When I was finishing up my graduate degree, my interest in video game narrative started to take over my life, and is what I wrote about in my thesis. In particular, I was interested on how what is done by a "DM" translates in to what is done by a game AI.
I think that we have seen a lot of movement toward more "gamemastery" kinds of game design, where a game is creating a narrative for a player to enjoy, while putting up challenge as a sort of obstacle to make that narrative more exciting. I know that lots of game designers also play tabletop games, and I find the cross-pollination between design philosophies interesting.
With that in mind, I'm kind of shocked that the only time I see the phrase "credible threat of failure" used on the web, it is in regard to banks and finances. It's an intriguing game design philosophy too.