A Story About My Failure


There’s a game sitting in my Steam queue that I haven’t played for months. I’ve gotten to the very last level, and just can’t get across this dreaded chasm.

A Story About My Uncle

It’s called A Story About My Uncle, and trying to “grapple” with computer keys and a touch pad didn’t drive me nuts until this stage. In class on Thursday I was struck by the “I don’t care if I fail” consensus. It was so interesting to me, to see how a person can be both competitive and yet so careless about failure. Commence brain malfunction in 5…4…3…

I think I have a problem. I have diagnosed myself with “sore-loser” syndrome. It’s not that I kick my feet and whine about how it’s not fair or that the computer “cheated.” I just give up. I tell myself I can’t bear to get so far again, just to have to do it again, and again, and again. I tell myself I have to drastically change my strategy each time rather than just trying the same strategy again with more patience. So, A Story About My Uncle sits in my queue undefeated indefinitely. (A quick note: I absolutely love these kinds of simplistic games for their visuals and story lines…quite stimulating for an aspiring author. But that’s another story.)

Oh, but it doesn’t end there! My relationship with LOTRO began with me blazing through the Intro and Prologue. What did you say? I can do side quests? You mean stop and help those peasants with their remedial chores? BAHA! I think not…But first came the warg, when I got too cocky curious. Then came the marsh, where some short marsh thing blasted me with a firebomb and I almost ran away crying. Almost. Then came Bree, and all the smack of reality that comes after it. I found myself dying. Once, twice, three times, nooo! Then I was not only dying, but failing quests. Then not only failing quests, but having quests lined up in red because my level was so “embarrassingly” low. And don’t even talk to me about the Old Forest. The last time I just tried to make it out alive with a bucket of water, and when I finally made my last steps toward victory, time ran out and the bucket disappeared. You can probably guess I haven’t gone back to try again. Then I killed a little girl, Leila, because I wasn’t prepared to fight every living breathing thing in the Barrow Downs as she dragged me around looking for her cloak. (At least she did find her cloak. At least she was nice and warm when the skeletons got her.)

Then, THEN—for goodness sake— I couldn’t even figure out the CHICKEN RUN. I finished all the prerequisite quests but failed in the part that really matters. Why? Because it was late, and I was too frustrated to even process information properly.


Yep. I logged out with the chicken run literally right in front of my face, because I was too frustrated to pay attention. “But where’s the race?!” *Puts on dunce cap and goes to sit in a corner.* I’m beginning to wonder if this is a “real life” problem.

If how we behave in video games reflects our reality, I’m going to hit a mid-life crisis real soon. That’s why our discussion last class struck me. If we can theorize that gamers are more inclined to take risks and make waves, what does that say about discouraged gamers? What about those “when I’m good, I’m great, and when I’m bad, I’m terrible” people? There’s no in-between. Which is quite a premature attitude to have. Ironically this attitude appears to be a recent installation in my life, because some years ago when I cared less about pride and more about fun, I completed more games.Therefore, I’m assigning myself an era of reform in gaming. To all who claim that gaming sucks us out of reality, I’d like to be the counterpoint. Perhaps gaming puts the deeper reality we can’t see, touch, or feel right in our faces.

The Romance Spiral

The Romance Circle Spiral

The romance circle is common in all great epic stories. It starts out in childhood, then there is the threshold where the voyager leaves home for the first time, then the initiation, then the dedication to the quest, then the underworld, then the harrowing of Hell, then temptation, and lastly recognition. However, I don’t think the circle ends there. Life is a series of romance circles forming one large romance spiral.

Throughout life we are faced with many “voyages” or “adventures” creating one long spiraling journey. For example, college itself has been somewhat of a quest. You could analogize the process of applying to school, going to school, and graduating from school to Frodo’s own quest. Childhood instead would be high school and going to visit colleges would be leaving the threshold. Next, initiation would be acceptance to college and dedication to the quest is committing to a school. The next part I find rather comical where all of the classes and work throughout college are analogous to the underworld and the harrowing of Hell. Sometimes all of my work was a bit hellish. Temptation is all of the fun you have in college and your longing for the real world. Finally, recognition is equivalent to graduation where you gain recognition for all of your hard work.

Your life doesn’t end when you finish college (even though it feels like it). Therefore, instead of the circle ending there, rather it repeats itself and spirals into a long and great epic.

Molly Steckler


Social Suicide

“Are you serious?” I nodded; preparing myself for the inevitable onslaught that was to ensue. And, predictably, it came. “Worlds of Wordcraft? You are such a nerd. You realize everyone’s going to judge you for this class and yada yada yada.”

I got this response from everyone after telling him or her my English seminar class choice. To be honest, I didn’t really understand why I wanted to take the course. I had stopped playing videogames after freshman year (aside from the occasional super smash bros. on N64) and I really had no burning desire to learn about gaming. The nagging doubts persisting in the depths my mind shut up long enough for me to finalize my decision and send in my course request form.

I walked in to the first day of class apprehensive, but excited. The room was pretty much what I expected, two large screens, lots of wire, laptops out and powered on, being controlled by normal kids who had a guilty pleasure for gaming and knew it. My slightly embarrassed classmates took sheepish glances around the room, attempting to figure out who else was brave enough to sign up for this class and commit the social suicide we all were convinced would be the inevitable result. I smiled and grimaced at the same time, sat down, and accepted my decision, suddenly optimistic about the rest of the semester.

The class, unlike the people in it, was not at all what I expected to find. Rather than focusing on videogames, the class has proven to be a useful way to integrate the future of professional and academic communication with good writing practice and stimulating class discussions. Videogames seem to be solely supplemental to the class and I find there to be much more to the class than MMORPG gaming. Instead of spending copious amouts of free time in an attempt to level up for the class, I have discovered how to use Microsoft Office Live, Bootcamp my computer, use a Windows operating system, relate qualities inherent in creating a game to real life, and more than I ever want to know about Lord of the Rings. I would venture to say that he videogames I have played as a result of the class have enriched my social life. I now analyze the concepts behind game design for everything I play and as a result, I understand gamers better and can relate to them better than I could before. Rather than look down on gamers, I have broadened my perspective and can now see the world through their eyes and understand them. Plus, I get to play videogames for a class, who can argue with that?

By Aneel Henry

A late post: crazy halloween ruined my mind.

By: Chris Bang

I am not a passionate gamer, though I spent a lot of time playing console games during my high school. However, I think that my experience with LoTRO will have a positive effect in my life.


I would admit that I considered playing LoTRO as an unimportant assignment and tried to do math or Chinese home work, did I have time to play. Unsurprisingly I was way behind the course requirement (my character of LoTRO was level 12 until few weeks ago). However, fall break completely changed my attitude towards LoTRO. Most of my friends were gone and I had nothing to do, so I decided that it was time to play LoTRO. Playing the game I realized that it was a real fun. I was really into the game and played almost 6 or 7 hours a day. I leveled up to 17 and cleared up all the quests in Ered Luin.


We often find our assignments hard and boring, especially when those are not from the field of your interest. However, now we are more responsible for our education and grades and have to do every single assignment we are given. Playing LoTRO, I learned that we can find something enjoyable in assignments that you do not necessarily like or enjoy. I am 100% sure that this will help me in upcoming three and half years of college.