My Book

I’ve written a book on the topic of game design, which is available now on  It is titled Game Design Theory:  A New Philosophy for Understanding Games.  It contains a foreword from the legendary game designer, Dr. Reiner Knizia.

It starts by telling the story of how we’ve arrived at this endlessly interesting, paradoxical point in history:  a point where we’re spending billions on games, but we have no solid understanding of what they are. Game designers, too, have great difficulties due to a lack of fundamental underlying concepts.

This book provides a lens through which we can better understand the true nature of interactive systems. It breaks it down into a hierarchy of toys, puzzles, contests, and games, and explains the essential nature of each.

With this tool in hand, designers are better equipped to create long-lasting, resonant games. Game players and critics are also able to be better judges and more fully appreciate a game design success.

The future of games is changing in exciting ways, and Game Design Theory is my own little nudge on the path that games may take.

Buy it now on Amazon



 Any game designer would benefit by understanding Burgun’s philosophy, even if it becomes just a small part of our larger understanding of the massive product category we call “video games.”

– Ryan Rigney, WIRED Contributor


 This is by far the best and possibly the most important book on game design out there right now.

– Duncan Hendrick, Goodreads User


“Most books in this genre make a lot of statements that, while interesting, are too vague to be falsifiable. They are typically afraid to set any clear definition of `game’ lest some fringe case be excluded, and their practical value suffers as a result. Keith Burgun’s book sets clear definitions, supports those definitions with concrete examples, and sticks to those definitions throughout the books. That kind of formalism is just what the field of game design needs, as Reiner Knizia notes in the book’s forward.”

-Robert M. Seater, Game Designer ( review)


Keith Burgun’s textbook on game design is unlike any other book on games I’ve ever read. He does for video games what Schoenberg’s books on functional harmony did for my understanding of music.

– User “SweetestPunch” Review