are you having fun yet?


Hard Fun
Emotions from Meaningful Challenges, Strategies, and Puzzles
Challenge, competition, skill tests, clear progressive accomplishment and risk of failure or frustration.
Success leads to the satisfaction of mastery

Soft Fun
Sheer enjoyment of experiencing the game’s activities
Ambiguity, living world, engagement, wonder, awe & mystery. Rewarding play without pressing competition.
Success leads to engagement & flow

Immersive Fun
(Altered States or Visceral Fun)
How a game makes you feel inside
Immersion, escapism, thrill, excitement & relief.
Success leads to immersion & flow

Social Fun
(the People Factor)
Enjoyment from playing with others inside or outside the game
Competition, co-operation, support & mentor, humour, rivalry, gloating,

Most games are designed around Hard Fun, and risk overwhelming the player with frustration and failure. How many times will a player put down the game having reached a frustrating fail point? Bearing in mind the Peak-End rule, this means their memory of the experience will be heavily coloured by this final emotion.


“an important aspect of family gaming that doesn’t fit the all to heavy if not pure challenge model of “hard fun” alone. We play social games not just to gloat and be proud of the achievement of our beloved ones. We also play social games to socially interact, learn about each other, foster social skills, form bonds, explore others in a safe context of an artificial game environment, learn to cooperate, learn to give in, learn to support, learn to empathize, learn to see things from someone else’s perspective, learn to argue with grace, learn to be able to accept that multiple points of view are present, learn to cope with interpersonal frustrations, learn to unwind together. And of course learning to not gloat and be a graceful winner as much as a proud and respectful loser.

A lot of social behaviors are about the ability to not win for the sake of someone else, to forgo competition for the sake of preserving a social bond, to seek activities that are cooperative rather than competitive.

The prevailing problem with family and social gaming may be that a lot of game theorists haven’t understood all aspects of fun and focus on one type only. And by focusing on this one type, exclude the types that matter to many social settings.”

(design language)


1 Comment »

  1. […] are immersive fun experiences, that work most effectively if the player willingly suspends their disbelief in the […]

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