Fun Things Are Fun

Posted March 6, 2014

The title statement is a bit of a cliche, but ESI Designer Pete Vigeant made a good argument in his talk at IndieCade East that there are only a few really fun things. When talking games, these fun things are remixed in a number of ways to create the various forms of fun we play. Whether they are digital, board, live, or any other type of game, the mechanics are meant to get us engaged and keep us coming back.

Karl Rohnke was a master game developer. He worked with Outward Bound and Project Adventure. He remixed fun for generations of children and adults and in doing so created a half-century’s worth and a dozen books worth of fun things. A pioneer in the live, group games, Karl developed many of the physical education and outdoor games that we know about. But few people know about him.

At IndieCade East, at the Museum of the Moving Image, Pete introduced a new generation of game developers and players to this groundbreaker. Based on hours of interviews with Karl himself, Pete outlined how he was introduced to Karl’s work, how he learned from the giant, and extrapolates keys to game success from Karl’s long career.

Games, and especially the type that Karl created, do more than provide fun. They get people up. They join people in a task. Games reveal more about groups and individuals in groups. Fun things are fun because they allow us more of ourselves . There is magic there. That is why ESI creates and uses games for learning, discovering, and creating.

Watch an excerpt from Pete’s talk here.

Ian Lewis Campbell

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