Strong Museum (NY) Is Creating Video Game Hall of Fame

“Video games don’t belong in museums, that’s where we put old chairs and paintings of dead people” – no one ever.

The Strong Museum in New York, more commonly known as the national museum of play, is taking nominations for a video game hall of fame. Gamers across the world can go online and vote for which games they believe should be immortalized in the museum’s hall of fame. Before you go rushing to vote Battle Toads & Double Dragon as the most historically important video game of all time, you may want to know some background as to why they’re creating this hall of fame.

Why and how are they doing this? Well, as President and Chief Executive of the museum puts it:

“Electronic games have changed how people play, learn and connect with each other, including across boundaries of culture and geography”

That’s what we’ve been saying for year! Joking aside, it’s good to see video games get more of an academic and historical presence. The creation of a video game hall of fame is one step towards video games being properly preserved for future generations, which as we discussed in previous articles is a real issue in the community.

Games will be decided by a advisory committee and will inducted based on a set criteria. The criteria is as follows:

The World Video Game Hall of Fame recognizes electronic games that meet the following criteria: icon-status, the game is widely recognized and remembered; longevity, the game is more than a passing fad and has enjoyed popularity over time;geographical reach, the game meets the above criteria across international boundaries; and influence, the game has exerted significant influence on the design and development of other games, on other forms of entertainment, or on popular culture and society in general. (A game may be inducted on the basis of the last criterion without necessarily having met all of the first three.)

This means that hall of fame won’t just include the highest selling games of all times, but will take into consideration a game’s impact on the industry and society as a whole. Let’s try  and get some of those socially important games in there, like Joe & Mack (It’s a historical documentation about how cavemen loved women and hated dinosaurs). This is a big step for the medium, which is still relatively underrepresented in museums as a whole. In the next few years with Frisco’s first museum dedicated solely to video games and this creation of a hall of fame, we may see video games getting more historical and sociological coverage and representation than ever before.

What games, characters, or franchises would you put in the Video Game Hall of Fame?

You can read the entire press release here!

League of Legends Players Write Open letter to Parents

A few days ago a forum post appeared on The League of Legends Official forums stating that is was “Open Letter to Parents of League of Legends Players”. In the letter the author urges parents to think about their effect on other players when they force their children to stop playing due to playtime restrictions, bedtimes, etc. Kotaku later reposted the forum post, calling it sensible reading.

Some quotes from the post:

This is an online game. In most cases, your child is playing with real people.Please take a moment to understand how this game’s person-to-person interaction functions. In the past, I have seen numerous stories of children who routinely disconnect mid-game because it’s bedtime, or their parents decide that they’ve played enough for the day. Some of these stories have come from parents themselves, proudly stating that they are firm about making their children stop playing at a specific time.

If a game is in progress, do not interrupt it unless it is an emergency. You are affecting up to 10 people, not just your child.Feel like checking your e-mail on the same computer? Please wait until the game is over so you don’t completely ruin things for the real people on your child’s teamIs a game that started 90 minutes before bedtime somehow still in progress at 87 minutes? Please allow him to finish the match so you don’t completely ruin things for the real people on your child’s team. Games almost never last that long, and if people lose due to a teammate quitting after spending that much time on a match, they are likely to be more upset than usual.

It’s not the most insane thing to write: people are tired of their League of Legends games being disrupted and ended when people drop out. However, when should a video game be prioritized over the desires of parents or guardians? Probably an uphill battle you’ll be fighting there LOL players. I’ll admit, it is a cordial way of writing about an issue plaguing many LOL players, but should parents really have to amend their parenting to adapt for a child’s gaming habits? That’s a hard to thing to push for. I haven’t personally played League of Legends, but I can’t imagine the problem is great enough to declare that parents need to amend their parenting to accommodate players.

Parents have a hard enough time raising their children without having to worry about the schedule and feelings of their children’s online friends and groups.  Believe it or not, something are more important in the long run than a League of Legends ranked matched. A parent has the right to enforce the rules that they put forth.

The forum post points out that it is the responsibility of the parent to teach their children proper etiquette when it comes to having responsibilities to others and scheduling game sessions for when they know they can complete them, but there’s only so much a parent can do; there’s not much stopping a child from starting a game, even if they know the potential consequences. Life happens and sometimes a League of Legends match may be stopped midway because someone dropped out. Worse things can happen than your ranking suffering.  The post then comes off somewhat ignorant and bossy to parents, since it’s assuming that something in their parenting is causing the problem. In the end it’s probably a deceleration to no one, as it’s highly unlikely that the post will ever reach the ears of parents.

I find this issue really interesting, as seeing gaming and parenting conflict in such a way  really goes to show how much games have developed in the last 10 years. Years ago you would hear kids scream “I can’t save yet!” or “I’m in the middle of a level”, situations in which the consequences only really effect the child, but now parenting and turning off games can effect people thousands of miles away. An action in one’s video game has much bigger social ripples than it has in the past.

Who knows how the next generation of parents will be changed having grown up with similar scenarios; will they be more receptive to dilemmas facing online gaming communities?

Video Games Being Used in New Medical Practices

It’s an interesting world we live in, one in which video games are constantly finding new ways to infiltrate our daily lives. We’ve already seen school utilizing video games for teaching purposes, and even video games serving as parts of business interviews, but medical institutions seem like the last place you’d imagine to be playing video games. Fortunately this article is not about medical schools using the game “Trauma Center” to teach potential surgeons.

Scalpels not included.

A new trend in the medical is looking towards video games as medical tools. This trend is really novel and interesting, especially since 10 years ago we probably wouldn’t imagine that we’d be using video games to aid in physical therapy or in any realm dealing with the medical profession. These are in no way the first time we’ve seen video game being utilized in physical therapy and as medical tools, but they certainly are ones that do it in new and interesting ways.

Researchers at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital have developed an interactive video game that is being used to measure upper extremity movement in younger patients with muscular dystrophy who are unable to walk. The game, which is zombie themed and utilizes a Xbox Kinect, has patients extending their arms to push back a force field protecting them in the game. The game, which is currently only being used in clinical trials, has had very positive feedback from both patients and parents.   The game, which charts the improvement and changed for patients over the course of time, was developed because of the sheer lack of outcome measure for this population of patients.

Another new tool in therapy has emerged for patients with Multiple Sclerosis. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society have given a grant to researchers to develop a game that will be used to help in Multiple Sclerosis treatment and rehabilitation. The game, “Recovery Rapids”, uses an Xbox Kinect and has the patient guiding and propelling a kayak. The game also asks questions to the patients in order to track the patients progress in other everyday activities such as brushing their teeth or drinking. Developers of the game hope that it will be a cost effective and fun way for patients with M.S to do daily rehabilitation and recovery, a group whom have very few options when it comes to physical therapy option.

So why should we care about these instances of games being used for physical therapy and medical means? Is it because we’re worried that we’re potentially missing out on GOTY and that we should sneak in these facilities to play these games? No…Though, I did hear that some of these games are better than the recent Assassin’s Creed game (TAKE THAT UBISOFT!). We should care because video games are embedding themselves into facets of life that have previously been untouched by the medium. While these news pieces have more to do with field beyond Sociology, it’s important to think of the social impact that such games can have on our society. With video games becoming more than just virtual toys our perspective on them and their utility changes and they become a greater part society. HEY MAN. IT’S IMPORTANT.

As a physical therapists responding to the game being developed for young boys with Muscular Dystrophy puts it “They have to spend hours with us doing nothing that’s easy, only hard things. Looking at their faces after they play this game where they get to just play and be kids is a lot of fun to see.” That’s key. To find new ways in which video games can reach, aid, and even brighten the day of new audiences is the real reason we’re seeing this trend.  You probably shouldn’t get your hopes up for Nintendo to be diving into this market ,(Though to be fair, Wii Fit and their purposed Vitality sensor certainly do come close) it’s not unlikely that we’ll see more games used as medical tools develop.