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Escape room

Escape Room Games: Why Losing is Important?

We get it. No one likes losing. After all, that would make you a loser! And living in the polished and successful world as depicted on ever-so-happy social media, we should always be winning.
2020.11.27.

We get it. No one likes losing. After all, that would make you a loser! And living in the polished and successful world as depicted on ever-so-happy social media, we should always be winning. Smiling into camera, assured and confident as only winner can be. And if we're playing games, especially escape room games, then failure is the surest sign of inadequacy. Losing can quickly turn a team towards the introspective. Players can turn on each other as the blame game begins. But here's the rub; without the possibility of losing, then winning would be absolutely hollow. And devoid of all meaning.

Go venture into many schools today, and you'll be faced with a perverse culture whereby "everyone's a winner". Those in charge will state that "it's the taking part that matters, not the winning". This is very poor planning for the real world that lies outside those safe and secure school walls. It creates a false narrative. And worst of all, if makes children into entitled and unhappy adults. This trend can also be seen in video games today. For example, if you happen to die whilst playing Call of Duty, nothing happens. Yes, you'll have to take a very short time out. But you get to keep all the prizes, all the equipment and weapons from before. You don't even revert or lose a level. In short, nothing is lost from losing. We're sure that victory is still as sweet. But lets be frank, you died before re-spawning any number of times. You actually lost, maybe many times before eventually emerging victorious. 
 
If one were to look at any league games, be they soccer or baseball, the team that loses, is eliminated from the competition altogether. The chance of holding aloft that shiny piece of silverware is lost. This is what makes these games or matches so exciting. The idea that to lose will prove almost fatal causes the minds and bodies, of both spectators and players, in come into focus. To strive to achieve victory at all cost. To be triumphant through playing quicker, smarter or luckier. This is the glue that transfixes us to out TV screens as we watch, with baited breath, through our roller coaster of emotions, as the teams clash for glory. The value of the game is in the possibility that the losing team will have lost it's chance and be gone. At least until the next season or the next year. But a long enough time for it to hurt.

This dovetails nicely with the ideas about losing that are ever present in our escape room games. It begs the question of whether someone who's paying should be allowed to lose. It also resurfaces the old school adages about those taking part being equally important to those that win. Why on earth might someone want to pay to lose? Shouldn't everyone be a winner? It all boils down to basic psychology. If you already know that you have won, if victory is assured, then it will be all the more hollow. What is the point of having a 60 minute time limit if, when it's breached, there is to be no penalty? It would result in the same feeling as if, after racking your brains for the final solution, someone simply handed it to you written on a piece of paper. Would you still feel like a true winner in such a situation?

Of course not. It would demean all of your accomplishments up to that point. It would significantly cheapen your final victory. Probably the most exciting part of taking part in an escape room game is that the clock is ticking down the seconds without mercy. Knowing that it is this device, that will decide your fate rather than any of the clues or puzzles, makes the tension rise as the end of the game nears. We find that the last two or three minutes are where the the boys become men and the girls become hysterical (just kidding!). Teams suddenly act as one, as minds come together in a frantic last minute effort as they race towards the winning post. As the clock marches on, with it's steady beat counting down to the inevitable zero, players become super animated, their faces shiny with sweat, eyes wide in anticipation, as the last key is inserted into the lock or the last lever pushed down. 

It's the whole build up to these final last moments that make escape room games so thrilling. To go through all the emotions and put in all that work and effort, that's what makes the victory so sweet. It's amazing to see the sheer joy of completion, with the players dancing, hugging and whooping. It's uplifting to see how escaping from a horrible fate in a darkened escape room, with just seconds to spare, can be almost life affirming for the players. But without the possibility of losing, then all that effort would be for nothing. 

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Escape Room Games: Why Losing is Important?
2020.11.27.
Escape Room Games: Why Losing is Important?
We get it. No one likes losing. After all, that would make you a loser! And living in the polished and successful world as depicted on ever-so-happy social media, we should always be winning.
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