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More on Crysis: Facts, hacks, and shenanigans!

The Crysis demo has been created a real stir in the PC gaming community. Most of it is for good reasons—it's a great-looking game, and the gameplay is very well done. But there have been some issues that bring to light a lot of the marketing ballyhoo that Crytek has been spouting, and unless things change pretty dramatically with the final product, a lot of people will be calling b.s.

Scariness in videogames

Can videogames produce scares as effectively as movies? When did scariness become a viable element of game design? Is scariness in videogames relative? What are the scariest videogames ever made? What makes them scary? How does scariness interact with gameplay?

Crysis demo impressions, performance preview

The Crysis single-player demo is finally upon us, and with the game just weeks away we're finally starting to see what nearly two years of hype is leading up to.

Reviewing the reviewers part 2: Fairness

I couldn't help but notice that with the release of Orange Box, critics have been going pretty easy on Half-Life 2: Episode 2. According to MetaCritic, it's averaging a 91%, which is pretty darn exceptional. But it's not the score that bugs me.

Reflections on The King of Kong

I finally got around to watching The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters at the local theater pub. The movie is a documentary about the efforts of a man named Steve Wiebe to break the decades-old world record on Donkey Kong. Seeing King of Kong was particularly meaningful for me because, in addition to being an avid videogame player, I have been extensively involved in competitive arcade gaming.

The future of conversation in videogames

A recent article in the journal Computers in Human Behavior describes a study in which a group of college students chatted with a conversation bot (i.e., a computer program capable of engaging in a conversation). Even though the students knew they were talking to a computer, they actually showed general agreement in their perception of the bots personality traits (e.g., friendliness, thoughtfulness, neuroticism, etc.).

Demo round-up: Unreal Tournament III, Clive Barker's Jericho, and more

This fall is looking like it's going to be one of the best seasons for gaming since.... well, since ever. There are a lot of big sequels on their way as well as some hotly anticipated new IPs that have everyone talking. The demos for these games have begun trickling out, and I've gotten my hands on a number of them to get an idea of where my money is going to be spent this fall.

What do gamers and lab rats have in common?

It seems that an increasing number of videogames these days are using one or more forms of operant conditioning, and in particular positive reinforcement. Although reward systems have long been a mainstay of the role-playing game genre, their use has been gradually spreading. Why might that be?

Interview with Koroush Ghazi, creator of Tweakguides.com

At one time or another, most of us have experienced some frustration with our PCs. Programs might seem to inexplicably freeze, crash, or simply perform poorly. How do we make Windows run as quickly and trouble-free as possible? How do we get the best performance from our games and other applications? Most importantly, how do we do all that without a Ph.D in computer science?

Could a videogame help kids fight cancer?

The September issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health unveils the results of a large research study on the effects of playing Re-Mission, a third-person shooter designed to help young cancer patients improve their knowledge of cancer and boost their confidence in managing the disease. Now that the results are in, how does Re-Mission fare?
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