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Surprising Science

Serious Research Into Crazy Awesome Fun

Nicole Lazzaro may just have the job you’ve always wanted. At the very least, she runs the focus groups you’ve always wanted to join. As founder and president of consulting company XEODesign, she researches what makes games funand shares that wisdom with leading video game and software companies. So exactly why is your favorite game so addictive? In her Big Think interview, Lazzaro tells all.Delving deeper into the theory and applications of fun, Lazzaro explains how fun can be turned to serious purposes, such as teaching moral values to kids and making the workplace more playful (and less soul-crushing). But lest all of that seem too serious, she also raves about the transformative effect mobile platforms will have on gaming and describes the fun-related epiphany she had while standing atop an Egyptian temple.

Given her infectious enthusiasm for gaming, we couldn’t help but wonder: what was her favorite game when she was a kid? Lazzaro’s answer will touch a chord with anyone who, like her, has ever felt nostalgic for the “wireframe universes” of old.

(Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons, user Paulo.lafeta.)


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