Tag Archives | Gaming

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.… Read the rest

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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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Rioting Video Game Allows You To Fight The Police

Atlantic Cities describes the 8-bit-style smartphone game RIOT, a thought-provoking attempt to capture the liminal state which occurs during uprisings when order breaks down. I’d rather have my kids playing this than a game which makes them Navy SEALs:

“Riot” is a developing project in Italy that’s led by film-and-game director Leonard Menchiari, who previously did cinematography for “Half-Life” creator Valve Corporation. The atmospheric little simulator of bedlam, which runs on iOS or Android phones, is inspired by real-life political turmoil from around the globe.

There’s a hefty element of strategy involved, with the player taking on either the role of the agitators or the truncheoned legions of police trying to maintain order.

The developers have received modest funding so far on their Indiegogo page. If they collect enough cash, they hope to enrich the simulator by traveling to the sites of recent uprisings in Greece, Egypt and Italy to interview people involved in the conflicts.

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LSD Dream Emulator: The Japanese Mind-Simulation Video Game

The best late-night console game of all time? Lovely Sweet Dream (LSD) Dream Emulator was released in Japan in 1998 by Playstation. There is no way to win or lose, and no defined tasks  – except to explore one’s subconscious, set to a trip-hop-jazz soundtrack:

There are many strange environments in this world, and one way to travel through them is by foot. Bumping into people, animals, or special objects usually results in a stranger dream. The number of “days” are kept track of. As the player progresses, the pattern on walls and the form of the player may transmute. Occasionally the player may come across a man in a gray trench coat, commonly referred to as the “Gray Man” or the “Shadow Man”. He walks in one direction only. Getting too close to him will make the screen flash, the man will disappear.

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Senate Bill Proposed To Study And Possibly Crack Down On Video Game Violence

Congressional Republicans poised to censor video games to ensure that a massacre at a school never happens again. In all honesty I thought kids just played Angry Birds nowadays. IGN reports:

A proposed bill could lead to a study of the role of violence in video games. In the wake of the recent shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, West Virginia senator Jay Rockefeller has proposed a bill to study “the impact of violent content, including video games and video programming, on children.”

In a statement posted to his site, Rockefeller wrote “I have long expressed concern about the impact of the violent content our kids see and interact with every day. As Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, I have introduced legislation to direct the National Academy of Sciences to investigate the impact of violent video games and other content on children’s well-being.”

Under the bill, the National Academy of Sciences “would be directed to conduct a comprehensive study and investigation of the connection between violent video games and violent video programming and harmful effects on children.” Rockefeller also noted plans to call upon the FCC and FTC to “expand their work in this area.”

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