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on 3 April 2012
This is a great little book. It's short, to-the-point, and exactly what the games industry needs. It gets lost somewhere near the end and seems to ramble repetitively, but by that point you've got everything you need to from the book and you're safe to put it down!

I'd recommend this to anyone looking to get into the games industry, or looking for a fresh take on the new social gaming world.
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on 18 June 2013
I found this to be a really useful deconstruction of what game design is and how we might go about doing it. I love the distinctions that Koster makes between games and other mediums, often highlight their synergies whilst also exposing some fundamental differences. A really useful tool I would say for anyone working delving into this field.
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on 3 November 2013
Great book, fantastic insight, would really recommend and also nice to receive something I've paid for on Amazon for a change as I've been ripped off on my last two transactions :(
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on 30 October 2013
So easy to read and full of gems for the game designer, be they into serious games or ones for pure entertainment. Buy it
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 April 2009
The main thrust of this book is exactly what the title says it is - a Theory of Fun, for game design. The author is not afraid to push his beliefs without apology, though any who are wary of the slightly opinionated style will be relieved to find end notes that are full of detailed justification and citations that would have broken the flow of the main text.

The book is not just about what makes a game fun, but also how games fit into arts, culture, and society in general. This in turn shows why designing games is important and provides some hints at where games need to go in the future to become accepted alongside other art forms and media.

If there was to be one criticism of this book, it might be that it falls somewhere between prescriptive textbook and descriptive journalism without fulfilling the full potential of either. But the end combination is more than the sum of its parts, and as such is an indispensable read for anybody interested in games today.
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on 29 October 2014
Love the ideas contained in the book. The poor illustrations were very tough on the eye though.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This is one of the few books on game design I have read that genuinely seem to 'get it' - that games are a medium in which it is possible to express artistic sentiment, and that game design is not mere frivolity. A lot of people dismiss this book because its author was part-responsible for some fairly heinous game-play experiences - the book though reads like someone trying to come to terms with the philosophy behind what game designers do, with the benefit of tremendous experience and hindsight. Forget the specific implementations, because they are always a matter of compromise.

I don't agree with everything in the book, but it's beautifully presented and argued.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding of what actually goes on when people play games.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 June 2010
I am interested in game design, and this was the very first book I read. It is a very good book, not with detailed instructions on how to get rich with games, but instead provides very useful guidelines on designing games. The book is also very fun to read, making justice to the title, and provides references for those interested on digging deeper. A good book for the novice.
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on 6 July 2015
so superficial, so shallow
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 August 2009
This is really interesting because it is really different from the other game design books. Ralph Koster talks about fun. The real fun. I recommend it to anybody who wants to learn more about the process to create a game design. Amateur, students or pro, this is for you :)
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