Fail and Fail Hard!

11:25 AM Nina S. Gooden 0 Comments



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Those of you who know me, know that I love video games. If I’m not screaming at some poor, innocent screen or threatening to find a Dev’s house and burn it to the ground (with lemons), then my life is pretty sad. I play a wide range of these bad boys, from silly dress-up games that my husband mocks me for, to mainstream titles that I have to stand in line to get on release day.

Video games are a great destresser (yes, all of that yelling is lowering my blood pressure, thank you) and a great way to get creative juices flowing.

But today I realized that games do something much more profound for me. They teach me how to fail. And not just fail, fail. While I like games, I’m more of a work-a-holic than I like to admit, so I don’t spend nearly enough time honing those skills. I can slog through a dungeon or two without too much of a problem, but give me a true dexterity check and I’m pretty much a puddle of “why don’t they want me to win?!” on my bed.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask was “recently” released for the 3DS. I say “recently” because it’s been over a month, so most of the community has already inhaled this bad boy and moved on to the next thing. However, I’ve unemployed for months and a good chunk of my time has been consumed with the job hunt. So, Majora’s Mask—my favorite in the series, by the way—sat on my desk, unfinished.

Don’t get me wrong. The lull of this particular siren’s voice compelled me to pick it up every couple of days. I forgot to sleep while barreling through dungeons and collecting masks like no one’s business because goshdarn it, Anju was getting her damn happy ending.

Even so, I only got to the Moon Temple yesterday (the DH is making me actually TAKE this vacation, since I’ll be in Vegas for the next two weeks) and let me tell you…failure and I are good friends.

Let me preface by saying that I have shameful depth-perception. And I get motion sickness. Yeah. Best gamer ever!!

So, in this game there is this great section where you’re a fish-person. You swim around and fight in the water, blah blah blah. I suuuuuck at it. Like, I almost didn’t finish the original Zora temple because I was having such trouble with it. I did after about four tries but damn. Well, in the Moon Temple, you get to do little mini dungeons with the same mechanics.

Long story short, I ended up roaring so much that I was put on Zelda time-out. I didn’t cry but it was pretty touch and go for a second there. I failed. I failed hard, time and time again.

But here’s where the interesting part comes in. When I finally did finish this travesty of a mission, I was filled with so much unadulterated joy. It felt like I had conquered the world. And yeah, I know the science behind our brain’s reward systems but I swear, I was about ten seconds from weeping with joy.

Not only did that feel incredible but that mini dungeon isn’t even close to the last one I have to do. I dove right into the next one—a task equally challenging—but I was…I don’t know. Happier? Instead of getting frustrated, the challenge delighted me. Maybe because I remembered the joy at the end of the tunnel.

I hope all of life’s challenges feel this way at some point. I’m in such an unstable point in my life. I have dozens of projects up in the air. Real ones that could have tangible outcomes. But change is scary and frustrating. 


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