TemTem is a massive multiplayer online RPG where you catch and battle magical creatures while traveling across floating islands. The game caters to a few different types of fun, but the type of fun that you experience will depend on how you play the game. Some people might play for the sensational fun that they get from the amazing artwork, battle effects, and soundtrack. Others might be playing for the fun of narrative, finding themselves invested in the overarching plotline. In this post, I want to explain how I have found submission and expression fun through playing TemTem.
To start, we can focus on a subset of the mechanics within TemTem. Much like in Pokemon, you can infinitely trigger random battles with untamed creatures (temtem) by walking around in tall grass. You are able to catch untamed temtem during battles, and you receive in-game currency for every temtem that you catch and release. All of these mechanics create the dynamic of farming. Farming is the act of repeating a process in a game in order to acquire some kind of benefit (like experience, currency, or exclusive items). I often found myself running around in the tall grass for hours as I tried to encounter luma temtems, a very rare variant of temtem. Sometimes, I would go to a location with high-level temtems, so I could catch and release as many as possible for the most currency possible. Both of these actions are easy to do repeatedly and mindlessly. When I wasn’t doing anything, it was easy for me to relax and pass time by farming for currency and luma temtems. This is how I found fun through submission in TemTem.
There is another subset of mechanics within TemTem that I think is worth mentioning. TemTem allows you to customize your character in a variety of ways. You are able to change almost every individual physical feature on your character. There are no gendered limitations; for example, you can choose a masculine body type with a feminine voice. You are able to choose the pronouns that NPCs use with you. You can buy clothes and dye pieces of your clothes different colors. You can buy a house and decorate it with furniture. You can choose what temtem follows you around in the overworld by placing it in the front of your party. These mechanics create a strong dynamic of customization. Customization helps players create a personalized and unique character that represents who they want to play as. Moreover, customization allows them to curate their experience of the game through building their house, wardrobe, and temtem collection. This is how I found fun through expression in TemTem.