Games that revel in their difficulty like Super Meat Boy, Trials Evolution, and Spelunky can create the same sense of helplessness in the face of failure. Yet some people persist. They continue to bang their heads against the games until they get good or beat a level or get an S-rank. It’s like something clicks in their head and they refuse to accept that they can’t succeed eventually. Or maybe it’s that something doesn’t click.
Don’t let the title fool you. Jamie Madigan offers some real, valuable insight into the psychology of failure in video games. In eLearning games, students are not limited to just technical difficulty. They are confronted with an even more salient challenge — that of their own intelligence and capacity for learning.
We often talk about how to reward students’ successes, but we also need to question how we are treating students’ failures.
Brief warning that this article makes reference to animal cruelty and an inappropriate scenario.