Michael Allen brings up the skill of video game designers in Designing Successful e-Learning: Forget What You Know About Instructional Design and Do Something Interesting around creating experiences that modulate difficulty in a way that heightens engagement. One of his graphics (p. 188) reminds us that most video games end with a battle against the boss character.
I’m getting flashbacks to trying to defeat the boss robot in Descent. I’m not sure how many hours I spent trading missiles with it.
Video games can inspire instructional designers in many positive ways (though we should do so thoughtfully, remembering that instruction and games have different purposes). The idea of building up to a boss challenge is an interesting way to frame scaffolding.