Tag Archives | Video Games
If video games are an artform and/or shaping societal force, when will there be video game activism? From last week, via notes.husk.org:
“GOD HATES GAME DESIGNERS” and “THOU SHALT NOT MONETIZE THY NEIGHBOR”, seen outside the Game Developer Conference, San Francisco. via Jack Murphy; photographer unknown.
New York Review of Books on how the Pentagon is drawing inspiration for warfare from video games (which have historically drawn inspiration from warfare):
And yet the US military does little to discourage the notion that this peculiar brand of long-distance warfare has a great deal in common with the video-gaming culture in which many young UAV operators have grown up. As one military robotics researcher tells Peter Singer, the author of Wired for War: “We modeled the controller after the PlayStation because that’s what these eighteen-, nineteen-year-old Marines have been playing with pretty much all of their lives.” And by now, of course, we also have video games that incorporate drones: technology imitating life that imitates technology.
Jane McGonigal, in a recent article on Alternet, posits that gaming, and the camaraderie created by co-operative gaming has the potential to transform society:
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Tech futurist and game designer Jane [McGonigal] on how computer games can help the fight against AIDS, heal disabilities, increase optimism, and make us better people.
There are 183 million active computer game players in the United States. The average young person will spend 10,000 hours gaming by the age of 21. More than 5 million “extreme” gamers in the U.S. play an average of 45 hours a week. Videogames took in about $15.5 billion last year.
Most of what you hear about this phenomenon is doom and gloom — people becoming addicted, isolated and socially inept. Some worry that gaming is pulling people away from productive work, fulfilling relationships and real life. But game designer Jane McGonigal says the reason for the mass exodus to virtual worlds is that videogames are increasingly fulfilling genuine human needs.
Well, if the stock market is regarded as real in the eyes of the law, why not an invisible amulet? Via the Chronicle Herald:
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The amulet and mask were a 13-year-old boy’s virtual possessions in an online fantasy game. In the real world, he was beaten and threaten with a knife to give them up.
The Dutch Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the theft conviction of a youth who stole another boy’s possessions in the popular online fantasy game RuneScape. Judges ordered the offender to perform 144 hours of community service.
Only a handful of such cases have been heard in the world, and they have reached varying conclusions about the legal status of “virtual goods” — and whether stealing them is real-world theft.
The suspect’s lawyer had argued the amulet and mask “were neither tangible nor material and, unlike for example electricity, had no economic value.” But the Netherlands’ highest court said the virtual objects had an intrinsic value to the 13-year-old gamer because of “the time and energy he invested” in winning them while playing the game.
Robert Mackey writes for the New York Times:
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According to Iranian state television, a former United States marine who was convicted of spying on Iran and sentenced to death on Monday was also involved in a nefarious plot to brainwash the youth of the Middle East using an unlikely tool: video games.
In a video report broadcast last month, Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, the former marine of Iranian descent who was arrested during a visit to Tehran in August, allegedly confessed to a career in American intelligence that included a stint at a video game company in New York that was “a cover for the C.I.A.”
According to an English translation of the report published by The Tehran Times, an Iranian state-run newspaper, about one-third of the way through the report, Mr. Hekmati said he had worked for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa, after he left the Marine Corps in 2005.
…Temporarily, at least. Via ScienceDaily:
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Sustained changes in the region of the brain associated with cognitive function and emotional control were found in young adult men after one week of playing violent video games, according to study results presented by Indiana University School of Medicine researchers at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.This is the first time the IU researchers, who have studied the effects of media violence for more than a decade, have conducted an experimental study that showed a direct relationship between playing violent video games over an extended period of time and a subsequent change in brain regions associated with cognitive function and emotional control.
The controversy over whether or not violent video games are potentially harmful to players has been debated for many years, even making it as far as the Supreme Court in 2010. There has been little scientific evidence demonstrating that the games have a prolonged negative neurological effect.