March 28, 2007
World Without Oil
A new entry in the category of "Serious Games" or "Alternate reality Games" - World Without Oil (coming April 30th), in which "the game will essentially encourage people to envision a world in which the United States has been cut off from oil imports. Then, visitors will be urged to participate in the game by writing their own stories, creating videos or even by conjuring so-called flash mobs in U.S. cities."
The game fits in with a new movement to create situations where participants can become engaged in current affairs issues and work in collaborative groups to imagine new solutions.
March 21, 2007
French Government looks to provide state support for game development
France's Minister of Culture is seeking to provide state support for game developers working in France. From Wired News:
"Earlier this month, French Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres inducted three game designers into the prestigious Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Literature) as chevaliers, or knights: Peter Molyneux (Populous and Black & White), Eric Viennot (Missing) and Antoine Villette (Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare)."
The support comes in the form of tax breaks, and comes in part to recognize video games as a part of culture on par with literature and film.
Article Link: http://www.wired.com/news/culture/games/0,73004-0.html
March 20, 2007
"More video games, fewer books at schools?" - Reuters
Reuters has an interesting article which summarizes a lot of recent work in educational/serious games and their potential role in improving digital media literacy in schools.
March 16, 2007
PS3 for science
From CNet News:
"Beginning March 23, PlayStation 3 users will be able to connect their consoles online to Stanford University's Folding@home project, allowing researchers to tap into the machines' substantial processing power as they study a process called protein folding. A principal objective of the research is to better understand not only the process of protein folding--the folding of protein strands into the three-dimensional molecules that determine their biological function--but how incorrectly folded proteins lead to serious diseases such as cancer, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's."
For more details and to participate:
March 13, 2007
Duke Nukem-based game created to analyze depression
"Scientists are using a virtual-reality, three-dimensional video game that challenges spatial memory as a new tool for assessing the link between depression and the hippocampus, the brain's memory hub. Spatial memory is the memory of how things are oriented in space and how to get to them. Researchers found that depressed people performed poorly on the video game compared with nondepressed people, suggesting that their hippocampi were not working properly.
Results were published by NIMH researcher Neda Gould and colleagues in the March issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry."
The game is apparently based on the Duke Nukem game engine. Here's the cite to that Gould article:
Neda F. Gould, M. Kathleen Holmes, Bryan D. Fantie, David A. Luckenbaugh, Daniel S. Pine, Todd D. Gould, Neil Burgess, Husseini K. Manji, and Carlos A. Zarate, Jr.
Performance on a Virtual Reality Spatial Memory Navigation Task in Depressed Patients
American Journal of Psychiatry 2007 (164): 516-519