Tuesday, March 08, 2005

A Theory of Fun for Games

It seems like we have one electronics show after the other... And I guess we do. The big one going on now is the Game Developers Conference, where the big companies get together and talk about where the video game is going. Its also a chance for companies to reveal their new products (in particular the PS3, X-Box 360, and Nintendo Revolution) behind closed doors, before the big splashy reveals at E3 in a few months.

Anyway, Raph Koster, author of "The Theory of Fun for Game Design" gave the Keynote address. While the speech is literally all over the place, it does make some great points, and at times, a rather stirring read.

Check it out here.

In particular, he addresses the points of:

- Why is it that when games are too easy or too hard, they're not fun, and how do we reach that middle point?

- The issue of violence in games, and how its not really valid (which leads to my favorite quote: "Ask a gamer about grand theft auto's hooker moment, they see this: pac-man eating a cherry. They've grokked it: it's a power up.")

- Where do games need to go to be treated as art?

[Soapbox Engaged]

In particular, I find the last question fascinating, because there's a lot of parallels between having an art form called "video games," and an art form called "sketch comedy," where the last words in both phrases cause them to be instantly dismissed as relevant.

[Soapbox Disengaged]