Video Game Round Up

On Games

Tom Chatfield, Rage Against the Machines
Do games stunt minds and create addictions? Good overview of what people really do when they sit down to play. “Games are human products, and lie within our control.” See readers’ comments here.

Eric Sofge, Video Games (Finally) Grow Up
Esquire article covers how video games have matured—storytelling, moral complexity, artistry and more

Rob Fahey, It’s Inevitable: Soon We Will All Be Gamers
Video games out of teenagers’ rooms and into everyday life

Louis Bedigian, Professor James Paul Gee Shows the World the Importance of Video Games
Learning doesn’t just happen in school, and that’s a good thing. Or, trying to understand why people put so much effort into mastering a game

Vaio at VG Chartz, Why We Game
Worth it for the starting photo alone. Illuminating discussion by gamers about why they do it


Susan Greenfield, Modern Technology Is Changing The Way Our Brains Work
Neuroscientist presents a critical take—games and pharmaceuticals are changing brain function and creating unhealthy dependencies. For more on Greenfield and her views, click here.

Etelmik, Self-Abuse in Game Play
“We talk about games being therapeutic, educational, beautiful, aesthetic, or enlightening. We also talk of them as being cheap, derivative, or boring. But it occurred to me in the last two weeks that sometimes they can be devastating, depressing, destructive and discouraging.”

Stephen Totilo, Are Games Our Fantasies?
“Let’s talk, finally, about what that means.” Racial imagery, murderous violence, and the debate between “it shouldn’t matter” and “it does matter”

Mike Smith, New Startup Tackles Stereotypes
Gaming just for boys? Here’s a company run by women! “Worldwide Biggies spans the gender gap”

Don Reisinger, Correcting the Violent Video Game Rhetoric
At least mentions the critics and their thoughts before disagreeing

Funny Stuff

Shawn at Gaming Today, MIT Urinal Video Game Test Those Too Pissed To Drive
Ah, what will MIT geeks come up with next? A pissing game to see if you can point, and supposedly, drive straight. Puts new meaning to the phrase “pissing contests”

GraphJam, A Gamer’s Buying Guide
Very funny take on a decision flow chart for the current generation of gaming systems. I am a PC gamer naturally… (Note: scroll down past the MTV chart to see)


Seth Schiessel, Face to Face: A Council of Online Gamers
Self-governance online: Eve Online and how a company and democracy are merging over managing a beloved game’s future

Mo at Neurophilosophy, Brain-Computer Interface for Controlling Second Life Avatars
Moving around in Second Life on brain power alone. For more, read this story about a paralyzed man using this technology to “walk.”

Mo at Neurophilosophy, Nintendo Wii as It Might Look in 2010
Mind control and the future of gaming—blasting aliens with your brain

Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown, Why Virtual Worlds Can Matter
Real time coordination and interaction bind players together—the significance of “being there”

Jeff Orkin & Deb Roy, The Restaurant Game: Learning Social Behavior and Language from Thousands of Players Online
Large pdf on building a computational approach for “conversational virtual agents”

Chris Watters, Spore Updated Hands-On
Why Spore is a strategy game, and not really about evolution

Games as Art, Games as Games

The Brainy Gamer, NY Times Op-Ed on… Video Games
Asks: Where are the video games worthy of a NY Times op-ed? See the original op-ed by Daniel Radosh, The Play’s The Thing, about recovering from his Halo 3 haze.

The Brainy Gamer, A Good Day for Gamers
AAA games today, reminisces for the past. Gaming has evolved, but do we enjoy it any more?

Leigh Alexander, Laughing and Crying
Is Metal Gear Solid 4 the Citizen Kane of video games? For more of Leigh, see her other MGS4 post The Sorrow and the Joy at Sexy VideoGameland

The Brainy Gamer, Kojima and the Theory of Everything
Metal Gear Solid 4: Throwing everything in, and the necessity of artistic choices

Leigh Alexander, Industry Apologetics: It’s Not Just A Game
Stop being on the defensive—how the gaming industry can justify its art

Chuck Klosterman, The Lester Bangs of Video Games
Where video game criticism should go. For agreement, see Keith Stewart’s take.

Keith Stewart, State of Play: Is There A Role for the New Games Journalism? Ten Unmissable Examples of New Games Journalism
Pushing the edges of video game journalism, through criticism and through the player’s own experience

Anthropologists and Associated Brethern

David Itzkoff, The Shootout Over Hidden Meanings in a Video Game
Metal Gear Solid 4: For or against the “necessity of war”?

The Game Anthropologist
An entire series under such a name! Michael Walbridge provides us insights and more. A recent entry covers why Team Fortress 2, violent to its core, is still polite and well-mannered in gamers’ interactions.

Alexander Knorr, The Online Nomads of Cyberia
Examining the tribes of cyberspace

Colin Campbell, Game Anthropologist Watches the Natives
Anthropologist studies consumer responses, and helps drive game design

Jim Rossignol, Start Your Pre-Orders Now
Obsessed worker becomes gamer and successful journalist! What a mix! Now travels the world to report on gaming in his book, The Gaming Life. For more from Jim, check out his blog in general.

Rex at Savage Minds, Warcraft and the Craftsman: Grinding, Crafting and Craft
Reflections on the grind and the experience of skill in World of Warcraft and our everyday world

Savage Minds, Extended discussion of Tom Boellstorff’s ethnography on “Second Life”
Three posts: Ethnography of the Virtual, More on Coming of Age in Second Life, and The Presentation of Self in Virtual Life

Tom Boellstorff’s Virtual Office “Ethnographia”, Located in Dowden in Second Life
Click for a visit. First click gives you the overhead real estate view, but you need to be signed up for Second Life to actually visit. You can also visit the American Anthropologist virtual campus!

Games and Culture
An academic journal publishing some of the best stuff on gaming and the social sciences. There is generally a free sample issue available, so look for that. You can also see their 50 most read and most cited articles.

Alex Golub, Anthropology 3830: The Anthropology of Virtual Worlds
Syllabus for Alex’s class

Beth Kolko, Some Website Resources
Eclectic mix of reading and links on games and gaming

Games with a Purpose

NPR, Using Video Games to Get Kids Excited about Science
“Can video games help kids develop in meaningful ways?”

NPR, High Tech Sex Ed
Video games, podcasts, and social networking to get the sex ed message out

NPR, ‘Virtual Iraq’ Game Aims to Help Vets with PTSD
Immersion therapy through a game. See Sue Halpern’s New Yorker article on Virtual Iraq as well

Educational Games Research, The Top 10 Free Educational Video Games
One site’s take on the best out there

Claudia Parsons, Retired Justice O’Connor Unveils Video Game
World of Justice as addicting as World of Warcraft?

Mission to Learn, 26 Learning Games to Change the World
The title says it all—lots of links to some interesting games

Meagan VanBurkleo, Games for Health: Digital Games Meet Rehab, Therapy and Healthcare
How gaming can help make us better

Impact Lab, Study: Video Games Shown to Reduce Pain
Gaming can provide significant levels of pain distraction

Games and Learning

Jason Craft, Review: What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy
Review of James Paul Gee’s book. Video games as literary practice and full of situated learning, and something that teachers can imitate. See also the professor become gamer’s own article Why Video Games Are Good for Learning.

games + learning + society
Research group run by James Paul Gee on learning systems, technology, and social practices. For more on their specific research, see here.

Sean Maelstrom, Secret to the “Casual”
Long but interesting comparison between effective teaching and the rise of casual gaming—hardcore academics and gamers beware…

Brenda Brathwaite, The Myth of the Media Myth
“I’m a game designer and a professor,” she says, followed by the inevitable politics of academic respect and disputes over the morals of video games.

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