As mentioned earlier, the new edition of A Theory of Fun For Game Design by Raph Koster ships today -- with updated text and color illustrations. It's an absolutely indispensable book about the phenomenon of fun, full of mind-blowing and very applicable insights into games, from a legendary designer (Koster led the design of Star Wars Galaxies and Ultima Online, among other accomplishments). Just as Understanding Comics is a fascinating read, even if you never plan on making a comic book, so will A Theory of Fun fascinate and inform everyone, not just games-makers.
Here's the book's Prologue:
PROLOGUE: My Grandfather
My grandfather wanted to know whether I felt proud of what I do. It seemed a reasonable question: there he was, aging and soon to pass away, though at the time I didn't know that; a man who had spent his life as a fire chief, raising six children. One of them followed in his footsteps, became a fire chief himself, and now sells bathtub linings. There's a special education teacher, an architect, a carpenter. Good, solid wholesome professions for good, solid wholesome people. And there I was--making games, rather than contributing to society.
I told him that I felt I did contribute. Games aren't just a diversion; they're something valuable and important. And my evidence was right in front of me--my kids, playing tic-tac-toe on the floor.
Watching my kids play and learn through playing had been a revelation for me. Even though my profession was making games, I often felt lost in the complexities of making large modern entertainment products, rather than understanding why games are fun and what fun is.
My kids were leading me, without my quite knowing it, towards a theory of fun. And so I told my grandfather, "Yes, this is something worthwhile. I connect people, and I teach people." But as I said it, I didn't really have any evidence to offer.
Theory of Fun for Game Design
Ethan Zuckerman — formerly of Global Voices, now at the MIT Center for Civic Media — has spent his career trying to find thoughtful, effective ways to use technology as a lever to make positive social change (previously), but that means that he also spends a lot of time in the company of people making […]
If you’re a student journalist and want to attend HOPE XI, the Eleventh Hackers on Planet Earth conference (July 22-24, NYC) you can win free admission (and an interview with me!) by submitting an article about any of the topics come up at HOPE conferences! Get writing!
Earlier this month, I gave the afternoon keynote at the Internet Archive’s Decentralized Web Summit, and my talk was about how the people who founded the web with the idea of having an open, decentralized system ended up building a system that is increasingly monopolized by a few companies — and how we can prevent the same things from happening next time.
Experienced shutterbugs with DSLR cameras have boatloads of lens options for capturing the moment. Unfortunately, smartphone photographers often get stuck with their one crummy lens, which means limited zoom and focus for their final image.Step up your smartphone’s photographic power with the Acesori 5-Piece Smartphone Camera Lens Kit, now just $9.99 in the Boing Boing Store.Magnetic rings easily […]
Some truths are universal. For one, your phone will always run out of power when you most need it. For another, the charging cords that come packaged with your Apple device will fray, split, and rip faster than Usain Bolt in a game of tag.Instead, pick up a charging cord that anyone would have a tough […]
Some people say magic tricks are nerdy and best left to your 12-year-old asthmatic cousin. But others see value in perfecting the slight of hand and showmanship associated with a perfectly executed routine. We’re firmly in the latter camp. And now, we’re giving you the ability to put a few parlor tricks up your sleeve with the Penguin […]