video games

28 07 2006

This post contains several different “articles” on video games.  I grouped them all together because they are somewhat related, but mainly because some of my readers won’t care about this, so it’s easier to skip and ignore.  The first part may appeal to the general reader who doesn’t play games, but the remaining ones will most likely appeal only to gamers.  Still with me?  Good, let’s get started.


There’s a lot of misinformation about video games and how they impact the players, and what studies and reports are out there vary greatly.  The U.S. Surgeon General published a study that said the “findings suggest that media violence has a relatively small impact on violence.”  Yet other researchers claim it’s a big influence.  A lot of the senators who are making a big deal of this aren’t very well informed.

A study conducted at Harvard said the ESRB (ratings board) doesn’t identify all violence.  However, that same study found that Pac-Man is 64% violent.  But most people would probably not object to the violence level in Pac-Man.  And so the study isn’t being respected very much.  It looks like they are either super-sensitive (certainly possible these days) or trying too hard to prove their point.  I mean, how many of us have played hours of Pac-Man?  Probably almost everyone from ages 20 to 40 (my guess) has played Pac-Man.  Did it ever make you have violent tendencies?  Did you ever go break stuff or hurt people or be mean after playing it?  Probably not. It was just a fun game, and it was obvious that it was just a game and not reality.  The same concept applies to many games today.  Unfortunately, some people want to blame video games for violent children.  (And of course I agree that what children play should be monitored and approved by parents.  But it’s unfair to blame the game makers for all this.)  You can read more here.

An interesting tidbit : in 2005, only about 14% of video games sold were rated M for Mature, the equivalent of an R-rated movie.


Doctors are now using video games to treat soldiers of post-traumatic stress disorder.


How important is HD (high-definition) support by your gaming system?  The PS3 will have it, but the Xbox 360 doesn’t have it out of the box, and Nintendo doesn’t have it.  But only 10% of Americans have HD-TVs, and it’s expected that even by 2010 only 55% will have them.  (And by 2010, gamers will be buying the next generation of consoles.)  So Sony is running up the price of their system for a feature which is irrelevant to nearly 90% of the country.


Have you ever heard of Procedural Synthesis?  Basically, it’s defining your graphics using mathematics, in a way that allows them to scale as the hardware improves.  This is very CPU-intensive, so we’re currently limited with how much can be done, but as CPUs increase in speed, the graphics can get better on the same game without downloading anything new.  That’s the potential benefit of it.  It may not ever be really widespread, though, because game companies probably don’t want Madden ’06 to look as good as Madden ’08 after you upgrade your computer — they want you to buy a new version.  Plus there’s the issue of testing the code and graphics in all these different scenarios, which would take a lot more time and money.  Nonetheless, it’s an interesting concept.  There are a few games that use it to an extent, which you can read about in this article : Games That Never Age.


Nintendo is a bit of an underdog these days, but there’s a lot of hope of the Wii (Revolution) taking back market share from Sony and Microsoft.  I think the new system has a lot of potential.  I hope to get one (so I can, um, review it for all my faithful readers, yeah; and it’s coming out around my birthday, which is a great coincidence).  This article highlights ten reasons the new console by Nintendo could be much more successful than the GameCube and N64 were : The features that will save Nintendo.




3 responses

1 08 2006

Man, Nintendo would probably have twice the sales if they had just left the name alone!! “Wii???!!!” What is that, man?!

1 08 2006

OK, nevermind. After reading that article I am so sold. Nevermind that it’s called the “Wii;” I will be a wii-head for sure.

16 01 2007

FYI, I did eventually acquire a Nintendo Wii, and wrote a review of it.

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