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The debate over videogame "addiction"

The April issue of the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction contains a fascinating series of articles on the topic of videogame addiction, and in particular, on the question of whether such a thing as videogame addiction even exists. These writings make for an interesting discourse on a highly controversial subject.

Study: Violent crime caused by family violence, not videogames

The debate over videogames and violence shows no signs of abating, and despite having grown a little weary of the topic, I'll admit that there's a part of me that remains ever intrigued by the latest research in this area. So in that spirit, here's another scientific article to further fuel the discussion.

Dialectical realism: How Assassin's Creed killed its own potential

Videogames are filled with absurd contradictions; and one of the most pervasive of these by far has to be the inability of game characters to interact realistically with their environments. It's precisely the inclusion of environmental interaction that makes Assassin's Creed so special. It's also a terrible shame that, having created such a remarkably realistic and tactile world, the game goes to such great lengths to undermine that very realism.

Vibration enhances emotional impact of videogames, Swedish study suggests

Despite former Sony exec Phil Harrison's ridiculous assertion that rumble is a "last generation feature," most gamers never really doubted the relevance of force feedback to videogames. As if Sony's recent flip-flop with the DualShock 3 wasn't confirmation enough of this fact, we can now point to science as well.

Videogame technology used to model crowd behavior in military training program

While videogame technology has been used before to model enemy behavior in military training simulations, it has yet to be applied to modeling the behavior of noncombatants in war zones. But that's all about to change thanks to Dr. Frederick McKenzie and his colleagues, whose research is presented in the March issue of Simulation & Gaming.

FPS players feel better after dying than after killing others, say researchers

An article in the February issue of the journal Emotion presents some strange findings regarding players' emotional reactions to killing and being killed in a first-person shooter (FPS). Conventional FPS wisdom would suggest that players like shooting enemies and dislike getting shot. The research findings, however, paint a different picture.

The importance of save systems in videogames

Most anyone who has been playing videogames for any appreciable length of time is well acquainted with the agonizing distress of “dying” in a game and losing several hours of hard fought progress. Like it or not, save systems have a huge influence on our enjoyment of a game.

Would a videogame by any other name smell as sweet?

Does the “videogame” label properly capture what videogames have become? Will the term “videogames” still be used 20 or 30 years from now? Recent titles like BioShock and Mass Effect are pushing games to a realm of narrative and interactive depth that make the term “game” seem ill-fitting. As the boundaries of the medium continue to expand, I suspect that the “videogame” label will only feel increasingly inadequate.

Moving away from mindlessness

After listening to Jonathan Blow’s “Design Reboot” lecture last December, I made a small resolution that I would try to reduce my time spent on games that rely on meaningless reward systems. Putting it into practice, however, has proved tougher than I thought.

Looking back on the Wii

Now that the Wii's novelty has worn off, a number of questions come to my mind: Is the Wii really all it’s cracked up to be? Does the Wii remote actually improve the gameplay experience? Do motion-sensing controls really do all that much to increase the player’s overall enjoyment or sense of immersion?
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