Month: February 2018

Gov. Bevin blames video games, culture for school shootings

Posted on February 17, 2018  in Video Games

Gov. Matt Bevin said he’s heartbroken over the school shooting in Florida.

However, he believes it’s a cultural issue — and not the access to guns — that is behind the increase in school shootings.

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“Look at the culture of death that is being celebrated,” Bevin said. “There are video games, that, yes, are listed for mature audiences, but kids play it and everybody knows it and there’s nothing to prevent the child from playing them. It celebrates the slaughtering of people.”

Bevin called video games where people kill others “garbage,” stating “it’s the same as pornography.” He said “freedom of speech” has been abused by allowing things that are “filthy and disgusting and have no redeemable value.”

Bevin later tweeted a video discussing a “culture that is crumbling from within,” which de legitimizes life through violent video games, TV shows and music lyrics:

Rep. John Yarmuth criticized Bevin’s comments, saying, “Here’s the thing. You are 25 times more likely to be killed by a gun in the United States than in any other industrialized nation. We’re not the only country with mental health issues. To respond to Gov. Bevin, we are not the only country who plays video games. They play video games all over the world, but they don’t kill people.”

Bevin had a similar reaction after two students were killed in a school shooting in Benton, Kentucky, last month.

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Month: February 2018

Kentucky Gov. blames video games, music for shootings

Posted on February 17, 2018  in Video Games

Kentucky’s Republican governor says he’s heartbroken over a school shooting in Florida that killed 17 just weeks after a similar shooting at a high school in his state.

Gov. Matt Bevin told talk radio hosts his heart is truly broken for the people of Florida and the community has been shattered in a similar way that Kentucky was in January. He said guns are not the reason for increase in school shootings, but blamed a culture that delegitimizes life through violent video games, TV shows and music lyrics.

Bevin called video games where people kill others “garbage” and said “it’s the same as pornography.” He said “freedom of speech” has been abused by allowing things that are “filthy and disgusting and have no redeemable value.”

Nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in the Wednesday afternoon shooting in Parkland, Florida.

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Month: February 2018

Video games are to blame, not guns

Posted on February 17, 2018  in Video Games

Gov. Matt Bevin is taking a stand on school shootings after 17 people died in a Florida school this week. It’s a societal scourge that’s top of mind for Bevin since not even a month has passed since a shooting killed two at Marshall High School in the small western Kentucky town of Benton. In a Facebook video posted Thursday night, Bevin called on producers of movies, music, television shows and video games to be part of an effort to “figure out how to try to repair this fabric of America that’s getting shredded beyond recognition.” “Our culture is crumbling from within, and the cost of it is high,” Bevin said. “All of you, we’ve got to step up. We’re the adults — let’s act like it. Let’s step forward. Let’s start a conversation.” He also made the more standard overtures to fellow governors, the president and Congress to strike up a dialogue that can prevent future school shootings.

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Month: February 2018

Underage driving on the rise as video games give ‘youngsters the confidence to get behind the wheel’

Posted on February 16, 2018  in Video Games

More than 1,000 driving bans were handed to children in 2017 who were not old enough to drive, thanks to video games “giving youngsters the confidence to get behind the wheel”. 

It is feared that video games which are “teaching” young people to drive could be contributing to the number of underage driving bans being issued, rising from 696 in 2014 to 1,024 last year.

Figures obtained by the BBC showed children as young as 12 were among those banned, with 33 disqualifications issued in total during 2017 for those aged 13 and under, according to DVLA statistics.

It has been suggested that the rise could be down to children learning how to drive through their computer or gaming console.

AA president Edmund King said: “There are more and more video games out there now that are able to effectively teach people how to drive.

Darnell Harte was killed along with four others by a 15-year-old boy driving in Leeds

Credit:
PA

“With these games you can buy a clutch, a steering wheel, a break so even if they’re getting into a manual car for the first time, they know, or think they know how to drive it.

“These games are giving youngsters the confidence to get behind the wheel even when they shouldn’t be.”

In November a 15-year-old boy caused the deaths of five people in Leeds when he crashed a stolen car into a tree after reaching speeds of 88mph.

The teenager, who cannot be named due to his age, admitted five counts of causing death by dangerous driving and was detained for four and a half years.

AA president, Edmund King, said children’s video games could be contributing to the problem

Credit:
 Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Mr King added that despite the myth that children are no longer interested in driving and prioritise social media, both driving lessons and tests are on the rise and teenagers remain as enthusiastic as ever.

Currently, UK courts can impose driving bans on those who are legally too young to drive. Once they have turned 17 and their disqualification period ends, they will be able to drive again.

RAC Insurance spokesman Simon Williams said concerns were also being raised about how children were getting their hands on cars.

He said: “There now appears to be a new way of children getting access to vehicles which involves legitimate adult drivers buying or hiring cars to let children, predominantly boys, have a go at driving, often for a fee.”

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Month: February 2018

Video games, not guns, to blame for school shooting, says Kentucky gov.

Posted on February 16, 2018  in Video Games

Enlarge / Zap!

a shooting that left at least 17 dead on Wednesday in a high school outside Boca Raton, Florida, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin (R) focused on violent video games as part of a “culture of death that is being celebrated” and leading to these kinds of incidents.

“There are video games that, yes, are listed for mature audiences, but kids play them and everybody knows it, and there’s nothing to prevent the child from playing them,” Bevin said in an interview on WHAS’ Leland Conway show Thursday morning. “They celebrate the slaughtering of people. There are games that literally replicate and give people the ability to score points for doing the very same thing that these students are doing inside of schools, where you get extra points for finishing someone off who’s lying there begging for their life.”

“These are quote-unquote video games, and they’re forced down our throats under the guise of protected speech,” Conway continued, seemingly referring to a 2011 Supreme Court decision that prevents content-based restrictions on games. “It’s garbage. It’s the same as pornography. They have desensitized people to the value of human life, to the dignity of women, to the dignity of human decency. We’re reaping what we’ve sown here.”

When Conway asked if Bevin was interested in a ban on these types of games or merely more parental oversight of children’s access, Bevin asked for media producers to take some responsibility for their works. “I think we need to start by having an honest question about what value any of these things add,” he said. “Why do we need a video game, for example, that encourages people to kill people. Whether it’s lyrics, whether it’s TV shows, whether it’s movies, I’m asking the producers of these products, these video games and these movies, ask yourselves what redemptive value, other than shock value, other than the hope you’ll make a couple of bucks off it. At what price? At what price?”

Video games and other cultural products were part of a long list of causes Bevin suggested for the increase in school shootings and the nation’s loss of its “moral compass.” Parents, churches, and schools have all abdicated their responsibility to “hold children to task,” he said, leading kids to “make their own rules without fear of consequences.” He also made brief reference to the prevalence of medications and their harmful side effects as a potential cause.

Bevin recalled that children used to regularly bring guns to school after Christmas when he was a child but said it’s changes to society that have led to those children using those guns in schools today. “We as adults have to stop acting like children ourselves. We need to step up and say that right is right and wrong is wrong.”

The blame game

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin
Enlarge / Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin

This isn’t the first time Bevin has cited video games as a partial cause of school violence. In a Facebook video posted days after a January school shooting in Benton, Kentucky, Bevin included video games as part of the entertainment industry “filth” that is “desensitizing young people to the actual tragic reality and permanency of death.”

Games have been a favored explanation for school shootings and other youth violence among many commentators at least since the shooters in the 1999 Columbine massacre were revealed to be fans of Doom. Some media reports focused on the 2007 Virginia Tech shooter’s love of Counter-Strike, and a Norwegian mass shooter claimed at his trial that he had trained for his rampage using Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

Florida lawyer Jack Thompson was one of the loudest proponents of the link between video games and real-world violence for years before he was disbarred in disgrace in 2008. But violent video games as a potential cause of real shootings is an idea that has been floated in some form by everyone from the NRA to President Obama over the years.

International comparisons of per capita spending on violent games and gun-related murders show a negative correlation between the two. And meta-analyses of video game violence studies have found no real link between imaginary on-screen violence and actual aggressive behavior.

Long-term longitudinal studies of children from the ’90s show only very minor increase in behavioral problems for children who played violent video games. But other research has shown that violent video game players actually do become desensitized to violence, at least in the short term.

Science aside, video games and other violent media will likely be a focus for many politicians and commentators looking for an explanation for this latest bout of violence in the coming days. International statistical comparisons, though, suggest that the prevalence of guns in the United States is more closely correlated with these kinds of mass shootings.

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Month: February 2018

Florence’s love story mixes the best of comics, video games, and animation

Posted on February 16, 2018  in Video Games

The modern video game industry is overloaded with the equivalent of the epic novel—dense, intensely challenging games that can take dozens or hundreds of hours of dedication to truly absorb. That’s not even counting competitive online games that functionally never end thanks to regular infusions of new content—the video game equivalent of an epic fantasy series or serialized comic book.

But every so often, it’s nice to take a break with a game that manages to tell a memorable story in a much more compact form. That’s why I was enamored with Florence, a tidy interactive experience released by Annapurna Interactive and Australian development house Mountains earlier this week. The $3 iOS app is a slice-of-life tale that you can run through in about half an hour, but it has a gentle beauty that will stick with you for much longer.

The basic plot of Florence doesn’t seem especially exciting when written out directly. Florence, a lonely office drone in a city office building, meets street musician Krish by happenstance when she crashes her bike one day. The pair quickly move from awkward courtship to cohabitation, exploring the city together and generally being happy and cute as they go through everyday life.

Florence encourages Krish to join a music academy, while Krish pushes Florence to make time for her own hobby of painting. But the couple eventually loses the spark and settles into a routine that begins to erode into squabbling. The end provides a wistful, bittersweet twist on the “happily ever after” conclusion players might have been expecting.

Basic plot, basic interaction

While the storyline itself isn’t especially original, Florence stands out for the way it tells that story, working through a series of what the developers call “bespoke gameplay vignettes.” At their best, these simple interactive tasks add a layer of depth and intimacy to the game’s lightly animated, largely dialogue-free comic panels and gentle, haunting music.

Throughout the game, for instance, you participate in conversations by putting puzzle pieces together into the shape of comic word balloons. What starts as multi-piece puzzles during the relationship’s awkward beginnings evolves into much simpler shapes as the flow of the courtship gets more comfortable.

Later, the rounded pieces are replaced with jagged, sharp-edged jigsaws that add intensity to some intense arguments. At points, the pieces of the puzzle might not fit together at all, highlighting the difficulty of the interpersonal situation without using a single word.

Florence is full of these kinds of unassuming moments that use the language of games to enhance the message of the story. Swiping the screen to brush your teeth or tapping matching numbers on a spreadsheet replicates the numbing routine and tedium of everyday life the characters are going through. Actively putting items on shelves and placing others in storage adds a sense of intimacy to the protagonists moving in together. Even shaking the iPad to help develop a Polaroid picture is a cute little touch.

At its worst, Florence‘s interactivity feels like busy work. Actions like messing with focus dials to bring a scene into focus or tapping on music notes to follow their sound don’t add much to the story. Nor does scratching away at pieces of paper to reveal the sketches and drawings Florence makes.

As a whole, though, I don’t think Florence would work as well as a short animated film or static comic book—this hybrid proves to be the perfect medium. The interactions keep you engaged in the story, and there’s enough variety and novelty to avoid ever becoming just rote tapping on the screen.

It’s a light touch that stops well short of putting you in full control of the protagonists in the way so many open-world epics attempt. Instead, you’re asked to join in the important moments in these characters’ lives in a more intimate way.

To game or not to game?

Florence is the kind of work that seems designed to raise the tedious argument over whether it should count as a “video game” or not. While Florence is definitely interactive, it’s missing any sense of difficulty or risk of failure that often constitutes a “game” in players’ minds. If you can’t figure out what to do at any point, Florence even provides a gentle on-screen clue for how to control the current scene.

Frankly, the specific box that Florence sits in isn’t all that interesting to me. By mixing some of the best features of comics, video games, and animation, Florence tells a sweet and memorable tale that isn’t belabored with a lot of fluff or busywork. In a gaming world full of immense, sprawling epics, we could use more inventive short stories like this.

The good

  • Simple, sweet, memorable story told well and succinctly.
  • Light interactive elements add intimacy to common storytelling beats.
  • Beautiful art and music.

The bad

  • Some interactive elements feel like mere busywork.
  • The plot isn’t especially original.

The Ugly

  • People who will dismiss the game out of hand because it’s “not really a video game.”

Verdict: An inventive, short narrative treat for an idle evening. Buy it.

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Month: February 2018

Video sports games from 70s and 80s are back

Posted on February 15, 2018  in Video Games

Gamers nostalgic for video games of yesteryear can step back in time at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.

The museum’s newest exhibit The Games We Play was being installed Wednesday and will be officially launched at a 12-hour Game-A-Thon that starts at 7 p.m. on Friday.

Breanna Suk, collections and exhibit co-ordinator, said the new exhibit highlights the evolution of sports video games and recognizes that video games are an extension of the fan experience.

A video game simulator is part of the exhibit so people can relive the action of their favourite old-school games.

“You’ll be able to play some of the old games from the basic Nintendo entertainment system, Super Nintendo, Sega, N64 — those old games we all remember playing that are hard to get your hands on now,” Suk said on Wednesday.

“It’s a very different exhibit than what we normally put up. We wanted to try to expand outside our traditional exhibits.”

She said it’s expected to attract gamers in their early 20s to mid 30s, an age group the museum doesn’t usually see.

Behind the glass there will be game consoles and games as old as Pong and Telstar from the 1970s. Other components of the exhibit will focus on traditional hand-held Indigenous games, as well as traditional tabletop games, like Munro hockey and Crokinole.

The exhibit will be on display for two years.

Participants at the Game-A-Thon will be able to access video game consoles featuring both retro and modern games, a variety of board games, space for table top games and various forms of card games throughout the night. Admission is $25 and gamers must be at least 18. To register call 403-341-8614.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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Breanna Suk, collections and exhibit co-ordinator, works on displays at The Games We Play exhibit at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. (Photo by Susan Zielinski/Advocate staff)

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Month: February 2018

5 romantic gestures you can make to your significant other in video games

Posted on February 15, 2018  in Video Games

valentines day final fantasy xiv eternal bond

Valentine’s Day is a great time to play some games with your significant other and share some online competition or cooperative fun. While there are lots of games that offer opportunities for players to create duos to delve into virtual worlds, few video games actually offer you opportunities to express your love for another person while you play. Most of the time, you’re killing zombies, blasting other players, or solving elaborate quests as part of your video game getaway.

Some games have ways you can make a little romance while you play, though, especially if you’re willing to get creative. Here are five ways to make a romantic gesture in video games this Valentine’s Day, whether it’s just crafting a quick virtual date or pledging your in-game love for the rest of your virtual life.

Go dancing in Destiny 2

valentines day destiny 2 dancing

You might not be great at dancing in real life, but that doesn’t stop you from busting a move in quite a few video games — Destiny 2 included. Grabbing a few good dance emotes in Destiny is a great way to show that special fireteam member how you feel, especially if your feelings are easily expressed by things like “Thriller,” “Hotline Bling,” or Lindsay Bluth Funke’s chicken dance from Arrested Development. Even better than throwing down an interpretive dance in the middle of a strike to catch your valentine’s attention, you might consider inviting your significant other out on the town — er, tower — to dance together. It’s a good way to have a little close fun if your IRL (in real life) body isn’t great at rhythmic motions. You can take the whole thing up a notch and make your way to somewhere exotic, like the Eater of Worlds, then make use of a more exclusive dance floor.

valentines day destiny proposal emote rami ismail

If you want to go a step further (and you’ve got the original Destiny), you could take advantage of a custom emote Bungie made for a Guardian to propose to her significant other back in 2016 (Vlambeer developer Rami Ismail, who received the proposal, even documented the whole thing on Twitter). Bungie made the “Proposal” emote available for free to all Destiny players; you can find it in the Tower in the Emote Collection kiosk. Unfortunately, the emote hasn’t made its way into Destiny 2 yet, but maybe there’s something more romantic about going through the elaborate setup of convincing your special someone to join you in an old game just to use one very specific emote to show your affection.

Send a romantic message

valentines day send a message playstation network

Editor’s Note: Yes! Yes! A million times, yes!

Sending a message on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or Steam is a quick way to make contact with a friend or play a game, but if you apply the lost art of letter writing, it can be a whole lot more. Craft a romantic message to send either through your platform of choice or through various games — including Destiny 2, World of Warcraft, League of Legends or StarCraft II — to give your crush something fun to open. It’s a romantic option that doesn’t necessarily require in-game skills or dedication to a particular game, which is handy if you and your date love games but are not enamored of (or maybe especially good at) playing together. Lots of games offer the ability to send messages, and spending the time to craft a truly romantic missive isn’t too far removed from writing a love letter and sending it through the mail.

Go on a VR date in the ‘Rec Room’

valentines day rec room date

Virtual reality takes playing online a step further than other games. The technology’s biggest asset is the sense of presence it creates by bringing both your head and your hands into its virtual worlds, and allowing you to feel like you’re actually occupying a physical space. That’s great for spending a little time with someone special, especially if you can’t actually be with that person in the real world. There are quite a few online multiplayer VR games that let you feel close to someone even when you’re miles apart, but Rec Room is an especially great game for a VR “date.” The title includes a bunch of multiplayer games, like paintball, disc golf, and 3D charades. It offers cooperative experiences you can share with a special someone, so if you can’t be together in person on Valentine’s Day, consider meeting up in the digital world. Rec Room is a cross-platform game, so it works whether you and your date are PlayStation VR fans, HTC Vive users, or among those dedicated to the Oculus Rift.

Build a romantic monument in Minecraft

valentines day minecraft romantic garden

Minecraft has become a hugely social game over the years, with whole teams of people working together to create amazing structures, like the entire map of Game of Thrones and the starship Enterprise, as well as real-life landmarks like Penn Station. You might not have ambitions as grand as that, but creating something for your valentine in Minecraft can be a powerful gesture. Spending some time making something unique to your relationship or interesting to your significant other in a game world can be as cool as crafting a card or working hard on a personal gift in the real world, with the added benefit that your partner can actually walk around or through whatever you create. You don’t even have to have any real carpentry or engineering skills to make it happen. Try something like DarkMagic252’s Romantic Garden, shown above, or check out some of the great ideas people have had for making Minecraft surprises and date locations on Reddit.

Get married in an MMO

valentines day final fantasy xiv eternal bond

You’ve probably heard about marriage ceremonies players have organized in games like World of Warcraft in order to declare their love. WoW doesn’t have a “marriage system,” per se — though that hasn’t stopped players from holding ceremonies. (There are even guides!) Still, if you’d like make it official, other massively multiplayer games have added mechanics that allow players to actually marry each other in the game. The Elder Scrolls Online allows players to enshrine their love with the Ritual of Mara, one of the Nine Divines, and make their marriages official — and they get a 10 percent experience point boost when they play with their spouses. Players can also form an Eternal Bond in Final Fantasy XIV, and can even pay for a full ceremony. Regardless of the game you decide to get married in — whether the mechanics are part of the game or not — be sure to bring a few friends along as witnesses and to share in your in-game joy.

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Month: February 2018

Video Games to Improve Mobility After a Stroke

Posted on February 15, 2018  in Video Games

The victims of cerebral infarcts that lose a part of the mobility of their body undergo physiotherapy treatments, while the therapies based on the training of attention are reserved for patients with cognitive disorders such as learning or memory difficulties.

Researchers at the Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language (BCBL) in San Sebastian and the London Imperial College have analyzed the architecture of brain injuries in stroke patients for more than three years. Their work proposes a new therapy for the mobility problems caused by ischemic strokes.

The study, published in the PNAS journal, has opened the door to a new therapeutic pathway that consists of complementing the physical treatments received by these patients with therapies to overcome attention deficit disorders, such as working with video games.

After accurately analyzing the patterns of brain injuries, the authors understood better the motility problems suffered by patients with cerebral infarction.

According to the BCBL expert David Soto, “patients with brain injuries in attention control areas also suffer motility control problems, even when the movement required by the task is very simple”.

The scientists focused on exploring the extent and location of brain injuries in 167 stroke patients for more than three years. Through a ‘mapping’ performed with magnetic resonance, they identified the affected part and the type and size of the lesion, and analyzed the connectivity between the different areas of the brain.

Next, they subjected the patients to various motor tasks, some very simple, such as grabbing an object with force. After the tests, the researchers found that these tasks were “impaired” in those patients who had injuries in the area of the brain “involved” in attention.

New therapeutic routes

The experts emphasize the importance of the brain areas related with attention control in the control of movements, which “may also suggest some therapeutic routes”, such as complementing “mobility therapies based on physiotherapy with another type of cognitive training that increases the attention of patients”. One example would be the work with videogames.

David Soto explains that before this study it was thought that the control of movement and the attention control aspect were “different systems” with little relation to each other, and that the treatments enabled for the patients with cognitive injuries could not serve for those who had mobility problems. However, the conclusions of this research have shown otherwise.

“We have to know first how our brain controls and moves to design effective therapeutic tools for stroke patients and specific therapies for each individual depending on where the injury has occurred,” concludes Soto.

To confirm these results, the next step will be to establish a clinical trial with patients suffering motor skills disorders due to a stroke and divide them into two groups: one of them undergoing physiotherapy treatment and the other with complementary cognitive training.

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Month: February 2018

Video games could help improve mobility in stroke patients

Posted on February 15, 2018  in Video Games

Video games could help improve mobility in stroke patients

February 14, 2018 – 17:37 AMT

PanARMENIAN.Net – A joint research by the Basque research center BCBL and the London Imperial College reveals that, after a cerebral infarction, injuries in areas that control attention also cause motility problems. The authors propose to complement physiotherapy with another type of cognitive training, such as video games, News Medical reports.

The victims of cerebral infarcts that lose a part of the mobility of their body undergo physiotherapy treatments, while the therapies based on the training of attention are reserved for patients with cognitive disorders such as learning or memory difficulties.

Researchers at the Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language (BCBL) in San Sebastian and the London Imperial College have analyzed the architecture of brain injuries in stroke patients for more than three years. Their work proposes a new therapy for the mobility problems caused by ischemic strokes.

The study, published in the PNAS journal, has opened the door to a new therapeutic pathway that consists of complementing the physical treatments received by these patients with therapies to overcome attention deficit disorders, such as working with video games.

After accurately analyzing the patterns of brain injuries, the authors understood better the motility problems suffered by patients with cerebral infarction.

According to the BCBL expert David Soto, “patients with brain injuries in attention control areas also suffer motility control problems, even when the movement required by the task is very simple”.

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