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You Should Read This: A Theory of Fun for Game Design by Raph Koster

A Theory of Fun for Game Design is written by an author who deeply loves games, understands how they work, and believes in them as an art form. As the forward by Will Wright notes, Koster brings a multi-disciplinary method to the examination of games, pulling out basic concepts and breaking them down in a way that is both easy to understand and enjoyable to read. Accompanying his pithy observations are cartoons illustrating each concept, such as the illustration accompanying “Stories are powerful teaching tools in their own right, but games are not stories,” in which one student says to another, “I beat the last level of Ulysses last night. I had to use god mode for the end boss. Molly is really tough!”
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