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How do you deal with losing?

I can't believe I still have XCOM in the brain.

I haven't played for up to four days now, and I'm still thinking about how I'm going to be maneuvering my crack but oh-so-vulnerable squad of freedom fighters in the landed UFO mission that I quit from the last time I played. I'm currently playing on Classic Ironman, which is quite probably just one step removed from trying to detach my molars with a pair of longnose pliers on the scale of crazy masochistic behavior towards oneself.

You probably won't realize it from picturing it in your head, but the gaming equivalent of extracting your own teeth with a poorly-chosen implement is quite enjoyable. Simply put, hard is good.

Most of you do a lot of gaming online, so you totally understand this. A big part of the thrill is the challenge and the dedication to excel and the bragging rights.

How do you feel, though, about losing outright?

I'm not the most temperamental player you'll ever meet, but I did go through a tear-streaked controller-throwing phase back when I was in grade school. I held grudges in Day of Defeat 1.3 that lasted the entire afternoon. And I, of course, am not above the mighty ragequit every now and then -- a cunningly timed ragequit designed to not obviously look like a ragequit.

Even at my age, I still get self-conscious sometimes.

I think I've finally overcome my general fear and apprehension at the idea of losing, however. I don't remember the last time I felt that panic creeping up on me that I was facing something that I could never, ever defeat and I should just be happy with where I was because that was as far as I was ever going to get. It could be because games simply aren't that hard anymore, or because I haven't taken a competitive online game seriously for the longest time. Maybe I've grown wiser. Or maybe I've gotten so accustomed to losing that the impact has been dulled after decades of repeated blows.

It's a hard fact of gaming, though. As death is a part of life, losing is indeed a part of gaming. How do you cope with losing in games? Does it disturb you? Does it make you want to uninstall a game forever? Or does it do something opposite and motivate you to do better next time? Do you find that some games understand the idea and appeal of losing (cases in point: Super Meat Boy and Hotline Miami)?

Chime in and let's discuss this!

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