Tag Archives | Video Games

Can a Video Game End World Hunger?

"Reality is broken," but "game designers can fix it." So says Dr. Jane McGonigal of the RAND corporation's Institute for the Future, who has created a game described as "a crash course in changing the world." Developed for the World Bank's "capacity development" branch, "EVOKE" has already gathered more than 10,000 potential solutions from participants including executives from Procter & Gamble and Kraft. "She takes threats to human existence - global food shortage, fuel wars, pandemic, refugee crisis...
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Activism Website Targets Gamers

Bearing in mind that disinformation® readers are often into both activism and videogames, do you think this site stands a chance? (As reported in Variety):

A group of Hollywood-based entrepreneurs is embarking on an effort to take social activism to the next level: Gaming. A website, called Armchair Revolutionary (armrev.org), launches today, combining online gaming and crowdsourcing with social activism.

Users register on the site and are faced with a number of tasks, quizzes, votes and other activities, all tied to certain “projects” or causes.

Armchair Revolutionary launches with three projects, including Make Waves, in which users help create a game promoting the protection of the oceans, with each player getting a plot of water to care for; End of Darkness, which includes a quiz and a way to finance a company that will sell affordable solar kits to the poor and Hack Your Body, in which users take a quiz about genetic research and can donate to a documentary about genomics revolution.

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How the Military Uses Video Games

unityThe military is using video game design theory for some training programs, not just “the fancy, realistic, virtual world experiences, but also the built-in use of frustration and reward.” (And similar training packages were adopted by Unilever, the giant corporation which owns Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.)

“I know I’d feel better about job training if it felt more like killing zombies,” adds the interviewer of this game-engine CEO, who says research actually supports games as a teaching tool. Electronic Arts sponsored some large experiments in schools about teaching kids with Sim City and The Sims, and “The conclusion was that they taught them really well… You’re not actually reading the rules of the game; you’re kind of feeling them and internalizing them.”

Some companies now conduct team-building exercises using “Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter,” and game design is even being used to build tax software. “It has to be the most boring field, but I mean that’s the point.… Read the rest

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Panhandling for World of Warcraft

From the Examiner:

Today, March 6, 2010, a student from Plant High School found himself on the unseasonably cold streets of South Tampa begging for money.  It was at the corner of Howard and Swann that young Alec paced back and forth panhandling, along with his unnamed friend, who seemed to be present more for moral support than for panhandle assistance. Within the first hour Alec’s pan, or rather, small cloth basket was filled with nearly $20. Put into terms of a career, at 40 hours a week, that’s $41,600 before taxes. Of course, that’s luck, and those numbers wouldn’t always be that successful, even in the affluent area of South Tampa, and especially not for a homeless person.

So what for has forced the two South Tampa teens onto the streets?  World of Warcraft has them there.

Each time the light turns red, Alec treads down the sidewalk in front of Panera Bread toward Armenia  holding his donation box, “World of Warcraft $$$$” and looks into the faces of the drivers.

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Real-Time Movie-Quality CGI for Games?

Evan Newton writes on h+ magazine:
There aren’t very many games today that, graphically, give one goose bumps. While movies like James Cameron’s Avatar or Peter Jackson‘s Lord of the Rings have graphical effects that appear absolutely real, many wonder if games will ever achieve that level of detail. Now get ready for Project Offset. This little-known development team, owned by Intel, is building a game engine that may make you believe that the richness of reality in the virtual world is not so far away. Videos posted on their website show a variety of graphics engine experiments. You will find video footage that ranges from the detailed facial expressions of an ogre to a meteor shower blasting through ancient stone pillars.
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Hugo Chavez Says Playstation Is “Poison”

Hugo ChavezAnd who would argue with him? As reported by Yahoo News/AFP:

CARACAS (AFP) – Sony’s PlayStation video game console is “poison” and leads children down the capitalist “road to hell,” Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said.

Chavez, in his weekly radio-TV show “Alo Presidente,” called on Venezuelan manufacturers to make “educational” toys and dolls with indigenous peoples’ features to replace capitalistic counterparts like the Barbie doll that “have nothing to do with our culture.”

In expanding on his dislike of western toys and games — he already slammed Nintendo for promoting “selfishness, individualism and violence,” Chavez Sunday took on the world’s top selling game console, Sony’s PlayStation.

“Those games they call ‘PlayStation’ are poison. Some games teach you to kill. They once put my face on a game, ‘you’ve got to find Chavez to kill him.'”

The firebrand leftist president said any game that “bomb cities or just throw bombs,” are sold by capitalist countries to sow violence so they can “later sell weapons.”

They “promote the need for cigarettes, drugs and alcohol so they can sell them.

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Online Games Turn Work Into Play

A Stanford professor advocates World of Warcraft or Second Life in the workplace to hone skills like teamwork, leadership, and data analysis - and even suggests putting online gaming experiences into your resume! "There's just so much that gets done [in a virtual world] that's just right on target with what happens in real business." And meanwhile, Google's CEO Eric Schmidt now claims that multiplayer gaming also provides good career training, especially for technology careers. "Everything in the future online is going to look like a multiplayer game. If I were 15 years old, that's what I would be doing right now... It teaches players to build a network, to use interactive skills and thinking.” Maybe this article asks the ultimate question. "Is the corporate world beyond Google and IBM ready for legions of dwarves, gnomes, night elves, orcs, and trolls competing for leadership roles...?"
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I Knew I Had to Stop When I Wanted to Kill Real Grannies

Fay Weldon for TIMESONLINE:

I have a confession to make. I am a secret videogame enthusiast.

Ask around and you find you are not alone. Many of my fellow writers do it: work until we hit a difficulty, switch to the familiar game, play for a while, and then back to the manuscript, and lo! — the unconscious has used the time miraculously to solve the problem.

However, the games can have strange and troubling effects on one’s perception of reality. I once had a flirtation with a game called Carmageddon, in which one scored points for running down little old ladies. But I stopped, appalled, when I realised that I was beginning to feel the urge to do exactly that in real life. I would feel my hands twitching on the steering wheel, trying to follow a pattern my mind had laid down…

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