I was recently asked for links n' stuff on hoity-toity game design. Here's some. If you have some, comment away.
MDA/8 Kinds of Fun (Poor website, IMO, but good ideas.)
8 Kinds of Fun (also avaible in flavors of 7, 9, and 13, as I recall) is simply a way to get you to think about what kinds of experiences you'll be providing - helping you to either focus or diversify.
MDA is a method of looking at how mechanics affect the end experience of the player - this mechanistic style of game design is pretty much all I go for, although I personally think MDA is a bit... "loose". It doesn't contain any real helpful things, just a kind of generic overview of ways you might want to think about stuff.
Poker player types, which are actually very good analysis of game players in general, although they're missing several kinds of players because poker doesn't appeal to everyone.
Maybe more useful, 4/25 types of players. Not the standard fare, but I never liked the standard fare. It's humor, but there's a lot of real data there. Which, really, is the reason it's funny.
Of course, the standard fare is Bartle's Four Player Types. I think this is an old essay, but I can't tell for sure. Anyhow, that's the most popular analysis of player types.
When it comes to design paradigms, there aren't very many links available. MDA is one of the few (first link). There's a few others, like the 400 project and about a million "patterns of game design" knockoffs.
Mostly, however, it's a tenuous gathering of posts from people who are thinking but not publishing. For example, Skotos, Sirlin, and even me.
The real problem is that the deeper theories come from people who have half a dozen theories. Me? I run with PAC, nested gameplay loops, and relative play vision - all three of which provide for interesting, useful ways of looking at games. But it's not a theory. Most other theorists of this type are in the same boat.
(Those links are old, because it's been a while since I've posted overviews. As time goes on, it's updates and new permutations...)
There. Post your favorite links in the comments section.