The promotional and academic discourse surrounding new media suggests that they offer more fun and more pleasure than existing or traditional media. However, academic work within media and cultural studies has failed to interrogate these claims empirically. This article critically assesses the conceptualization of pleasure as it is deployed in media audience research and attempts to update these conceptualizations by drawing upon game design theory and key concepts from new media theory. The article goes on to evaluate these concepts through an empirical examination of the varied experience of digital games, DVDs and digital television in a variety of households in Dublin, Ireland. Central to the findings is that while pleasure and displeasure are largely undertheorized, these terms, when deployed empirically, afford a useful entry point into evaluating media experiences. The article identifies key differences between the experience of online and offline new media and calls for more research into the pleasures of play and control in relation to both new and more established media use. Copyright Â© 2006 SAGE Publications.