Tag Archives | Video Games

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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President Obama Featured in Video Games

From Kotaku comes an interesting piece on President Obama appearing in video games. Owen Good writes:
Obama in Video Games

In two weeks, President Obama will appear in a video game for the second time in two months. Is he being paid for that? Is the White House cutting deals with sports game makers? Not likely.

Obama appears in a special cinematic added this year to Madden NFL 11‘s Super Bowl presentation mode. Win it all, and your team gets a White House visit with the POTUS, just like in real life. NBA 2K11 this week revealed it will have the same type of ceremony when your franchise takes home the title in its Association mode.

American society enjoys the most robust entertainment culture — and, it seems, civil litigation market – in the world, so most folks are aware that when someone shows up in a commercial work, he has to give his permission, and often is compensated.

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‘Halo’ Is Bigger Business Than Any Movie

Halo-_Reach_box_artSo what would you rather spend your money on: an amazing game that you can spend tens or hundreds of hours playing, or a two-hour movie that you have to travel to and get ripped off on ridiculously overpriced popcorn and soda? No prizes for the correct answer... From The Atlantic:
Microsoft has announced that the fourth installment of their space-themed first-person shooter franchise, Halo: Reach, has netted $200 million dollars in sales in only one day of release. To put that massive number in perspective, it beats out the opening day numbers of any Hollywood blockbuster ever, and it far outpaces this year's opening weekend numbers of Iron Man 2 ($128 million) and Alice in Wonderland ($116 million). Still, Bungie and Microsoft were certainly hoping that the title would unseat the current gaming record-holder Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 which brought in $310 million when it was released...
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Video Game Players Make Faster Real Life Decisions

Call_of_Duty_logoKids, pay attention, here’s some ammo to fire back at your parents when they tell you that you spend too much time playing video games, via Reuters:

Violent video games like “Call of Duty” can help trigger-happy players make decisions faster in real life, according to a study released on Wednesday.

Researchers from New York’s University of Rochester found that first-person shooter games produced a heightened sensitivity and led to more efficient use of sensory evidence.

“These benefits of video games stem only from action games, which almost always means shooter games, where you go through a maze and you don’t know when a villain will appear,” researcher Daphne Bavelier said in a statement.

“It’s not exactly what you’d think of as mind enhancing. Strategy or role-playing games don’t have the same effect.”

The study, published in the journal Current Biology, involved testing 26 people aged 18 to 25, none of whom had played shooting games before, over several months.

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Japanese Men Vacation With Virtual Girls

Is this the future in a world where we socialize online rather than in person? Daisuke Wakabayashi reports for the Wall Street Journal:
ATAMI, Japan—This resort town, once popular with honeymooners, is turning to a new breed of romance seekers—virtual sweethearts. Since the marriage rate among Japan's shrinking population is falling and with many of the country's remaining lovebirds heading for Hawaii or Australia's Gold Coast, Atami had to do something. It is trying to attract single men—and their handheld devices...
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