What makes a game worth playing? Fun. What makes life worth living? The pursuit and enjoyment of fun.
Why do we crank away like creaky Texas oil pumps working so much? Because we hope that our labors, after providing necessities (iPhone 4s are not necessities), somehow will translate into fun.
If they don’t, we start to shrivel up pretty quickly.
Fun is relative, sure. But you know it when you’re having it.
Maybe you like to play exotic Kurdish percussion instruments and multiplayer Call of Duty, and I like to hang glide in my Fat Albert shirt and shoot potato cannons off my roof at the neighbor’s RV that blocks the view of the lake. Maybe neither of us can resist legos or Bit-O-Honeys.
So, fun fun fun games are what we’re all after. Let’s call it the magic Triple F. The Full-on Fun Factor. If not for fun, let’s take the bus home and pull some weeds or clean the bird bath.
But how do you build a super fun game? Do you need 400 programmers, zoo animals, a waffle iron and the latest graphics card officially sanctioned by Giganta? No, but please keep the waffle iron handy.
You just need to build up the saggy fun muscle (and explosions help too!).
Build up some fun with stuff you’ve got lying around you:
RC cars. Pizza boxes. Fill some Coke cans with Slime and poke holes in them. Get some dry ice, fireworks and string. A few ramps (boards and bricks). Maybe some packing bubbles and carpet samples. Kitchen grease and garden hoses. Make some rules and then un-make them. Add some stuff, and then take it away. Use time pressure or forget it.
Everyone thinks you have to write Halo 4 in your bedroom. You don’t.
Fun starts with play. It isn’t some mystical thing.