Tag Archives | Video Games

Iran Calls Video Games Part Of CIA Plot

Amir Mirzaei Hekmati

Amir Mirzaei Hekmati

Robert Mackey writes for the New York Times:

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.

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Google Shoot View

The whole world as a first-person shooter game. It's down at the moment due to a the kibosh from Google, but Google Shoot View allows you to traverse Google Street View will holding an assault rifle, and to fire upon anything (to no effect). It's quite existentially disturbing. Perhaps, visit your childhood home and unload a few rounds, to symbolize releasing and moving on from the burdens of the past:
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Violent Video Games Alter Brain Function in Young Men

Violent Video Games…Temporarily, at least. Via ScienceDaily:

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.

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Massacre ‘Tea Party Zombies’ Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly

Thanks to Stephen Gutkowski of the Media Research Center for alerting us to this interesting new game:
Have you ever fantasized about beating Bill O'Reilly to death with a crowbar or shooting up the offices of Americans for Prosperity with an Uzi? Well, the folks at StarvingEyes Advergaming apparently have and they'd like to share their latest creation with the world. The game is called "Tea Party Zombies Must Die" and, apart from abysmal game play, features several different levels where your only objective is to mercilessly slaughter everyone around you whether they are a Fox News stars or simply Americans For Prosperity employees...
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Xbox Gamer ‘Dies From Blood Clot’

XBoxReports the AFP via Google News:

LONDON — The family of a budding computer programmer have on Saturday launched a campaign to raise awareness about the health risks of playing online computer games after their son died following a marathon session on his Xbox.

A post-mortem revealed that 20-year-old Chris Staniforth — who was offered a place to study Game Design at Leicester University — was killed by a pulmonary embolism, which can occur if someone sits in the same position for several hours.

Deep vein thrombosis normally affects passengers on long-haul flights, but medical experts fear youngsters who spend hours glued to their consoles might also be at risk and have urged them to take regular breaks.

Professor Brian Colvin — an expert on blood-related conditions — said it was “unhealthy” for youngsters to spend long periods in front of their consoles.

“There’s anxiety about obesity and children not doing anything other than looking at computer screens,” he told the Sun.

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Can AI-Powered Games Create Super-Intelligent Humans?

EinsteinA technology CEO sees game artificial intelligence as the key to a revolution in education, predicting a synergy where games create smarter humans who then create smarter games.

Citing lessons drawn from Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age, Alex Peake, founder of Primer Labs, sees the possibility of a self-fueling feedback loop which creates “a Moore’s law for artificial intelligence,” with accelerating returns ultimately generating the best possible education outcomes.

“What the computer taught me was that there was real muggle magic …” writes Peake. And he reaches a startling conclusion.

“Once we begin relying on AI mentors for our children and we get those mentors increasing in sophistication at an exponential rate, we’re dipping our toe into symbiosis between humans and the AI that shape them.

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Make Video Games Cool Again: The Blue Skies Campaign

wrongright2We want to COLLECT BANANAS FROM MAGIC CASTLES not shoot enemies in unrealistic and shoddy drive-bys! We want to fight WEIRD MONSTERS not drug-dealing criminals!

Sure, video games are art nowadays, but do they have to be depressing art? In light of the preponderance of dark, dull, grey-and-brown-hued titles such as the Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto series, the Blue Skies in Games Campaign is a call for a return to the days when the ascendant video games were happily surreal and bursting with technicolor. In addition to more detailed discussion, a quick-fix series of suggestions is offered:

DEVELOPERS: HOW YOU CAN HELP TODAY!

– Change everything that’s grey into blue.
– From now on, everyone wears red shoes.
– Make everything happen at midday or sunset.
– Replace gun textures with banana textures.
– Turn all cars into pink convertibles that wobble and only do 15mph.
– If you get 100 of anything, a little tune plays.

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Blackwater Video Game Now Available For Xbox

500x_highres_screenshot_00012The game designers have opted to have your gun fire automatically when it hovers long enough over an enemy target. Kotaku Australia reviews the first-person-shooter Blackwater video game, out soon for Xbox Kinect and endorsed by founder Erik Prince:

This week was the first time we heard of publisher 505 Games’ Blackwater, an FPS that would cast you in the role of Blackwater Worldwide mercenaries.

The topic seemed thorny – the mercenary company, now renamed Xe Services, has been at the center of a multiple of controversies and the subject of highly critical Congressional hearings. Blackwater has been linked to the deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians, and the alcohol-fueled fatal shooting of a security guard in the employ of the country’s vice president. According to 505, the game was designed in consultation with former mercenary agents, and with Erik Prince, the founder and former head of the hot-button security contractor.

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Chinese Prisoners Forced To Play World Of Warcraft

china-prisonIronic — when I was a kid, being locked up in a Chinese prison and “forced” to stay up playing video games all night would have been my dream. The Telegraph reports:

A 54-year-old prisoner at the Jixi labor camp in the northern province of Heilongjiang said he was forced to play games on the internet in order to build up credit that was traded by his guards for real money, a practice known as “gold-farming”.

In an interview with the Guardian, the prisoner said online gaming was a far more lucrative activity for the managers of the labor camp than the physical labor the inmates were forced to do.  “Prison bosses made more money forcing inmates to play games than they do forcing people to do manual labor,” he said. “There were 300 prisoners forced to play games. We worked 12-hour shifts in the camp. I heard them say they could earn 5,000-6,000rmb a day.

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