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Posts Tagged ‘video games’

Such a weird day for news. Turns out that, unlike certain games becoming books, certain books are now becoming games. George R.R. Martin’s excellent Song of Ice and Fire series has been opted for a video game. Expect the game to look and feel a lot like Oblivion and other such WJRPGs.

My feeling about books-turned-games is that sometimes it works, as was with the well-acclaimed and award-winning Betrayal at Krondor. And when it works, it works beautifully. Other times, not so much. The problem is usually that the game director has a vision of the book that doesn’t sit well with the popular readership vision, and then things get ugly. Many of these games fall by the wayside, no matter how good they are (see the Dragonlance, Shannara or Wheel of Time games, for examples), and some of them reach acclaim as video games, but aren’t as well known as books (see I have no mouth and I must scream for example).

Anyhow, I’ll wait and see if this game blips on the radar again, which may mean it could be worth taking note of…or not.

[Link: Kotaku - Game rights snagged for George R.R.Martin's Song of Ice and Fire]

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Good news for all you Elder Scrolls and Oblivion fans. Turns out that Bethesda are releasing a book set in the Elder Scrolls universe. The book, to be penned by famed author Greg Keyes, takes place after the events of Oblivion.

The Infernal City is set after the events of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion®, the latest game in the video game series, and finds the citizens of Tamriel once again facing an uncertain future. Floating high above the land is a strange and mysterious city that is casting a horrifying shadow – wherever it falls, people die and rise again as undead. It is up to an unlikely duo – a seventeen-year-old girl named Annaig and the Emperor’s young son, Prince Attrebus – to rescue the kingdom from doom. Annaig and Attrebus’ quest will take them through the Elder Scrolls universe and their adventure is sure to add to the series’ already magnificent mythology.

Sounds awesome.

[Link: Lazygamer - Elder Scrolls novels announced]

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Creative Commons License
Night Noises by Fayyaad Hendricks is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

I apologize for the overimagification, but that’s the result of two days of challenge. It’s actually left me a little on the drained side, but…it was actually fun. It’s weird how much I can accomplish when I’m not actually playing video games! Don’t get me wrong…I miss playing them, but I’ve discovered activities and parts of me that I’d forgotten about. And I think that’s the most important lesson I’m taking away from all this–life DOES exist outside of games. The Darling Wife is impressed enough at this little book I’ve written that she’s actually at the moment in the process of trying to find it a publisher. I’m going to clean up the artwork and layout a bit, and then we’ll see if there’s a chance I can get this, and perhaps a few other stories into bookshops. Is that too ambitious for something I wrote and drew over the course of two nights? Probably…but it’s fun and exciting, even if nothing comes of it. Anyhow, enjoy the story and illustrations, as raw and un-refined as they are. If you can’t read it, my apologies; I’ve shrunk it down quite a bit so that I don’t overload anyone’s browser. If there’s a call for it, I’ll post the finished, reworked, cleaned up product at Flickr or Picasa. Just to get an indication, does anyone think they’d actually pay money for a story like this?

Back to the story of addiction. I don’t know if it’s just a case of information synchronicity, or…er…that psychological phenomenon where you only start taking notice of things because they’re relevant to you (argh, can’t remember what it’s called!!), but I’ve suddenly noticed an awful lot of articles popping up in my RSS reader about video game addiction. This statistic comes to us via Switched.com, and states that almost 1 in 10 US children are addicted to video games; 8.5% to be a little more precise. It’s an alarming number if you’re going to label it “addiction” vs “compulsion”. The sample size is significant: 1,178 adolescent children, with 8.5% of them exhibiting addictive behavior:

(Researcher, Douglas) Gentile looked for symptoms like becoming irritable when gameplay was cut short, avoiding homework to play, stealing money to buy gaming paraphernalia, and escaping reality and avoiding problems through games.

That sounds about right for “addiction”, and with kids of my own, I’m beginning to feel as though this hasn’t received enough attention till now. The article goes on to state that Dr Gentile has touted the benfits of video games before, so he’s not exactly a completely biased voice in this matter.

Gentile doesn’t necessarily think games are bad. He would just like to see game manufacturers use the significant influence games have over children for good instead of evil — for creating powerful educational devices.

[Link: Switched.com - Almost 1 in 10 Children Addiction to Video Games]

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So day one of the “Do I have an addiction issue?” experiment went by. And I’m sorry to say that it was a reasonably painful day. I’m going to go out there and say that if I’m not a addict, I’m borderline at the least. Let me put it this way: I took an afternoon nap to pass the time and had dreams (yes! Plural!) that I was playing a video game (Sonic the Hedgehog, I think!)

Console I missed the most? My trusty little go-anywhere DS. During the day my fingers kept itching to pick up a controller and get on with Gears of War 2 or Oblivion, or to try and obtain the last few gold medals on Rhythm Heaven DS (Seriously, one of the best games I’d ever played in my life….but I’m not allowed to think about it right now except in parentheses or as part of the experiment!) More than that, however, I found myself actively thinking about the games I was involved with, and how to get around the challenges I was facing at the moment (damn you, Oblivion!) and once on that sort of trail of thought, it’s difficult to find something else to think about…mostly because I haven’t actually had to think about much else before.

What this seems to tell me, I think, is that if not addicted, I’m at least heavily dependent on games to entertain me and keep my mind occupied. The sad thing is that I’ve not read a decent book in MONTHS, and I used to be a really avid reader (the other UtterInsanity authors can testify to the size of my personal library). I also seem to dimly recall that I might have once had an artistic streak about as wide as the Pacific Ocean. I may have even created a few paintings, written a few poems, drawn a few sketches, composed bits of music, and I have it on good authority that the half-finished book sitting in a dusty directory on my computer is actually mine.

I haven’t picked up the guitar to play in…ages. I haven’t plinked on a piano in at least twice as long. I haven’t written a poem in at least a year. My books, which I had such grandiose dreams of finishing and publishing, lie forgotten. And let’s not get started on the drawings. So these activities that used to be a big part of who I am have been lost in in all the gaming that I do. So I think I plan on revisiting those activities that I once used to find so much enjoyment in, above and beyond the games I’ve been playing since I was six.

You might find, as I did, this story about a woman dealing with addiction in her kids very interesting and amusing. It sounds very…familiar. I wasn’t playing under the covers at night when no one is around, but I’m going to admit that there were times I’d be playing something until lights-out. Which I’m very sure didn’t make the Darling Wife too happy…hence the challenges I have coming up. More on that as the week goes by.

I seem to have touched an interesting nerve with my first post about gaming addiction: had a lot of people weigh in their opinions on the matter, and whether or not gaming as a social device counts or not. Meeting online once or twice a week for a few hours to play a few games together? Not an issue. It’s when you’re playing more than 20 to 40 hours a week that you can start saying that there’s a problem. Guess why I didn’t pick up World of Warcraft?

So the first challenge happens today. Will let you know more about what happens, and how it all went down in tomorrow’s update.

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xbox 360 logo

I read this article about video game addiction at GameSpot with great interest, seeing as how the article discussed two interests of mine: psychology, which I studied at university, and video games, my favorite down-time pursuit, and an industry that I’d love to work in. The article is long (runs into four pages) and unless you’re as rabidly interested in both spheres under discussion as I am, I doubt you’ll read the entire thing. (Incidentally, if you DO happen, by some strange quirk of the universe, to read the entire article, I’d be interested to hear your comments!)

tl;dr: how to define and quantify the concept of “video game addiction” as a psychologically valid term that can be listed in the next edition of the DSM. In other words, what criteria can we use to say “yep, this guy has a problem”.

The article goes into describing the obvious cases such as the chap who died after several days of non-stop Starcraft. The focus is on the word “addiction”, and if a person has an addiction problem, then playing games will affect other parts of their lives that aren’t generally spent playing games, such as social, marital, work, etc.

So after discussing this issue with The Darling Wife, I asked her if she thinks I have an addiction issue. To put things in perspective, there’s very little time that I’m not either actively playing games (I have a 360, a Wii, and a DS, and a computer provides endless opportunities for gaming), thinking about games, talking about games, or on the odd occasion, dreaming about games. The first 8 or 10 blogs in my feed reader are all gaming blogs, but my counter-argument is that those are the sum total gaming blogs I read out of about 50 or so feeds. Personally, I don’t think I have a gaming addiction problem.

So I proposed an experiment: I’d give up gaming for a week, from Sunday to Sunday, and document how removing a core part of what I do affects me, if at all. I’m not allowed to read gaming blogs, talk about games, play games, and I have to actively try to avoid thinking about games if I can. Now I know that will annoy some of the other authors of this blog, since Friday night is the time that everyone gets together to play multiplayer online Gears of War 2. So surely that’s already HELPING my social life, since it’s impossible to interact with my friends IRL, right?

To make things interesting, The Darling Wife has come up, Top Gear style, with a few challenges to keep my documenting of my week interesting. I’m not sure if I should be dreading or looking forward to it. Watch this space!

[Link: GameSpot - Game Addiction: The Real Story]

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Yes, back to the guys at college humor. Great article, very cool posters :)

Read the article here.

I knew there was something up with Tidus

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Some people put a lot of passion into their passions, and I suspect none more so than cosplayers. Video game cosplayers tend to be quite meticulous about their costume creations, but these are seriously the best costumes from video games I’ve seen in a long while. The linked picture is from the brilliant game Katamari Damacy (if you haven’t played it, you’ve lost out on one amazing gaming experience!) It kinda makes me wish we had cosplay events in this part of the world–I’d LOVE to put together costumes like this. I did a Prince of Persia costume once, and when I hunt the photo down I’ll post it.

Your favorite costumes, games, gaming costumes, and observations in the comments.

[Link: Slobs of Gaming - 31 amazing video game costumes]

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