Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s idea of flow comes up a lot when discussing games. The goal, after all, is to get the player full engaged in your game and doing so ideally puts them in a state along the lines of ‘flow’.

I’ve collected here a few things that can get you started down the path of understanding what flow is all about.

Because you’re reading this on the internet you’ll probably want the Wikipedia article on flow.

You can also start here with a summary of the psychology of flow in under 300 words.

A snippet:

When you’re in a flow state:

  • an hour can pass in the blink of an eye,
  • you feel what you are doing is important,
  • you’re not self-conscious,
  • action and awareness merges,
  • you feel in full control,
  • and the experience is intrinsically rewarding

Here’s Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi himself delivering a TED talk on flow:

Got all of that? There’s the final piece in all of this and it’s the original paper on the subject, FLOW: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.