on a person and his or her idea of fun. From my understanding, there are people who work for fun and people who need fun to rejuvenate themselves after a period of work. I am the latter of these two, but somehow I find it hard to balance business and pleasure; there is always something in me beckoning me like sweet nectar to just have fun and forget about everything else. My general tendency is to just entertain myself while still meeting deadlines, but sometimes it is better to beat deadlines rather than meeting them. In this case, I could have concocted a better document if I had taken the time to think of a better topic. Then again, there is always that big “if”; reflecting on one’s past is only human. Finally, one person’s idea of fun may be anywhere from a complete contrast to a complete match of another person’s; you never know—therefore, use fun wisely.
In conclusion, fun is okay, frustration and fun are not black and white, and fun is better with friends, but there is such thing as too much. “Know your limits, but don’t limit yourself.” – DarkSpinesSonic