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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.

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.

‘Scott Pilgrim’ reviews biased against gaming culture (NPR)

14 Aug

Michael Cera 'levels up' as Scott Pilgrim in one of the film's many game references.

NPR’s Linda Holmes reported on the way several movie reviewers criticized the target audience of “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” in their negative critiques of the film.

After referring to the first part of the movie as a “dork-pandering assault,” The Boston Phoenix reviewer goes on to say that Michael Cera’s performance is “irritating” in part because of “the non-stop Pavlovian laugh track provided by the audience at the screening I attended.” (As far as I know, that’s a first: “You made the audience laugh, you irritating actor in a comedy, and that’s what’s wrong with you.”)

The review in the St. Petersburg Times begins, “First of all, I’m not a video gamer. I have discovered more appealing ways to not have a life.”

The New York Observer sniffs that the film is “clearly directed at an audience with generational ADD.”

Here’s one from Philadelphia Weekly: “Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World is Fan Service: The Movie, an insular, punishingly alienating experience preaching only to the faithful, devoted hearts of arrested 12-year-old boys. It’s singularly fixated on video games and shallow visions of women as one-dimensional objects to be either obtained or discarded and offers no possible point of entry to anybody over the age of 30.”

Read the full article to see how Holmes combats these assertions as a fan of the film despite not fitting into any of the above reviewers’ categories.

Also read Dennis Scimeca’s take on the reviews as well as their greater implications in his article on Bitmob.

Boy’s eye sight improves by playing games (Mail Online)

4 Aug

Mail Online’s Claire Bates reported on a six year-old with severe amblyopia, or lazy eye disorder, who greatly improved his vision by following his doctor’s recommendation to play Nintendo DS each day.

Ben playing Nintendo DS.

Ben, from Billericay, Essex,  spends two hours a day playing Mario Kart on a Nintendo DS with his twin Jake. Ben wears a patch over his good eye to make his lazy one work harder.

The twins’ mother, Maxine, 36, said that from being ‘nearly blind’ in the eye, Ben’s vision had ‘improved 250 per cent’ in the first week.

Read the entire article at Mail Online.

Games can assist police in forensic investigations (eWeek)

28 Jul

Nesbit cites Team Fortress 2 as an example of how games can help an investigation.

eWeek interviewed Brandon Nesbit, security consultant with Trustwave, to preview his talk at Sunday’s DEFCON security conference about how video games can assist forensic investigators.

A video game console no longer is just a toy that runs a game cartridge or CD/DVD. These devices now hook into your home network allowing users to store everything from files, pictures, movies, you name it; it can be stored. And where there’s data, there is information that is of interest to a forensics investigator.

Read the entire article at eWeek.

How playing videogames can boost your career (Forbes)

24 Jul

Forbes’ Oliver Chiang reported on a number of ways video games instill players with a healthy thirst for competition, a desire to constantly improve oneself, and how games can help people succeed in the workplace.

“We’re finding that the younger people coming into the teams who have had experience playing online games are the highest-level performers because they are constantly motivated to seek out the next challenge and grab on to performance metrics,” says John Hagel III, co-chairman of a tech-oriented strategy center for Deloitte.

Hagel also says games can cultivate “dispositions” that are valuable in a corporate setting. Videogames are often a trial-and-error process where players become accustomed to failure, and learn from it.

Gamers learn to respond to, and even seek out, new challenges in order to progress. They also learn to improvise, and are thus more likely to be able to solve problems creatively when there is no solution to be found in a manual.

Forbes also offers 10 Ways Videogames Can Boost Your Career, an abbreviated slideshow of the article with screenshots. Read the entire article at Forbes.

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