How to kill Call of Duty; aka, Why Battlefield 3 won’t win

17 Oct

Modern Warfare 3 or Battlefield 3?”

For some reason, people seem to think is a reasonable question to ask, but I’m never sure what they’re expecting to hear in response. I almost always hear the question asked with thinly veiled praise for one and blatant contempt for the other or as if it’s only possible to buy one or the other but not both.

Hey, Battlefield 3. You’re aiming the wrong way….

A much more interesting question is, “Which game will sell more copies?” The answer is, without a doubt, Modern Warfare 3, and the reasons why explain exactly what makes the original question so pointless.

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The Sad Tail of Mario

12 Oct

What would you say Mario is doing in the picture below?

Being awesome? Reenacting your childhood? Both good answers, but if given only one word to describe it, I’d bet most people would say Mario is flying. And, of course, it’s that weird little raccoon tail that’s granting him the power of flight.

The image of Mario soaring through the air with a striped tail instantly conjures up fond memories of Super Mario Bros. 3 for loads of people, far more than some might expect. Nintendo is aware of the soft spot so many hold for the iconic power-up, and soon, a new (though much smaller) generation of would-be Mario fans will see the plumber sporting a tail in Super Mario 3D Land. Unfortunately, they’ll wonder how such a lame ability ever warranted so much hype.

That’s because Nintendo is woefully ignorant of why the tail won our hearts in the first place. Continue reading

Developer to assist charity for Facebook likes, profile pictures

4 Sep

A video game developer is promoting an upcoming product by making a donation to charity based on the number of people who officially “like” the game on Facebook.

Hudson will donate 10 cents to Child’s Play Charity for every person who “likes” Lost In Shadow on Facebook and will up the donation to one dollar for anyone who changes his or her Facebook profile picture to one depicting a shadow.

Morgan Haro, marketing specialist at Hudson, said the event, called “Shadows To Light,” reflects the theme of the game, which revolves around the shadow of a boy climbing a mystical tower.

“The journey is all about overcoming hardships and the barriers that prevent you from reaching your goal,” Harrow said. “Child’s Play is a charity that sees hundreds of thousands of young children in a similar journey, only grounded in reality.”

Haro said her personal goal is to get 10,000 “likes” by the event’s September 7 deadline.

“At the very least, this would enable us to donate $1,000 to Child’s Play,” Haro said. “However that’s not factoring in how many of those 10,000 would have changed their profile picture to a shadow. Hopefully, we’ll see a good amount of those.”

Hudson will count the “likes” and profile pictures on September 7 to determine the amount of its donation. Lost In Shadow comes out in North America January 4, 2011.


Italian-American group wants stereotypes cut from Mafia II

20 Aug

Mafia II tells the story of a Sicilian gangster's rise in the 1940s and '50s.

UNICO National, “the largest Italian service organization in the USA”, voiced its disapproval of Take-Two Interactive’s upcoming video game Mafia II, which places players in the role of a Sicilian gangster as he rises through the ranks of an Italian crime syndicate in the 1940s and ’50s.

Andre’ DiMino, UNICO National president, said Mafia II perpetuates the stereotype of all Italians and Italian-Americans as being connected to organized crime, a stereotype he said is based on a small percentage of truth when compared to the prevalence of other ethnic groups involved in organized crime. Continue reading

University tests concussions with Wii Fit (Washington Post)

19 Aug

An athlete measures his balance with Wii Fit.

The Washington Post’s Steve Yanda reported on the way some colleges are using Nintendo’s Wii Fit game and balance board to determine the status of athletes recovering from concussions by using the game’s balance exercises as a reference point for progress.

“The athletes love it because what we’ve done is we’ve incorporated this fun game that they’re playing at home into their rehab system,” said Tamerah Hunt, director of research at the Ohio State Sports Concussion Program. “But they’re also enjoying it at a time when they’re injured or at a time when their spirits are down, and they have to come into the athletic training room every day and they have to get all this treatment . . . and it’s kind of a reaction of, ‘Oh, this is fun.’ “

Read the full article in The Washington Post.

University creating video game to teach drug dosage in nursing

18 Aug

Most of the development team working on the game, from left: Arne Thomas Nilsen, (Programmer and Media Analyst), Petter Mordt (Executive Programmer), Siril Grude (Pedagogical Designer and Media Analyst), Atle Lokken (Head of Department, NettOp), and Karsten Tillerli (Production Manager, web based nursing project)


NettOp, the web-based study unit of the University of Stavanger in Norway, is developing a video game to assist nursing students in learning to prepare proper drug dosages for patients.

According to university officials, nursing students must master proper drug dosage to pass an exam before receiving certification, but the subject often proves difficult for a significant portion of students. A single miscalculation results in failure.

“At the University of Stavanger, the students have three goes at handing in an exam paper without mistakes. The last few years the percentage of fails has been between 36 and 39 both for the first and second attempt.”

Atle Løkken, director of NettOp, said he believes the problem stems from most nursing students joining the program without being prepared for the complex calculations required within the profession.

“We don’t have much scientific verification, but we believe a major reason is that the students that want to be a nurse primarily are interested in and expect the human and social aspect of the profession and are not prepared for the math and science that indeed also come with it.”

Løkken said renowned American psychologist Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligence theory, the idea that there are a variety of intelligences that don’t necessarily trump one another, may account for why some nursing students struggle with the math of drug dosages.

“In Gardner’s theory, we may expect the nursing students to be predominantly more ‘visually’ and ‘socially intelligent’ than ‘mathematically,'” Løkken said. “This does not mean that ‘visually’ and ‘socially intelligent’ people can’t solve mathematical problems, it simply means that ‘socially intelligent’ individuals approach mathematical problems differently from how math is normally taught in academia by ‘mathematically intelligent’ instructors.”

Gardner also inspired Løkken and his team to use a video game to assist nursing students who struggle with the math.

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Computer and game degrees up 20% this school year (ESA)

17 Aug

Three-hundred American colleges, universities, and trade and art schools are offering computer or video game-related degrees this school year, representing a nearly 20 percent increase from last year according to a press release from the Entertainment Software Association.

Rich Taylor, senior vice president for communications and industry affairs at the ESA, said the increase is a sign of the expanding role video games play in society.

“While computer and video games have been a source of entertainment for decades, our society is increasingly recognizing the broader uses of games and their positive impact. Whether it is in healthcare, education, business or government, schools across the country see the value of games and are training their students to meet the demand.”

For a full list of the schools offering computer and video game-related degrees, read the full press release on the ESA’s website.

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