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Three basic principles of fun

By on June 26, 2014

I saw this tweet from Nicole Lazarro:

I’ve recently worked on a game that was hard, way to hard. The game was so excited to show all its bells and whistles early, to grab attention, that it forget the basics of making sure that players knew how to play.

I often see games where the developers have realised how important it is to explain to players how to play, so they interrupt the game flow every few seconds with some text, or a popup, or some other element to “teach you how to play”.

Don’t teach me. Let me experience. Let me learn. When I learn a new thing, let me do it again, so I can clap my hands with glee and go “I learned it”. Let me feel a sense of mastery. According to Raph Koster’s A Theory of Fun, learning and mastery are the heart of fun. Learning = fun. Fun = learning.

So let me learn. Let me have fun. Show me how to play, how to do better and how to win.

Tell me and I will forget.
Show me and I will remember.
Involve me and I will understand.
Step back and I will act.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: