Nintendo UK creates the ” Nintendo Girls Club” on Youtube

A few months ago during E3 I asked the question whether Nintendo was being more gender inclusive after the inclusion of lead female characters in most of their E3 line-up. Yesterday, the Nintendo’s Girl Club youtube channel popped up on youtube, giving further evidence that Nintendo is really stepping up their efforts to appeal to a wider audience.

The introductory video (posted above) promises trailers and news presented by the channel’s host  Jorgie Porter and other female fans of Nintendo games and franchises. All in all, it seems like the channel will be just that: female gamers talking about games and news relating to Nintendo. It’s a welcomed and novel approach, and it does show that Nintendo is at least trying to appeal to female gamers. I doubt we’ll see any hard hitting insight on the channel, but it’s good nonetheless. This comes after many divisions of Nintendo have launched a marketing campaign to appeal to a wider demographic of gamers, including commercials and games that more widely appeal to a greater audience.

If you are or know a young girl that is a fan of Nintendo then they may enjoy this new channel. I realize this entire post reads like a advertisement for Nintendo, but I thought it was something worth noticing.

Check out more videos on the Nintendo Girl’s Club Youtube channel

 

Telltale’s The Walking Dead Being Used To Teach Ethics in Norwegian School

A highschool in Norway is using Telltale’s acclaimed “The Walking Dead”  series to teach their students about ethics. Will these kids learn actual ethical insight, or will they only learn that Zombies = bad news?

The school was brought to attention by NRK, a media outlet in Norway that reported on the class. A video of the report can be seen here (Warning, it’s in Norweigin, but you can hit the translate button if you don’t speak the language).

According to the report, the game is being used to give student ethical dilemmas that they may not otherwise be given. Before you assume these ethical decisions are “Be a zombie murder or not?”, bear in mind that the series has been acclaimed for making players actually feel for their characters and feel the weight of their decisions. Unfortunately I personally have not had a chance to play the series, but I’ve heard they’re very well respected and well developed in character design and progression.

The report also claims that students have had positive results using the game to teach students ethics, as the game has spawned lively discussion of many of the ethical dilemmas that are presented in the game. Likewise, the students are reported to be much more engaged in this form of teaching than in traditional forms of teaching ethics.

Such a report begs the question: should video games be incorporated into more classrooms? Certainly there has been evidence to suggest that video games help engage students in school, but are they more successful in teaching than traditional means? That remains to be seen, and anecdotal evidence like this can only be applied to the situation. Certainly The Walking Dead wouldn’t be appropriate outside ethics and philosophy classes, but perhaps other games can help bridge the gap between education and video games. Similarly, one must ask: are using video games in the classroom any different than using television or movies?

Can Playing Video Games Cause Hallucinations?

Can Playing Video Games Cause Hallucinations?

A Recent study out of Nottingham Trent University, and reported on by Gamespot, claims that playing video games for may cause hallucinations. Should we be worried, or should we just forget about it and continue to try and get Donkey Kong out of my backyard?

The study is based on experience compiled by  gamers collected on online gaming forums. The fact that the study is relying on personal experience from internet testimonial is already questionable, but we’ll just go ahead and move on.  Gamers reported seeing distorted versions of reality that included aspects of games after playing for extended periods of times. This could include things like seeing gaming menus, signs, or even options in the real world. This phenomenon the research team calls “Game Transfer Phenomena”is  what they describe as “how playing games can affect a person’s sense of sight, sound, and touch after they are done playing”.  These experiences were mixed, with some gamers having uncomfortable experiences in which they were unable to concentrate, confused, or even worried about the perceived objects they saw.

From personal experience: One night, after a particularly long session of playing the 2001 title “Super Monkey Ball” the game seeped into my reality. Day was night, light was dark, balls were filled with monkeys.  Had my loved ones been trapped in spherical cages, or was it all in my mind? As I navigated the mazes of my mind, and the ones manifested into my reality I began to laugh at the comedy of it all; for aren’t we all monkeys in our own balls? Trapped in our own spheres of lies and desperation? What a world to live we in; It’s Bananas.

…Where was I? Back to the article: Should we stop playing video games excessively for fear that Mario will sneak into our reality? Who knows. The research study team admits that relying on personal experience from an internet pool of respondents means that we can’t say that the group represents a majority of gamers. Further research needs to be done to see what type of gamers are more likely to have GTP occur and to see how and when GTP manifest, if it does. Regardless, it doesn’t seem like GTP is anything gamers should fear, as the majority of gamers didn’t seem to respond to having it. However, if true, GTP does mean that video games and media effect our brains in ways we haven’t quite figured out. Then again, is it just video games and other media that have this effect? One could argue that doing any activity for an extended amount of time can have adverse effects on one’s mental state and lead to sensations of that activity in normal life. We’ll have to keep an eye on the phenomena to further see how video games and media are effecting our social world.

If this sensation has ever happened to you (And not like the ridiculous lie I told) please share!

For more photos of Video games in Real Life!

http://kotaku.com/real-life-photos-mixed-with-16-bit-video-games-are-amaz-476024420

Do We Cheat in Video Games Because We Assume Everyone Else Is?

Do We Cheat in Video Games Because We Assume Everyone Else Is?

We’re back in 2014, with an article that looks into a study conducted by a research team coming out of Singapore. This specific study looks into why we cheat in video games.

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I won’t go into the specifics of the study, as the wired article does that quite well, but it is worth discussing the findings of the study. The article reevaluates the belief that it’s anonymity that makes gamers cheat in online communities, and instead finds that gamer’s responded that they more often resorted to cheating because they believed others were cheating as well. Not only that, but they also responded that if one doesn’t cheat in online communities then they are at a disadvantage. Essentially, we’re all cheating because we assume everyone is cheating, and if you’re honest you’re probably losing. What an online world we live in.

Take some time and check out the article, and the study if you have the ability to. It’s worth a view.

I know this post is a bit on the sparse side, but I promise: more content and new articles in the future! Until then, happy new years and good gaming.

Racist Games: Spanish for Everyone (DS)

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It’s time once again to look into the vault of Racist games that haunts our dreams every night. With the Holiday season in full bloom, perhaps you’ll find the right racist game for the racist in your life!

Today’s installment: Spanish For Everyone (DS, 2007)

From the looks of it “Spanish For You” looks like a harmless educational  DS title that will teach your kids Spanish. I’m sure that’s what the developers of this title intended it to be, but the result is anything but.  Let’s start with the game’s story.

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The game starts with you taking the role of a boy named Shawn. He’s a seemingly normal kid, playing his DS outside on a nice day (That kid is playing a DS Phat outside during the day? He must not enjoy seeing the screen! AMIRITE!?….Lets move on). The plot starts rolling when Miguel, a random kid who Shawn seemingly doesn’t know, ask to play Shawn’s DS in Spanglish. What proceeds will sound completely made up, but keep with me: it’s not. Miguel’s father rolls up in Limo and insists that Miguel comes with him, which he does. In the moment Miguel forgets to give Shawn his DS back and as the Limo squeals off Shawn begins to panic.  The plot thickens when two cop cars chase after Miguel’s father’s limo. A few minutes later, Shawn’s aunt, who he seems to barely know, arrives and ask you if you’d like to follow them to Mexico to get your DS back. She can “teach you many things, including Spanish”.

Rule of S4E # 1: When a strange older woman ask you to go to a foreign land to retrieve a device worth less than 150 dollars, you go without asking your parent permission.

Okay, so at this point the game just has a questionable premise to take the game’s character to Mexico to teach the player Spanish. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. Upon arriving to Tijuana, Shawn’s aunt abandons him on a truck with a talking bull. The Bull, the strangest character in the game, believes Shawn to be some sort of Messiah. He agrees to teach you Spanish, as it’s obviously a animalistic language that even animals know.

Rule of S4E #2: Abandoning kids in the backs of pick-up-trucks with dangerous animals is an okay thing to do in Mexico.

After traveling in this questionable pick-up-truck, Shawn arrives in a town that looks completely abandoned.  A man, who is apparently his uncle, is the only one to be found in this town. This is where the game get’s even more racist. Shawn’s uncle, who looks like a pedophile, tells you that he’s an exporter to the United States and that he is seeking a wealthy man for some unfinished business. The wealthy man turns out to be Miguel’s father, as he is the only man in Mexico to be able to afford a limo. He tells you that the town is dangerous a night and that you’ll need to get in his jeep to avoid getting attacked. What the hell is going on.

Rule of S4E #3: If you’re wandering the streets of a dangerous Mexican town alone, as you will obviously find yourself doing, get in the Jeep of the shady man claiming to be your uncle. He’ll protect you with “adult words” if your Jeep gets attacked.

Just to clarify. At this point, the developers of this game, are obviously insinuating that Shawn’s uncle and Miguel’s Father are mixed up in the drug trade. Their view of Mexico up until this part in the game are the following: Deserting Family members who may or may not be a pedophile, overly religious cows that are as intelligent as the other Mexican natives you’ve encountered, and drug cartels.

THIS IS LOCO! (I learned that word from the game!)

Now we’ve reached the conclusion of our strange journey. Shawn finally reaches the house of Miguel’s father. After your uncle tells you that he’s going to hold back until you leave, you go and knock on the door to find the swindler Miguel holding your DS. Fortunately he feels bad and he gives you back your DS and also gives you a plane ticket to your next adventure: France. The final scene shows multiple cars coming up to Miguel’s house as you walk away with your DS, eluding to the fact that shit is about to go down at Miguel’s house.

Let’s step back and look at what we just witnessed. This seemingly educational game relies on nothing but horrible stereotypes of Mexicans while it progresses you through meaningless mini games aimed at teaching you Spanish words, not proper Spanish speaking.  At no point in the game do you learn any conjugation or difference between masculine and feminine nouns. Worse even is that the game features numerous mistakes in both Spanish and English, making some parts of the game virtually unplayable. All in all, the game is racist, terrible, and horrendous to look at; what more can you ask for the holiday list for the racist in your life?

This is one of the instances in which I recommend emulation. If you want to check this terrible title out, please emulate and do not give money to the developers or Activision for publishing this horrendous game. To my knowledge, “French for Everyone” has never been made, and I sincerely hope it never does.

New Study Suggest Violent Video Games May Have Benefits for Children

New Study Suggest Violent Video Games Have Benefits for Children

Ru Roh. After numerous studies that have tried to link violent video games to bad behavior in children, the American Psychological Association has conducted a study that has found positive benefits to children playing violent video games. Is this just hear say, or should we sit our kids down in front of Grand Theft Auto instead of going to school?

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I don’t go into the study too thoroughly, but basically it discusses the positive and negatives that video games have for children. Specifically, the research discusses how video games in general help form cognitive and problem solving skills in young children. While these effects are not limited to violent video games, they too have these same type of positive effects. After years of researchers trying to find evidence that Video Games have negative effects on children’s development, it’s only recently that researchers have begun to study the positive effects that video games may hold.

“Important research has already been conducted for decades on the negative effects of gaming, including addiction, depression and aggression, and we are certainly not suggesting that this should be ignored,” said lead author Isabela Granic, PhD, of Radboud University Nijmegen in The Netherlands. “However, to understand the impact of video games on children’s and adolescents’ development, a more balanced perspective is needed.”

Hey, that’s pretty much what I said, right? The article then goes on to talk about how new perspectives on video games are being used to educate children. Classrooms and educational plans are being designed with video games incorporated, and these new types of learning tools are revolutionizing the way we teach children.  Hopefully these lesson plans and games are better than the first generation of educational games, which the majority of which were….creepy.

Terror is your teacher in Sonic Schoolhouse for the PC.
Terror is your teacher in Sonic Schoolhouse for the PC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who knows if we are at the dawn of video games being used in education, or a mere passing trend. Regardless, kids will play video games with or without the positive or negative effects researchers are suggesting. Likewise, researchers will continue to disagree about the effects of video games, especially violent ones.

Study Suggest Violent Video Games Makes Kids Eat more and Cheat!

Study Suggest Violent Video Games Makes Kids Eat more and Cheat!

They have finally found conclusive evidence that Video Games are making our kids fat cheaters. That’s at least what a study coming out of Ohio State University is suggesting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The study was conducted by having 172 Italian students either play violent or non-violent games and then conduct a test of honesty. While playing either type of video game participants were given a bowl of M&Ms to see whether the type of video game would effect how much the participants ate. The students wee either given a Grand Theft Auto game or a Pinball and Golf game, so clearly it was going for the most extreme opposite of games. After playing the games, the participants were asked to take a test to win raffle tickets, which they were then able to retrieve their won tickets from an unsupervised envelope to see if they would take more than their allocated tickets.

The results of the study found that students who were playing Grand Theft Auto ate 3 times more M&Ms than those who played the Non-violent video games, finally showing that Grand Theft Auto is a cause of obesity..wait, what? Likewise, the study found that students who played the violent video games were more likely to “steal” raffle tickets while  unsupervised. Together, these findings suggest that playing violent video games makes players less restrained. The study also suggest that males were more susceptible to this change in behavior than females, but females were also susceptible to the change.

So, should we throw our violent video games out the window for fear that we’ll put on pounds and rig the local raffle? (I’M GUNNA GET THAT BAKED CAKE AT ANY COST!) No. Of course not. These results only show a behavior pattern in a small sample of students that may not represent the population of gamers. Likewise, it hard to make the assumption that stealing raffle tickets from a hypothetical raffle means anymore than what it is.  Similarly, maybe one should ask what about playing games like GTA make players snack more than less encompassing games like 3D Pinball. It may not necessarily be a result of the violence in the video game, but rather the level of experience the gamer is having.

Meh, who knows. Ohio State may have to do additional research to prove their hypothesis.

PS4/XboxOne Midnight Release: Dos and Don’ts You’ll Need to know before You Line Up

With both Playstation and Microsoft releasing their next consoles in the upcoming weeks, it’s inevitable that people are preparing for the tried and true tradition of lining up for the midnight releases. Midnight release parties are a culture in their own right; New laws exist, the meek become the strong, and getting your hands on a console is the only thing that matters. Thus, for your sake and mine, I’ve decided it’s time to learn a little bit about the dos-and-don’ts of Console Midnight Releases.

Fair warning: Midnight releases get can get rough. Not dangerous or sketchy or anything, but rough on the sights and sounds. We’re talking lines of gamers, mostly dudes, whom have been standing in line for hours, if not days. While standing in a midnight release line for the Ouya I became inebriated by the fumes of my fellow gamers. I then begin to hallucinate for hours that I was in the game BattleToads.  I awoke hours past midnight in a nearby Pinkberry covered in yogurt and toppings with a screaming teenage employee holding a large spoon yelling at me. That story, of course, was a lie; no one cared about the Ouya.

Without further ado:

DO: Show up earlier than later.

Yeah, not standing in is nice, but so it getting a console at midnight. If you’re dedicated to getting a midnight released console, arrive earlier than later. Don’t wait until a line starts forming, if you’re really dedicated you won’t be afraid to be the first one in line. All of your waiting and patience will pay off when you get to play those sweet sweet launch titles…well, maybe not.

DON’T: Go Alone 

This one probably is the least followed rule of the midnight release, since many of us won’t be able to find a friend as passionate about having their console directly at midnight. That said, you’re still standing outside in the middle of the night with strangers. Launch lineups can be dangerous places, you’re essentially in a crowd of individuals each with the intention to spend at least 400 dollars on a video game console. Many muggings and thefts have occurred during midnight releases, often time after gamers have received their consoles. For your safety, please bring a friend, family member, or someone who will have your back even if they are only there to keep you company.

Do: Prepare before hand

One of the worst things you can do is line-up without having prepared to stand in a line for hours. Beyond sheer will, you’ll need other essentials including food, drink, and entertainment. That means plan ahead, bring bottles of water and snacks to get you through the night. Plan accordingly for the night: don’t go in just a t-shirt and shorts, even though you’re lining up at 3pm in the day. Also, bring your 3DS or Vitas, as you’ll be a line of gamers who may also have their handhelds on them; It’s a great way to pass the time and maybe even make some friends in the mean time.

Don’t: Go.

I know, it’s a little contradictory of me to give you some advise about going to midnight releases and then flat our advise not to go. But really, don’t go. You’re really not gaining that much by getting a game at midnight, at most you’re getting a few extra hours with a console that you’ll probably be too tired to really appreciate. Stay home, sleep, and wait until the morning and get a console at a store that isn’t holding a midnight release. Better yet, preorder in advance or have it shipped to you the day it releases.  If you’re worried that you won’t get a console at midnight unless you line up then just wait, the drought of consoles typically only last a few weeks at most. You’ll be able to eventually get your hands on a console, and besides: Launch games typically aren’t all that great.

For those who of you set on being there for a midnight release: Be safe and enjoy.

Forbes Releases Their Choices for the Top 10 Powerful Women in Gaming

Forbes Releases Their Choices for the Top 10 Powerful Women in Gaming

Forbes released their list of the 10 most powerful women in gaming today. In an industry dominated by men, the 10 listed women are blazing new ground for female game developers in the industry. Check out the list and get to know these 10 women shaping the game industry.

That’s all I have for today. Not failed attempts and failed humor or witty insight.

Video Games to Celebrate Halloween With

As I said a few months ago with “Games that to Celebrate the 4th of July with”, if video games mirror aspects of society, then it’s only natural that they celebrate our customs and holidays.  With Halloween only a few days a way, here are some spooktacularly fun games to celebrate Halloween with:

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Now there’s plenty of games gamers may go to for their Halloween gaming, specifically horror and survival games like Resident Evil, Deadspace, or Silent Hill. While these types of games are all great choices to play on Halloween, I’ll be focusing on games that actually celebrate Halloween…I’m talking Pumpkins, costumes, and, of course, trick and or treating. Here we go.

Animal Crossing Series (Nintendo)

I mentioned the Animal Crossing series in my 4th of July piece, but it works for pretty much all holidays and occasions. With Animal Crossing’s internal calendar and clock it celebrates holidays in real time. For Halloween the game has a reoccurring character that only appears in your town on October 31st. Jack, the pumpkin wearing character, appears in your town each Halloween starting all sorts of Halloween festivities and havoc upon your town. Jack is kind of a jerk, asking you to do all sorts of strange things and, to be honest, he’s a little too obsessed with Halloween for his own good. One must ask: what does he do with the rest of the year? The other villagers will get into the spirit by dressing up like Jack, offering candy, and giving out Halloween specific items. So if you haven’t checked your town in a few months (Sorry Isabelle and Nook, Pokemon took your place in my 3ds) perhaps it’s time to check in with your town and enjoy some of the Halloween fun this Thursday.

Costume Quest (PSN/XBLA/Steam 2013)

Honestly, this one I have not played but may give it a shot this Halloween. I have heard great things and it’s from trusted developer Doublefine, makers of  the hilarious and great games Psychonauts and Brutal Legend. Anyways, what better game to play on Halloween than a game set on Halloween. The game places you in the role of one of two siblings as they seek out their sibling after they are kidnapped by a giant monster with a sweet tooth while trick-or-treating on Halloween. The game is a mix of adventure and RPG aspects, with the player being able to switch their attack styles by switching different costumes. For those of us too old to go trick-or-treating, why not go in the virtual world with this game. All in all, it’s  supposed to be a really fun game with a Halloween backdrop that’s fun for all ages. Sounds perfect, eh.

Team Fortress 2 (Valve)

This one is moreso for the people  who have already played Team Fortress 2, as you’re probably not going to enjoy it too much if you’re only going in for the Halloween fun because you will get massacred and cry . For the last couple of years, Team Fortress 2 has updated the game with Halloween specific skins and festivities each year. Many developers had little fun Halloween skins and other fun things each year (Ex: Minecraft, Uncharted 3, etc) but Valve really has been known to out do other developers when it comes to Halloween. So if you’re a Team Fortress fan, take some time and playing TF2 this Halloween.

Jersey Devil (PS1 1997)

For those craving something a little older than those titles already mentioned, why not give Jersey Devil a try. The game puts you in the role of the infamous Jersey devil as he makes his way through levels filled with skeletons, pumpkins, and other Halloween related goods. The game may not be as favorably remembered as other PS1 classics like Crash Bandicoot or Spyro the Dragon, but it was a decent platformer for the time. Plus, it’s the only game to feature the elusive Jersey Devil, whom isn’t nearly as popular as the yeti or the eskimo.  That said, if you can find this game in a bargain bin it’s worth a try.

Kingdom Hearts Series (Square-Enix)

Last but not least is the Kingdom Hearts series. This one if more a guilty addition, as I they’re some of my favorite games. Many of the games in the franchise feature worlds based on the Tim Burton classic “The Nightmare Before Christmas”, which is  the perfect setting for any Halloween Video Gaming. Granted, there’s a debate whether the film is more of a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie, and Kingdom Hearts 2 definitely deals with more of the Christmas side of the film, but regardless Halloweentown is certainly applicable and fun to play on Halloween. It’s also a great game with a great remake that was just released on the PS3, so it’s worth a play anytime of the year.

So there you have it, some games to spend you last night of October with. Let me know what game you plan on enjoying this Halloween?