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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good book, but too much of a gospel, 21 May 2005
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This review is from: Theory of Fun for Game Design (Paperback)
This book succeeds in so many ways, and fails in others.
The book essentially uses all its pages to explain that fun arises out of a player "grokking" (i.e. understanding) a pattern. When they know the pattern too well, they become bored. When they can't get the pattern at all, they become frustrated. The challenge in game design is to continually provide new patterns to learn, and ones that aren't too hard. If you provide easy patterns, you should move on to a new pattern quickly.
The book itself is an easy, and fun, read and does well on the coffee table despite the soft cover binding, but it fails to deliver any specific knowledge on how to progress from "make patterns the player can learn" to "this is how you do it in a game".
Instead it becomes somewhat preachy and argues that game designers ought to design the next "Mona Lisa" game or the next "Lolita" game ... which I suppose should be taken to mean a game that challenges and grows the player instead of just running the same old "open door, kill enemy" pattern. True as this might be, the blame for bland game designs ought to be put at the door of risk-averse publishers, not designers lack of imagination.
In conclusion, the book offers some insight, but it is in no way a cookbook on how to design fun and it fails to deliver anything to the almost academic debate on what "fun" is. The reader, then, should decide if that should be considered a plus or negative.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Feb 2011 20:42:54 GMT
M. Wood says:
I couldn't agree more with this review.

Those looking for a more academic approach to Game Design I can recommend "The Art of Game Design" by Jesse Schell.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jul 2011 17:53:10 BDT
Fbs™ says:
Nice review and nice point. :-)
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