A Casual Revolution









"To begin with a confession: I am a sore loser. Something in me that demands that I win, beat, or complete every game I try, and that part of me is outraged and tormented whenever I fail to do so. Still, I play video games though I know I will fail, at least part of the time. On a higher level, I think I enjoy playing video games, but why does this enjoyment contain at its core something that I most certainly do not enjoy?"

(The Art of Failure preface)


The Art of Failure: An Essay on the Pain of Playing Video Games is my new book about failure in video games.

In The Art of Failure I ask: why do we do it? Why do we play video games even though they make us unhappy? The Art of Failure discusses the many possible explanations of this paradox, and while I propose an answer to the problem, the journey itself is meant to offer a new explanation of what it is that games do. The book combines personal confessions about failure with philosophy, game design analysis, psychology and fiction theory.


Read chapter 1 of The Art of Failure at Salon.com.

New MIT Press BITS series features the Art of Failure chapter The Feeling of Failure.



“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

“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

Where to find the book

Get from MIT Press   

... or at your local book store.