Extra Life: Playing Games To Save Lives

Just a quick one today. I wanted to bring notice to an awesome cause and annual event.

“Extra Life unites thousands of players around the world in a 24 hour gaming marathon to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Since its inception in 2008, Extra Life has raised more than $14 million for local CMN hospitals.”

Extra-Life is an event that brings together gamers from all over the world to play games in support of the Children’s Miracle Network  of Hospitals.  In collaboration with the ESA, the event  challenges gamers to raise funds through pledges to their gaming marathon.  Participants will attempt to game for a full 24 hours, all for the cause of raising funds for a much deserved cause. Interested gamers can create a fundraising goal for themselves or a team at the Extra Life Website. This years event will take place  next weekend on November 7th, 2015 (Though they’ll take donations for any day!).

Whether you want to participate yourself, watch some streams of participating gamers, donate to the cause, or simply find out more information, head on over to Extra-Life.org for more details.

Such an awesome event just goes to show the amazing good that the gaming community can do when we come together for a righteous cause.

Developers Adapting Educational Games to New U.S Standards

New U. S standards in education are changing the way developers create educational games. GET YOUR EDUCATIONAL STANDARDS CORRECT, MATHBLASTER.

Common Core, a set of K-12 educational standards in math and language arts, has been adopted by 45 states across the United States, leading to new standards and guidelines in teaching. These new standards are an issue of hot debate right now, as many states are receiving push back and negative feedback to these newly adopted standards. According to multiple sources, including Education World and The Hechinger Report, game developers are racing to develop games that meet the standards laid out in common core.

This isn’t surprising for anyone tracking the development and implementation of video games in the  classroom. Recent research estimates that the market growth of educational games will increase substantially in the coming years; the industry of educational game is   a big and profitable one. The goal for these companies is to see their games be implemented into the classroom, which isn’t a lofty goal considering that over 70% of classrooms were found to incorporate video games in someway.

New on IOS: “Putt-Putt Reforms Education”

The number is only likely to rise in the coming years as more and more schools implement new technology into their classrooms, possibly fundamentally changing how children retain and learn new information. This is really interesting stuff, as just in the last decade we’ve seen how video games can be used as positive tools for educational reinforcement. From personal experience, educational games were used as a positive reinforcement tool in certain classes I took in elementary school. They worked, as students eagerly wanted to get their work done to be able to have more time playing games like “Sticky Bear” and “The Electric Chalkboard”. That was nearly 20 years ago, so I can’t imagine how complex and useful the games are now and days.  If this is to become a norm in education, we’ll have to track and evaluate the potential changes it has on both education and socialization.

Was there an educational game that really made a difference for you or a family member? Let me know, I’m interested to know how games shaped different learning habits.

In China Proposed Credit Score System Will Drop Score For Video Game Purchases

Live in China? Thinking about buying the newest Metal Gear Solid game? I hear in this one Snake-NO BUYING VIDEO GAMES ALLOWED

Gamers in China might want to think twice before purchasing their next video game, as China’s new credit score system may dock citizens for activities the government deems worthless.  Reports  are coming out about the new system which may change the buying and social media tendencies of Chinese citizens.  Jay Stanley of the American Civil Liberties has a particularly good piece on why this system might be cause for concern.\\

I’ll try and summarize the story

This past summer a new credit score system was introduced in China by the IT Giants who run the majority of China’s social media networks. They introduced it along side an App named “Sesame Credit”, which enables users to view their credit scores.The system seemed harmless, as credit score systems are programs that exist in many industrialized nations and, as of right now, the Sesame Credit app and system is optional; Chinese citizens don’t have to download the app or have a credit score assigned to them. However the Chinese government this week announced that a credit score system will be mandatory by the year 2020. It’s not yet know if it will be Sesame Credit (though it most likely will be) or a new program. That’s all fine and good, but what is being reported to affect your credit score is the real cause for concern:

China’s new credit score system will punish people for buying video games, posting anything political on social media, and even for having friends that post political things.

Hey…What? Even handheld games?

Sorry Tomorrow Children, not even you will be accepted.

Obviously this issue is much bigger than just one that involves video games, and stems from a government that is imposing heinous lifestyle restrictions on its people..but still, what the hey? Historically China has had a restrictive history with video games, but things looked promising when they released their ban on console games earlier this year. Inevitably this condemnation of video games in the way of hurting one’s credit score will result in more piracy, which is already a considerable problem in China. How should we as the gaming community take such an act? It’s hard to say, as this strike against the hobby of video games is such a small problem in comparison to the bigger issue at hand. This new credit system looks to reinforce a strict class system, as credit scores will be used to determine one’s “opportunities in life”: if one is fit to serve in local politics, be hired for certain jobs, etc. What worse, is the system is reportedly going to dock users scores for things friends say on social media, meaning that the system will create a pseudo social pressure to not saying anything controversial for fear of it ruining, not only your own credit score, but your friends’ as well.  Such a system will be detrimental to those seeking a change in politics and ideology in China.

We’ll have to keep an eye on this story as it progresses, as it could be pretty harmful to the burgeoning video game community in China.