Un livre assez simple à lire (même si uniquement et entièrement en Anglais), proposant une page de texte de longueur variable sur la gauche et une illustration "cartoon" sur la droite (en couleur pour cette seconde édition) venant compléter l'idée générale du contenu de gauche.
Un chapitrage progressif, analysant la théorie du "fun" depuis divers angles (sociologique, biologique, psychologique...). Il y a 10 ans cette théorie était relativement neuve et les idées assez novatrices, depuis la première édition a fait foi en matière de game design. Cette seconde édition ajoute un peu et corrige certaines des idées énoncées dans la première édition au regard des progrès et "avancées" aussi bien de l'auteur que du milieu du game design en général lors de ces dernières années.
Un regret concernant les notes nombreuses qui se trouvent en fin de livre plutôt qu'au bas de chaque page, nécessitant 2 marque-pages ainsi qu'une gymnastique assez continue si l'on veut les lire en même temps que le contenu de la page. Nombre de ces notes contiennent des URL qui seront probablement plus simples à suivre depuis une version électronique du livre.
Dans l'ensemble un très bon livre qui fait toujours référence dans le domaine encore neuf du game design, même si il ne faut pas hésiter à faire preuve d'esprit critique vis à vis de certaines des théories exposées.
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
22 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Interesting read but only part of it is about the theory of fun24 décembre 2013
Ian A Deane
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Ultimately I was disappointed by this book. As I game designer I was hoping for a book with information about how to make games fun, pick game concepts that would be fun and find the fun in games. I found that the first half of this book explains the author's theory on what makes games fun at a fairly high level. I was expecting the second half of the book to flesh the theory out, give examples, show evidence and explain how to apply it. Instead the second half of this book is an essay defending video games as an art form and discussing ethics in video games. It is interesting but not particularly useful.
I was hoping for a book that would describe the various psychological theory's of fun and give examples showing how games apply these theory's to create fun. I was also hoping for an explanation why some game mechanics such as Tetris are fun to play for hours whereas others become boring quickly. The author's theory does not explain this.
I also feel that the author missed some of the things that make games fun. For example many games are built around wealth creation. The book doesn't mention this beyond a gemeral mention that most games have a reward structure.
This book is an interesting read but I am still looking for a good book offering insights into how to make fun games.
9 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
An Opinion on why Tic-Tac-Toe isn't fun - Or how to make it not boring.7 février 2014
First this is an easy and interesting read. It is in full color and may be just what you need if this is the first time you wondered why something is fun. It goes on to explain at a very high level why a specific subset of games are fun and then become boring.
However, it is NOT a THEORY on the psychology of why people find things fun. By the title, this is what I thought I was going to get, and I was disappointed. I'm going to nitpick on what I found wrong with the book. If you don't like reading criticisms like this, it might be better to skip this review.
First, it is not a theory and is not done by a psychologist or someone who understands human behavior, but by a game designer. Sure, he writes great games, but it is his intuitive guess or opinion on why things are fun. It doesn't even rate as an untested hypothesis, as the sample size is only 3. It's based on himself and his very young children. At that age, children are taught to think like you, so it is a biased and unfair sample.
He goes on to say that, like Tic-Tac-Toe, ALL games are based on a pattern, are teaching games, are only fun while we are learning the pattern, are boring when we have mastered the pattern, or are not smart enough to grasp the pattern early on. He then admits to often quitting the games he cannot master easily or once he has mastered them. So I find his opinion suspect.
Every other page is a full-page, full-color drawing. Why is this a bad thing? Full color art should add value to the book, right? As comics (which is what you assume they are at first) they are not funny, and the art is amateurish. As illustrations they are not often useful. Which means they are filler to expand the book. They do not look like something you would find in the Sunday funnies, but something you would find in an alternative newspaper. In full color.
After the first half of the book where he has broad summaries of his opinion of his subset of games, the second half he should go into detail on how to make games fun, right? WRONG. He defends his job as a game designer and how they are useful to society. Well, I agree that game designers are great. But in the preface he told about how his grandfather was disappointed that he did not have a useful job like his other grandchildren and he felt he needed to defend himself to his grandfather. I wouldn't want to buy a book so I could be the author's therapist. The book is already thin on useful information, since it only gets half the pages, but on top of that, game theory is only 1/2 the book?! So only about 25% of the pages explain how to make games fun or not in his opinion.
His postulate that ALL games are based on patterns is just wrong. Random games like roulette do not have a pattern you can learn to win. Some games where you can grasp the pattern, do not become boring, like Tetris. Some games are based on accumulating stuff, like Sim City or any RPG. His small sample he based his opinion on is too small.
That said, if you are young, and just starting out, this is a great book to learn how to avoid a lot of mistakes. How to keep your game from getting too boring too fast. As a game designer he understands what gets boring even if he does not understand all the psychological reasons on why. He gives you the big picture, but you need enough creativity and imagination to apply it to your own games you design.
And if you don't have creativity and imagination, then ask yourself why do you want to design games.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Not bad, but a little short on information4 juillet 2014
- Publié sur Amazon.com
As already mentioned in other reviews, the first half of this book is kind of dedicated to what makes a game actually fun, the second half is an essay defending games as an art form. I am a person that likes just plain facts, also I expect to find statements backed up by research (even if it's simple common sense research, nothing rigorous or people in white coats). This book is nothing like that, it is written in prose in a style that is more like a commentary or conversation, and the ideas are scattered along the book. The background of the author is a writer, so although his language is very rich and precise, it ultimately doesn't deliver what the title of the book promises. It doesn't delve into an actual theory of what makes a game fun, it just throws here and there ideas about his own experiences of what makes a game fun. In his defense the ideas that he does present are valuable, but unfortunately you have to extract the information little by little by flipping through many pages of the book. By the way, half of the book are illustrations, and I personally believe that half of them don't add or enrich the content. Ultimately I'm a little disappointed. The book in itself is not bad, I just think that the book could be about only 30 to 40 pages of actual information about what makes a game entertaining.
1 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Classic essay; a quick read with some good ideas4 février 2014
What started as a keynote speech became a book that is a classic in the field. It's a lightweight read, with one page of cartoon illustration for every page of text, that includes some thoughtful analysis of what gamers think they want, what they actually want, and how to give them something that will satisfy them...until it doesn't. (A major part of Koster's thesis is that we enjoy games because we enjoy learning and that good game design means creating games that will inevitably lose appeal to any given player as they succeed in their mission to teach.)
The book raises a lot of thought-provoking questions about the nature of fun and the value of games, including where and how games can cross the boundary from fun to art.
I don't consider it essential reading, but it's valuable reading to be sure. It invites designers to think about what they're doing and why and may help them avoid some very common pitfalls.
0 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Theory of Fun is a book that attempts to glue together several different fields of study to nail down some basic tenants. Why do we play games? What makes a game successful? How does learning work in a game environment?
This last point is of particular interest to me, and this constitutes a large part of the book. "Fun is about learning in a context where there is no pressure from consequence, and that is why games matter." He goes on to nail down these concepts, while pulling in content from game design with applied cognitive psychology, learning theory and an understanding of narrative theory.
This book is an engaging read. It kind of cuts across disciplines in a way that is easy to comprehend. It is true that he does at times work at a meta level, introducing theories (such as "Flow") without going into extended analysis, perhaps a little superficial. Some may be disappointed by this, looking for more depth on the subject. He does not necessarily prescribe a specific recipe for making a great game, just some general ideas.
He argues that games are their own thing, their own medium that ultimately can't treated as an analogy for something else. It is about fun in it's various trappings, from the games kids make up to board games and to video games. We play games because "Play teaches us survival.........there's a cultural undercurrent that operates at an instinctive level....". There are many such quotable moments in this book.
Despite my criticism, this is required reading for anyone in game design, but I think it should also be essential reading for instructional designers, educators and interaction designers. Read the other reviews, the majority will agree - this is an excellent book.