August 1, 2014

More news on educational games – and conferences

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Thanks to Natasha Boskic for this:

Amazon.com has published a list of Bestsellers in Video Games for 2009.

Jamie Madigan published an interesting article on her blog, “Phat Loot and Neurotransmitters in World of Warcraft”,  about psychological effects of games, using World of Warcraft as an example. Her whole blog is an attempt to understand why we play games and what they do to us. In this particular posting, she compares playing WoW to slot machines. This triggered an even more interesting discussion on game addiction, human behaviour and the ways different countries respond to the consequences of increased game-time of everyday citizens.

The Independent Games Festival has announced the Main Competition finalists for the best games of the year. This is a record-breaking year in terms of the number of main competition entries (306 entries in total) since the establishment of IGF in 1998. The awards are in the categories: Seumas McNally Grand Prize, Excellence In Visual Art, Excellence In Design, Excellence In Audio, Technical Excellence, and Nuovo Award. The winners will be announced on stage at the IGF on March 2010 during the 2010 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
In addition to nearly $50,000 in prizes in various categories, a constructive, written feedback (over 1500 written comments) from anonymous judges will be given to entrants, regardless of whether they are finalists or not, which is a great incentive for game developers to take part in this competition.

Harry Wallop’s report (in “Video games bigger than film”) on the growth of video game industry in United Kingdom shows that movies haves lost their dominant position in entertainment arena. In 2009 500 million pounds more was spent on video games than on films in UK. Video games have become part of mainstream, affordable and enjoyable by the whole family.

Satisfied with the success of Super Mario Bros Wii, Satoru Iwata, the president of Nintendo, announced that the new Legend of Zelda Wii would be released by the end of the year. Read Chris Kohler’s article “Nintendo’s Iwata Says Wii Zelda in 2010” in Wired magazine.

Launching of Google Nexus One smartphone has attracted a lot of attention. One of the first questions about its functionality and possibilities is whether it could be used for playing games. Google is certainly thinking about how to make its mobile operating system the best in the world, competing with other already established phone companies on the market. Read the comment in Edge, “Gaming on the Google Phone”.

Can video games be used as a medicine? According to the story in Wired magazine, Injured MMA Fighter Recovers With Modern Warfare, video games helped an injured cagefighter to get back in shape.

Sony is unifying its products by enabling Sony PlayStation owners to use their PSN accounts to download content from other Sony devices. This was announced at Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2010) in Las Vegas on January 6, with a next month deadline. (Sony Details PSN Expansion To Other Products)

However, if you have non-Sony pieces of hardware, there will be no way for them to communicate. When every brand has its own network with no communication with other brands, we are faced with the same issue of compatibility as between Mac OS and Windows, with painful conversions and tons of helping applications (version for this and version for that…). If different companies don’t’ start thinking about how to “play” together, maybe every household should think about getting a huge deck instead of a dinner table.

See also: News on educational games, posted on January 21, 2010.

Also, Natasha’s list of conferences on simulations and games has now been updated to cover the whole of 2010.

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