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Wii's Virtual Console imports not worth the wait

Since purchase, my Wii has seen very little action. Extremely little. The layer of dust on it is ridiculous. When a few import titles made their way to the Virtual Console, I was intrigued.  My first purchases from Nintendo's offerings, I downloaded Sin & Punishment and Super Mario Bros: the Lost Levels.

Videogame violence revisited

The latest issue of the highly respected journal Psychiatric Quarterly contains a meta-analysis of all peer-reviewed studies published in the last twelve years concerning the relationship between violent videogames and aggressive behavior. The conclusion? While the analysis found some evidence that videogames improve visuospatial cognition, it found zero evidence linking videogames with violent behavior.

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?
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