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Chris Crawford on Game Design by Chris Crawford

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The Fun Factor

The English word “fun” has no cognate in any other language. Every other language has words for happiness, enjoyment, pleasure, and so forth, but it seems that no other language has a word that expresses the special kind of playful happiness that is encompassed in the word “fun.” Indeed, most people place the words “game,” “play,” and “fun” in a straightforward relationship:

  • “Game” is the formal activity that you perform.

  • “Play” is the actual behavior that you engage in.

  • “Fun” is the experience or emotion that you derive from that behavior.

This relationship leads to a simple conclusion: Games and play must lead to fun. If a game isn't fun, it's a bad game. It sounds perfectly logical, and it is flatly wrong.

The problem with this ...

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