Collaboration Ninja 忍者

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Designing for fun

Hassan Massum and Mark Tovey looked at collaboration for sustainability and found fun through ‘learning and solving tough problems’ to an illusive but powerful motivating factor. As the guru of gaming Raph Koster points out: “Fun is all about our brains feeling good: the release of endorphins into our system. The various cocktails of chemicals released…Science has shown that the pleasurable chills that we get down the spine after exceptionally powerful music or a really great book are caused by the same sorts of chemicals we get when we have cocaine, an orgasm, or chocolate. Basically, our brains are on drugs pretty much all of the time. One of the subtlest releases of chemicals is at that moment of triumph when we learn something or master a task. This almost always causes us to break out into a smile. After all, it is important to the survival of the species that we learn — therefore our bodies reward us for it with moments of pleasure. There are many ways we find fun in games… Fun from games arises out of mastery. It arises out of comprehension. It is the act of solving puzzles that makes games fun. In other words, with games, learning is the drug.” -Raph Koster In designing a collaboration, we need to include some space for learning and problem solving to take place, and for the fun that brings, an elusive but powerful motivating force.

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