Summary of “Can Video Games Replace the Outdoors?”

As long as there have been video games, critics have bemoaned their social and psychological consequences.
Over the years, researchers have churned out studies showing that violent games can lead younger players to be more hostile and less empathetic.
As Rockstar Games cofounder Dan Houser told New York magazine last year, the result is an experience “In which the world unfolds around you, dependent on what you do.” Red Dead Redemption 2 was released on October 26, 2018, and brought in $725 million during its first weekend, beating the strongest film opening of 2018, Avengers: Infinity War, by almost $100 million.
Gaming had completely replaced the outdoors.
“Video games can act as a form of environmental enrichment in humans,” they said in a paper that appeared in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.
Gregory D. Clemenson, one of the authors, cautions that this does not mean video games are as nourishing to the mind as a walk in the park, but they may do more good than people think.
Michael “Qwerkus” Gerchufsky, a 50-year-old medical editor from Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, describes the appeal as we hike around the towering National Memorial Arch: “I was like, wait, there’s a video game that gets me outdoors?”.
“Augmented reality is bleeding out from games into physical fitness,” he says.

The orginal article.

Summary of “My land of make believe: life after The Sims”

The game’s creator, EA Games, has slowly expanded the series, from The Sims to The Sims II to The Sims 4 Deluxe Party Edition.
You are rewarded with points when your Sims thrive; the healthier and wealthier your Sims become, the more enjoyable the game.
Your Sims might reach the top of their career ladders, retire with a healthy pension, and die, but the game goes on.
In 2017, the video games journalist Andy Kelly pulled together a list of “PC’s most relaxing games” for PC Gamer.
Kelly’s article, and its focus on how much games can help us, reminded me of an episode of the tech-focused Reply All podcast called Autumn, in which a teenage girl who is experiencing difficulties in her life turns to The Sims to create a character of her recently deceased grandmother so she could visit her, build a beautiful garden for her, and interact with her.
“Video games place you at the centre of the story – you are an active participant, instead of a passive observer. They offer us a safe place to interrogate and test the emotional consequences of our actions. Far from being a meaningless waste of time games help us explore what it means to be human, to explore notions of love and loss, and to allow us to travel to far-off incredible places, to become incredible people – all from the comfort of our own home.”
The game information on its website is as tantalising as the blurb on the back of an appealing holiday read: “The year is 1989. You are a man named Henry who has retreated from your messy life to work as a fire lookout in the Wyoming wilderness. Perched atop a mountain, it’s your job to find smoke and keep the wilderness safe.” What you’re saying is I have to walk around a beautiful forest on my own and “Keep the wilderness safe”? Sign me up.
I’m excited about the future and about starting a new relationship with gaming; loosening my grip on The Sims 2 and experimenting with something new.

The orginal article.

Summary of “When “easy mode” isn’t enough: An analysis of unclear lessons in video games”

This week, a gaming and pop-culture critique channel on YouTube looked at the existential question of “Video game access” from a wholly different perspective: a year-long analysis of an adult trying video games for the first time in her life.
Instead of calling the video “I made my wife suffer through video games for her first time ever,” Razbuten opted for a title that speaks to the inherent learning curve for anyone new to the hobby.
“What Games Are Like For Someone Who Doesn’t Play Games” came as a result of a full year of the host’s wife testing nine video games she’d never played before: Super Mario Bros., Celeste, Shovel Knight, Portal, Doom, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, The Last of Us, Uncharted 2, and Dark Souls.
While we’ve seen essays and thinkpieces about the obfuscating “Language” of video games and how that can be a barrier for those who didn’t grow up with the hobby, Razbuten’s video shines because it collects and presents clear video proof of his concerns.
The tester unsurprisingly got lost in 3D games for various reasons, most commonly due to information overload and unclear onscreen markers.
Still, the video does an interesting job of selling the tester’s familiarity with computers, phones, and technology but not necessarily with the dense, underlying language of how traditional video games work.
What’s an “L3” button? Do all games have “Run” or “Sprint” options built in? If something in the game world looks destructible, why can’t it be destroyed?
The resulting perspective is an interesting mix of rigid and wide open, and it speaks to how even seemingly “Accessible” games can stand to make a little more room for brand-new eyes, especially as services like Apple Arcade, Google Stadia, and Microsoft Project xCloud loom as gaming entry points for people who have otherwise never owned a console.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Board Game at the Heart of Viking Culture”

Heidrek’s reference, here, is one of several in the Icelandic sagas to an ancient board game known as hnefatafl.
Ubiquitous among Nordic settlements during the early Middle Ages, the game was played on a checkered wooden tablet similar to the modern-day chess board.
Over the past 150 years, excavators have unearthed large quantities of gaming material from Viking boat burials.
Until the early 20th century, few scholars differentiated hnefatafl from other contemporary board games.
“It is not always clear from early sources which game is being referred to, but double-sided boards are known with one side suitable for one game and the other for the other game.”
After comparing these rules to the game mentioned in the Sagas, Murray hypothesized that “It is extremely probable that [tablut] is identical with the old hnefatafl.”
This player attempted to win the game by maneuvering the king to one of the four corners of the board.
“This suggests that there was a connection between conspicuous leisure and the playing of board games.” Additionally, Viking Age board games were predominately modeled after war.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Digital Athletes of the Future: Earning $1.6 Million Behind a Keyboard”

If you’ve never watched a game of Dota 2 before, you might be overwhelmed at first.
In 2017, the premier competition, The International, hosted by the game’s creator, Valve, had over 92 million online viewers, the majority based in China.
While collectively over 509 million hours of play were watched, 465 million hours came from viewers there.
Earning a Living As a Professional GamerIvanov, who is based in Estonia, is better known in the professional gaming world as Puppey, captain of Team Secret.
While most professional athletes had trainers to help them gain the skills to go pro, most gamers who have reached the professional level did so without coaches or trainers.
While there are varying paths to success as a professional gamer, as Ivanov puts it bluntly, you just have to be really good.
“It’s similar for Dota, which has a very small window for success. There are 10 million players, and about 50 are kind of earning a good living right now. The others are in the middle.”
What’s changing is the acceptance of the career path and the profile of the professional gamer.

The orginal article.

Summary of “You’re never alone in video games anymore.”

You weren’t playing for the story because games then really only had loose premises.
There’s also a newer, largely unarticulated trend: the end of being alone in video games.
Although there are scattered earlier examples of companion characters-like 1998’s Half-Life 2 and 2001’s Ico-their crossing over from albatrosses to something more meaningful is a recent development, kicking off with 2012’s The Walking Dead and 2013’s BioShock Infinite and The Last of Us. I am not warming up for a long, curmudgeonly rant about how video games used to be better in my day.
The supposed explanation for video games’ silent heroes was that voiceless avatars smoothed the way for the player to imagine themselves in the role.
As time has gone on and technology has advanced and budgets have ballooned, many video games have essentially become 20-hour-long movies now able to circle back and dabble with the sort of creative exploration that a secondary character brings.
One approaching future for video games, it seems, is to join the always-on, always-connected present we all experience in our daily lives, by having A.I. wingmen “Pinging” us with dialogue as the larger shared quest progresses.
All I know is, for now, I am virtually never alone in newer video games.
These first steps aren’t perfect or seamless-there are still hiccups and bad habits from how video games have always been made.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The mysterious origins of an uncrackable video game”

Two dimensional mazes from entombed might look simple by the standards of today’s computer graphics, in 1982 you couldn’t just design a set of mazes, store them in the game and later display them on-screen – there wasn’t enough memory on the game cartridges for something like that.
In many cases, mazes were generated “Procedurally” – in other words, the game created them randomly on the fly, so players never actually traversed the same maze twice.
The game needs to decide, as it draws each new square of the maze, whether it should draw a wall or a space for the game characters to move around in.
The best guess the pair have is that the programmer behind the maze algorithm must have manually fine-tuned the table values until the game worked as desired, but that still doesn’t really explain the logic behind it.
Rew Reinhard, also at the University of York, writes about and practices video game archaeology.
With Entombed, Aycock believes the maze algorithm they uncovered is a good example of how creative game programmers can get.
One, ET the Extra-Terrestrial, has been lampooned as the worst video game ever.
Video game archaeology is possibly quite urgent because the actual physical form of mass-produced games is ephemeral.

The orginal article.

Summary of “It’s not your fault? That doesn’t mean you’re off the hook”

The person adopting the strategy is usually a chronic complainer.
If they can “Win” the game – dismissing every suggestion until their interlocutor gives up in exasperation – they get to feel pleasurably righteous in their resentments and excused from any obligation to change.
When you’re feeling hard done by – taken for granted by your partner, say, or obliged to work for a knucklehead boss – it’s easy to become vehemently attached to the position that it’s not your job to address the matter, and that doing so would be an admission of fault.
The psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb describes this as “Over-validation”.
As Gottlieb notes, people confronted with over-validation often hear their complaints afresh and start arguing back.
Sometimes, something magical might happen,” Gottlieb writes.
The other person “Might realise she’s not as trapped as you are saying she is, or as she feels.” Which illustrates the irony of the responsibility/fault fallacy: evading responsibility feels comfortable, but turns out to be a prison; whereas assuming responsibility feels unpleasant, but ends up being freeing.
Psychiatrist Eric Berne’s book Games People Play was a 60s bestseller, but its analysis of our everyday agendas is as relevant as ever.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The 50 best video games of the 21st century”

Few games have been played as widely as Wii Sports, from grannies bowling to toddlers enthusiastically playing tennis.
One of the few modern games that is still best enjoyed shoulder-to-shoulder with friends, family or friendly strangers.
Launched as a forgettable co-op zombie shooter in 2017, developer Epic Games saw the success of Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds and decided to create its own battle royale mode, inviting 100 players to land on an island, then fight it out until only one survived.
One of the most successful and influential games ever made, The Sims is an outlet for megalomania, mad materialism or compassion – depending on the player.
Video games aren’t short of alien invasion stories but Half-Life 2 is so good it makes the whole concept seem fresh and frightening.
One of the greatest narrative video games ever made.
Despite two more Dark Souls games and a raft of imitators, there is still nothing like it.
Game makers truly believe that video games have the power – just like literature, cinema and art – to change lives.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Video Games Could Be Serious Tools for Historical Research”

Various computer games simulate past events in ever-increasing detail, allowing players to better understand the forces at work and explore alternative histories.
These guys have developed an undergraduate history course in which students use historical computer games to better understand their subject.
Over the last four years, Kuran and co have incorporated a variety of computer games into their history course to determine which best stimulate discussion and improve student understanding.
Kuran and co experimented with a number of games, including Sid Meier’s Civilization series by Firaxis games, the Total War series by the Creative Assembly, and the Grand Strategy games such as Crusader Kings II, Europa Universalis IV, and Hearts of Iron IV by Paradox Interactive.
Students were given certain goals to achieve in the game on their own and then asked to write about their experience by comparing it with other sources of historical information.
“The games from Grand Strategy series provided the most comprehensive experience due to their level of detail, high historical accuracy, and versatility on modeling different cultures and nations,” they say.
“Most of the students report that learning history through a video game has a critical immersive component,” say the team.
Not least of these is that games are black-box systems affording little or no insight into how they work or how they model events.

The orginal article.