Although the book is deep with detail, the main question boils down to three words: Fun equals learning. As Koster puts it, "Fun...arises from mastery. It arises out out of comprehension. It is the act of solving puzzles that makes a game fun. In other words, with games, learning is the drug." And likewise, he writes, "Boredom is the opposite. When a game stops teaching us, we feel bored...Games grow boring when they fail to unfold new niceties in the puzzles they present."That being the case, it continues to astonish me that most "educational" games are boring as a bag of rocks (Carmen Sandiego to the contrary). Oh well, all that means is that there's a market niche out there ripe for exploitation...
The Nature of Fun
Those who know me know that I've been interested for a long time in computer games' potential as a teaching tool. I just stumbled on a post at Game Matters wherein he reviews a book by Raph Koster, chief game guru for Sony Online: