How Do You Know That Your Game Is Fun?

One guy posed a question to the producers of the round table (answers coming next week), and I thought the question was something that could be worth pondering by other people as well. He asked “How do you know that your game is fun?”

How do you know that your game is fun? I think it’s a tough question to answer, and here’s some ideas on how to spot a fun game. In my opinion, a game is fun when:

Your game is fun when you get excited about your game
At least sometimes this can be the case: if you get excited to add a new feature into your existing game or get really excited to develop it more, it’s a sign that your game is getting more fun. The excitment could translate into a fun. I realize that “having fun while developing the game” doesn’t mean a “fun game design”, but I think if developer isn’t excited about his game, why should anybody else?

Your game is fun when when you smile watching the characters walking on the screen or hear the music
Not sure if this is exactly a sign of fun, but I’ve noticed that when you experience some enjoyable moments in your game, and start to smile (and perhaps feel bit proud about yourself), you can tell that you’ve accomplished something. Something good.

Your game is fun when when you enjoy testing it
I think this can be one major sign. When you get to the point when you spend much time testing the game (instead of developing it further), you might have something really fun. When testing the game doesn’t feel painful, it’s a hint that the game indeed provides fun. If you can’t wait to get testing your game, it’s a sign that your game is fun. (Although don’t forget to continue your game development even when testing is fun…)

These were some ideas, and I’m sure there’s plenty of more.

What’s your take on this? How do you know when your game is fun?

9 thoughts on “How Do You Know That Your Game Is Fun?

  1. Thomas, that’s an interesting way to put it… Could work, could work…

  2. I once asked a writer I know how he knows wether an idea for a book is good. he said: If you don’t write it down and yet remember it the next day, you’re up to something.
    I think that may translate to games well.

  3. Your game is fun only when a lot of other people says it’s fun (unless you make a game just for yourself or specific audience). And you can’t find out if it’s fun if you don’t test it a lot with real people on every stage of development.

  4. I agree, especially when you only have a basic version, the game can still be fun.

    If a game is fundamentally “fun,” then all sorts of additions can make it even better.

  5. Well, beta testing is not enough. After the game is in beta state all major features should be in place and if your game is not fun already, you have some major problems.

    The solution is to continously test how fun the game is. The easiest way to do this is to deliver the partial game to the end users. This is the essence of iterative development.

    If you are interested I have an article about iterative game development

    (I have no idea if html is ok in the comments… feel free to moderate)

    /hObbE

  6. Can’t edit, so I will have to add it here.
    Imagine a game you played and enjoyed.
    Now imagine that you need to give other people test this game for being fun or not.
    However, you can’t give them the whole game to test, you can only give them one level of the game, or one small bit of the game.
    Which level will you give them to test? What will you give them to test and will it reflect how much the game is fun?

  7. Yea, of course that if you test your game and enjoy it or other test your game and enjoy it, then your game is fun. At least for the people who tested it.
    The problem is, in certain types of games, it may take alot of time and alot of content before you have somtething with enough content to be fun.
    Some games challange are also gradual. So the first few levels might be too easy for you, because you have played them and tested them so many times.
    Or imagine a puzzle or riddles games. If you invented the riddle, how can you enjoy solving it?

  8. Beta test your game and see what others think. And yeah, you need to enjoy your own game for it to be fun.

  9. Agree with the testing idea. I find myself testing my games a lot because they “feel god”. This also helps generate ideas and spot bugs.

    Also of course you know your game is fun when other people play it and clearly enjoy it.