Tag Archives | Gaming

Gamer disclaimer: virtual worlds can be as fulfilling as real life

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

By Michael Kasumovic

Step aside Olympians – the new sporting pursuit of choice may soon be professional gaming. Electronic sports (or esports) are now mainstream, drawing more than a million viewers in large tournaments and offering prizes up to US$5 million.

Unsurprisingly, pro-gamers practise for around 10 hours a day, but non-professionals can also spend hours in front of a screen, forsaking real life. Are they missing out? Can a virtual life be equally or more fulfilling than a real one? And should gamers power down and feel the grass beneath their feet?

Some research from the past weeks sheds interesting light on gaming’s effects on life, work and school – and it’s not all bad.

More than 1 billion gamers served

A restaurant without returning customers won’t last long, and video games and their developers are no different.… Read the rest

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Game Transfer Phenomena

So, is this like when I feel those phantom phone vibrations in my back pocket?

R Pollard from Portland, OR, USA

R Pollard from Portland, OR, USA

via Tech Times:

If you’re an avid gamer, you’re familiar with the sensation. Perhaps you spent three hours last night playing Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag. Exhausted, you go to bed, but your brain is hearing sounds: songs of the pirates aboard your in-game ship, that eagle sound that occurs when you jump into a cart of hay or the background noise and voices of Nassau.

Scientists now have a word for the auditory sounds video gamers often hear long after they’ve played a game: “game transfer phenomena.”

A study by Nottingham Trent University’s International Gaming Research Unit recently looked at game transfer phenomena, or the common auditory sensation that happens when you hear game sounds and background music even after you’ve stopped playing.

In the study, researchers visited online game forums and collected information from over 1,200 gamers about their experiences hearing video game sounds when they weren’t playing.

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A Game for the Deterred

habitrpg_pixelAs an avid procrastinator with big plans, I often found myself going to bed every night unsatisfied with what I did, or rather didn’t, accomplish that day. I had tried everything from writing daily to-do lists, leaving sticky notes all over my apartment and desk at work, and even setting alarms on my phone reminding me to stay on track. Nothing worked and I kept living on with my half-motivated, mostly unproductive self.

That is until I found this game: HabitRPG. It’s a rather typical RPG game: you level up and earn gold for completing tasks. Only they aren’t tasks within the game, they’re tasks you complete yourself. I know you might be scoffing at the idea, laughing at how easy it is to cheat, or just snickering because it’s an open-source RPG that still has a long way to go. But hear me out: It’s insanely rewarding.

There’s something to be said about crossing an item off your to-do list, especially if the task is difficult or particularly involved.… Read the rest

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Video Games Change How You Dream, Increase Lucid Dreaming

video games Are video games dreaming practice? The Verge writes:

Gackenbach is a psychologist at Canada’s Grant MacEwan University and arguably the world’s preeminent expert on how video games can impact dreaming. “The major parallel is that, in both instances, you’re in an alternate reality, whether a biological construct or a technological one,” she says.

In her most recent paper, published in the latest issue of Dreaming, Gackenbach and her colleagues solidified a key earlier finding: that so-called “hardcore” gamers (characterized by regular playing sessions of more than 2 hours, several times a week, since before the third grade) were more likely than their peers to experience lucid dreams.

With subsequent studies she has also found that during lucid dreams, gamers had control only over themselves as a character. They were also able to toggle between first and third-person point-of-view.

She’s also noted in other studies that some heavy gamers seem to be non-plussed by dreams that would qualify as nightmares.

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Advergaming: Instilling Corporate Logos Through Video Games

brandsCluster Mag on corporate branding inside the virtual worlds of video games:

Video games offer particularly lush marketing opportunities because they allow us to exist as agents in the digital beyond, a fantasy realm we’ve merely glimpsed through other media.

Once upon a time, a couple of consumer food brands partnered up with video game moguls like Capcom, Sega, and Nintendo to develop new games starring their bizarre spokescreatures like the jazzy, anthropomorphic California Raisins and Chester Cheetah.

Since the prehistoric days of advergaming, the transparent strategy of monopolizing the game world through an embodied mascot has mostly been ditched for a more savvy attempt at realistic product placement.

Several recent games go so far as to make the searching out and identification of brand names its central task, including Fashion Finder: Secrets of Fashion, in which 150 fashion brands participated, and Brandmania: Hidden Objects, an app created for the iPad, which sends players to different cities around the world to identify major brand logos “hidden” in realistic scenery.

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NSA And CIA Infiltrated World Of Warcraft And Second Life To Spy On Gamers

gamesIs that elf watching you? ProPublica reports on fascinating classified documents unearthed from Edward Snowden’s trove revealing that NSA and CIA spies have placed numerous avatars in popular virtual realms:

Not limiting their activities to the earthly realm, American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life, conducting surveillance and scooping up data in the online games played by millions of people across the globe, according to newly disclosed classified documents.

Fearing that terrorist or criminal networks could use the games to communicate secretly, move money or plot attacks, the documents show, intelligence operatives have entered terrain populated by digital avatars that include elves, gnomes and supermodels.

The spies have created make-believe characters to snoop and to try to recruit informers, while also collecting data and contents of communications between players.

But for all their enthusiasm — so many CIA, FBI and Pentagon spies were hunting around in Second Life, the document noted, that a “deconfliction” group was needed to avoid collisions — the intelligence agencies may have inflated the threat.

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Gary Gygax Memorial Fund Receives Financial Shot in the Arm from Wizards of the Coast

Gary_GygaxThis might not be relevant to all of you, but I can certainly attest that an early diet of Dungeons & Dragons pointed me toward a rabbit hole of crypto-creatures, occultism, secret societies and forbidden history – all of the things that the Evangelical nutjobs warned me about, really. This crazy game with no board and weirdly shaped dice was a source of great comfort and enthusiasm for me during a rough childhood, so I feel like I owe its late founder Gary Gygax my gratitude. (Gygax – it even sounds like a fantasy monster: “The Gygax strikes your paladin with a ray of adolescent ostracism. Roll a Saving Throw versus Gateway Geekery or spend your summer holed up in a room reading dog-eared fantasy novels and painting lead miniatures. Minus two Charisma to Opposite Sex until college.”)

I know from the comment section that some of you hail from the same kinds of after-school meet-ups and dingy basements that are the natural habitue of gamers, so I thought you’d like to know that fundraising efforts for the Gary Gygax Memorial planned for Lake Geneva, WI just got a shot in the arm from D&D publishers Wizards of the Coast.… Read the rest

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Apple Blocks Sweatshop-Themed Satirical Games From App Store

Corporate gatekeepers say that provocative ideas don’t belong in video games. Via Pocket Gamer:

According to UK developer Littleloud, Sweatshop HD is an iPad game that “challenged people to think about the origin of the clothes we buy”. But it has now been removed from Apple’s online marketplace because the App Store was “uncomfortable selling a game based around the theme of running a sweatshop”.

Sweatshop HD wasn’t the first game of its kind to be removed by Apple, either. In Phone Story, Molleindustria depicted the seedy side of smartphone manufacturing, including sweatshop suicides and the harvesting of rare minerals in the war-torn Congo. Apple pulled the game, saying it violated App Store clause 16.1 – “Apps that present excessively objectionable or crude content will be rejected.”

There’s also In a Permanent Save State, an artistic game centered on “the spiritual afterlife” of overworked electronics labourers who had committed suicide.

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In Memorandum: Free Chasing The Wish comic

 Produced in close collaboration with the late Dave Szulborski, the comic tied together his previous, massively successful ARG Chasing The Wish, with an ARG that was running simultaneously with the comics production and release called Catching The Wish.

Dave was posthumously named the World’s Most Prolific ARG Producer by Guinness World Records 2012 Gamer’s Edition. We at Modern Mythology are happy to share this comic with you, free, in memory of Dave’s creativity.

FULL BOOK 1 (PDF)
FULL BOOK 1 COVERS (PDF)

Chasing The Wish comic credits:

Written by: Jason Stackhouse with James Curcio. Based on the ARG by Dave Szulborski. Art: P. Emerson Williams, Jessika Kaos, James Curcio.

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Pixelated Misogyny

Last May, Anita Sarkeesian–founder of Feminist Frequency–launched a Kickstarter for a video series about "stereotypes of female characters" in video games. The description begins, "I love playing video games but I’m regularly disappointed in the limited and limiting ways women are represented. " With an initial goal of $6,000, it ultimately raised $158,922 from 6,967 backers. While this outcome speaks to the level of interest, Sarkeesian has written about receiving a "torrent of misogyny and hate speech" and "intimidation and harassment" from the gaming community.
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