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Science & Research

Extra Credits: Funding XCOM, Part 1 and 2

Why have we become to concerned with a zombie apocalypse? What about the much more likely—or at least more interesting—prospect of an alien invasion? But before we even talk about a defense system to fight back that alien attack, Extra Credits asks if there are even any aliens to worry about.

Video: Can we rocket jump in real life like we do in video games?

One of my favorite time wasters on YouTube are the Vsauce channels. I was thrilled earlier this month when Vsauce3 tackled something that I have always wondered about but dared not ask: can I actually rocket jump in the real world like I did in Quake? The answer is disappointing, but at least I know for sure.

The crying game

Shadow of the Colossus HD Screenshot

There is a certain muddiness here between "narrative" components and "systems". Would I have loved Agro as much if he were a lizard? A featherless chicken? A square with four squares sticking out of it? Perhaps I would not have. At the same time the graphical (i.e. narrative) depiction of Agro as a horse serves to contextualize the system he presents and make the game's rules intelligible.

Video: Microsoft Research shows off "smart interactive displays"

Was Kinect just the tip of the iceberg? I sure hope so. Microsoft Research's Applied Sciences group looks to be creating some truly impressive solutions to interacting with displays without the need of a traditional input device like a mouse or pointer.

Video: Microsoft Research shows off "smart interactive displays"

Statistically Speaking

The latest episode of the GameCritics.com podcast is up, in which myself, Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, and Tim Spaeth discuss the finer points of review writing. There was a brief talk at the beginning about the number of reviews we had each written, which got me thinking about the numbers following everything I've written thus far for the site.

Gaming and the academic job market

Heavy Rain Screenshot

How many lucky souls get the chance to do what they love for a living?

I love to teach. I love to write. And now I know for certain that I love to teach and write about video games. Teaching a Writing about Popular Culture course this past semester gave me my first taste of what it would be like to engage students on a topic that is truly meaningful to me, not just as a hobby, but as an intellectual interest and lifelong pursuit.

GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 26: Game Studies, Ludology 101 with Matthew Wiese from Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab

Bonjour class! Welcome to Ludology 101. Matthew Wiese of the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab talks about his work and his experience on the academic side of games. Is ludology as sleep-inducing as it sounds? No sir, and in fact criticism and academia may have more in common than you think. With Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, and Tim Spaeth. Happy Thanksgiving to all our listeners!

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Who needs video?: "Non-visual" mobile phone games for blind and sighted players

Who needs video? Non-visual mobile phone games for blind and sighted players

Computer scientists at the Pontíficia Universidade Católica in Rio de Janeiro are working on non-visual games for mobile phones that they hope will be fun for players who are blind, have low vision or are sighted. In a paper in the Journal of the Brazilian Computer Society, Luis Valente, Clarisse Sieckenius de Souza and Bruno Feijó describe their protype adventure game Audio Flashlight. They also discuss some things they learned during field testing about making games accessible to players with visual impairments.

Study: Certain video games may help improve decision-making skills of people with intellectual disabilities

Study: Certain video games may help improve decision-making skills of people with intellectual disabilities

Researchers from Trent University and the Division of Rehabilitation and Ageing at Nottingham University have found that some kinds of video games may help people with intellectual disabilities improve their ability to make decisions.

Quickie: Study examines benefites of DDR for people with disabilities

Dance Dance Revolution

West Virginia was the first school system in the United States to incorporate a video game (Konami's Dance Dance Revolution) into its physical education curriculum. Now, West Virginia University, ResCare Home Care and the Special Olympics are conducting a study to see if the series has benefits for people with disabilities. According to the very small blurb I was able to find, "Participants will play the game three days a week, for eight weeks. If it is successful, the Special Olympics may consider making 'DDR' a competitive event during its annual games."

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