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The 8 Colors of Fun

The colour (and flavour!) of different kinds of fun: a more friendly and easy to remember classification of fun types.

Javi Cepa, Blogger

November 9, 2015

15 Min Read

I’ve always liked the idea of classifiying different kinds of fun. After stumbling upon many different models (see end of post), I’ve decided to make my own classification.

The 8 Colors of Fun:

Curiosity: The fun you get from good scripting, storytelling, dialogue, humor, drama, comedy… The power of discovering stories and information. You can find this in some books, movies, TV series and movies. Answers to “Did you like the story?”.

Property: This is the kind of fun you get when you achieve something new or acquire new stuff. Common in games with lots of items, achievements, upgrades and similar systems. A sense of this can be found by asking “How rich do I feel inside this game?”. 

Feeling: This is the fun associated with harmony and pleasure of the senses. You get this when you feel something beautiful, either visual, aural or by any other way. Answers to “How nice does this game look/feel?”.

Expression: This is the kind of fun you get when you feel your actions have an impact inside the game’s world, when you feel free to go a billion ways. Examples: improvising when playing a musical instrument or playing with Lego blocks. Answer to “Did you feel you could do anything?”.

Power: You get this kind of fun when the right amount of difficulty is put into place like for example a match of Tennis between two players of similar level. Be careful though: when too much power is granted to the player, the game gets boring. Ask for “Was the game too difficult?”.

Operation: The kind of fun you get when you turn your mind off and let the time go by. Typical of casual games, Sudokus, and other mechanic tasks. Answers to “Did you always know what to do next?”.

Company: The kind of fun you get for sharing an activity or interact with other people in any way. Common in team sports, social games and ranked games, leagues, etc… Answers to “Did you have fun playing with others?”.

Immersion: The kind of fun you get for diving into the game’s universe. A good interface is key to achieve this, but also player connection to the game universe, like in some IPs (Star Wars, Pokemon, LotR, etc…). Answers to “Did you feel into the game’s world?”.


Comparison to other models:

  • Marc LeBlanc’s “8 Types of Fun”: I liked the number of categories and most were definetly well placed, but I believe the term “Aesthetic” was misplaced, “Discovery” was conceptually too close to “Narrative”. “Submission” was also a weird one and “Challenge” was opposite of fun, since that kind of fun comes from “Skill” actually.

  • Maslow’s, “Hierarchy of Needs”: all the levels except “physiological” blended well enough with my model:

    • Safety = Curiosity + Property = Owning knowledge/items

    • Belonging = Company + Immersion = Being part of people/world

    • Steem = Feeling + Expression = Being unique

    • Self-Actualization = Power + Operation = Improving oneself

  • Bonus track, “Biblical Sins”: Ok, I had to show this one because it did fit so nicely. It has some flaws (specially with “Lust” and “Envy”) but you can imagine the equivalent:

    • Greed: excess of “Property”.

    • Glutonny: excess of consumption (excess of ”Feeling”, in a more broad sense).

    • Pride: excess of “Expression”.

    • Wrath: excess of “Power” exertion.

    • Sloth: doing the least possible “Operations”, being inactive.

    • Lust: wanting to be in “Company” more often than not. Again, the sin is more specific here (you can hang out with your friends and family as much as you like! :D).

    • Envy: wishing for someone else’s situation, for “Immersion” in the other person’s world.

    • Original Sin: eating from the tree of knowledge, or having an excess of “Curiosity”.


Original article: javicepa.tumblr.com


Twitter: @JaviCepa

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