AmbiGaming Corner

Hi guys,

So I’m trying out a few things with this blog as I attempt to settle into a usual schedule – at least until my thesis consumes my entire life again and I have to settle into a different schedule. Regardless, I present to you AmbiGaming Corner, a weekly Friday post on video game-related media and such that I’ve come across during the week.

This week, I’ve been reading the book How Games Move Us: Emotion By Design (Playful Thinking) by Katherine Isbister, which is a fantastic book that describes how video games grab us and move us emotionally, including the use of NPCs, how and why we project onto our PC avatars, playing together, and beyond.

how games move us

I’m about a third of the way through and I am very impressed with Ms. Isbister’s ability to explain psychological concepts in an approachable and understandable way. She gives examples from a wide variety of games, so there will be titles you recognize, and some that you definitely make a note to play later. Some of these topics have been slated to come up on my blog, so I’m enjoying reading about them from a “real person’s” perspective, especially when her conclusions and mine are the same!

Otherwise, I’m still working my way through Mordor, which has been a fun adventure so far. I’m impressed by the controls as I’ve said, and the story is fairly interesting. It’s make more interesting by the fact that I’m playing on an old tube TV again and so I can’t read anything or make out some of the symbols, which has resulted in a lot more trial-and-error and looking up things online than I usually like to do. Because of this, it’s been a little slow-going, but the story is nice and so far fits nicely into the lore without disrupting it too much. But I’ll talk about this more once I’ve completed the game.

Next week, look forward to posts on choices in video games (like I promised veryverygaming!) and on theology from Thedas!

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you soon!

— Athena Tseta

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  1. I didn’t realise that was a promise! Don’t do anything you wouldn’t do otherwise 🙂

    I came across that same book in a bookshop a while back, it’s an interesting topic but I was a bit turned off by seeing Journey on the cover. I know, “don’t judge a book by its cover”, right? You mention it talks about a wide variety of games which is good to hear. I enjoyed Journey but didn’t love it, and the history of games has many, better examples of moving or emotional aspects. I guess I just prickle at the idea that modern indie games are doing completely unprecedented things, things that older games weren’t already doing. Obviously though what the cover suggests and the book suggests are totally different things!

    Lastly, I can relate to the difficulty of reading text on an old tube TV. I’ve never owned a HDTV, but this year is the first time getting HD consoles so recently I’ve struggled to read text in Grand Theft Auto V and Xenoblade Chronicles X. It’s very annoying, especially in the latter game, and I wish developers would pay more attention to this sort of thing. I’m not even thinking so much about those of us with old TVs but people with poor eyesight. Why not include the option to make the font bigger? It can’t be that hard to do and it’d make games more accessible.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m really looking forward to writing about choices in games! I’m always open to suggestions, too, so don’t ever be shy about grabbing my virtual ear for something you want me to write about!

      Yes, I was actually pleasantly surprised by the book. She’s included both indie and mainstream games (but no Journey yet! 🙂 ) and overall I’m having a really good time reading it. I completely understand what you’re saying; I have a love-hate relationship with indie games (unfortunately I don’t have a computer I am willing to play PC games on, so most of my knowledge of them is through let’s plays), but I guess because of the budgets of AAA games, it’s the indie devs who are most willing to innovate and take risks right now because they’ll “lose the least’ if the game flops.

      And the TV!!! Yes, they need to realize that not everyone either has an HDTV or can see well. Even with my glasses and ON an HDTV I was having trouble reading some of the text in Dragon Age: Inquisition. I am absolutely in support of games being as accessible as possible, and don’t see why they can’t include a text option in the menus. They have sliders for sound and speech and effects, but only one-size-fits-all for text.

      Liked by 1 person

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