Frustration vs Disorientation

“A video game must frustrate a user, but it must never disorient them.”

That’s Howard Scott Warshaw discussing why E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, a game he developed for Atari, is the worst video game ever.

Frustration in a video game is essential. It’s a motivator to get better, faster, and stronger, which ultimately leads to satisfaction.

Disorientation, on the other hand, is terrible. If you don’t know what’s going on, where you are, or what you’re working towards, there’s no motivation to play the game.

Consider how this applies to whatever it is you sell. Frustration is the tension that exists between where we are and where we want to go. People pay to get rid of that tension.

Disorientation is a result of inconsistent messaging. Confused people don’t become customers.