November 29, 2015

Games to defeat obesity, Napoleon, and students’ learning, and other games’ news

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From Natasha Boskic:

At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco (March 9-13, 2010), US Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra announced the Apps for Healthy Kids game development challenge promoting healthy lifestyle changes in young adults. The competition is a part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign to end childhood obesity within a generation.  The competition is open till the end of June and the challenge has 3999 supporters so far:

Those who love history, warfare and games, will be happy to engage in Napoleon: Total War, developed by Creative Assembly. The players can learn about strategy, diplomacy, and the great historical figure, Napoleon Bonaparte:

IGI Global is one of the leading multimedia publishers of books, reference works, journals etc. and every year it comes out with a number of new publications. This year, 2010 is no different. A number of new and interesting titles appeared, lots of them in the area of e-learning, games, and virtual worlds. Unfortunately, their prices are so high that one can barely afford to have one or two, let alone the whole collection. Offering them in an electronic format doesn’t help much, when that version is even more expensive. [Tony comments ‘And IGI doesn’t pay authors royalties either – stay away from them’]

Nicholas K. Geranios (2010). Study: New games harm schoolwork. msnbc, March 16, 2010. The study published last week in Psychological Science claims that playing games does not improve student learning. Those who do not play will eventually improve their reading and writing skills comparing to those who play, and whose skills will remain on the same level. More about the study at:

The British Museum has developed a number of engaging activities and games to attract young visitors, enabling them to explore world histories and cultures. They can travel through time, solve puzzles, uncover hidden treasures and many other activities:

John Rice (2010) The Top Journals for Video Game Research. Educational Games Research: Research and discussion concerning instructional video games, March 20, 2010. Great short list of journals that publish articles on video game research. This is an excellent resource for academics and especially those who are new in the field and are either looking for good read or are in the stage of wanting to publish their own work, but don’t know where:

Using games to teach Latin

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Fusch, D. (2010) An innovation in learning games Academic Impressions March 11

This is a report of a ‘minimal technology’ approach to using games in the teaching of Latin by Roger Travis, associate professor of classics and director of the video games and human values initiative at the University of Connecticut. The article contains a number of useful further links.

Update on educational video games, March 2010

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Thanks to Natasha Boskic for this

John Rice (2010). New 3D Learning Book by Karl Kapp. Educational Games Research: Research and discussion concerning instructional video games. February 8, 2010.

If you are interested in using 3D environment for teaching and learning, you may take a look at a book recommended by Rice, Learning in 3D: Adding a New Dimension to Enterprise Learning and Collaboration, by Karl Kapp.

[Read more…]

Further news on games

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Thanks to Natasha Boskic for this:

Doh, J. (2010). Centian is looking forward to playing with humans again. ARGNet, Alternate Reality Gaming Network, February 14, 2010.

Similar to the previously announced EVOKE, this ARG plunges right into 2.0 technologies and spreads on all fronts, starting with information notes posted on twitter, inviting players to ning community and following by text updates via cell phones. And that is not all:

Bogost, I. (2010). Mel Brooks, Ontologist: from Videogaming Illustrated, October 1982. February 15, 2010

Ian Bogost posted in his blog a very interesting newspaper article from 1982 (found by one of his students). It is always fun to read what people thought about something, in this case video games, and what they predicted would happen in the future:

Alex Galloway, the author of Gaming: Essays on algorithmic culture (mentioned in the references section), is going to give a lecture at the NYU Game Centre on Philosophy and Games on February 18, 2010:

Agent SureFire Infosec is a simulation to train office managers, executives or all staff about security of information and how to protect it in an office environment. It received a number of awards and it is a candidate for Best in eLearning category at the 2010 Digital Media Award in Ireland. The winner will be announced at the end of February:

See also: News on educational games, More news on educational games – and conferences, and Books and articles on games, simulations and virtual worlds – also use ‘games’, ‘simulations’ or ‘virtual worlds’ in the search facility for even more!

More news on educational games – and conferences

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Thanks to Natasha Boskic for this: 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.