Jesper Juul’s “Art of Failure” was quite interesting to me, especially their section on the uses of failure in video games. They argue that we hate failing until we finally succeed, then we enjoy the fact that we failed because it means we got better. I feel this same sensation quite a bit in the competitive aspect of super smash bros melee when you finally take your first game or set off of someone better than you, and when you eventually become their equal in the game. But I also feel that this sensation is only useful to people who are competitive in nature. My mother is very competitive and will keep racing me in Mario cart until she beats me and she tries to get better and enjoys the victory. My father plays one round, loses, and gets bored. He doesn’t seem to want to get better and when he does win, if we convince him to stay, he doesn’t really care about winning at all. He does like playing games, however, so it’s not like he is just bored by the game he just doesn’t feel the need to compete against us. Other people may fail at games but their competitive side isn’t against beating another person, they just want to be better than the game.
I know I bring this game up a lot but I am really interested in what Jesper Juul’s would think of Fire Emblem games with their once a character is dead, they are dead for good philosophy. Obviously the player could just restart the game if one of their characters dies (by the way I have explained how this game works in my Blogs of the Round table) but that wasn’t how we were intended to play the game so if we respect the designer’s wishes (or do an Iron Man run) we have to play through the rest of the game knowing that we, and the protagonist, failed at that one point in the story. People seem afraid of that kind of failure because I haven’t met a single person who is willing to play through the rest of the game after that happens because all they want is a 100% completion of the game by saving everyone.