Tag Archives | Video Games

Youth And Video Games: Life Is Just A Stage And We Are Merely Digital Actors

vid-gameTerror-mongering about new technologies is nothing new. When the car was invented, I’m sure people were worried about the thing ripping our faces off. “Humans aren’t meant to operate at that speed!,” and so on. On the other hand, it is inarguable that technology very quickly becomes a part of our lives, of our culture. And there’s no time to do long term testing. Some of us get to be canaries in the mine shaft. And if people start dropping or getting depressed at unprecedented rates, it’ll take decades to come to a conclusion about why this is happening.

Tell me if this narrative about a kid, beleaguered and possibly brain-damaged by dangerous video games, sounds familiar:

He stumbles upstairs with a glazed look in his eyes. “Why did you make me stop playing Xbox with my friends! That’s not fair!” he accuses me. I shake my head feeling guilty that before I knew it, my 6th grader has spent a better chunk of his Saturday, lost in ‘live-land.’ “Besides,” he chimes in, “I was just about to get a homework assignment from Ben.” Wow, good one Harry, told with a poker face and all. 

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NYC’s Last Chinatown Arcade Shuts Its Doors

chinatownIt’s a sad day for lovers of underworld history, as an important slice of gritty “old New York” just faded into dust: the last video arcade in Chinatown has closed its gates. The iconic and beloved Chinatown Fair arcade perfectly embodied the cool, seedy downtown culture of Taxi Driver/Warriors-era NYC, and offered a futuristic escape from reality for teenagers and misfits from all boroughs. The arcade was minorly famous for its “tick-tack-toe chicken” booth game, which allowed customers to play an electronic game of tick-tack-toe (sometimes losing) against a live chicken. NYC The Blog offers great photos and a farewell:

Rumors started flying around New York City blogs last week that Chinatown Fair, one of the last traditional arcades left in the city, was closing. Those rumors became reality yesterday when Chinatown Fair locked its doors for good at 8 Mott Street yesterday at 12:48 am. It was in business since at least the 50s, first across the street and then at its current location for almost 30 years.

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Sony Banning PlayStation 3 Hackers For Life

250px-PS3VersionsCNET reports:

Sony came down hard on PlayStation 3 hackers today, saying they will be permanently banned from the company’s online services.

“Violation of the system software license agreement for the PlayStation 3 System invalidates the consumer guarantee for that system,” reads a notice posted to Sony’s official PlayStation blog. “In addition, copying or playing pirated software is a violation of international copyright laws. Consumers using circumvention devices or running unauthorized or pirated software will have access to the PlayStation Network and access to Qriocity services through PlayStation 3 system terminated permanently.”

To avoid the lifetime shutout, Sony said, consumers must “immediately cease use and remove all circumvention devices and delete all unauthorized or pirated software from their PlayStation 3 systems.”

In the post, Social Media Manager Jeff Rubenstein said the policy represents an initial response to questions from PlayStation.Blog readers about how Sony plans to deal with breaches of its policy.

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Reality Is Broken: Who Needs Reality When We Have Video Games


A new book explores how gaming fulfills many human needs and how gaming may be utilized to solve the world’s problems.Psychology Today reports:

It may be time to stop thinking that what goes down in a game world like Azeroth has no impact on the “real world.”

Azeroth, the fictional location of the epic-scale events in World of Warcraft (WoW), the popular online role-playing game, may as well be a monster-thronged baseball diamond. In WoW, being part of a raid to defeat a nasty boss (powerful enemy) is an experience as “real,” emotionally rich and memorable, as winning a high school championship game. Twelve million rabid players will attest to this.Time spent with digital gaming is no longer considered an escapist pastime for a geek minority, but as integrated into our routines as our morning commutes. According to the Entertainment Software Association, almost 70 percent of all heads of household and 97 percent of youth are gamers, 40 percent of these being female.

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Telling the Truth to A Culture of Lies (Video)

There's A Soldier in All of UsMark LeVine, professor of history at UC Irvine, writes in Al Jazeera:
If there's anyone who doesn't think the world — and particularly the United States — desperately needs WikiLeaks, I offer you "Exhibit A" of why this is the case: the star-studded official trailer for the "Call of Duty: Black Ops" first person shooter video game. Regular readers of this column might recall my November 16 article, "Nowhere Left to Run," where I discussed the cultural implications of "Black Ops" after spotting a poster for the game in a Berlin subway around the time of its release. Since then I have seen the trailer, whose slogan is "There's a soldier in all of us" and features both ordinary people — a secretary, fry cook, hotel concierge, and the like — along with celebrities like Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, and late night American talk show host Jimmy Kimmel.
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Billion-Dollar Black Ops

Of all entertainment offerings, only Avatar has reached $1 billion in sales faster than the mega-popular first-person shooter video game Call of Duty: Black Ops. For those yet to be initiated, here's the official trailer, followed by the revenue report in the New York Post:
The entertainment industry has a new billion-dollar baby. Activision Blizzard announced yesterday its "Call of Duty: Black Ops" video game has racked up $1 billion in sales after just 42 days on the market.
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Is Your Videogame Console Watching You?

kinect_D_20101111144812Microsoft’s new Kinect gaming console has been a success in the weeks following its November unveiling —  sales are expected to top 5 million units by the end of the year. However, privacy advocates are concerned about the machine’s built-in camera, equipped with motion-sensing and facial-recognition technology. Xbox’s CFO implied that Microsoft would use Kinect to gather data on its users, the Wall Street Journal notes. It begs the question: Are your videogames watching you?

Microsoft Corp. officials are considering using the camera on their new Kinect videogame system to target ads to people watching the games.

Dennis Durkin, who serves as chief operating officer and chief financial officer for Microsoft’s Xbox video game business, told investors Thursday that Kinect – which allows users to play video games without so much as a joystick – presents business opportunities for targeted game marketing and advertising.

Kinect is a camera peripheral that plugs into the Xbox 360 console and allows players to control games with only body movements.

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‘Medal of Honor’ Brings The Battles in Afghanistan Home

Medal O fHonorEver wanted to fight against the Taliban? Ever wanted to fight on the side of the Taliban? Thanks to the realistic first-person shooter game Medal of Honor, it’s possible. That is, until the controversy it raised cause the game to be debuted with Taliban being referred to simply as “opposing forces.”  USA Today reports:

Electronic Arts faces an uphill battle when it comes to first-person shooter Medal of Honor. Formerly entrenched in World War II, the franchise is trying to reinvent itself by switching to the present day. But it enters a crowded battlefield with juggernauts Call of Duty and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 owning most players’ online time.

The revamped Medal of Honor marks a relatively smooth transition from battlefronts in Germany and Japan to modern-day Afghanistan. However, those hoping for a powerful competitor to Call of Duty might want to temper their enthusiasm.

Medal of Honor focuses on United States Special Forces — specificially elite soldiers called Tier 1 Operators and U.S.

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