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What makes games fun? Part II January 8, 2008

Posted by jeremyliew in casual games, game design, game mechanics, games, games 2.0, gaming.

As a follow up to my post on what makes games fun, another useful framework from Nicole Lazzaro of XEO Design, first presented at GDC in 2004.:

1. Hard Fun: Players like the opportunities for challenge, strategy, and problem
solving. Their comments focus on the game’s challenge and strategic thinking and
problem solving. This “Hard Fun” frequently generates emotions and experiences of
Frustration, and Fiero.
2. Easy Fun: Players enjoy intrigue and curiosity. Players become immersed in games
when it absorbs their complete attention, or when it takes them on an exciting
adventure. These Immersive game aspects are “Easy Fun” and generate emotions
and experiences of Wonder, Awe, and Mystery.
3. Altered States: Players treasure the enjoyment from their internal experiences in
reaction to the visceral, behavior, cognitive, and social properties. These players
play for internal sensations such as Excitement or Relief from their thoughts and
4. The People Factor: Players use games as mechanisms for social experiences.
These players enjoy the emotions of Amusement, Schadenfreude, and Naches
coming fromthe social experiences of competition, teamwork, as well as opportunity
for social bonding and personal recognition that comes from playing with others.

Abstract from their white paper is available here

More detail about the people factor (very important for Social Games) is available here

Good stuff.


1. 17 internet games design principles « Lightspeed Venture Partners Blog - January 17, 2008

[…] mechanics, games, games 2.0, gaming. trackback Recently I posted XEO Design’s thoughts on what makes games fun. Also useful from them are some thoughts on internet game design principles: 1. Easy to Learn, […]

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