Tag Archives | Video Games

The Weird World of Ultra-Realistic Sims

steamworkshop_collection_123715746_collection_brandingNick Gillett says “Forget alien encounters in space and orc slaying, a new range of simulation games offer up the more mundane delights of driving a ferry – or acting the goat,” writing for the Guardian:

The enduring appeal of video games is that they let you pretend to be someone you’re not. Roman emperor, Renaissance assassin and space marine are all standard-issue jobs for gamers. Not only that, most games sex up their subject matter, Michael Bay-style, with relentless, meaningless action and unnecessary explosions. Yet, despite all the high-octane thrills offered by much of the medium, a growing number of players are opting for a less fanciful form of escapism.

The upcoming European Ship Simulator, for example, places you at the controls of ferries, tugs and fishing boats, as well as vast, ponderous ocean-going behemoths. Euro Truck Simulator 2, meanwhile, features reasonably lifelike trips between neighbouring European industrial centres, its joy derived from the journey rather than constant gaudy fanfares of achievement.

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Using TV, Videos or a Computer Game as a Stress Reducer after a Tough Day at Work Can Lead to Feelings of Guilt and Failure

I know TV is evil, but I thought video games were good.  Guess I was wrong again!

Via ScienceDaily:

It seems common practice: After a long day at work, most people sometimes just want to turn on the TV or play a video or computer game to calm down and relax. However, in a study recently published in the Journal of Communication researchers at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany and VU University Amsterdam in the Netherlands found that people who were highly stressed after work did not feel relaxed or recovered when they watched TV or played computer or video games. Instead, they tended to show increased levels of guilt and feelings of failure.

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In a joint survey research project, Dr. Leonard Reinecke of the Department of Communication at Mainz University and Dr. Tilo Hartmann and Dr. Allison Eden of the Department of Communication Science at the University of Amsterdam asked a total of 471 study participants about their previous day, how they felt after work or school, and what media they turned to at the end of the day.

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Arcade Anthems

Ronnie James Video Games Last Thursday night Antonia and I were watching the video for Lana Del Rey's "Video Games." Antonia pointed out that it was one of the first earnest video game songs she could recall — as most songs about arcade attractions are parody's or novelty songs; campy cantos to clanging coins. So, we Googled "video game songs." While not every song or video on this Kotaku list is as compelling as the next, I recommend sampling every one of these finds — they range from early rap to Kraftwerk-ian synth scores to disco funk to...er...Joe Walsh. To get you started, here are a few of my favorites... Check out this mysterious 1980's duo with their take on "Video Games."
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YouTuber Raps About the Illusion of Free Will As Commentary to Call of Duty Video Game

YouTuber CamperKillerCommentary has released a video in which he raps about scientific experiments that cast doubt on the existence of free will over footage of him – I assume it’s him – playing the popular first-person shooter Call of Duty. And no, I haven’t the foggiest clue how all of this fits together. Apparently it’s the 26th in a series.

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Documents Reveal NSA Targets “Leaky” Apps Such As Angry Birds To Spy On Smartphone Users

Are virally popular, addictive phone games nothing more than a fiendish plot to get us to install spyware on our devices?The latest from the Snowden document trove via the Guardian:

The National Security Agency and its UK counterpart GCHQ have been developing capabilities to take advantage of “leaky” smartphone apps, such as the wildly popular Angry Birds game, that transmit users’ private information across the internet.

The data ranges from phone model to personal details such as age, gender, current location (through geolocation), education level, sexual orientation – one app recorded even specific sexual preferences such as whether or not the user may be a swinger.

One mobile ad platform, Millennial Media, appeared to offer particularly rich information. Millennial Media’s has partnered with Rovio on a special edition of Angry Birds; with Farmville maker Zynga; with Call of Duty developer Activision, and many other major franchises.

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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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Timothy Leary’s MIND MIRROR Computer Game

Can you handle performing a mind-scope of your subconscious? Create a mind map of your bio-energy? Become part of the first generation in know how to control your own nervous system? Just pop in the floppy disc:
Timothy Leary designed MIND MIRROR for Electronic Arts in 1985. MIND MIRROR empowers users with psychometric routines of the type Dr. Leary pioneered earlier in his career in a funny and insightful role-playing game. MIND MIRROR is both a game and a self-coaching tool. Play as yourself, someone else, an object, or even an idea to gain the clarity of MIND MIRROR.
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