We may think of video games as being "fun," but in The Art of Failure, Jesper Juul claims that this is almost entirely mistaken. When we play video games, our facial expressions are rarely those of happiness or bliss. Instead, we frown, grimace, and shout in frustration as we lose, or die, or fail to advance to the next level. Humans may have a fundamental desire to succeed and feel competent, but game players choose to engage in an activity in which they are nearly certain to fail and feel incompetent. So why do we play video games even though they make us unhappy? Juul examines this paradox.
In video games, as in tragic works of art, literature, theater, and cinema, it seems that we want to experience unpleasantness even if we also dislike it. Reader or audience reaction to tragedy is often explained as catharsis, as a purging of negative emotions. But, Juul points out, this doesn't seem to be the case for video game players. Games do not purge us of unpleasant emotions; they produce them in the first place. What, then, does failure in video game playing do?
Juul argues that failure in a game is unique in that when you fail in a game, you (not a character) are in some way inadequate. Yet games also motivate us to play more, in order to escape that inadequacy, and the feeling of escaping failure (often by improving skills) is a central enjoyment of games. Games, writes Juul, are the art of failure: the singular art form that sets us up for failure and allows us to experience it and experiment with it.
The Art of Failure is essential reading for anyone interested in video games, whether as entertainment, art, or education.
A Fabulous, Important Book.
Jesper Juul provides parents with such an amazing and absolutely vital approach to raising children that it rings true on every page. Some of what he suggests we as parents do is difficult, but all of it is right on about how we can raise confident, healthy, whole humans, right from the start. I was thrilled to have discovered a book that allowed me to see different possibilities with child raising. Anyone with a child will gain immensely from reading this book, seeing themselves in his numerous examples, and learning how to move on from there. I am grateful for this book and highly recommend it.
No Parent Should Be Without It.
With tremendous wisdom and a warm, pragmatic eye, Mr. Juul helps us redefine the ways we look at a child's behavior and our relationship to our children and ultimately, each other. This is a book that doesn't offer easy answers or 'tricks' to help in the raising of your child. This is a book that helps you see with a child's eye, hear with a child's ear, and feel with a child's heart in ways that feel so natural and obvious, you will wonder why you haven't thought of them before. It is a book that offers day-to-day skills along with the thinking that helps generate them. This groundbreaking book should be on the shelf of all parents everywhere. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
If you have children - read this book!
This is an amazing book that will surely turn upside down any thoughts you ever had about raising children. Even though you may not agree with all the views in this book, there is so much food for thought and new ideas that you will return to this book again and again for interesting and mind blowing advice.
Video games are often dismissed as mere entertainment products created by faceless corporations. The last twenty years, however, have seen the rise of independent, or “indie,” video games: a wave of small, cheaply developed, experimental, and personal video games that react against mainstream video game development and culture. In Handmade Pixels, Jesper Juul examine the paradoxical claims of developers, players, and festivals that portray independent games as unique and hand-crafted objects in a globally distributed digital medium.
Juul explains that independent video games are presented not as mass market products, but as cultural works created by people, and are promoted as authentic alternatives to mainstream games. Writing as a game player, scholar, developer, and educator, Juul tells the story of how independent games—creative, personal, strange, and experimental—became a historical movement that borrowed the term “independent” from film and music while finding its own kind of independence.
Juul describes how the visual style of independent games signals their authenticity—often by referring to older video games or analog visual styles. He shows how developers use strategies for creating games with financial, aesthetic, and cultural independence; discusses the aesthetic innovations of “walking simulator” games; and explains the controversies over what is and what isn't a game. Juul offers examples from independent games ranging from Dys4ia to Firewatch; the text is richly illustrated with many color images.