This article was a great read about what makes a video game fun. They interviewed Jonathan Smith, producer of the Lego Star Wars games. Here’s a great quote from Jonathan explaining why they should always develop and test games for 8 year old boys:
“They like moving forward in a game. They like funny things happening in a game when they press buttons. They love, more than you can possibly believe, cheats. … They dislike waiting for anything, and the universal phrase is that if something is too difficult, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s too challenging, it means that they don’t understand what they’re being asked to do … the game designer is asking something from them, but they’re not asking the kids clearly enough and not giving appropriate feedback to their attempts to overcome the challenge. It’s rarely a skill difficulty.”
I think he nailed what makes a game fun for everyone of all ages. Now if only all of the developers would follow those same guidelines (*ahem* Electronic Arts *cough*), then all games would be fun!