Theory of Fun for Game Design


This book, The Theory of Fun by Raph Koster came to me via Brent Schlenker, who claims this book to be a personal favorite.

When I asked him why, he came straight back with this answer: “Because of how simple it is… and how he approached the question of “What is Fun?” and from that, basically came up with what is learning, and why games are all about learning. It’s a little neuroscience, a little cognitive science, a little gaming design, and a lot of FUN.”

Favorite quotes: “Fun is just another word for learning” and “With games, learning is the drug.”

Sound like a must buy to me.


Now in full color, the 10th anniversary edition of this classic book takes you deep into the influences that underlie modern video games, and examines the elements they share with traditional games such as checkers. At the heart of his exploration, veteran game designer Raph Koster takes a close look at the concept of fun and why it’s the most vital element in any game.

Why do some games become boring quickly, while others remain fun for years? How do games serve as fundamental and powerful learning tools? Whether you’re a game developer, dedicated gamer, or curious observer, this illustrated, fully updated edition helps you understand what drives this major cultural force, and inspires you to take it further.

You’ll discover that:

  • Games play into our innate ability to seek patterns and solve puzzles
  • Most successful games are built upon the same elements
  • Slightly more females than males now play games
  • Many games still teach primitive survival skills
  • Fictional dressing for modern games is more developed than the conceptual elements
  • Truly creative designers seldom use other games for inspiration
  • Games are beginning to evolve beyond their prehistoric origins