The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, 2nd. ed., by Jesse Schell
New York: A K Peters/CRC Press, 2014). 600 pp. $64.95 (paperback).
It is risky to begin a review with a seemingly unrelated anecdote by a book’s author, but this one comes from an extraordinary book, so here goes:
At one point in his career, Albert Einstein was asked by a small local organization to be the guest of honor at a luncheon and to give a lecture about his research. He agreed to do so. The luncheon was quite pleasant, and when the time came, the host anxiously announced that Albert Einstein, the famous scientist, was there to talk about his theories of special and general relativity. Einstein took the stage and looking out [at] a largely nonacademic audience consisting of mostly old ladies, he explained to them that he certainly could talk about his work, but it was a bit dull, and he was thinking perhaps instead the audience would prefer to hear him play the violin. The host and audience both agreed that it sounded like a fine idea. Einstein proceeded to play several pieces he knew well, creating a delightful experience the entire audience was able to enjoy and surely one they remembered for the rest of their lives. (p. 116)
The author of this anecdote is Jesse Schell. It comes from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses. Its meaning?
Einstein was able to create such a memorable experience because he knew his audience. As much as he loved thinking and talking about physics, he knew that it wasn’t something his audience would be really interested in. Sure, they asked him to talk about physics, because they thought it would be the best way to get what they really wanted—an interesting encounter with the famous Albert Einstein. (p. 116)
Now, I am no Einstein, but my guess is that you are not interested in . . .