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The motivational power of Grand Theft Auto IV

I haven't played Grand Theft Auto IV yet, and I probably won't play it for quite a while. But that doesn't mean it isn't exerting an influence on my life. Like many people, I've been keeping track of the game's astronomically high Metacritic ranking, and it's safe to say that I'm pretty damn stoked about the possibility of playing it. The problem is that I'm currently in the midst of a competing set of interests and commitments, which for sake of brevity I'll simply refer to as "life."

GTA IV, kids and parenting in the videogame age

The words on everyone's mind today are Grand Theft Auto IV. This is a big game, quite likely destined to be one of the biggest in history thus far. I hardly think I need to explain why, but for anyone who needs proof, look no further than your nearest newspaper or television newscast.

Bloodier videogames make players more aggressive, say researchers

It seems that as long as there are videogames there will be scientific studies trying to prove how harmful they are. The credibility of these studies varies widely, ranging from rigorous and well thought out to flawed and utterly misleading. An article in the upcoming May issue of the Journal of Experimental and Social Psychology entitled "The effect of the amount of blood in a violent video game on aggression, hostility, and arousal" lies a little closer to the dubious end of the spectrum.

Virtual reality for the blind

For most people, the idea of "virtual reality" probably conjures up images like those from The Lawnmower Man or The Matrix, with a heavy emphasis on visual realism. The upcoming May issue of Computers in Human Behavior, however, looks at the rather foreign concept of virtual reality for the blind.

EEDAR research states the obvious

A few days ago, GameDaily ran a short story from EEDAR (Electronic Entertainment Design And Research.) In this piece, the gist was that one in five games becomes a “success”, and that games which do not have playable demos before release sell better than games that do.

Interview with MetaNet's Mare Sheppard: Round Two

Read interview with MetaNet's Mare Sheppard: Round TwoIn September 2007, GameCritics.com interviewed Mare Sheppard, one of the two great minds behind PC indie game phenomenon N and its newer incarnation on consoles and handhelds, N+. At the time of the original interview, N+ hadn't yet made its debut on Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade service. Now that it's available for download, Mare was gracious enough to take a few more minutes out of her busy schedule for a follow-up chat.

Is there a "critical period" for videogame skill acquisition?

I can't count the number of times I've heard people talk about getting bested at a videogame by a kid. These stories typically involve people in their thirties playing games with their kids and getting totally dominated, which then leads them to talk to their friends about how they can't believe how good this kid is at playing videogames. We've all heard some version of this, or perhaps experienced it firsthand.

Will GTA IV DLC make a difference?

In other news, Sony’s Scott Steinberg was recently quoted at GameDaily Biz as saying that the 360-exclusive downloadable content for Grand Theft Auto IV wasn’t going to be a big deal. My first inclination was to say that the man was smoking crack, but after further thought... I’m not too sure.

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney impressions

Out of all four Ace Attorney games, this one was by far the weakest. It didn't start getting interesting at all until former main character Phoenix Wright came back for a while in the fourth (and final) case, and that one was a confusing mess of quasi sci-fi with a lot of nonsense evidence-gathering in two different time periods, one in the present and one in the past.

"Wiiitis" documented by magnetic resonance imaging

Despite all the attention that has been given to so-called "wiiitis," there has yet to be any detailed description of the condition in the scientific literature. That's all about to change, however, with an article in the forthcoming May issue of the journal Skeletal Radiology that closely examines a case of acute "wiiitis" with the help of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
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