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The Feeling of Failure by Jesper Juul


"A few years ago, my new mobile phone came with the game Super Real Tennis. Every time I played the game, no matter how far I progressed, each session concluded with the message shown in figure 3.1, telling me to check the “basic operation methods.” These instructions told me only the most rudimentary information about the game’s controls, but I kept returning to them to make sure I had not missed anything. Why did the game keep telling me to read the basic instructions? Was I that bad a player? Were there normal and advanced instructions screens that the game would show to other, smarter players? I was rationally convinced that this was a simple design oversight, but I could not escape severe self-doubts, due to a small free tennis game" (p. 47).

Juul, J. (2013). The Art of Failure: An Essay on the Pain of Playing Video Games, MIT Press. 

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The Australian Dream: Blood, History and Becoming by Stan Grant

"In the winter of 2015, Australia turned to face itself. It looked into its soul and it had to ask this question: who are we? What sort of country do we want to be? And this happened in a place that is most holy, most sacred to Australians. It happened on the sporting field, it happened on the football field. Suddenly the front page was on the back page, it was in the grandstands. Thousands of voices rose to hound an Indigenous man. A man who was told he wasn’t Australian. A man who was told he wasn’t Australian of the Year. And they hounded that man into submission. I can’t speak for what lay in the hearts of the people who booed Adam Goodes. But I can tell you what we heard when we heard those boos. We heard a sound that was very familiar to us. We heard a howl. We heard a howl of humiliation that echoes across two centuries of dispossession, injustice, suffering and survival. We heard the howl of the Australian Dream, and it said to us again: you’re not welcome" (p. 5).

Grant, S. (2016). The Australian Dream: Blood, History and Becoming. Quarterly Essay, 1832-0953(64), 1-56.

Fear of a Black President by Ta-Nehisi Coates

An essay about the 2012 presidential election published in The Atlantic magazine. Coates won the United States National Magazines Award for Essays and Criticism for this piece about Barack Obama. 

"The irony of President Barack Obama is best captured in his comments on the death of Trayvon Martin and the ensuing fray. Obama has pitched his presidency as a monument to moderation. He peppers his speeches with nods to ideas originally held by conservatives. He routinely cites Ronald Reagan. He effusively praises the enduring wisdom of the American people, and believes that the height of insight lies in the town square. Despite his sloganeering for change and progress, Obama is a conservative revolutionary, and nowhere is his conservative character revealed more than in the very sphere where he holds singular gravity— race" (p. 3).

The Best American Magazine Writing 2013, edited by Sid Holt, and The American Society of Magazine Editors, Columbia University Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central,

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