Theory of Fun for Game Design Second Edition
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About the Author
Raph Koster is a veteran game designer who has been professionally credited in almost every area of the game industry. He's been the lead designer and director of massive titles such as Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies; and he's contributed writing, art, soundtrack music, and programming to many more titles ranging from Facebook games to single-player titles for handheld consoles. He has worked as a creative executive at Sony Online and Disney Playdom, and in 2012 was honored as an Online Game Legend at the Game Developers Conference Online.
- Publisher : O'Reilly Media; Second edition (December 17, 2013)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 300 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1449363210
- ISBN-13 : 978-1449363215
- Item Weight : 1.2 pounds
- Dimensions : 7.5 x 0.55 x 9.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #81,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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So let's get to the text. You're going to have to hack through paragraphs of "MEN are like THIS, and WOMEN are like THAT," or "People who play games for the story are doing it wrong." The author's key point is that people play games to master real world skills. Everything else is doing it wrong. It strikes me as someone who really does not understand the value of entertainment and of people's need for recreation and relaxation. The author spends a good amount of time talking about how he believes the brain works, or how he believes a primate-level interpretation of human socializing works. It's mostly a rotten flavour of fluff that leads one wondering when we're going to talk about game design.
The core material of this book could have been a 5 page philosophy pamphlet about how fun is a perfectly-tuned challenge. The rest of the book is filler. This book is not worth $35 USD.
Theory of Fun is a collection of musings and ideas on game design from a time when gaming was far more niche. If you've been diving into GDC talks, game design video essays, designer blogs, game postmortems, or even board game testing groups, you basically already know or assume much of what this book could tell you. Worse, as an exploration of the relationship between games and fun, there is little evidence provided. Finally, don't approach Theory of Fun as a resource for practical advice.
Needless to say, I've already sold my copy.
The book presents such concepts in an easy to read and digestible manner that allows for a perfect balance of reflection on concepts that are applicable today just as much as they were 20 years ago, while not being so heavily laden with academic jargon and lengthy chapters that it takes away from the time that students can actually be working on projects and applying the concepts to design.
This also makes this book perfect to pair with outside articles and other supplemental readings. A definitive winner for any design course or anyone interested in game design.
Edit - made it halfway and gave up. This information was dated on the first publishing. If it had a prime, it’s long past.
Every sentence is just barely connected to the previous. The contents are incoherent almost to a point, where every chapter title can be swapped randomly with any other chapter's title, and the chapter contents will still make the same "sense".
To be humorous, this book reads like drunken ramblings of an educated man. A well educated man, it seems, but drunken ramblings nontheless.
In the 10 years later epilogue, the reader learns that the book sprang from a power point presentation, and that actually made a lot of sense.
Lastly, most of the free sample consists of the elaborate list of praises for the book, and that is a cheap trick. (I am betting that many of the praisers didn't actually read it). If the sample had included one complete chapter, I would have thought twice before buying.
I gave it 4 stars because the author can be a little redundant and belabors some points a little too long... but MINOR criticism for a great read!