The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.

8:29pm on Friday, 14th January, 2005:

A Theory of Fun


Amazon have finally got around to sending me Raph Koster's book, A Theory of Fun. It only took about 3 hours to read cover to cover, helped mainly by its dimensions (23cm by 18cm by 1.5cm) and the fact that every right-hand page is a drawing rather than text. Personally, I could have done without the drawings, but they did help break up the text I suppose.

I shan't be doing a review, as I haven't seen any other reviews yet and have found to my cost how important the first review is. It's just too easy to be misinterpreted by people looking for criticism. I shall, however, offer a summary:

-------- SPOILER ALERT --------

Fun is learning.

----------END SPOILER ----------

I shall also note that Raph refers on page 138 to a concept he calls "designeritis". This concerns the observation that game designers don't experience games in the same way as other players. I wrote something along these lines in my own book, and have been put down for it (eg. by Brad McQuaid in the Sigil Games FAQ ). If Raph is correct, this would suggest that Brad hasn't grokked game design.

See what I mean about misinterpretation being easy when people are looking for criticism?

You should buy the book immediately if you haven't already, by the way. Yes, that is a gold-plated recommendation.

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Copyright © 2005 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).