5 Groups of Fun

One of my on-going side projects on the site is to find out more about what people find “fun”. This does not directly relate to the motivation related content on RAMP or the User Types though. It is all based on a simple question – “What do you find fun?

This is by no means a comprehensive study and in reality you are far better off considering Nicole Lazzaro’s 4Keys2Fun! However, I am finding it interesting to see what people say.

I have previously released basic results that identified 21 unique things that people find fun. This is based on around 180 responses to the question, but show a distinct pattern. From these 21 “types”, I have started to pull together five distinct groups.

  • Achievement Fun
  • Free Spirited Fun
  • Social Fun
  • Facilitated, Personal Fun
  • Un-Facilitated, Personal Fun

The groupings look like this

Fun types v3 500x392 5 Groups of Fun

Achievement Fun

This is fun that is based around learning and overcoming obstacles.

  • Curiosity
    • Wanting to know what is in the box, what happens next, what is around the corner.
  • Learning
    • Learning new things, mastery.
  • Problem Solving
    • Puzzles, use of problem solving (specifically) to over come challenges.
  • Challenge
    • Over coming obstacles. Attaining a sense of achievement.

Free Spirited Fun

  • Exploration
    • Deliberately looking around and testing the boundaries.
  • Discovery
    • Finding new or interesting things, deliberately or not.
  • Surprise
    • The joy of the unexpected.
  • Creativity
    • Building, inventing, creating new things (music, art etc).

Social Fun

  • Family
    • Joy from your relatives. Love.
  • Collaboration
    • Working with others on a common goal.
  • Fellowship
    • Relatedness. Being with others.
  • Competition
    • You vs. the world.
  • Altruism
    • Selfless acts towards others, sense of some kind of greater purpose.

Facilitated, Personal Fun

  • Narrative
    • Stories and plot lines.
  • Progression
    • The feeling that what you are moving towards a goal.
  • Immersion
    • Believing in the fantasy world totally and losing yourself to it.
  • Fantasy
    • Make believe, such as worlds created by books or film or imagination.

Un-Facilitated, Personal Fun

  • Humour
    • Different for everyone, but jokes, funny stories and situations.
  • Sensation
    • Joy in physical sensation. Smell, activity, sport, touch etc.
  • Schadenfreude
    • Pleasure in the suffering of others.
  • Flow
    • As described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, losing your sense of self in an activity.


Most of this is self explanatory. There are a few areas that could cause some confusion. Altruism being grouped with Social Fun for starters. In my types this would be the reserve of the Philanthropist with the rest being associated to the Socialiser. However, in this case I am more concerned with what the fun is, not what motivates it or the type of person. To be altruistic, you need to be dealing with others – so I feel it is part of social fun!

The facilitated and un-facilitated personal fun are also a bit tough. Under facilitated, I ahve included things that generally need some external assistance (not always I admit). So narrative requires a story teller of some sort (friend, author, film mater etc). Fantasy often requires the same (though it could be imagination and thus un-facilitated). immersion requires an environment to become immersed in. This differs from flow as immersion requires losing inhibitions and resistance to a fantasy.

Un-facilitated personal fun is all about things that only you can experience. Touch, physical activity, humour, suffering of others and flow are all very personal and unique to the individual. Whilst some of it can be facilitated, the way we experience it is very personal!

The groups are very arbitrary, and there is absolutely cross over.

Something else I found interesting was the spread of the groups. It is actually a fairly even!

Achievement Fun29%
Social Fun25%
Free Spirited Fun25%
Un-facilitated,  Personal Fun10%
Facilitated,  Personal Fun11%

If I was to be making a point with this, it is the same point I make with the User Types. We are all different. What you find fun, others may not. With luck, this – combined with User Types and the 47 Mechanics and Ideas, you should be able to cater for most needs!

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