top of page

Lessons of Losing in Gaming

Who likes losing!? No one … but we must admit, losing is a part of life and there are always lessons to be learned when you lose. The idea of losing is often a scary and upsetting thought for most… Yet, inside the pixelated worlds of video games, there is a valuable lesson that goes way beyond the digital realm.

It might seem strange to learn about losing through video games, but the journey can help build resilience, empathy, and personal growth in unexpected ways.


First of all, let's bust the idea that video games are all about easy wins and providing you with that feel-good achievement feeling. Many games (looking at your Dark Souls!) are made to be difficult, challenging, and sometimes purposefully impossible in order to push players to their limits and put their skills to the test. In reality (gaming or real life), every player will lose at some point, no matter how skilled they are. And why is learning how to lose important? Losing gives us a sense of humility by showing us that we're not unbeatable and that success often requires hard work, persistence, and always getting better.


In the world of video games, when you keep getting knocked down by a boss or opponent who seems impossible to beat, you have two options: give up or change. While some do take the first option, it is the majority who will try and try again. The second choice encourages critical thinking and finding solutions to problems. Gamers learn to rethink their plans, research, try out new ideas and strategies, and improve their skills so they have a better chance of winning next time (or the time after that!). This process is like real-life situations where setbacks can be seen as chances to grow instead of as problems that can't be solved. The benefit of learning this through video games is that there is little harm to a child if they keep trying. Video gaming gives a child a safe space to experience loss without the fear of ridicule from others or being physically hurt from pushing their bodies outside of their limits.


Learning to lose in video games is also useful because it can help people be more empathetic and understanding toward each other. When we lose to a real person instead of a pre-programmed robot in a game, it reminds us that the other person is a real person with their own feelings, experiences, and goals. This helps us be more kind and sportsmanlike, and it teaches us that competition should be a way to improve ourselves and connect with others, not a way to get angry. It surprises you when you are finally able to beat that boss you are stuck on then you see that the boss was just trying to achieve their own goals. You not only get to develop your own resilience but also develop your skills in understanding how the loser may feel.


People these days strive for the end goal. Think of it this way, do you play a game for the ending? Or do you play a game for the journey? It’s that old age saying of it’s about the journey, not the destination. Learning how to lose can also help you understand success better. Video games remind us that the journey is just as important as the end result. After failing many times on a hard level or a difficult boss fight, when you finally succeed, you feel a sense of satisfaction. The satisfaction is not only from the initial win, it’s about what it took to get to that point. This shows how fulfilling hard work and progress can be. This way of thinking encourages us and children to focus on our own growth rather than on what other people think of us. This helps us find joy in the process rather than getting stuck on the results.


The lessons you learn from losing at video games can also of course be taken and used in real life. You can use the skills you learn in virtual worlds to deal with problems in the real world. Whether it's taking a hard test, dealing with a setback in your career, or figuring out how to be in a relationship, the mindset you develop through gaming can be a useful tool for dealing with problems. Building on that “don’t give up” attitude is what makes strong individuals and is such an important lesson for children to develop.


In the end, it's important not to undervalue how much video games can teach you about losing. Under the screens and buttons, there are a lot of life lessons just waiting to be found. Losing in games is a journey of personal growth and self-discovery. It helps you build resilience, empathy, improve your problem-solving skills, and get a healthier view of success. So, the next time you or your child experiences a loss in a video game and it makes you angry, remember that you're not losing a virtual battle, you're learning a valuable life lesson.

By Gee Gee

bottom of page