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People and their gaming avatars

» NYT Magazine Photo Essay: Absolutely fascinating: People and their gaming avatars. There's no pattern here at all, that I can discern. It's obvious why some people have chosen their avatars; others.... (thanks, jjg!)  [ 06/19/07 ]

Wii for senior citizens

»  Retirees find Wii not just for the grandkids. Absolutely. We played Wii golf with my 95-year-old grandmother (an avid golfer until she was 90) and boy did we all have fun. Every retirement home should have a few of these. "It's a very social thing and it's good exercise ... and you don't have to throw a 16-pound bowling ball to get results. We just had a ball with it. You think it's your grandkids' game and it's not." Flora Dierbach, 72, chair of the entertainment committee at a retirement community in Chicago.  [ 03/26/07 ]

The old 'role-playing ate my brain' defense

» So awesome: A man accused of a stealing underwear from a shop in a knifepoint raid believed he was a female elf at the time, Belfast Crown Court has heard. Dear Judge: throw the book at him. Even elves are required to abide by the law. (via br(1) Comments  / [ 03/08/07 ]

Video games might help you see better

» Action video games might help you see better.   [ 02/08/07 ]

Clive Thompson on Super Columbine Massacre RPG!

» In response to the ruckus surrounding Super Columbine Massacre RPG!, Clive Thompson has played the game and he finds it surprisingly thoughtful.

What strikes Ledonne's attention to narrative detail. He painstakingly researched the killers' life stories using publicly released police investigations of the pair, and the game thus includes all manner of detail I never knew. When I started off in Harris' house, I found a box of Luvox, an antidepressant he was on that prevented him getting into the Marines. When I met up with Klebold in a basement, we sat down in front of the VCR to watch the "I've seen the horror" speech from Apocalypse Now, a movie they apparently loved.

The gamemaker's statement is online [ 01/23/07 ]

Geoffrey Chaucer hath an Exboxe

» Speaking of the fair Mr. Chaucer, he was recently introduced to the "Exboxe CCCLX" by his son. You may enjoy his reviews of Donkeye-Kynge, Civilisatioun, Trojan Kombat, Tyger Woodses Huntinge And Hawkinge, Auriole, and Grande Thefte, Collusioun, And Mayntenance ("Ye run arounde and commit various actes of trespass with force and armes, and then use yower patrones and affinitee groupes to get yow out of prisone").  [ 08/16/06 ]

What Sims teaches prepubescent girls

» What Sims teaches little girls: good hygiene, household economy, and subversion. (via rw(1) Comments  / [ 08/15/06 ]

Culturally imposed differences in game releases around the world

» The Guardian has in interesting survey of culturally imposed differences in game releases across the world. It includes this interesting aside:

Westerners tend to assume linearity but Asians assume circularity. For example [... given] a stable set of circumstances a Westerner will tend to think that this signified a trend and that things will continue in the same fashion but an Asian will tend to think that it is indicative of the potential for change and ultimate return to some pre-existing state.

Inspired by The 12 Differences Between Super Mario Bros. 2 and Doki Doki Panic(1) Comments  / [ 07/28/06 ]

Serious Games aim to change the world

» As gaming matures, designers are experimenting with "serious games" that aim to illustrate their political views, spur players into humanitarian action, or even to see the other side of an entrenched world view.

"When they hear about Peacemaker, people sometimes go, 'What? A computer game about the Middle East?'" admits Asi Burak, the Israeli-born graduate student who developed it with a team at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. "But people get very engaged. They really try very hard to get a solution. Even after one hour or two hours, they’d come to me and say, you know, I know more about the conflict than when I’ve read newspapers for 10 years." [...]
When Mr. Burak first showed Peacemaker to Israelis and Palestinians, he found that they were most interested in playing as their own "side." But when he pushed them to switch positions they developed a more nuanced sense of why the other side acted as it did. In Qatar several people told him that "they kind of understood more the pressures the Israeli prime minister has."

Now the MacArthur Foundation is issuing grants to develop persuasive games. (thanks, jjg! [ 07/25/06 ]

Mobile phones as game controllers

» Next game controller: your phone. First comes the Wii, which will have the impact Oklahoma had on musical theatre. Or heck, the impact the talkies had on culture as a whole. It's a paradigm-shifting change. And once gaming can be done with an object you already carry around with you everywhere.... Get ready.   [ 06/23/06 ]

Gaming is good for you

» Researchers at London's Brunel University recently published the results of a 3-year study focused on the massive multiplayer online game Runescape which found that gaming may help young people learn important life lessons.

Study co-author, Nic Crowe says he was surprised by how quickly players as young as 11 years-old took up roles and responsibilities which demanded discipline, leadership and maturity. Young players actually set aside time for work (mining, fishing or crafting) and then made time for play (questing or chatting).

  [ 06/06/06 ]

Why Abundance Sucks

» Geekonomics: Why abundance sucks, and other unexpected lessons of the game economy. (via rw)   [ 03/30/06 ]

Halo as Talk Show

» Chris Burke is producing a talk show within the world of the computer game Halo 2. More evidence that, as in the offline world, software is most social as an unintended consequence of other activities, not something in and of itself. "The freewheeling conversations were split between highbrow theory and glitch-driven slapstick, peppered with armed ambushes by other players. More than 12 segments later, TSL has been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times, and it's easy to see why. When was the last time you saw Letterman come under small-arms fire during his monologue?" (thanks, kelly!)  [ 03/27/06 ]

Notable for its use of the term participatory content

» Will Wright, creator of the innovative and massively successful computer game "The Sims", is at work on a new game, which will modify game-play according to player behavior (think Amazon's recommended reading lists) and make user-created content fundamental to game play. "The sheer amount of user-created content is basically crap, maybe 10 percent is good, and 3 percent is excellent. That still ends up being a lot more than we could ever afford to make." Will Wright, creator of the upcoming computer game Spore.  [ 03/24/06 ]

The couple who plays together better cooperate

» Time was, couples couldn't play as bridge partners socially for fear of repercussions for an "unexpectedly" played hand when they got home. These days, the rules are reversed, and gaming couples who want to preserve their relationship often choose to play online games cooperatively [ 03/13/06 ]

Think Think Revolution

» A new game from Nintendo promises to keep aging brains agile and even help prevent dementia. There is some controversy around these claims. (via dm [ 03/13/06 ]

Japanese Top 100 Video Games

» Japanese magazine Famitsu asked readers to name their favorite video games. The results show that Japanese gamers like Japanese games, especially role-playing games, which comprise nearly half of the Top 100. The highest-ranking Western game? Grand Theft Auto: Vice City at No. 76.   [ 03/07/06 ]

Christian First Person Shooter

» Christians are about to get their own video game, based on the popular Left Behind book series and which — according to this writeup — features a level of violence reminiscent of Grand Theft Auto. "We've thought through how the Christian right and the liberal left will slam us. But megachurches are very likely to embrace this game." Troy Lyndon, CEO, Left Behind Games.  [ 03/02/06 ]

Understanding WarioWare

» What WarioWare can teach us about game design. "In a sense, WarioWare is an Understanding Comics of video games: a text that uses the representational strategies of a medium to reflect upon that same medium. But where Understanding Comics is discourse on comics, written in the language of comics, Wario Ware is more like Chuck Jones's meta-cartoon Duck Amuck. WarioWare and Duck Amuck violate convention, and in doing so draw attention to how cartoons and games are both constructed and interpreted."  [ 03/01/06 ]

Modding RPGs to teach journalism

»  Jesse and I have been talking about this kind of thing for a long time: Two University of Minnesota professors have modded the world of a medieval role-playing computer game into an American small town — and are using it to teach journalism. "As the class instructor, Hansen has access to the log of each student's movements through the game; students must also turn in their reporter's notebook and their stories so she can see the type of notes taken by each student, and how those notes were used in generating each story." (via rw [ 02/28/06 ]

WoW is the New Golf

» Is World of Warcraft the New Golf? argues that the world's high-tech movers and shakers are making connections and making deals in the massively multiplayer online game. "Warcraft is like a really, really well-designed UI for real-time, ad-hoc group collaboration and management of tons of people. The tools are really interesting because they apply to stuff that we'll be using in the real world." Joi Ito, venture capitalist and entrepreneur.  [ 02/24/06 ]

What games teach us

» David Sirlin examines the messages inherent in games ("Chess appears to be vaguely about war...but it's really a game of controlling space, of reading the opponent's mind, of trickery and tactics and so on") and reflects on what What World of Warcraft really teaches: Time is worth more than skill, groups are more important than individuals, and "us" is more important than "them".  [ 02/24/06 ]

Black like me

» When Erika Thereian changed to a black-skinned avatar in the online game Second Life, she found that some of her friends no longer sought her out, certain men assumed she was sexually promiscuous, and that some people just don't like black folks. "Well, I teleport into a region where a couple people [are] standing around. One said, 'Look at the n***** b****.' Another said 'Great, they are gonna invade SL now.'" (both via rw [ 02/24/06 ]

Playstation in schools

» A North Carolina school district that purchased Playstations for classrooms had to enlist students to instruct teachers in the basics of using the machines.  [ 02/22/06 ]

Dance DNA Revolution

» The Birch Aquarium at Scripps (?) is using Dance Dance Revolution to teach about DNA [ 01/31/06 ]

Video game library lending

» After a year of lending Playstation games to his patrons, librarian John Scalzo reports on the success of the new program and reflects on the complexities of dealing with limited budgets, double standards, and DVD theft rings. (via rw [ 01/27/06 ]

Pacman in needlepoint

» Amazing: Pacman, in needlepoint. [Wait! Cross stitch?](via rw [ 01/25/06 ]

Skills for a modern-day RPG

» A list of skills for a modern-day RPG. Among my favorites: crossword, forklift driving, and l33t-sp34k.  [ 01/24/06 ]

One lump, or two?

» The McCord Museum of Canadian History has designed a series of games to help you learn history. These look like fun: a Monty Python-esque series of situations designed to test your knowledge of etiquette from the Victorian Era and the Roaring 20s. [Doesn't work in Firefox] (via ml [ 01/20/06 ]



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