The Wii was seen on HBO's True Blood of all places this past weekend. HBO seems to have just taken that product placement money and didn't think twice. No observation, no explanation during its brief appearance. There wasn't even the cursory, "I play videogames because being a 200-year-old vampire I can no longer play golf or sports during the day." None of that. They just made sure the Wii-mote was in view and dropped the "Wii" name a few times.
The last few days have been absolute hell on my productivity. Fallout 3 was just released, and pretty much everything else going on has been put on indefinite hold while I make my way through the irradiated wastelands.
To be brutally honest, the game didn't make a strong first impression with me once I actually had the disc. I wasn't the biggest fan of Bethesda's Oblivion, and the first day or so spent in post-apocalyptic D.C. is guaranteed to seem like nothing so much as Oblivion with guns.
So it's been 143 days since my last blog post. Back in June I made sort of a semi-pledge to "take a little time each week to keep this blog updated." Well, that obviously didn't happen, and I'd just like to apologize to all of my regular readers (all three of you) for my lack of follow through. Not that I don't have a good excuse.
According to the Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory, the last five months have constituted a "moderate life crisis" with "50% chance of illness such as: headache, diabetes, fatigue, hypertension, chest and back pain, ulcers, infectious disease, etc." That's probably pushing it, but the point is that with graduating, moving to Seattle, starting a new job, and getting married, I had a lot on my plate.
A case study conducted by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and published in the October 2008 issue of the American Physical Therapy Association's journal found that when a teenage boy with cerebral palsy played Wii Sports as part of his regular therapy, "there were positive outcomes at the impairment and functional levels," according to the abstract.
While I couldn't find a full-text version of the article, SpecialKids.com reports on the study in more detail:
[T]he patient was a 13-year-old male with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy. In a school-based setting, he participated in 11 training sessions, over a four-week period, using the Wii while continuing to receive physical and occupational therapy. The sessions were each between 60 and 90 minutes long and used the Wii sports games software, which offers boxing, tennis, bowling, and golf. He trained in both standing and sitting positions.
“ 'Improvements in visual-perceptual processing, postural control, and functional mobility were measured after training,'” the researchers reported.
This has April Fools joke written all over it, but this is October so... what the hell? Senator Barack Obama and Governor Sarah Palin are playable characters in the upcoming DLC for Mercenaries 2: World in Flames. I can understand why no Joe Biden, but why no John McCain? It's ironic that the candidate with actual military experience is excluded in favor of the Vice-Presidential nominee with more star power.
John LeSieur's six-year-old grandson Zackary was overwhelmed by computers: too many options, too many colors, too much stuff in general to keep track of. Zachary has autism, and LeSieur tried to find a web browser that would be less confusing. When he couldn't find such a browser for Zackary, he made one.
This dude is lucky on two fronts. A) He found a woman who would sit through a play session of Chrono Trigger and B) he found a woman that was happy to say yes after said play session. There have to be easier ways to pop the question—hacking a game isn't child's play—but maybe it was worth it for this guy just to hack one of his favorite games. That the young lady said yes was a bonus.
The Novint Falcon may look like a space helmet with a robot arm sticking out of it, but it's really a kind of joystick that lets players "feel" the games they're playing: "When you hold the Falcon’s detachable Grip and move your cursor to interact with a virtual object, environment, or character, motors in the device turn on and are updated approximately 1000 times a second, letting you feel texture, shape, weight, dimension, and dynamics."
Anyone who's played Nintendo 64 games with the Rumble Pack or turned on the rumble feature in their PS2 DualShock controller has some idea of how force-feedback or haptic technology can influence gaming, but the Falcon takes this technology to a whole new level:
Hold the Falcon's interchangeable Grip and feel a character's actions, instead of controlling a game with mouse-clicks and meters. Feel the weight of a basketball as you shoot it towards a hoop-the momentum and impact as you swing a virtual golf club and strike a ball-the recoil of a weapon-or the physical characteristics of virtual objects and environments.
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