Eighteen years after the first Gulf War, computer-generated game technology is not only employed on the battlefield, but also used for recruiting, training prior to combat zone deployment, and now psychological care for for troops suffering battlefield trauma upon their return. It is the beginning, the middle and the end of the violence of war. Filming for Immersion took place at Fort Louis, near Seattle, during a demonstration for therapists of Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy, which consists of subjecting traumatized soldiers to the conditions of war once again, in a virtual reality.
Tag Archives | Video Games
“People get really tired of having all the tough villains front-loaded against them and resent getting short changed on play time because some fat mouth-breather’s hogging it all with a stack of quarters that could knock out a Clydesdale. If that’s all on offer, can you blame folks for staying home?”
Games are the repositories of our culture’s most primal values. As ostensible objects of complete fancy, they (can) deftly sidestep at will many of the extraneous ambiguities that force us to compromise our deepest values and thus help give clearest expression to our highest ideals.
For starters, game consequences are not so final or existential as they are in real life. You’re typically given at least 3 initial ‘lives’ to perform strategy experiments and become comfortable with play options before you’re fatally croaked. And even then you’re usually offered the option to restart the game. You have an opportunity to weigh options with some level of maturity and develop a play style that suits you personally.… Read the rest
Here’s some fuel for the debate over the potential harm of allowing children (and presumably unstable adults) to play extremely realistic first-person shooter games, via the Guardian:
Anders Behring Breivik has described how he “trained” for the attacks he carried out in Norway last summer using the computer game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
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The 33-year-old said he practised his shot using a “holographic aiming device” he had bought to use with the war simulation game, which he said is used by armies around the world for training.
“You develop target acquisition,” he said. He used a similar device during the shooting attacks that left 69 dead at a political youth camp on the island of Utøya on 22 July.
Describing the game, he said: “It consists of many hundreds of different tasks and some of these tasks can be compared with an attack, for real. That’s why it’s used by many armies throughout the world.
The New York Times Magazine ran a fascinating cover story on April 4, 2012 written with wisdom, humor and insight by Sam Anderson.
Anderson’s basic premise is that the concept of gaming has changed. For decades, a special class of teen or young adult gamer would use specialized systems, to play complex multi-player, multi-level games that might last from a few hours to many days or even weeks. Now, however, anyone can play a quick game — what Anderson terms a “stupid game” — any time of the day or night right there on their smartphone that rests somewhere next to their body 24/7. And this, Anderson argues, has changed the world of gaming to
” . . . not just hard-core gamers, but their mothers, their mailmen and their college professors. Consumers who never would have put a quarter into an arcade or even set eyes on an Xbox 360 were now carrying a sophisticated game console with them, all the time, in their pockets or their purses.”
For decades I scrupulously avoided video games even when my four children delighted in playing them.… Read the rest
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.