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Paraglyph Press Publishes Innovative Book for Game Designers, A Theory of Fun for Game Design


Scottsdale AZ - December 3, 2004 - Paraglyph Press is pleased to announce an innovative new book, A Theory of Fun for Game Design (U.S. $22.99, 256 pp, ISBN 1-932111-97-2). Authored by Raph Koster, Chief Creative Officer of Sony Online Entertainment, this brilliantly illustrated book is a storyboard and creative discussion filled with inspirational ideas for all designers. As Will Wright (co-creator of SimCity 2000 and SimCopter) states in his foreword, "Raph forages across wide intellectual landscapes and then returns to share what he's discovered with the rest of us.. He has filtered out a treasure trove of useful and relevant nuggets from a career's worth of his own research."

A Theory of Fun for Game Design features a novel way of showing interactive designers how to improve their designs to incorporate the highest degree of fun. This book will truly inspire and challenge game designers, as well as artists and designers from all segments of the industry. The unique format of A Theory of Fun, with engaging text and thought-provoking illustrations, will ensure that this book becomes a classic text for designers. Already endorsed by major players in the gaming world - such as BoingBoing, Noah Falstein, and Henry Jenkins of MIT - A Theory of Fun covers such essential topics as:

  • Why some games are fun and others boring
  • Why making a game too hard-or too easy-is a mistake
  • Why games have to balance deprivation and overload, order and chaos, silence and noise
  • The difference between designing content and creating an experience
  • Why both adults and children like to play games
  • How playing a game and learning are connected
  • The ethics of entertainment

Author Raph Koster says: "In this book, I decided to tackle the questions of what games are, what fun is, and why games matter. A lot of people are exploring these questions now, and digital games have become big business. The time is ripe for us to dig deeper into the many questions that games raise. In the final analysis, I think that work and play aren't all that different, and A Theory of Fun explains why I came to that conclusion."

Keith Weiskamp, President and Publisher of Paraglyph, says: "A Theory of Fun for Game Design is going to be the most unique computer and technology books published this year and in 2005. Raph brings together a vast source of ideas and knowledge to really inspire game designers to think differently. This is the only book out there that investigates new ideas and brings them together to really benefit the designer."

A Theory of Fun is especially designed so that readers can simply flip through it and be stimulated by the illustrations and the captions. Or readers can spend more time reading through the provocative discussion about game design where the author covers such topics as how the brain works, what games teach us, the problems with learning, the ethics of entertainment, and much more. This is a book that designers and developers will come back to over and over to look for inspiration and ideas to challenge their creativity. As noted designer Noah Falstein states, "I expect this book to become an instant classic."

To support the book, the author has created a special website at

About Paraglyph Press

Paraglyph Press was founded in May 2002 by highly successful publishing entrepreneurs Keith Weiskamp and Jeff Duntemann, along with publishing executives Steven Sayre and Cynthia Caldwell. Paraglyph publishes books for computer users and professionals on such topics as web design, game programming and development, and wireless and emerging technologies. Some of its best-known books are Game Coding Complete, Jeff Duntemann's Wi-Fi Guide, Looking Good in Print, and the bestselling DegunkingT series, including DegunkingT Windows, DegunkingT Your Mac, and DegunkingT Email, Spam and Viruses. For more information, visit our web site at To learn more about the Theory of Fun book, visit

Distribution Information

Paraglyph Press is distributed by O'Reilly Media in the U.S. and Canada. For order information, please use the following contact information:

O'Reilly Media

1005 Gravenstein Highway North

Sebastopol CA 95472

Phone: 800-294-4747

Fax: 800-997-9901



For distribution in other regions of the world, or for information on foreign rights and translation, please visit the Paraglyph Press web site at and click on the "Booksellers" link.



(ISBN 1-932111-972)

Foreword by Will Wright

Prologue: My Grandfather

Chapter 1. Why Write This Book?

Chapter 2. How the Brain Works

Chapter 3. What Games Are

Chapter 4. What Games Teach Us

Chapter 5. What Games Aren't

Chapter 6. Different Fun for Different Folks

Chapter 7. The Problem with Learning

Chapter 8. The Problem with People

Chapter 9. Games in Context

Chapter 10. The Ethics of Entertainment

Chapter 11. Where Games Should Go

Chapter 12. Taking Their Rightful Place

Epilogue: Fun Matters, Grandpa


Learn more about Theory of Fun by visiting,

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