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"The Glitch"

Updated: Nov 5, 2019

Imagine a video game where each level requires the skills learned in previous levels.

Now imagine playing a few levels, and you make some friends along the way, only to get stuck in one level where you are unable to figure out what to do.


After some time, the screen fades out and then fades back in again and you find yourself at the beginning of the next level and you realize the game has a glitch!


No matter how much of the level you’ve actually figured out, no matter the reason why a level is particularly challenging, and no matter the circumstances distracting you from focusing on any one level, you always get sent to the next level.


Now imagine some players helping you figure out partsof each level while other players miss out on enough of several levels that the game begins to seem too hard - even when receiving help from other players.


When struggling players try to walk away from the game, they are each brought right back and told to keep playing the game. Plus, if you play the game wrong, your character is put in a solo tutorial for earlier level skills - that is, until your character times out and starts the next level.


The game itself stops being fun because you realize you aren't really playing it right anyway, you have to mess up a lot to get back to the solo tutorial that you want to do anyway, and whatever was keeping you from figuring out those earlier levels it’s still keeping you from figuring out the solo tutorial to get back to the level that you’re on.


You decide to play the game *just enough* with the other characters that are also not playing it right so you each don't get put in those boring solo tutorials.


As you play this game, your family plans celebrations for your completion because they also completed it and they’re excited to see what game you'll play next, given that now you will have the freedom to choose whatever game you want (presuming no other expectations)…

And when the last level times out and you've managed to play well enough to see the regular end game screen with player rankings of all the other players, and you joke about how your ranking is higher than the other lower ranking friends you've made, and you laugh about how you are all ranked higher than those that found themselves on an alternative ranking end game screens...


And when you put the controller down, and you wake up after having celebrated the end game screen with all of the other players, you find many players are already preparing for their next new game, whether it is Strategy or Action-adventure, Single-Player or MMORP, or any other particular game genre and style.


With what you learned from the levels you did figure out, you are excited to discover that your choice of games do not require those higher level skills that you were forced to avoid for so long.


Those that did figure out all of those levels, they’re busy connecting what they learned to the new game they’re going to be playing, but are confident in their ability to figure it out based on their past experiences.


You eventually come to realize that some of those new games you get to choose from, they are 2-player games available to all players regardless of past game experience; but you realize some figuring out of levels is still challenging - and your prior experience avoiding specific game challenges now relies on that second player that chose to play that particular game with you.


When you think back to all of the levels you couldn't figure out in that first game, and then you see young kids being told to pick up that same controller and play that same game - and you start to think… maybe that game wasn’t designed very well… and you start thinking of ways to make that game better…


...and you construct a new game that keeps the best parts of what you remember that game to be and all of the great additions to that game that continue to be beneficial to so many…

so you focus on the parts you know not only didn’t work but continues to not work and you come up with something better, and you interweave that “something better” into that same game.


…because it’s not that the game that needs to be torn down – it just has a few minor glitches.

I believe self-directed learning is the key to fixing those glitches and there are a lot of smart people out there working very hard to provide opportunities to those students that don’t figure out everything in that game.


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