I’ve just saved another member of the gang and about to rob a train with John Marston. I have to believe I’m somewhere near the end of chapter two and I’m stuck trying to figure out a simple question. How do you define fun? Red Dead, for all its Westworld like qualities, isn’t that fun. I spent most my time on my horse traveling from location to location and combat is just terrible. There was a moment when members of the O’Driscle gang ambushed and turned a simple mission to sale a horse I just caught into the scene from The Godfather. And this isn’t the first time I’ve been ambushed. It seems like every time an ambush happens it’s an automatic death sentence. You can try to run, but they’ll just chase you, and if you decide to fight back, you’ll only get killed. The mechanics in this game just don’t cut it.
And yet here I am still playing the damn game. Why? Because on some level it’s entertaining. The world itself is the draw and the interactions between characters. It’s a world that asks you to explore only to find itself crippled when you actually want to do something. But let’s get back to the question at hand. How does one define fun? This weekend I played Mark Of The Ninja, and I enjoyed it. The game was fun. It was fun in the way old school video games where fun, but Red Dead. I don’t know. So the question is how do we define what makes a game a “good game?” Because what this is teaching me is that I must better define the metrics by which I discuss the games I play and the recommendations I give to those around me.