There was not a large gathering in the New hall last night for the visit of Chris Bateman, but as usual attention was intense and conversation lively. Even people who had hardly ever played a computer game were stimulated by his skilful analysis of the kinship between traditional games and the ones that so disturb some parents, and all of those of us who have tended to be negative towards a pastime we hardly understand, came away with a more positive view. After all, would you want to give a blanket condemnation of film making on account of the acting skills of Stephen Segal, or condemn the art of the novelist because of Mills and Boon? Charity and a sense of perspective does even allow those their place in cultural life!
The Observer had an article celebrating Madeline Miller’s award of the Orange prize, and wondered if this was part of a re-awakening of interest in the world of Greece and Rome. Remarking that we had been there before one interviewee cited the work of Rosemary Sutcliffe and Mary Renault- alas no mention of Alfred Duggan- and the suggestion was made that computer games about the classical era were also sparking fresh interest. It made me remember my boyhood friend who while I was learning a tiny bit about the subject at college, was picking up a mass of information because he had acquired the bug for war-gaming. Even today I find that if I am in a hurry to find some details about the ancient world, it is to war-gaming sites that I go in preference to Wiki!