Book: The Art of Failure: An Essay on the Pain of Playing Video Games by Jesper Juul

The Art of Failure: An Essay on the Pain of Playing Video Games.

This is a personal-philosophical essay on the pain of playing video games. The book combines discussion about game design (are time investment-based games unfair?), with philosophy, psychology, and an examination of games with unhappy endings. Oh, and gamification too.

The book is the first in the Playful Thinking series on MIT Press, co-edited by Geoffrey Long, William Uricchio and Jesper Juul

Available in paper and ebook formats.

Official MIT Press page:


“In The Art of Failure, Jesper Juul explores an interesting idea and asks provocative questions. This book will be of interest to developers, players, scholars, journalists, and readers with related interests, such as chess players or athletes.”
—Henry Lowood, Curator for History of Science & Technology Collections, Stanford University

“Frankly, I hadn’t expected to enjoy a book about failure nearly as much as I did. Jesper Juul brings many different fields of study to the table and provides an engaging learning experience.”
—Brenda Brathwaite Romero, game designer, COO and Co-Founder of Loot Drop

“I can think of no other medium that so constantly forces its participant to contemplate their own demise. The act of playing games is one dotted with near-endless failure. Yet we plow on. Jesper Juul’s new book is exactly the sharp examination of failure I need to keep myself from stabbing my eyes out when I get frustrated.”
—Jamin Warren, Founder, Kill Screen

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