Can’t We Just Have Fun?

It feels like entertainment always has to “mean something,” anymore. There has to be some sociopolitical message behind it, there has to bee deep and lasting consequences for the characters, we have to walk away having learned something.

Gaming is no exception; it seems like it’s just how things are going right now. It’s unfortunate, to me. I play games to have fun, and all too often that fun is toned back or even outright killed by the grim, dark, meaningful things that get jammed in there.

That’s why, after The Last of Us II’s discs proved faulty – or my PS4 just decided to reject it – I ended up scrolling through my backlog and playing something just for the fun of it.

Saint’s Row IV is about as far from a meaning-laden social commentary as you can get. It’s utter batshit insanity and mindless amusement crafted with laser precision. I never once was made sad by it, never was pushed into thinking of the troubled situation we live in, was never punished for making a choice because it was funny or contrarian. I was allowed to just have some bloody fun, and I feel a whole lot better than before I started.

So why can’t we have more like this? Why can’t we just turn off our brains for a little bit and have some good mindless fun? Why is that such a crime? Games are about fun and escapism… why can’t we embrace that more often?

Anything I say about games can easily extend to books and movies as well; we could do with a simple laugh once in a while, instead of just high-brow drama and the few comedic offerings drenched in political commentary and symbolism.

So I ask again… can’t we just have some fun?

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