Tag Archives | Video Games

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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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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Connecticut Town To Hold Mass Burning Of Violent Video Games, Films, And Music

Connecticut makes progress in the war on fictional violence. The Guardian reports:

A Connecticut community is to hold an amnesty of violent video games in the wake of last month’s mass shooting in Newtown. Organizers Southington SOS plan to offer gift certificates in exchange for donated games, which will be burned. The group, a coalition of local organisations, argues that violent games and films desensitize children to “acts of violence”.

The video game amnesty will take place on 12 January in Southington, a 30-minute drive east from Newtown. The town of Southington has provided a dumpster, organisers said, where violent video games, CDs or DVDs will be collected.

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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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World Of Warcraft Gamer Wins Seat In Maine Senate

The 2012 election featured many historic firsts, but surely all pale in comparison to the victory by previously discussed Maine state senate candidate hopeful Colleen Lachowicz. Despite advertising from Lachowicz’s Republican opponent attacking her over her online role playing, it seems that America is comfortable electing a gamer to public office.  Ars Technica adds:

The attacks on Lachowicz’s gaming generated an outpouring of support from around the world. Supporters raised $6300 to promote her candidacy. Because Lachowicz accepted public funds under Maine’s “clean elections” law, she wasn’t legally permitted to accept the money herself. So the money was donated to an independent Political Action Committee.

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Maine Political Race Hinges On Candidate’s World Of Warcraft Alter-Ego

Is the American public finally ready to elect a role-playing gamer to public office? In Maine, the Republican Party is portraying Democratic state Senate hopeful and World of Warcraft devotee Colleen Lachowicz as unfit for office because she “lives in an online fantasy world,” Kotaku writes:

Colleen Lachowicz is running for state senate in Waterville, Maine. She also plays a lot of World of Warcraft. According to Maine Republicans, this means that she is unfit for office. The Maine Republican Party has set up an entire website dedicated to digging up old forum posts made by Lachowicz on Blizzard’s online role-playing game.

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Soon Advertisements Will Involve Forced Interaction

In the near future, television commercials will make you do things, such as throwing a pickle onto an imaginary hamburger, if you want to get back to your show. Via Electronista:

Sony recently filed a patent for a new method of ad delivery that would turn television commercials into “interactive networked video games.” The patent, uncovered by Game’N’Motion, details a number of interactive commercial possibilities built on the motion and voice technologies currently available in Sony’s PlayStation 3, PlayStation Move, and PS Eye devices.

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Army Shopping for New Video Game to Train Troops

Via Kotaku:
The United States Army is shopping for a new video game training aid for its Games for Training program, and it has some very specific requirements:

Also notable is how explicitly oriented the new Army shooter is toward fighting “small wars”. The Army wants a game that includes more than 50 types and models of civilian vehicles, from Taliban-endorsed Toyota Hilux pickup trucks to bicycles, more than 100 civilian structures from factories and mosques to trash piles, and traffic control gear such as spike strips and speed bumps. After a decade of fighting two wars, the Pentagon isn’t salivating at the prospect of doing more counterinsurgency, but the new shooter game suggests that the Army is girding for it anyway.

It appears that the Army is still acting as if the United States won’t be leaving the Middle East any time soon – not that there was ever any doubt.… Read the rest

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