Funology 2 pp 209-224 | Cite as

Discomfort—The Dark Side of Fun

  • Steve BenfordEmail author
  • Chris Greenhalgh
  • Gabriella Giannachi
  • Brendan Walker
  • Joe Marshall
  • Paul Tennent
  • Tom Rodden
Part of the Human–Computer Interaction Series book series (HCIS)


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.



This research was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council through the Living With Digital Ubiquity (EP/M000877/1) and From Human Data to Personal Experience (EP/M02315X/1) projects.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steve Benford
    • 1
    Email author
  • Chris Greenhalgh
    • 1
  • Gabriella Giannachi
    • 2
  • Brendan Walker
    • 1
  • Joe Marshall
    • 1
  • Paul Tennent
    • 1
  • Tom Rodden
    • 1
  1. 1.The Mixed Reality LaboratoryThe University of NottinghamNottinghamUK
  2. 2.Centre for Intermedia, The University of ExeterExeterUK

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