Eight Foundations of a Fun Game

So year last at the University of Lethbridge we had a visit from an employee of Bioware Corp, by the name of Sebastian Hanlon. He talked about various things, but what came across to me was his remark that you couldn’t just write “fun” in a design document. It got me thinking about how one does define “fun”, and what is generally considered fun or not fun (with particular relations to video games).

The more I thought about it, the more I was able to come up with some general desires that a player experiences and is able to satisfy by playing a game. Over the course of the last year or so, I finally got around to writing these down in a somewhat organized document. So, I present to you:

Eight Foundations of a Fun Game

The purpose of the article isn’t to provide a clear definition of what is fun and what isn’t fun in a video game context. What it should do is get you thinking about the basic game mechanics of a game. I hope that someone will take the concepts in the article and build a game around it by using one or more of the “eight foundations” and placing a simple game mechanic (or set of rules) on top of the theory.

Also take note that at this point in time, its still a rough draft. I’d eventually like to submit it to either GameDev.net or Gamasutra (the people behind the Game Developer Magazine). The original title for it was “Theory of Fun”, but as I got some feedback from various people I decided it would be best to change it to “Eight Foundations of a Fun Game”.

I’m really interested in hearing your thoughts on this, so please, leave your comments.


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