Three years ago, Boris Johnson wrote in The Telegraph that video games turn children into, “blinking lizards, motionless, absorbed, only the twitching of their hands showing they are still conscious.”

This provocative and undeniably eloquent article is often cited by gamers as evidence that The Man doesn't really understand them. While we know that gaming is a serious, deep, fascinating medium that doesn't deserve its reputation as a trouble-maker, the games we play superficially tell a different story.

It's difficult to persuade to your girlfriend that games are worthwhile when what you're generally doing in them is pretending to kill people in numerous inventive ways. However good we know GTA: Chinatown Wars to be, the non-gamer who peers over your shoulder and watches you hosing cartoon New Yorkers with a flamethrower is unlikely to be impressed.

That's just one of the reasons why books like Tom Chatfield's Fun Inc. are such a good thing. Arm yourself with a copy of this and when people look over your shoulder and instead of witnessing simulated violence they'll learn that...

We are building new worlds for fun. And the sense of fun these creations satisfy – a sense with millennia of evolutionary history behind it – represents one of the most sophisticated and demanding human needs it is possible to satisfy. Take that.

To promote the launch of Fun Inc., Random House is putting five copies up for grabs. All you need to do to win one is choose correctly from the following answers to this video game related question:

Steve Russell, Martin Graetz, and Wayne Witaenem are usually credited with making the first video game at MIT in 1962. What was the game called? a. Star Wars
b. Spacewar!
c. Star Trek

If you want to check out the book you can flick through the first 30 pages online by clicking here. Keep an eye out for out forthcoming review.



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Competition rules
  • The competition closes on Friday 19th February 2010, and no entries will be accepted after this date.
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