Anno 2010, Huizinga’s book is still as relevant as in the 1930s of the last century. Entertainment and amusement are important features of today’s Western society. I am convinced that the fundraising for the earthquake victims in Haiti owes its success to the TV show that was built around it. A few years ago, the ‘Grote Donorshow’ (Big Donor Show) on the Dutch television initiated the debate on the donation of organs. Whether we like it or not: the 21st century citizen is also a critical consumer in a world of abundance. To reach him, he must be tempted, and entertainment is a powerful tool for that.
For that reason, the phenomenon of ‘play’ deserves a more detailed view. What makes a game fun and attractive, and what types of games can we distinguish? Understanding this gives us clues for the design of a successful participatory process. Being a game-enthusiastic myself, I derived ten characteristics of a game. I claim that the more of these characteristics are present in a project, the more playful it is, whether it concerns a board game, a computer game or a participatory project.