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ESRB Rating Implications – Player Vs. Developers

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Player –

As a younger player I always thought of the ESRB implimintation as something that was oppressing the creativity and innovation uniquely associated with  video games and its players. One of my favorite franchises in the arcade renaissance was Mortal Kombat. Despite my enthusiasm, parents and just about any adult I met during this time seemed to think my opinion was largely unimportant in how I viewed Mortal Kombat and other video games at the time. Make no mistake Night Trap and Mortal Kombat were not the only games getting public and political heat, nearly every “gamer” and “developer” during this time was being belittled and ashamed publicly. Times have sense changed and video games do not hold the same negative connotation they use to, largely because all the studies that have been published to scapegoat and vilify games have failed. Thanks in part to the passionate and active internet community that supports and protects the video games industry from all corners of the world. Personally I enjoy video games that push the boundaries of society and ask harder questions for the gamer to personally answer for themselves. Video games have been and still are much different than movies, music, and books. While there is a tremendous push in the video game industry to make more AAA games cinematic in appearance, it is important to look at some of the important milestones games have made in the past and build off those accomplishments. The ESRB must be considered a tipping point for when video games deservingly entered the stage of politics and in light of scrutiny held on to industry independence. I am proud as a gamer of how far the players, developers, and the industry as a whole has come sense these times.

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Developer –

The ESRB is much different to me now, I do not view it as an oppressive system but as the contractual bridge that keeps very real and depressing restrictions and limitations on games federally. Thankfully there are so many avenues that games have entered now that it would be nearly impossible to regulate them any more than the ESRB already does. It is very important for parents to have a basic understanding of the themes and struggles their child may experience while playing a game and right now they can. I always advocate for parents to watch some small gameplay videos or look up user reviews before purchasing a game for their child, but that is the parents job not the developers. The ESRB enforces consumer awareness and has continually lowered the ability of minors to obtain inappropriate games every year. With the threat of federal regulations looming, all the major game publishers at the time including Acclaim, EA, Nintendo, and Sega, formed a political trade group to debate self-regulatory frameworks for assessing and rating video games. This cooperation between bitter business rivals paved the way for all future video game development, while protecting all developers for the forseable future. Developers now have a choice of targeting certain ratings to be placed on their games and have a neutral party to send them back any critical areas that might have been overlooked. I must admit though paying fines for easter eggs seems like a shady and under the table kind of deal. Perhaps in the future the ESRB will find a more savory ways to communicate with developers regarding this area of production. I think the ESRB offers the perfect amount of limitation for developers and has bred true mastery from those who abide by its regulation.

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Inforgraphic “8-Bit Girlz”

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You Died: The Rights and Wrongs in Video Game Death

by Ryan Clements
July 27, 2012

If you play video games, you have — at some point — died.

Death has marched through video game history, distributing frustration, tears, broken controllers, and lost quarters with the same unflinching steadiness as a metronome. We as a collective gaming entity have grown accustomed to death. We sigh, reload save files, and soldier on. But these countless, untimely deaths have unusual effects on the stories we help to tell. Some games acknowledge death. Others do not. When death comes and goes without such acknowledgment, the reality of our favorite games snaps in two.

My first experience with video game death came from a wrecked submarine my father would pilot on our Apple II. I sat in his lap and manned the admittedly simpler firing controls, while he clumsily steered his way through a dark, underwater labyrinth. We never got far. And I thought little of it. I was a child, after all.

What struck me, however, was Mario’s startled face, his sudden shock and pain, upon slamming into a Goomba. He paused, tumbled through the air, and fell into oblivion. Gone forever, his mission for a princess’ love cut tragically shor… no wait, he’s okay. Somehow he returns to the world of the living. And so the cycle continues.

This is normal for us. And it gets weirder.

When the police gun down Niko Bellic in the streets of Liberty City, he should probably stay down. Yet he, too, rises. This miraculous ability was not Mario’s alone, but one shared by all digital denizens.

Our escape from death’s clutches gets out of hand when we control heroes never meant for the afterlife. One obvious example comes to us in the form of an armored green fellow named Master Chief. The iconic John-117 is supposed to boast a dangerous set of skills. In fact, we can safely say he’s the most skilled military operative in the entire human race. More importantly, he has a lot of luck (Eric Nylund said so in the Fall of Reach novelization). So why oh why does Master Chief die all the time? One stray grenade and years of combat experience ragdoll right out the window. Odd, right?

Commander Shepard comes to mind for the same reason. According to the expansive lore BioWare has built for us, Commander (Insert Name Here) Shepard is the most qualified human being in the galaxy to run the show. The “show” being the fate of the human race, specifically. With incredible combat prowess, technical knowhow, and an occasional knack for telekinesis, it stinks when Commander Shepard gets shot by some no-name grunt and dies.

Getting sucked into space and resurrected by Yvonne Strahovski, for the record, makes much more sense.

With death so prevalent in video games you may wonder how any game with fail states (i.e. death) can challenge a player without breaking the realism of the fictional world. It’s possible, and many games do have ways to threaten players with the possibility of loss without killing off the star.

The Prince of Persia remake from 2008 took a clever approach to this issue by eliminating the need for repeated deaths altogether. Instead, the mysterious and magical Elika saves the hero with every mistake we as players make, preventing his untimely demise in a flash of light.

Similarly, the vampire Rachel Alucard from the BlazBlue series also defies death. In fact, her transcendence of time and space plays an important role in the story. And as one of the most powerful characters in the cast, constant deaths wouldn’t suit her. So, upon losing a match, Rachel merely lies — unamused — on the ground. While her opponents slump in pain or crumple into heaps, Rachel reclines on her demonic minion. How bourgeoisie.

And while on the topic of smart dealings with death, it would shame us not to mention EVE Online, the world’s most complicated MMO. In EVE, you pilot awe-inspiring ships through the vastness of space… until you get vaporized by another player or passing pirate. Instead of dying in the traditional sense, though, your mind and/or soul “jumps” to a clone stored safely at a remote location. Players can even upgrade these clones to better soften the blow of death, or place them strategically around the universe to facilitate jumping between space stations.

EVE Online not only circumvents death but incorporates it into actual play. Those Icelandic chaps and chapettes sure know how to make games.

Clearly not all games and game developers can apply magic or unfathomable science to skirt around the reaper and his dark doings. But we, as imperfect beings, will always make mistakes while playing video games. And if those mistakes end in death, well, we have little choice but to accept the cyclical rebirth of our favorite characters — no matter how absurd their continuous resurrection may be.

Sadly, this unspoken agreement with death makes dying in video games much less meaningful. Like our desensitization to violence through continued exposure, we shrug at what should normally fill us with shock and sadness. So until developers come up with a better way to challenge gamers outside of pure mortal threat, we must resign ourselves to inevitable death, destruction, and fleeting darkness.

…unless you have a Phoenix Down.

Very, very special thanks to Brian Altano for designing the above imagery. Follow him on Twitter or here on IGN. He makes this sh*t look easy.

Ryan Clements writes for IGN. He looks forward to dancing tonight. Dancing in the dark. Follow him on Twitter or here on IGN, if you so choose.

The Strange, Scary, Fascinating, Exciting Future of Video Games, According to A Giant

By Stephen Totilo Kotaku

You are, presumably, a person who plays video games and probably not a rich executive. Maybe you own an Xbox 360 or play games on your iPhone or maybe both.

You have some favorite video games. And there are some series and some types of games that you hate. Maybe you keep up with gaming news on a site like Kotaku. You have an ordinary life, probably. A good one, hopefully. But you’re not a wealthy Chief Operating Officer, and you might not be able to relate to all of the hopes and fears of the average COO.

When Peter Moore, COO of Electronic Arts talks, what he is saying could affect you. It’s even sort of about you. It’s about the games you might play in the future and the way you might play them. But it’s also about how the things you might say make a COO feel. That part, you might be able to relate to. The part about where the COO thinks games are going? That’s the part that might make your head spin.

EA, of course, makes Madden and Mass Effect and The Sims and Battlefield and Bejeweled and so much more. They’re about as massive as it gets in gaming and what they want to do will affect a lot of gamers.

I’m about to dump a whole lot of Peter Moore on you, but I’ve got to set this up first. Moore is an amiable executive who, in a previous incarnation as a top marketing guy at Microsoft, would roll up his sleeves to reveal tattooed logos of whichever major game he was about to hype. He’s frank enough in interviews to say that a key product his company is currently offering might need two more years of tinkering before it’s excellent. He’s relatable enough that this middle-aged, English executive can precede his latest interview with me, conducted a couple of weeks ago in Los Angeles at E3 with a discussion about West Coast rap. He’s mortal enough that he admits a weakness for reading all the comments under articles about EA and internalizing the harshest criticism. This is a Rorschach blot of a sentence, but let’s give it a shot: He genuinely seems to care.

He did not think it was cool at all that his company had been called “cynical bastards.”

I’d interviewed Moore many times before we spoke at E3 but was eager to again to follow-up on a rant of his that I had witnessed while visiting EA’s Los Angeles campus in May. He’d ranted then, in front of reporters, about how day-one downloadable content, micro-transactions and other aspects of modern gaming were here to stay, how gamers needed to cut EA some slack and how he did not think it was cool at all that his company had been called “cynical bastards.” (That last one was a reference to the creator of Minecraft, Markus “Notch” Persson, snarking on EA’s promotion of an “indie game” bundle when the company started promoting a discount bundle of several indie-developed games that EA had partnered with and published. EA = indie? It’s a $4 billion company, one of the industry’s largest.)

“We’re going through, as an industry, just an unbelievably difficult transformation, that is not from one business model to another but from one business model to a myriad of different business models,” Moore said to me as we chatted in L.A.

Business models. Not the sexiest of topics. We were definitely in the realm of Things COOs Care About. But it does involve you, so bear with me.

“It is a very interesting period,” he said. “And I”ll say interesting period in our industry’s history when the conventional wisdom of ‘We’re going through a console transition and, when the new consoles come out, everything is going to be fine again’, is no longer the case. Consoles are still going to be a very important part of what we do. But so are browsers. So are iOS devices. So are Android mobile phones. So are PCs, which are feeling a renaissance. It’s all coming together in this potpourri…”

Moore: “I think, ultimately, those microtransactions will be in every game, but the game itself or the access to the game will be free.”

OK, stop again. A little more context is needed. The mood of my chat with Moore was the mood of much of E3. Many game creators and business people with whom I spoke seemed tired of this generation of gaming and said they felt gamers were ready to move on. Some, of course, are excited about selling games to the huge numbers of people who own Xbox 360s now rather than to the relatively tiny number of people who will own a next-gen Xbox in, say, the fall of 2013 when that machine is just getting started. But coming in from the sides, breaching the walls of the hardcore gamer’s paradise that is E3 are the Zyngas and the Apples, the people making games for Facebook and iPad and Android. Companies like EA have been branching out to all of those fresh areas, just as they’ve been trying out new or imported business models—making their games free-to-play (you download the game for free and pay for gameplay-relevant upgrades and/or cosmetic items later); selling downloadable expansions even on the day a game launches, and so on.

Overall, there’s a sense of confusion as to what is really going to take hold, whether one form of gaming—primarily the $60 console game—is going to be dominant in the future. Hell, you’re about to hear from a COO who raises the question of even how relevant the $60 console game will be. In fact, let’s get to that part now:

Kotaku: “How do you balance the effectiveness of any microtransaction-based game design or business model with the anxiety a gamer might feel that they’re being nickel and dimed?”

Moore: “I think, ultimately, those microtransactions will be in every game, but the game itself or the access to the game will be free. Ultimately, my goal is… I measure our business in millions of people have bought our game. Maybe when I’m retired, as this industry progresses, hundreds of millions are playing the games. Zero bought it. Hundreds of millions are playing. We’re getting 5 cents, 6 cents ARPU [average revenue per user] a day out of these people. The great majority will never pay us a penny which is perfectly fine with us, but they add to the eco-system and the people who do pay money—the whales as they are affectionately referred to—to use a Las Vegas term, love it because to be number one of a game that like 55 million people playing is a big deal.”

Kotaku: “You’re saying inevitably all games are going to be that model?”

Moore: “I think there’s an inevitability that happens five years from now, 10 years from now, that, let’s call it the client, to use the term, [is free.] It is no different than… it’s free to me to walk into The Gap in my local shopping mall. They don’t charge me to walk in there. I can walk into The Gap, enjoy the music, look at the jeans and what have you, but if I want to buy something I have to pay for it.”

Kotaku: “I understand how that would work for Madden. I can’t imagine how that would work for a Mass Effect. That’s a storyline game.”

Moore: “That’s the point. If the business model… what do you do? It may well be that there will be games that survive and they are the $60 games, but I believe that the real growth is bringing billions of people into the industry and calling them gamers. Hardcore gamers won’t like to hear this. They like to circle the wagons around what they believe is something they feel they have helped build—and rightly so. But we have seen, whether it was with the Wii getting mom off the couch to do Wii Sports or whether it was, more recently EA Sports Active, where we get females who love to work out, all the things that social gaming did—Rock Band did it, Guitar Hero did it—all of the things that elevated it from being a dark art of teenage boys usually sequestered in the bedroom—that it was testosterone-filled content that everybody railed against—to where everybody is a gamer…if you can move your index finger and swipe it this way, your’e a gamer. And that has got to be the way it goes.”

***You really could have called this E3 the anxiety E3, the E3 when people wondered and even worried about what was coming next. But why confine that to E3? The feeling’s been rumbling for a while and there are people—younger gamers, I imagine—who might tell codgers like me who grew up playing Super Mario Bros. to get over it and embrace our free-to-play League of Legends era.

Anxiety?

Moore: “We can’t end up being music.”

A big gaming chain went out of business in Europe. So, here’s Moore, cheering for the big chain in the U.S.: “We all love going to GameStop and chatting with the guys. You want these guys to stay in business. You’ve got to provide them with opportunities to play in digital, otherwise they become Blockbuster. Otherwise they become Tower Records. ”

Under threat?

Moore: “We can’t end up being music.” (I’ll get back to that one.)

***Peter Moore, the polished COO, gives the impression of a man who is bushwacking, hacking at the reeds and swatting at the gnats, squinting at the sun while trying to find a clearing. And the last thing he yearns for now—though he likes constructive criticism—is what he thinks are unfair potshots.

Moore: “You’ve got this potpourri of things coming together in this fabulous kind of soup that we need to figure out as an industry… I just ask for patience. You know me pretty well. I read all of this stuff…. I think at times gamers need to understand that we need to work our way through this stuff. They need to be patient with us as we try to figure out what are the business models of the future. I am the chief operating officer of a company that has offices in 70 countries and is responsible for the employment of over 9000 very creative, hard-working talented people. And when you see the things—look, I know it’s the Internet, I know it’s anonymous…

Kotaku: “It’s not all anonymous. Somebody with a name called you ‘cynical bastards.’ You referenced that [in an earlier speech].”

Moore: “I did. I took umbrage to that in front of you. I just read that story and, what we’re referring to—I’m almost doing the interview for you—is the fact that we decided to help some indie developers and bundle some stuff up…”

Kotaku: “Right, those were partner games, right?”

Moore: “Yeah, these were Partner games. EA Partner games… before I even came to EA, I was in awe of what EA had done in terms of EA distribution and EA Partners, to get out there and help provide a platform of distribution for developers that just couldn’t’ put their stuff out on the market. We were the guys that would do that. I don’t know of anybody else in this industry that’s got the record that Electronic Arts have, way before I got here, welcoming stuff. Look, we do it to make money. No bones about it. But we do it so that we can share money and put games out in the market. And you can name a hundred of them that you know EA has published as an EAP or, previously, EAD operation. Probably the biggest one was Rock Band, which was an EAP title which we helped market. We worked with MTV and really helped that little bit of a social change to what gaming was all about. Yes I know Guitar Hero was there, but Rock Band became a bigger… that was an EAP title. So, the ‘cynical bastard’ thing, and, of course, because of who it was and it got so much coverage that I just thought: ‘This is not right for the employees who have worked hard to put this together. My team at EAP had worked with these developers and said, ‘let’s just bundle this together and offer up a deal.'”

Kotaku: “Did you call Notch?”

Moore: “No. ”

An EA spokesperson sitting nearby chimed in, pointing out that shortly after the “cynical bastards” incident, EA announced that EA would waive distribution fees for 90 days for any Kickstarter-funded games sold through its new PC service, Origin. A counter-measure to Origin’s mighty competitor Steam? Probably. A boost for indies? Probably that, too.

It’s weird to hear a COO to ask his customers for patience as his company dabbles with different business models. Moore will vigorously defend charging $10 extra for Mass Effect 3‘s day-one DLC, maintaining that the $60 base game was chock-full, but his answer as to why EA didn’t charge for the day-one DLC for Mass Effect 2 is a meek: “We make individual decisions about individual games and individual business decisions with partners who are involved.”

He certainly respects the enthusiasm of gamers. “There’s no more passionate a fan of a medium than a gamer,” he said. “People love movies. People like music. People love TV shows. Nobody loves their medium like gamers love their medium. I’ve always known that the tallest trees catch the most wind. That’s a fact of life.”

And he doesn’t think his company should be spared harsh words. “None of us expect to be nor do we deserve to be immune to criticism.”

Moore: “There’s no more passionate a fan of a medium than a gamer.”

But the patience he’s begging for sounds like it could be, well, expensive or even just confusing, for gamers who wait for EA to figure out the best way to charge for its stuff.

“I want people to understand that what EA employees and the people who create the games are working hard to do is pick our way through this transformation as best we can,” he said. “We’re a publicly-traded company. We have an obligation to, quite frankly, make money so we can re-invest money in making great games again. The games you saw yesterday [at EA’s E3 press-conference, games such as Dead Space 3 and Crysis 3] are, if you will, pre-paid by us from a development perspective. And it’s only a year or a year and half down the road that we start to see that [money come back as people pay for the game]. That’s why, to continue to do what we do and build the brands and build the business models, again, I’ll ask for patience—the same way you covered me when I said we need 18 months for Origin and I still stand by that.

“We’re just picking our way through and nobody is any way trying to gouge anybody. [Moore slaps hand on the table.] We’re picking through this at the same time that gamers are trying to figure out what he or she likes about game sin the future. and how much they want to spend and what platform they want to do it on and what other genres there are of the future. We’re doing our best, alongside everybody else. ”

***Let’s get back to the music thing. The upheaval of the music industry several years ago is surely what freaks out movie people and book people and, it seems, games people as well. Piracy, downloading and the Apple juggernaut changed everything. Who buys CDs any more? Who waits for albums?

Music is the spectre. So let’s end on this last exchange:

Moore: “We’ve got to listen better as an industry, but at at the same time we’ve got to pick our way through these things. Stephen, we can’t end up being music. Music used to make money selling music. They don’t make money selling music anymore. Apple makes money selling music. God bless them, because they sorted out the problem that was BitTorrents and LimeWire, Kazaa…”

Kotaku: “My kitchen table is LimeWire’s kitchen table, because they went out of business and my wife and I needed a new table.”

Moore: “We’ve got to listen better as an industry, but at at the same time we’ve got to pick our way through these things.”

Moore: “I remember going to a lot of going-out-of-business sales in 1999, south of Market, but this ability for us to learn from the lessons of music… Maybe we don’t sell our games up front and it’s all about [making money later]. Maybe it is like music. Music is now all about going on tour and concerts, go do corporate appearances, sell your merchandise, build your online website, find ways to do it that way, because they don’t make much money after Apple takes its cut, and that’s where most of us get our music.

“We’re going to go through a similar trial and tribulation in the video game industry in which it’s no longer about… we don’t even see ourselves as a traditional publisher anymore. We’re a digital entertainment company. And within that comes different ways we have to drive our revenue, keep our investors happy and make sure that w’ere providing compensation to our employees in the form of the stock price that they’re happy with that is part of their equity package. And all of this is part of being a publicly-traded company.”

Kotaku: “The glass-half-empty reporter would mention that you didn’t just mention as one of your priorities: Make great video games.”

Moore: “That’s a given for EA. That’s what we do.”

Elder Scrolls Online MMO Bethesda

Bethesda Softworks will bring its popular Elder Scrolls series of single-player RPGs online next year.

The Elder Scrolls Online, developed by Zenimax Online, will be the first multiplayer version for the critically-acclaimed and commercially successful franchise since its debut 18 years ago.

The series’ last release, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, was one of the biggest releases in 2011, and had shipped more than 10 million copies around the world before the end of the year. Previous Elder Scrolls games were developed by Bethesda Softworks, a subsidiary of Zenimax Online’s parent company Zenimax.

Set up in 2007 in Hunt Valley, Maryland as an MMO-focused studio, Zenimax Online is headed by Matt Firor, co-founder of Dark Age of Camelot developer Mythic Entertainment (now BioWare Mythic). This will be Zenimax Online’s first release.

The game explores a new period in Elder Scrolls’ history, and is set a millennium before the events of Skyrim, according to a report from Game Informer.

Bethesda Softworks will publish The Elder Scrolls Online in North America, Europe, and Japan next year for Windows and Macintosh-based PCs.

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JEDIONSTON Random Bass Jam No Reason

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Armored Core 5 Preview

 

So Armored Core V came out in North America on March 20th, the general consensus say the game is good! While the difficulty and learning curve of the game have been criticized, the general gaming community say it is the best mech game in a long while. The customization is said to be very robust even for armored core standards, but the no online mode was a deal breaker for some.

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Eight Myths About Video Games

Reality Bytes: Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked
Henry Jenkins
MIT Professor
A large gap exists between the public’s perception of video games and what the research actually shows. The following is an attempt to separate fact from fiction.

1. The availability of video games has led to an epidemic of youth violence.

According to federal crime statistics, the rate of juvenile violent crime in the United States is at a 30-year low. Researchers find that people serving time for violent crimes typically consume less media before committing their crimes than the average person in the general population. It’s true that young offenders who have committed school shootings in America have also been game players. But young people in general are more likely to be gamers — 90 percent of boys and 40 percent of girls play. The overwhelming majority of kids who play do NOT commit antisocial acts. According to a 2001 U.S. Surgeon General’s report, the strongest risk factors for school shootings centered on mental stability and the quality of home life, not media exposure. The moral panic over violent video games is doubly harmful. It has led adult authorities to be more suspicious and hostile to many kids who already feel cut off from the system. It also misdirects energy away from eliminating the actual causes of youth violence and allows problems to continue to fester.

2. Scientific evidence links violent game play with youth aggression.

Claims like this are based on the work of researchers who represent one relatively narrow school of research, “media effects.” This research includes some 300 studies of media violence. But most of those studies are inconclusive and many have been criticized on methodological grounds. In these studies, media images are removed from any narrative context. Subjects are asked to engage with content that they would not normally consume and may not understand. Finally, the laboratory context is radically different from the environments where games would normally be played. Most studies found a correlation, not a causal relationship, which means the research could simply show that aggressive people like aggressive entertainment. That’s why the vague term “links” is used here. If there is a consensus emerging around this research, it is that violent video games may be one risk factor – when coupled with other more immediate, real-world influences — which can contribute to anti-social behavior. But no research has found that video games are a primary factor or that violent video game play could turn an otherwise normal person into a killer.

3. Children are the primary market for video games.

While most American kids do play video games, the center of the video game market has shifted older as the first generation of gamers continues to play into adulthood. Already 62 percent of the console market and 66 percent of the PC market is age 18 or older. The game industry caters to adult tastes. Meanwhile, a sizable number of parents ignore game ratings because they assume that games are for kids. One quarter of children ages 11 to 16 identify an M-Rated (Mature Content) game as among their favorites. Clearly, more should be done to restrict advertising and marketing that targets young consumers with mature content, and to educate parents about the media choices they are facing. But parents need to share some of the responsibility for making decisions about what is appropriate for their children. The news on this front is not all bad. The Federal Trade Commission has found that 83 percent of game purchases for underage consumers are made by parents or by parents and children together.

4. Almost no girls play computer games.

Historically, the video game market has been predominantly male. However, the percentage of women playing games has steadily increased over the past decade. Women now slightly outnumber men playing Web-based games. Spurred by the belief that games were an important gateway into other kinds of digital literacy, efforts were made in the mid-90s to build games that appealed to girls. More recent games such as The Sims were huge crossover successes that attracted many women who had never played games before. Given the historic imbalance in the game market (and among people working inside the game industry), the presence of sexist stereotyping in games is hardly surprising. Yet it’s also important to note that female game characters are often portrayed as powerful and independent. In his book Killing Monsters, Gerard Jones argues that young girls often build upon these representations of strong women warriors as a means of building up their self confidence in confronting challenges in their everyday lives.

5. Because games are used to train soldiers to kill, they have the same impact on the kids who play them.

Former military psychologist and moral reformer David Grossman argues that because the military uses games in training (including, he claims, training soldiers to shoot and kill), the generation of young people who play such games are similarly being brutalized and conditioned to be aggressive in their everyday social interactions.

Grossman’s model only works if:

 

  • we remove training and education from a meaningful cultural context.
  • we assume learners have no conscious goals and that they show no resistance to what they are being taught.
  • we assume that they unwittingly apply what they learn in a fantasy environment to real world spaces.

 

The military uses games as part of a specific curriculum, with clearly defined goals, in a context where students actively want to learn and have a need for the information being transmitted. There are consequences for not mastering those skills. That being said, a growing body of research does suggest that games can enhance learning. In his recent book, What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy, James Gee describes game players as active problem solvers who do not see mistakes as errors, but as opportunities for improvement. Players search for newer, better solutions to problems and challenges, he says. And they are encouraged to constantly form and test hypotheses. This research points to a fundamentally different model of how and what players learn from games.

6. Video games are not a meaningful form of expression.

On April 19, 2002, U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh Sr. ruled that video games do not convey ideas and thus enjoy no constitutional protection. As evidence, Saint Louis County presented the judge with videotaped excerpts from four games, all within a narrow range of genres, and all the subject of previous controversy. Overturning a similar decision in Indianapolis, Federal Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner noted: “Violence has always been and remains a central interest of humankind and a recurrent, even obsessive theme of culture both high and low. It engages the interest of children from an early age, as anyone familiar with the classic fairy tales collected by Grimm, Andersen, and Perrault are aware.” Posner adds, “To shield children right up to the age of 18 from exposure to violent descriptions and images would not only be quixotic, but deforming; it would leave them unequipped to cope with the world as we know it.” Many early games were little more than shooting galleries where players were encouraged to blast everything that moved. Many current games are designed to be ethical testing grounds. They allow players to navigate an expansive and open-ended world, make their own choices and witness their consequences. The Sims designer Will Wright argues that games are perhaps the only medium that allows us to experience guilt over the actions of fictional characters. In a movie, one can always pull back and condemn the character or the artist when they cross certain social boundaries. But in playing a game, we choose what happens to the characters. In the right circumstances, we can be encouraged to examine our own values by seeing how we behave within virtual space.

7. Video game play is socially isolating.

Much video game play is social. Almost 60 percent of frequent gamers play with friends. Thirty-three percent play with siblings and 25 percent play with spouses or parents. Even games designed for single players are often played socially, with one person giving advice to another holding a joystick. A growing number of games are designed for multiple players — for either cooperative play in the same space or online play with distributed players. Sociologist Talmadge Wright has logged many hours observing online communities interact with and react to violent video games, concluding that meta-gaming (conversation about game content) provides a context for thinking about rules and rule-breaking. In this way there are really two games taking place simultaneously: one, the explicit conflict and combat on the screen; the other, the implicit cooperation and comradeship between the players. Two players may be fighting to death on screen and growing closer as friends off screen. Social expectations are reaffirmed through the social contract governing play, even as they are symbolically cast aside within the transgressive fantasies represented onscreen.

8. Video game play is desensitizing.

Classic studies of play behavior among primates suggest that apes make basic distinctions between play fighting and actual combat. In some circumstances, they seem to take pleasure wrestling and tousling with each other. In others, they might rip each other apart in mortal combat. Game designer and play theorist Eric Zimmerman describes the ways we understand play as distinctive from reality as entering the “magic circle.” The same action — say, sweeping a floor — may take on different meanings in play (as in playing house) than in reality (housework). Play allows kids to express feelings and impulses that have to be carefully held in check in their real-world interactions. Media reformers argue that playing violent video games can cause a lack of empathy for real-world victims. Yet, a child who responds to a video game the same way he or she responds to a real-world tragedy could be showing symptoms of being severely emotionally disturbed. Here’s where the media effects research, which often uses punching rubber dolls as a marker of real-world aggression, becomes problematic. The kid who is punching a toy designed for this purpose is still within the “magic circle” of play and understands her actions on those terms. Such research shows us only that violent play leads to more violent play.

Henry Jenkins is the director of comparative studies at MIT.

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Come check out my blog  in the {{STAND BY FOR ASSIMILATION}} section and talk video games!

Gavin Jedionston

Wrestlemania confirmed matches and Z! True Long Island Story Episode 58

Wrestlemania is right coming soon, but as any true “Browskie” would do, I’m posting the “True Long Island Story”

Anybody who knows about wrestling will tell you Zack Ryder has hit a gold mine with his character, this guy is getting pushed to the top, and it is only a matter of time.

Confirmed Matches for Wrestlemania 28:

The Rock Vs John Cena – Singles Match

Daniel Bryan Vs Sheamus  – World Heavyweight Championshio

CM Punk Vs Chris Jericho – WWE Championship

Undertaker Vs Triple H – Hell in a Cell – Special Guest Referee Shawn Michaels

Cody Rhodes Vs The Big Show – Intercontinental Championship

Team Teddy (Santino Marella, R-Truth) Vs Team Johnny (David Otunga, Mark Henry)

Maria Menounos & Kelly Kelly Vs Beth Phoenix & Eve Torrez

Cenation? or Team Bring It?

Assimilate your thoughts, into ours. Post your message into the collective comment center below.

Come check out my blog  in the {{STAND BY FOR ASSIMILATION}} section and talk video games!

Gavin Jedionston

Diablo III Release Date and Details

So about two days ago Blizzard announced the official release date of Diablo III, May 15th!!!

This is the new artwork for the box coverjust kidding…

just kidding again…

The wait is finally over…

Now that the wait is over are you as excited as you were five years ago?… I am! Blizzard also gave a sneak peak of…

“Ultimate Diablo III Experience”

I dunno how much that thing is going to cost but I need it…

serious…

Blizzard now has a full website (that looks like the same web designer from WoW) dedicated to Diablo III. Also here is a list of the playable classes if you don’t know them yet.

Each link will take you to the class page on Blizzards official website.

Wizard    Witch Doctor   Demon Hunter   Barbarian   Monk

Needless to say countless hours of gamer time will be poured into oblivion over this game, I for one will be looking for any and all glitches in the game, while exploiting every newbie that steps into my server…That’s what Diablo is all about right?

Are you a little kid playing your first Diablo game? DROP YOUR SHIT IN A SACK AND WE TRADE ON THREE GOT IT!!!!

1

2

3

GO!!!!

Hehe… you lost all your items 😉

I’m thinking Wizard now, but I might go with a Monk and name him Krillin if it’s still available when I log in.

Assimilate your thoughts, into ours. Post your message into the collective comment center below.

Come check out my blog  in the {{STAND BY FOR ASSIMILATION}} section and talk video games!

Gavin Jedionston

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