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Discomfort—the dark side of fun

Benford, Steve; Greenhalgh, Chris; Giannachi, Gabriella; Walker, Brendan; Marshall, Joe; Tennent, Paul; Rodden, Tom


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Dunford Chair in Computer Science

Gabriella Giannachi

Brendan Walker

Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Research & Knowledge Exchange


Mark Blythe

Andrew Monk


For many of us, the notion of ‘fun’ conjures up visions of experiences that are amusing, pleasant, entertaining, playful—perhaps even frivolous. Rides, games, shows and perhaps even the experience of visiting an art gallery can embody these senses of fun, providing amusing and momentary distractions from the toils of life. And yet, such experiences often have a darker side to them. Thrill rides such as roller coasters may be scary and physically demanding. Games routinely involve us in pretending to commit unspeakable acts such as butchering others. And the works we encounter in theatres and galleries may challenge, confront and even outrage us. So perhaps fun is not so frivolous after all? Maybe fun inevitably encompasses a ‘dark side’ as a vital, even necessary, part of the entertainment.


Benford, S., Greenhalgh, C., Giannachi, G., Walker, B., Marshall, J., Tennent, P., & Rodden, T. (2018). Discomfort—the dark side of fun. In M. Blythe, & A. Monk (Eds.), Funology 2: from usability to enjoyment (209-224). Springer.

Online Publication Date Jul 19, 2018
Publication Date 2018
Deposit Date Feb 8, 2021
Publisher Springer
Pages 209-224
Series Title Human-computer interaction series
Series ISSN 1571-5035
Book Title Funology 2: from usability to enjoyment
ISBN 9783319682129
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