Thursday, October 6, 2011


This blog is for my wife. She doesn't like or understand videogames. She tolerates my hobby and, from time to time, even tries to understand it. But when pressed to explain why I love games, my answers aren't convincing. I don't have anything to conceal; the problem is just that I don't have any good answers. Perhaps games really are just a waste of time, but I am reluctant to accept that. If I can't explain why games are a worthy claim on my attention, then I want to at least explain why they hold so much of it.

The goal of this blog is to explore what it is like to be an avid gamer and to understand how games work -- or don't work, as is often the case -- and in a way that is accessible even to non-gamers. That said, I don't actually expect my wife to read this blog, because, like I mentioned, she doesn't like or understand videogames. That's okay.

This blog was largely inspired by Tom Bissell's Extra Lives: Why Videogames Matter (and Why They Don't Matter More). I have never thought much about writing seriously about videogames until now. When reading Bissell's engaging and personal account of what it is like to be a gamer, I found someone wrestling with similar problems to me and, perhaps, making some tentative progress towards a satisfying answer.

Eventually, I'll probably stray from the vision and goals outlined here. That seems to be the nature of blogs, but they all have to start somewhere, and so this is where Ambient Challenge begins.


  1. It is a real pleasure to find somone who writes intelligent, thoughtful, and appreciative game reviews. I found your Metro 2033 one, and I really couldn't agree more. I look forward to reading many of these in the future!

  2. Von Streff,

    Thanks for the encouragement.

    I'll admit, these articles are difficult to write: a pinch of talent and handful of hard work. I hope to get new content up regularly, but that may become impossible as other obligations impose on my time. But I'll try!

  3. How are you getting on with FIFA 12? For me it's the next best thing to playing for real, along with all the realism from the sponsorship it surely blows pro evo away, although I haven't played their title for a couple of years now. I cant see me going back to pro evo whilst FIFA offers such a fantastic game playing engine! I am completely pre-occupied with skyrim at the mo. But still spare a thought for FIFA in the back of my mind every time I turn on the xbox, almost as if aim cheating on it or something! Although it will definitely be my most played game of the year until fifa13 is released! To answer why you spend your time playing video games is simple, it's because it's better than watching telly or reading a book in my opinion. You get both the visual experience that you would from the t.v and the freedom of creation and imagination that you can get from an novel! win,win situation really! I find your blog interesting to a point but then my lack of attention span kicks in, so I have to scroll down to your conclusion and comments section! There quite in depth and you should probably introduce a quick summery section with a star rating or something for the non-educated like my self. For example: L.A Noir.... Looks pretty and plays like GTA, but fails to grip the player due to the anoying interrogation scenes and the fact agent Phelps is a massive nob-head! It dos'nt deliver a free enough gaming experience for me. Save your money, star rating *** (out of five). Perhaps this section could have a flashing outline and pictures of in game shots! Just something to think about.