Category Archives: Video Games

Dystopia: What a Game of Civilization II Looks Like After 10 Years

Dystopia: What a Game of Civilization II Looks Like After 10 Years

In The Atlantic, no less. Nice.

When I was a kid, it felt like some expansive History of All Time, except that it was a turn-based computer strategy computer game. Which is why a 10-year game of Civilization II has struck a chord around the Internet today: if you could learn a history of western civ from the game, then its vision of the future feels oddly significant.

 

Here’s what happened. Some human being kept playing the same game for a decade and then posted screenshots to Reddit along with a narrative explanation of where the gameworld stands.

Chris Rickert: Kindness at your gamer’s fingertips

Chris Rickert: Kindness at your gamer’s fingertips

UW Madison is, I think, the best institution on the planet addressing how gaming is applicable to and useful for many things other than just the fun of playing a game. The article is a snide, skeptical journalist’s take, still worth a read. A snippet:

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is giving two UW-Madison researchers a $1.39 million grant to develop two video games to help teach eighth-graders compassion, empathy, cooperation, mental focus, self-regulation, kindness and altruism.

 

I can’t help but wonder, wouldn’t a puppy work just as well, and be a heck of a lot cheaper?

 

Besides, if your kid is going to be a mass murderer, derivatives trader or some other empathy-less sociopath, isn’t that mold pretty much cast by the time he’s 13 or 14?

Video games help autistic students in classrooms

Video games help autistic students in classrooms

USA Today coverage, nice:

In real life, 9-year-old Michael has autism, as do his two classmates. All three have long struggled with the mental, physical and social rigors of school. All three now get help most days from video-game avatars — simplified digital versions of themselves doing things most autistic children don’t generally do. In Michael’s case, he’s recording “social stories” videos that remind him how to act. In his classmates’ cases — their parents asked that they not be identified — they’re playing games that help with coordination, body awareness and cooperation, all challenges for kids on the autism spectrum.

 

Can off-the-shelf video games spark a breakthrough in treating autism? That’s the question researchers are asking as educators quietly discover the therapeutic uses of motion-controlled sensors. The devices are popular with gamers: Microsoft this week said it had sold more than 19 million Kinect motion-sensor units since introducing it in November 2010.

Now autism researchers, teachers and therapists are installing them in classrooms and clinics, reporting promising results for a fraction of the price of typical equipment. Could a teacher armed with a $300 Xbox and a $10 copy of Double Fine Happy Action Theater do as much good as months of intensive therapy?

Game Over for GameStop and Video Game Retailers?

Game Over for GameStop and Video Game Retailers?

Before it even launched, Diablo III had sold 2 million copies, making it the biggest game release of the year by far. The same week, though, video game retailer GameStop announced a worse-than-expected quarter of falling revenues led by plummeting in-store sales. Together, those two facts signal a massive re-alignment of how games are sold.

Mind-Controlled Videogames Become Reality

Mind-Controlled Videogames Become Reality

Picture this: You put on a headset and relax your mind. Soon you begin controlling an object with your thoughts.

 

This mind-power trick may seem far-fetched, like something from a late-night science fiction movie or the back of an old comic book. But several companies are bringing this technology to life with affordable headsets that determine a person’s state of mind.

 

The gadgets translate brain waves into digital information and beam it wirelessly to computers or other devices.

 

So far the headsets are confined to mostly digital interfaces—videogames and movies whose plots can be altered with the mind—although in some cases real-world objects have been used, like a pair of catlike ears that move depending on a person’s mood. The technology, still in its infancy, has the potential to not only entertain but to possibly improve education and strengthen mental health, some doctors say.

Online Gaming, Mobile Entertainment And The Land Of Opportunity In Video Game Design

Online Gaming, Mobile Entertainment And The Land Of Opportunity In Video Game Design

Of the seventy-two percent of American households playing computer or video games, fifty-five percent choose to play them on their phones or handheld devices.

YoYo Games intros GameMaker: Studio for cross-platform game development

YoYo Games intros GameMaker: Studio for cross-platform game development

The tool promises output in native code for iOS, Android, HTML 5, PC and Mac

YoYo Games launches GameMaker: Studio today, a fast and easy to use 2D games development tool that provides for cross-platform output. GameMaker: Studio allows developers to create games in a single code base and then export and run them natively on multiple formats including HTML5, Facebook, Android, iOS, Symbian, Windows and OSX. The software has a drag-and-drop integrated development environment with a built-in games-oriented scripting language that considerably increases games development productivity.

Must-See Video: Gesture Control Accuracy Takes a Huge “Leap” Forward

Must-See Video: Gesture Control Accuracy Takes a Huge “Leap” Forward

Dude! Yeah, it’s must-see. This is the next interface after touch.

It’s more accurate than a mouse, as reliable as a keyboard and more sensitive than a touchscreen…. This isn’t a game system that roughly maps your hand movements. The Leap technology is 200 times more accurate than anything else on the market — at any price point. Just about the size of a flash drive, the Leap can distinguish your individual fingers and track your movements down to a 1/100th of a millimeter.

Neuroscientists develop video game for stroke recovery

Neuroscientists develop video game for stroke recovery

After a stroke, it is often possible — with months of therapy and determination — for the brain to relearn how to control a weakened limb. Finding the resources (therapist, finances, time) can be the bigger hurdle.

Enter Circus Challenge, the first in a coming suite of action video games designed by Newcastle University stroke experts and the new company Limbs Alive to provide extra in-home therapy.

“Eighty percent of patients do not regain full recovery of arm and hand function and this really limits their independence and ability to return to work,” pediatric neuroscience professor Janet Eyre at Newcastle, who set up Limbs Alive to produce the games, said in a news release.

“Patients need to be able to use both their arms and hands for most everyday activities such as doing up a zip, making a bed, tying shoe laces, unscrewing a jar. With our video game, people get engrossed in the competition and action of the circus characters and forget that the purpose of the game is therapy.”