Sunday, December 1, 2013

For those who celebrate this recent holiday, I hope everyone had a healthy and pleasant Thanksgiving. And as to everyone, I hope you all will forgive a thinner update this week after the holiday.

Now, let's take a look at a week in gaming from 11/25/13 to 11/27/13. Below is a feature discussing last weeks release of the investigation around the Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza and what role video games might have played in his life.

Making eyesight better with Oculus Rift (11/26)

Adding to the recent news that video games don’t harm children, we can look at ways that they improve eyesight; particularly with amblyopia (lazy eye) and strabismus (crossed eye).
Enter Diplopia, an Oculus Rift title promoted on Indiegogo by James Blaha who suffers from strabismus. Though games like Tetris and first person shooters can help improve vision and has also seen in mitigating the burden of lazy eye, Diplopia is specifically designed to treat both amblyopia and strabismus as an alternative treatment to patching which has been described as unpleasant.
Whereas those with strabismus cannot see in three dimensions, the game projects some of the images to both eyes in order to force the user’s eyes to make up from missing parts of the image and help them perceive the game in 3D. It trains the user to move naturally to see the image from different angles using the Rift’s head tracking technology.
Diplopia’s raised funds on Indiegogo at the time of this writing is nearing $6,000 of only $2,000. Stretch goals include nVidia 3D vision support as well as 4 new minigames up to $30,000.
Source: Indiegogo
VIA Polygon
How children can benefit from games this holiday season (11/27)
Holiday Game Jam, organized by developers Teddy Diefenbach and Archie Prakash (developers for Hyper Light Drifter, and Asteroid Soccer 2014), will begin on Black Friday November 29th and go on through the 22nd of December.
The game jam will have developers create games throughout the holiday “mid season”, and all games sold will help raise money for Childs Play, a charity dedicated towards supplying toys and games for children in over 70 hospitals nationwide in the states. Childs Play recently celebrated their 10th year anniversary after raising over $20 million in the past decade.
Just at the top of this month, Extra Life kicked off and managed to raise just shy of $4 million dollars. Extra Life is an organization dedicated through Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals to raise money for children’s cancer.
I felt the need to report on this after MY IGN user harshgupta posted on my Sandy Hook story earlier this week about a group of 400 gamers in Portland Oregon raising 37,500 lbs of food for the homeless in 48 hours.
Way to go gamers.
Source: Polygon
A Week in Gaming Special Feature:
Sandy Hook's shooter was just a normal gamer,
or was he?
Originally reported on November 25th 2013
Video games is a violent medium, no one can deny that. Without the basis of statistics, I’m confident that over 90% of console/PC dedicated gamers owns a fair amount of games with violent content in them.
Adam Lanza, the deceased shooter from Sandy Hook Elementary School, seemed to be one of those gamers. Sure, he played Left 4 Dead, Metal Gear Solid, Dead Rising, Half-Life, Battlefield, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Shin Megami Tensei, Dynasty Warriors, Team Fortress and Doom; but he also played Dance Dance Revolution, Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts 2, Phantasy Star Online, Paper Mario, Luigi’s Mansion, Pikmin, and Super Mario Bros.
The gaming industry was under siege. Plenty of political officials from both ends of the isle, as well as the National Rifle Association (NRA), has taken Lanza’s interests in video games and stigmatized the medium as a corruptive hobby responsible for incepting violent minds and spawning mass shooters.
However a report last Monday documents that the Sandy Hook shooter’s relationship to video games drew no conclusions to the massacre. It’s important to note that the summary of the investigation doesn’t specifically state that there is no connection between video games and the shooting, but intentions and influences are largely inconclusive.
But there’s a little cornel of information imbedded within investigation’s summary that is beginning to catch the general media a blaze. Among Adam Lanza’s possessions which included material pertaining to school shooting content and even pedophilia advocacy, was a PC game which the summary claims is titled “School Shooting”. I myself have not found a game by that title, but instead a Source mod called “School Shooter” which emulates school shootings and encourages the player to commit suicide before getting arrested.
Game advocate or not, this is deeply disturbing. Much of Lanza’s gaming interests fit within the realm of normalcy from war shooters to kid friendly platformers. However most of us can agree that the gaming community at large doesn’t associate with games that explicitly depict violence against defenseless targets. Many players expressed their discomfort in Modern Warfare 2’s “No Russian”, where there was no requirement to kill innocents, and was merely a small section of the campaign.
Such content can only be conceived by modifiers and small – likely one man/woman team – developers, and is not representable to the gaming industry’s artistic nature. This material existed outside of our medium’s norms and skewed more towards the suggestive content that peaked Adam Lanza’s attention. I can sit here all day and convince others that “this isn’t what gamers are into” and “games like this hardly exists”, but the existence of games of this nature is upsetting to say the least.
There are books that justify hate, music that preach genocide, and armature films that that depict fanatical racism. In this new developing medium that has more independent and creative minds get involved, it’s inevitable that imaginative – and quite frankly – sick fantasies find their way to fruition. Troubled fellows like Adam Lanza gravitate to such content, but – as we already know – it is the interest of causing violence that causes violence, not video games.

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