Theory of Fun for Game Design

Front Cover
O'Reilly Media, Incorporated, 2005 - Computers - 244 pages
123 Reviews
A Theory of Fun for Game Design is not your typical how-to book. It features a novel way of teaching interactive designers how to create and improve their designs to incorporate the highest degree of fun. As the book shows, designing for fun is all about making interactive products like games highly entertaining, engaging, and addictive. The book's unique approach of providing a highly visual storyboard approach combined with a narrative on the art and practice of designing for fun is sure to be a hit with game and interactive designers, At first glance A Theory of Fun for Game Design is a book that will truly inspire and challenge game designers to think in new was; however, its universal message will influence designers from all walks of life. This book captures the real essence of what drives us to seek out products and experiences that are truly fun and entertaining. The author masterfully presents his engaging theory by showing readers how many designs are lacking because they are predictable and not engaging enough. He then explains how great designers use different types of elements in new ways to make designs more fun and compelling. Anyone who is interested in design will enjoy how the book works on two levels--as a quick inspiration guide to game design, or as an informative discussion that details the insightful thinking from a great mind in the game industry.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

This self-described “veteran game designer”, lead designer and director of massive titles such as Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies, engages in a thoughtful and thought-provoking quest for answers to what “fun” means. He draws on (light) theory about the ways in which our brains work, for example how humans love to find patterns and play with them. Koster points out that most game design is “evolutionary”: games do not (typically) break up with previous games; instead, they build upon existing “rules” and ways to play, adding new layers to existing genres. Sometimes, there is a “revolution” and a new genre appears, but for the most we require a level of familiarity in order to understand a new game.
It also contains illustrations on virtually every single page, drawn by the author, to illustrate his arguments and ideas. A classic in game-related books, suitable for gamers, professionals, or anyone who likes to think about the ways humans think and play.

Review: A Theory of Fun for Game Design

User Review  - Goodreads

Raph Koster made some interesting points, but his overall approach to science and life in general seems to me very narrow-minded. Read full review


How the Brain Works
What Games Are
What Gam Teach 0S

6 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2005)

Raph Koster (San Diego, CA) is the Chief Creative Officer for Sony Online Entertainment and author of the bestselling book, A Theory of Fun for Game Design. For many years he has served as a lead designer for teams building online virtual worlds. His first job was as a designer working on persistent worlds at Origin Systems. His last project there was working on Ultima Online, opening the online persistent world market to the general gaming public.

Bibliographic information