McGonigal stresses in part one the importance of unnecessary obstacles and how they are so important to the core ideas behind video games. She makes the point that because we are choosing to tackle this obstacle ourselves it is more enjoyable for us and brings us more pleasure. This is something that can be seen on an everyday basis in nearly every aspect of life. Its an old adage that you only get as much out of something as you put into it. By taking a task and adding obstacles too it and making it more difficult for yourself you end up getting more out of it in the end. I see this in a few places in my own life. I enjoy sports games, particularly the build a dynasty mode that is found in most games. When I play college football games I am particularly enamored of the recruiting part of the game. By recruiting the players and then watching them develop and play on the field I have an almost emotional attachment to them. I feel pride and disappointment in these players based on their on the field performance in the game.
Fun, Failure and Optimism is something McGonigal stresses as important, saying that failure is actually a bigger part of our video gaming experience than losing. She gives examples of games like Super Monkey Ball and how the animation when you fail is so spectacular that it almost makes it enjoyable. I agree with her to some point, but when you play the game enough, the losing animation just gets annoying. The joy in failure to me is learning where I was wrong and correcting it the next time I play. One of the games that has recently taken up a lot of my time is called Faster Than Light. The game involves navigating a space ship through battles and other decisions in your quest to reach the other side of the galaxy. In the hints of the game it specifically says that losing is in the fun of the game. And it is. As annoying as it is to watch my ship break up into pieces, there is generally always something I have done wrong, whether it was pick a fight with a ship bigger than me or choose to explore an asteroid field instead of watching for my engines to charge, its the thrill of making those decisions that makes the game so much fun. So McGonigal is correct in saying that failure is fun, but when she says its because of the animations and spectacular failure that you experience, that really only applies for the first few times you fail, just got you hooked on it.