Developer: American Gamers Have Trouble Dealing with Failure

Games industry veteran Don Daglow thinks American gamers have trouble dealing with failure in games. He claims that this stems from the American education system where children are no longer taught to learn from the mistakes.

"The idea of failure has been dramatically reduced," he said, adding that American students don't "fail" anymore. Instead they are "challenged." Daglow thinks European developers should keep this in mind when trying to design games that they want to succeed in the American market.

He goes on to say that the key to keep American players going is to engage them with exciting content and to encourage the player when they do fail. Daglow notes that, once American players like a game, they will continue to play it and face up to the challenges just like European players.

Daglow made his comments to a gathering of developers at GDC Europe this week.

Many American gamers would disagree with Daglow's opinions on the American educational experience, and how they consume games from many different countries – particularly ones that are difficult to master. For example, if you are willing to lose everything you collected from Dead Rising at the end of the game to fight a guy on a tank surrounded by zombies, then chances are you know about failure…

Source: Joystiq

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  1. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    Its rather simple to fix, make the game hard and well balanced then make the default game easy as sht so anyone can play it, then make easy god mode, and make hard unchanged from the game you made and make very hard harder via slight rebalancing.

  2. 0
    black manta says:

    Total agreement.  I think it's not only just and indictment of the game industry, but of nerd culture in general.  I'm in my 40's, but I've noticed that a lot of nerds and geeks younger than me have just been acting really snarky, nasty and just generally entitled (to wit, the ME3 controversy, among other things).  And I think that may be due in part to our American educational system and "no one fails" attitude. 

    To be more specific, because they're not allowed to fail and don't see consequences for their failures, they don't learn humility and also grow up believing that they're somehow entitled because they haven't learned that you can't always get what you want.  And what you get consequently is an emotionally-stunted adult.

  3. 0
    lomdr says:

    I completely agree, Grim.  Going for a fail-less mindset with game design will end up alienating those that do want a challenge and want to overcome that challenge.

    Though, I did have some fun playing Just Dance 2 and DJ Hero and both games don't have a fail requirement (though, getting like 1 or 2 stars on a DJ Hero game could be taken as a failure)

  4. 0
    GrimCW says:

    i don't disagree, and frankly not sure i know many others that would.. this whole (as George Carlin once put it) pussification of society is really messing things up.

    people NEED to learn to fail and overcome. they NEED to learn to work harder to get better, and they NEED to understand that criticism is a natural part of life.

    but as it stands you criticize someone and your a "bully", tell someone they can't do something and they become irate, and heaven forbid you do both… lawsuit ahoy!

  5. 0
    axiomatic says:

    Well its neither really. American culture has become over-proud and has decided that there can be no perceived failure attributed to Americans. This oddity has made its way in to business, schooling, and now apparently our hobbies.

    My opinion… ROCK UP! Dark Souls developer understands where gaming came from and the chance for failure in that game is high and a lot of people liked that that about Dark Souls. Then again… the "I like my games spoon fed to me" demographic didn't find Dark Souls that fun at all.

    So the only thing left to say is that the spoon fed demographic is larger than the demographic who wants a challenge and if that's true then we wind up with articles and a developers opinion listed above.

  6. 0
    Overcast says:

    Yes, everyone wins in schools now – there are no losers. Until they hit real life….

    Then 'feel good happy, happy zen ego boosts' don't count any more, and suddenly, they get a taste of reality.

    Those that take competition out of sports, and seek to boost the egos of kids who haven't worked, been productive to warrant that ego boost are cheating the children, in all honesty.

    There is a core part of human nature that feels a need to be productive and no real sense of accomplishment can ever be really felt, unless there was an obstacle to overcome. It's just human nature and the schools that have the 'everyone wins' attitude destroy that opportunity for children.

    I was just talking to my son last night – and I brought up a point: Do you remember what gear you won in a raid – any raid 3 years ago? Probably not – it's meaningless. But – let's say you do something simple, like put together a desk for your PC – do you remember that? Of course, because it was a true obstacle, you learn something, and have a 'reward' for that – the desk.

  7. 0
    Longjocks says:

    The problem with Don's statement is that while acknowledging the problem (if it is indeed true) he doesn't suggest a change in the culture, but a change in games to cater to that culture. Obvious from a marketing standpoint if you're looking at nothing but dollars, but surely not the right thing to do? Plus it would mean the rest of the world has to potentially suffer in their gaming entertainment just because of this (perceived?) culture, or the US gets its own unique versions of games.

  8. 0
    Prof_Sarcastic says:

    Yeah, but there's room for challenging games and less challenging games to co-exist, surely.  I see the attraction  of difficult games, I used to spend hours on end trying to beat the highest difficulty on games, but I dont have as much spare time as I used to, and now I like to play everything in easy mode just for entertainment, and I don't see what's wrong with that.

    I can't fail at reading a book or watching a movie, so if I want to play a single-player video game where I can't fail, that shouldn't be a big issue.

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