Playdom Design Veep: Fun is the same thing as a drug hit

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theor of fun raph koster

Breaking news: Playdom games are getting you high.

"Fun is the same thing as a cocaine hit," says Playdom Design VP Raph Koster in his opening talk at the Game Developers Conference in Austin, titled A Theory of Fun: 10 Years Later.

Koster revisits a keynote talk that he gave a decade ago on the same topic, supplementing it with new research on play and games that have appeared in the meantime.

There were a myriad of interesting facets to the talk, but one of the more interesting points that he brings up is that people play games to have fun, but also for the following "non-fun" reasons.
  • Practice - Playing something just to practice it
  • Story - Something that usually works best with minimal game
  • Meditation -- Repetitive action
  • Comfort -- Playing a game that is comforting and not fun

These reasons for playing games largely matches up with surveys that find people who play casual games, many of them women, who play games to kick back and relax. So when you take a look at what types of games that Playdom keeps churning out -- like the hidden object Facebook game Gardens of Time -- it's likely that you've already experienced some of these fun theories for yourself.

Koster's talk is contained in book form, A Theory of Fun for Game Design, so if you want to spend your next night out talking about things like "ludonarrative consonance," this is the book for you.
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