Books I have written

Theory of Fun for Game Design

This book is about what fun is, and why it matters — and how games elicit it. Along the way it touches on cognitive science, theories of art, and what our responsibilities are as creators of games. It has been in print for ten years now. Visit the book’s website.

Sunday Poems

Sunday Poems

Starting in 2005, I began to post poetry on this website each Sunday. Ten years later, this is a collection of eighty of those poems, accompanied by pen and ink illustrations.

Books I have provided material for

Generally speaking, I have a chapter in these books, usually a reprint of an essay.

The State of Play: Law, Games, and Virtual Worlds

This volume of legal essays includes The Declaration of the Rights of Players.


Tabletop Game Design for Video Game Designers

This book includes my essay “On Getting Criticism.”

The Game Design Reader: A Rules of Play Anthology

This collection of essays on game design includes The Declaration of the Rights of Players.

Developing Online Games: An Insider’s Guide

This book on the development of online games includes the Online World Timeline, as well as a foreword I wrote.

Virtual Law: Navigating the Legal Landscape of Virtual Worlds

Another legal book that includes The Declaration of the Rights of Players.

The Second Life Herald: The Virtual Tabloid that Witnessed the Dawn of the Metaverse

This book about the seminal virtual world also includes The Declaration of the Rights of Players.

Cross Currents: Cultures, Communities, Technologies

Yet another book that includes The Declaration of the Rights of Players.

Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design

I contributed material to the chapter on online game design.

Game Design Complete

Features an interview with me.

Settlers of the New Virtual Worlds

Yet another book that includes the Rights of Players.

Books I am featured in

These are books where I didn’t write anything myself, but material either about me or my work form a significant chunk of the book.

MMOs from the Inside Out: The History, Design, Fun, and Art of Massively-multiplayer Online Role-playing Games

MMOs from the Outside In: The Massively-Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games of Psychology, Law, Government, and Real Life

This paired set of books by Dr. Richard Bartle features numerous references to my writings and game design, including design analyses and commentary on my game design writings.

Online Game Pioneers at Work

A lengthy interview of me, covering pretty much my whole career up to the point of leaving Disney, is one of many interviews of online game developers featured in this book.

Smartbomb: The Quest for Art, Entertainment, and Big Bucks in the Videogame Revolution

There’s a whole chapter about Star Wars Galaxies in here, including one of the few non-fiction portraits of me.


Pause & Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative

I spent quite a while talking with Mark Stephen Meadows about interactive narrative for this book.

100 Principles of Game Design

One of the 100 principles is the Theory of Fun!

Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide

Star Wars Galaxies forms a major part of a case study in “participatory design” in this book.

Designing Virtual Worlds

There are many many references to my work in virtual world and game design theory as well as with various games in this book.