Catalyzing Engagement
Get the player to the puzzle

Cutting Edge




The pleasure of seeking an uncertain,

but valued outcome


Want to make someone angry? 

Mention Fun... 

Everyone seems to have a childhood trauma related to fun being-over promised and under-delivered, but it has somehow become the Uncanny Valley of verbs.

“There is no such thing as fun” 

“Fun doesn’t mean anything anymore, it’s like ‘cute’”

“Fun means too many things to properly define” “Fun is a dead concept”

“…how can you use the same word to define costume parties, sky-diving and Scrabble®?”

Folks have fun issues.

Still ☺

Try applying this definition to the activities you consider fun.

Fun is the pleasure of seeking an uncertain but valued outcome.

Corollaries to the defined term:

The uncertainty of outcome requires a certainty about the method of delivery

Must know the rules of the game, not if you are going to win

Must expect a certain kind of story or information in a book, movie, but not the specifics

Input and feedback result in confident interactions

Fun requires timely (shorter=better) feedback loops.

Short feedback loops enhance engagement and feel fun

Research and Learning are “fun” 

when progress is tangibly perceived.

Fun is relative to the person experiencing it, there are no empirically fun activities


Flow aka absolute concentration

Fun does not mean happy; it means fully engaged.

This is the state in which a person is most likely to experience fun.

Without flow a person might have an erratic fun moments, but won’t claim the whole experience as fun

The balance between challenge and boredom is flow


aka Time flies when you’re having fun.

FLOW: The delicious space between boredom and sensory overload

Csikszentmihalyi's flow model

Fun requires that the person be within their Zone of Proximal Development

Narratives teach us that we feel a sense of FUN in a moment of Decision or a moment of Realization

(either ours or an empathic on-screen character.) 

The reality of fun is often more of an ongoing spectrum.

A fun map to illustrate its varieties